The 2000’s were a time of unequivocal cultural shifts. From propelling the world into a full, immersive digital age to providing the music world some of the most quintessential blueprint acts that changed the landscape of alternative and indie music – it was truly a time to be alive. This year, Goldenvoice gathered together a lineup that would return us all to the golden heart of the millenium with Just Like Heaven Festival. Held at the Brookside in Pasadena, California – the festival was truly what indie dreams are made of. Not only did they manage a roster that included actively popular touring bands to the likes of Interpol and Modest Mouse, the special magic of the lineup laid in its ability to harvest spots to adored reunions like The Shins and The Hives to long-awaited comebacks like M.I.A.
The energy was palpable upon entrance to the grounds day of, especially highlighted by the most popular apparel tend of the day which was notably the band t-shirt. Everywhere from vintaged original shirts to newer tour tees from performing acts of the day – you could not look around without seeing a handful of favorite and anticipated acts of the day. Speaking with one of the merch vendors, they were equally as surprised when many of the bands merch sold completely out before the sunset. The most requested – headliners Interpol, who are on a recent tour run in support of their latest teased album The Other Side of Make-Believe.
The grounds were spacious and comfortable across a two stage set-up. Numerous amounts of blankets scattered the floors as fans and groups made the affair feel more like a backyard hang with friends in the presence of the music greatness as invited guests. Even more wholesome and community based vibes from the festival, is to see how the attendees spanned across generations. Fans ranged from young children on the shoulders of parents to older fans who were surely around to catch some of the reunited bands earliest beginnings. A potentially worrisome mix, eased as the. day went on with the crowds being one of the more mellow gatherings we’ve been around. There was enough space and controlled areas for everyone to enjoy from their comfort levels. Whether you wanted to relive glory days at the stage barricades, find a patch of grass to picnic out or find benched seating across VIP areas, there were options available to you.
The day started off on a high note – walking in in time to catch the festival off to a strong start with The Cribs and Geographer warming up. the early crowds. Islands, a band composed of former members of The Unicorns, brought out a strong following with an infamous indie following with chants from the crowd pleading for their classic favorites throughout the set. Peaches, in truest Peaches nature, brought on one of thee most unique and high energy performances of the fest. Performing her infamous album, Teaches of Peaches, in full – the Canadian rocker queen unfolded a performance full of costume changes, eclectic dancers and of course lots of champagne to spray. Wolf Parade, also performing Apologies to the Queen Mary, was an anticipated return performance, while Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke spun a DJ set across the way at the Stardust stage. The Hives delivered an electric set as they dazzled with their reunion. Frontman Pelle raged back and forth across the stage after declaring “welcome to the best festival of 2005!” and made his was into the crowd to solidify what earned them the title of one of the best live rock bands in the 2000s, and we couldn’t agree more after the performance. Cut Copy brought on the electro-indie vibes, as Franz Ferdinand burned down a setlsit of some of the most memorable soundtracks of the early rock millenia. Could you really go anywhere without hearing “Take Me Out” everywhere you went in the 2000s? Santigold mesmerized with her catchy tunes and vocal performance in matching white outfits with her singers, as Bloc Party ramped up the energy at the mainstage – even after a small hiccup with a bit of prior night rainfall that made its way onto the stage right before their performance. Luckily – the damage did not harm the ability to continue the performance and we thank the experienced rockers for pushing through. any slight mishaps that may have been caused to the gear, everyone was way too busy moshing to “Helicopter” and “Banquet” to have noticed anyways. We made our way to catch Chromeo bring on the funkified fun, we had to catch “Needy” live once in our life, and the crowd swarmed over to the mainstage post set to catch one of the more anticipated acts of the night. The Shins, fresh off a recent reunion in celebration of 20 years since their beloved album Oh, Inverted World, captivated the festival running down a tracklist that felt like a warm, summer high school day with favorites “Sleeping Lessons,” “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang” making the cut – naturally. We ran across the way to make sure we caught the return of notorious M.I.A., who shortly after the fest, announced news of new music making its way to fans soon enough. Sure to be great. news for fans that traveled long ways to catch “their queen” live. We spoke with fans at the barricade who traveled from different cities and states, on. red eyes!, solely to catch this momentous return live. Wrapping up the night and festival was the illustrious Interpol. A pillar for indie rock, the trio rocked the night on a high note through a set that included singles that have stood the test of time starting with the revival of “Untitled,” following through classics like “Evil” and “PDA,” showcasing new tunes like “Toni” and “Fables” and ending the night with “Slow Hands.”
Everything about the day felt – magical. From wholesome reunions, whether the bands themselves or between old fan friends, to new memories for younger indie music fans – some who have learned how to rock before walk – to a perfectly temperatured Los Angeles, Just Like Heaven provided a musical haven for communities, even for a few hours, from a harsh world. Thanks for having us Just Like Heaven! We absolutely can’t wait to see what the next has in store for us!
Photos & Story // Jeanette Diaz