The Most Unusual Things We Saw at Day For Night 2016
Run the Jewels
THE TEMPERATURE PLUNGE
Killer Mike of Run the Jewels had some choice words for the Houston humidity: "It's hot as a sumabitch up in here." He chided fellow rapper EL-P for not being able to take the heat, but a few songs into their electrifying set, EL-P wouldn't have to. A tinkling of icy raindrops fell on the exuberant crowd and the temperature nosedived almost 20 degrees in 20 minutes. As the show got wetter and colder, scantily clad festivalgoers took refuge underneath trees and awnings. Some just gave up and headed towards the exits (Aphex Twin be damned). Houston is no stranger to extreme weather phenomena, but going from a high of 80 one day of a festival to a high of 40 on another is pretty exceptional, even for us. KATIE SULLIVAN
Saturday wasn't my first experience running the jewels fast, but RTJ's set over on the green stage is going to be a hard one to top. The crowd was live, the stage props were huge, and the tunes were hard as all hell. The most memorable part, though, will probably be the moment that the ass fell out of the barometer. Not minutes after El-P was good-naturedly complaining about the heat on stage, an Arctic blast came through during "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" that sent the temperature plunging about 40 degrees in seconds. As all of the warm air in the ZIP code evacuated with haste, people went off even harder for a bit until the icy rain started coming down. Run the Jewels had somehow summoned winter, at last, and we damn near froze our asses off in those shorts and T-shirts. It was a special performance (and insane temperature swing) that could only happen in H-Town. NATHAN SMITH
DAMIEN ECHOLS, IN THE FLESH
In a world full of endless podcasts and an entire TV station dedicated to true crime stories, it's easy to forget the story of the West Memphis Three. Long before Serial and Making a Murderer, there was Paradise Lost and the story of the murders of Steve Branch, Michael Moore, Christopher Byers and the trials of Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley and Day for Night artist Damien Echols. Echols spent over a decade on death row, and to see him in real life, in a former post office in Houston, Texas, knowing where he'd be, was surreal. He led the small crowd through a breathing and meditation exercise and talked about the positive impact it had on his life. And then he was gone. Even with the flashing lights all around the music and chatter coming from different directions, it was still an intense moment I won't soon forget. CORY GARCIA
A TIME TO DANCE
Several impromptu interpretive dance and art performances occurred throughout the weekend, more than expected at festivals. One instance happened early Saturday afternoon when a couple started an amateur arial yoga session for a brief moment in one of the light art installations rooms. After a few inverted poses the two looked a bit unstable and onlookers were concerned that two were going ruin the festival when they cracked their skulls on the concrete floor. Luckily, the crisis was averted when they gained their wits about them and went along their business. JACK GORMAN
Bjork DJing at Friday night's pre-party.
Bjork digital might not have been what all of her audience wanted. The brooding, longform digital sound piece, a compilation of meandering, minimalist samples, was hyper refined and intellectual, perhaps moreso than the crowd. But even if the audience was nonplussed, left wondering "when the real music is going to start," Bjork Digital embraced an ethereal, introspective aesthetic to be admired. Her use of traditional music scoring combined with natural sounds and long, reflective codas made for a powerful experience for those ready, willing, and able to experience it. Day for Night doesn't always needs to be a dance party, and Bjork Digital proved that the reflective power of art, light, and sound can be much more powerful than some overprocessed hype beats. KATIE SULLIVAN
SIT DOWN, YOUNG MAN
Sunday evening NONOTAK scheduled a performance around their installation on the second floor. A sizable number of folks showed up early and took a seat in front of and around the winged structure, patiently waiting for the performance to begin. And when it started, a most curious thing happened: a long figure with a backpack stood up and began to dance to the music of the performance. Almost immediately, the crowd behind him begin to yell at him to sit down. After a few seconds he did, and everyone on the floor took in the performance with no further interruptions. I'm still not sure what side of sit or dance I'm on. CORY GARCIA
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