I traveled to Firenze for the WIRED Next Fest to see one of my favorite musicians, composers and producers, John Hopkins, at a free outdoor show in Piazza Santissima Annunziata. WIRED curated an amazing line up of local musicians with varying styles. The festival was almost cancelled due to a storm that hit two hours prior to the event with an impending storm that could hit at any moment. But the show must go on….
David Khompa…Torino, Italy; drummer, composer and visual artist. Everything he performs is live and done on the fly, No click track, no loops, no backing track. It is a very fresh take on live electronic music in an industry that is riddled with prerecorded performances.
https://youtu.be/g0CIeiZDNqI “Nettle Empire”
Then M + A…an Italian pop and electronic music duo formed in 2009. A native of Forlì, the group includes Michele Ducci and Alessandro Degli Angeli. (I missed them to buy beer and grab my rain coat…it was a necessity; I’m sure you understand.)
Joan Thiele…a rising young talented singer, born in 1991 in Italy to an Italian mother and Swiss-Colombian father. Joan spent her childhood in Cartagena, between the Caribbean and the coffee plantations. With a drummer, bass and keyboardist, and DJ she synthesizes popular songs (e.g., Drake’s Hot Line Bling) with her own electro-pop style.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kWDJ0m8JRM “Hot Line Bling”
Playroom (DJ set)… the new “Motel Connection” project, which creates live-based electronic musical improvisations. On stage, Samuel (Subsonica: vocalist), Pisti (dj house) and Pierfunk (former bassist of the Turin group).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7AwsuyQdOI “Midnight Sun” – Motel Connection
Jonathan Julian “Jon” Hopkins (b 15 August 1979)… is an English producer and musician who writes and performs his own melodic electronica and dance music. After beginning his career playing keyboards for Imogen Heap, he has produced or contributed to albums by Brian Eno, Coldplay, David Holmes, and others.
Hopkins composed the soundtrack for the 2010 film, Monsters, which was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score. His third solo album, Insides, reached no. 15 on the Dance/Electronic Album Chart in 2009. His collaborations on Small Craft on a Milk Sea with Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams and Diamond Mine with King Creosote both reached no. 82 on the UK Albums Chart. In 2011, Diamond Mine was nominated for a Mercury Prize, which is annually awarded for best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Immunity was also nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize(Bio by Wikipedia).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlMatgjhq3o “Immunity Full Album”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsLDiikRCx0 “Panta Rei (John Hopkins Remix)”- Agoria
My personal favorite.
John Hopkins was scheduled to perform from 0:00-01:30, but due to the impending storm his set was moved forward to 23:00-00:30, unfortunately, to accommodate John’s set time they cut each of the opening musicians by fifteen minutes. John’s set was quite powerful and meticulously planned out, although the crowd seemed uninterested. You always get what you pay for and sometimes free does not draw the most appreciative audience. The crowd was incredibly distracting as half of them weren’t paying attention, and the other half pretended to be Steven Spielberg and film his entire performance. Very few people in attendance danced, as many stared at me while I danced my little heart out. Two people even decided to film me, which was quite rude given they didn’t ask permission, but glad I could provide their evening with some comedy. (As I said in my last post white boys from Indiana can’t dance!) The storm hit right at midnight and half the crowd, afraid of the rain dispersed, and it looked like they were going to cancel the last thirty minutes of his performance. John paused his set, argued with WIRED’s organizers, and then they threw a tarp over his laptop and mixer and he continued to perform despite the rain. What an incredible end to what could’ve been a disappointing night. Even one of the most disrespectful crowds couldn’t ruin a John Hopkins set for me!!
NEXT STOP BERLIN!!!
1 John Hopkins Starting
2 John Hopkins post rain behind his tarp
3 Making new friends–see you in London