If you're being honest with yourself, you should admit that festivals aren't really this "must see" event in most cases. In a time when the experience outweighs the lineup, there aren't many festivals that evoke excitement. Of course, with Day For Night, the art, the lineup, and the experience are intertwined. Stepping up their efforts this year with a lineup full of big names and underground acts, the three day event has so many acts and artists worth experiencing, that it elevates the possibilities of what future festivals can be.
The easiest way to navigate this, is to go by the day. Depending on what ticket you have, this is either a one day, a two day, or a three day festival. Here's some of the highlights:
The Friday Summit will feature live music from a varying array of artists. The music of Jenny Hval is a must see. Hval has never played Houston before, and while her set won't be too long, her last record Blood Bitch and her intriguing live sets are something no one should miss. The same could be said about Earl Sweatshirt, who will also be performing. Sweatshirt is the strongest horror core rapper in the history of the game, and 2015's I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside is hard not to like. The summit will also feature a performance from the brilliant performer, poet, and artist Saul Williams. Williams has done so much that it's hard to highlight any one thing, so maybe just saying that his last release MartyrLosingKing breaks ground is a good place to start. He doesn't perform down here very often, so what he bring to the fest should be interesting. There are also talks from Chelsea Manning, Nadya Tolokonnikova of the band Pussy Riot, and avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson. of course, if the installations are up and going, you'll also get to experience many of those without a line of any length.
On Saturday, the festival will kick off with performances from some locals as well as touring acts. Houston's Deep Cuts will take the green stage at 1:10, and should be worth hearing judging by their smooth single "Endlessly Refreshing." The slow build of songs through live looping from Brooklyn's Faten Kanaan will take the blue stage at 1:20 p.m.; while theatrical antics of Georgia's of Montreal will also perform early on the red stage at 1:50, and they're always worth making it out for. The dark ambient sounds of Manchester's Demdike Stare is another act worth catching on the blue stage at 2:30 p.m. The duo rarely performs here, and should make for an interesting day time slot.
New York's Princess Nokia will take the green stage at 3 p.m.; and should hold all in awe with her chill hip hop vibes, while the critically acclaimed sounds of Perfume Genius shouldn't go unnoticed on the red stage at 3:20 p.m. His new album, No Shape is a trip full of dark and lush electronica, and live sets are known for never being boring. You should at least catch a glimpse of Indiana's Jlin. The footwork and electronic based producer is on a whole other level, and should get feet moving with her strong skill set on the blue stage at 3:20 p.m. You should also make sure to catch at least some of the set from Berkeley's Lil B. Hitting the green stage at 4:10 p.m.; his set should include next level rhymes from his latest drop Black Ken. The crazed political punk of Russia's Pussy Riot will also be interesting on the red stage at 4:40 p.m.
The closing half of the Saturday should include catching influential techno artist GAS on the blue stage at 4:50 p.m. The German based producer makes music that's deep and dark, and his latest release Narkopop is intense. The red stage will host sets from Pretty Lights at 6:00 and James Blake at 7:30, but you should definitely catch the insanity of Houston's B L A C K I E on the yellow stage at 7:30 and influential avant garde sounds of Laurie Anderson on the blue stage at 7:40 p.m. The red stage set from Nine Inch Nails at 9:30 should be full of energy while the green stage performance from Tyler The Creator at 10:00 shouldn't go unnoticed as his latest Flower Boy is one of the best albums of 2017. The dub electronica of Manchester's Andy Stott should get feet moving on the blue stage at 10:40 before Jamie XX brings his electronic beats on to the blue stage at 12:20 a.m. to close out the night. His last release In Colour is a trip and should get the late night party going as his sets are usually dance worthy.
On Sunday, get started at the blue stage at 1:20 p.m.; with the hip hop meets free jazz electronics of Seattle's Shabazz Palaces. This year they dropped two crazy albums with Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines and Quazarz: Born On a Gangster Star. The jazzy pop of New Zealand's Kimbra will make a splash on the red stage at 2:10, though the intense punk of Priests will probably tear you away on the green stage at the same time while they perform songs from this year's Nothing Feels Natural. The Canadian R& B producer Jessy Lanza should turn heads with her sultry jams on the blue stage at 2:30, while the atmospheric sounds of LA's The Album Leaf will get weird on the green stage at 3:10 p.m. Of course, if you want to get moving, Ontario's Rezz will make that easy with her dance heavy grooves on the red stage at 3:30 p.m. Her latest release Mass Manipulation is beat heavy and worth lending an ear to, or at least getting down to.
There's a three-way split on how to catch En Vogue on the green stage at 4:30, Phantogram on the red stage at 5, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor on the green stage at 5:40, but it can be done with planning. The same could be said about catching Houston's Solange on the red stage at 6:40 and not missing a second of the greatest live act of the '90s with The Jesus Lizard on the green stage at 7:10 p.m. These guys are rowdy in a live setting, catching them 20 years ago meant that you had no idea what would happen, and their albums Down, Liar, and Goat are all worth getting familiar with. If it helps, Kurt Cobain was a big enough fan that he did a split seven inch release with them on "Puss/Oh The Guilt."
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The red stage will get closed out at 8:30 p.m. with a set from France's Justice. Known for a crazed energy at their live sets, these two make dance heavy jams that all over their last release Woman. That being said, St. Vincent will make for an intriguing set on the green stage at 8:30, though you shouldn't miss the performance from Minnesota's Corbin on the blue stage at 9:05. Corbin used to go by the name Spooky Black, but his music is a little nuts and his latest Mourn brings his funeral R&B sound to life. Russia's Nina Kravitz will bring her techno to the yellow stage at 11:20 p.m.; before Radiohead's Thom Yorke closes the festival out inside on the blue stage at midnight.
On all three days, you should check out all of the heavily curated art installations as well. The immersive light art of Brooklyn's Matthew Schreiber should be fun, as should the impressive visual work of James Clar. Paris' celebrated light installation artist Felice d'Estienne d'Orve should bring something magical to the fest as well as the works of VT Pro. Mexico's Cocolab should also impress with whatever immersive art they display, as will Houston's Lina Dib. In fact, there's more art than can be discussed without experiencing it all for yourself.
You can purchase single day or three day passes for the all ages festival. Doors at 3 p.m. on Friday, doors at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets between $95 and $760.