Sundance is mostly known for movie premiers and film deals, but among the sea of actors, industry folk and free booze (not necessarily in that order), Robert Redford’s legendary festival also dances into the wee hours of the night thanks to the wealth of music options available.
Here are 10 performances that caught our eye — and ear — at the 2019 edition of Sundance.
1. Kathryn Gallagher: A star of Netflix’s “You” and the forthcoming “Jagged Little Pill Musical,” Gallagher performed at the Montage on the opening night of Sundance with a set of moody sad songs that culminated in a jam with Parkland High school shooting survivors. To think that humanity and harmony could come together in a room full of ski parkas and snow boots was one of those truly meaningful moment at Sundance.
2. Chali2na of Jurassic 5: The frontman of beloved hip-hop group Jurassic 5 performed an intimate show on Sunday at the Cabin, one of the rare local establishments to keep its identity among venues sponsored by corporations. The show also featured legendary producer DJ Logic and natives Zac Ivie and Ocelot.
3. G-Eazy: The rapper’s Park City Live show, sponsored by Las Vegas’ KAOS nightclub, had big-time buzz and sky-high prices for bottle service. Bonus: a FaceTime to rapper friend GASHI who collaborated on G-Eazy’s new song “My Year.”
4. Wu-Tang Clan: Director Sacha Jenkins and producer Pete Scalettars’s four-part series “Of Mics and Men” was followed by a special performance at the Bone Yard by Wu-Tang Clan featuring nearly all its members. Further melding movies with the influential rap group’s music, it was also announced that Ghostface Killah’s film project, “Angel of Dust,” will be directed by Rza.
5. Dounia: Opening for G-Eazy had newcomer Dounia (pictured at top) singing love songs to a rowdy crowd, but the singer who has collaborated with Kehlani, more than held her own. She played again the next afternoon at the ASCAP lounge.
6. Macy Gray and Avril Lavigne: A pop-up by Macy Gray and Avril Lavigne drew raves, but the two were also seen hanging out at functions too, like the annual seated dinner Chefdance. Gray was in town for her headlining performance Saturday night at the APEX Social Club party where she performed a five-song set.
7. The “Make Change” Series: The Preservation Hall Band delivered an epic performance at the Salesforce-sponsored “Make Change” series that spilled out onto the street. Inside the music lodge, DJ Anne Litt of KCRW curated thought-provoking panels featuring Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne (see below) and Michael Franti, among others.
8. Diplo: Although Major Lazer didn’t make an appearance at Sundance, Diplo headlined the opening night to a packed crowd at Park City Live.
9. Everlast: The House of Pain member performed a well-received daytime gig at the ASCAP Music Cafe, but his full band also played multiple gigs around town.
10. Machine Gun Kelly: The Ohio rapper had a massive production for his Snowfest show at Park City Live. Among the highlights: when hundreds in the crowd pulled out their phones for the rapper’s battle song with Eminem — particularly the “your beard is weird” line — and, personally speaking, yours truly (as Kosha Dillz) as the opening act along with DJ Fred Matters. But topping it all was the moment when Pete Davidson came on stage and he and MGK chatted about the premiere of their movie “Big Time Adolescence.” Those who stayed late enough got to see MGK playing the drums at the afterparty.