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Music Midtown: Weekend Wrap-Up with Janelle Monae, ARIZONA and More [PHOTOS]

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Music Midtown weekend has come and gone. With thousands of loving fans from cities all over the country, vendors at every corner of Piedmont Park, and bass-in-your-face performances, there was adventure afoot.

The festivities began on Saturday, September 16, with The Aces, an all-girl band from Provo, Utah, with lead singer and guitarist Cristal Ramirez pouring her heart out onstage alongside fellow band members Alisa Ramirez (drummer), McKenna Petty (bassist) and Katie Henderson (guitarist). The band performed songs from their debut album, “When My Heart Felt Volcanic,” including standout songs “Last One” and “Stuck.” Overall, this is definitely a group to watch!

Venturing over to the other side of the park, Yuno rocked the Cotton Club stage, loop pedal and all. Many fans were familiar with his older hit, “Grapefruit,” and he shook things up by mashing a song of his own with “Allstar” by Smash Mouth that you may recognize from “Shrek.”

YUNO performing at Music Midtown (Credit: Jasmine Martin/VOX ATL)

Rainbow Kitten Surprise was a surprise indeed, with lead singer Sam Melo and bandmates driving fans into a frenzy with dramatic movements and music. The band performed songs from their latest album “How To: Friend, Love, Freefall” as well as the first song the band ever made!

Thirty Seconds to Mars was the beginning of the end of the night, covering fellow performer Khalid’s “Love Lies” and Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” as a medley. The ever-so-talented Billie Eilish joined lead singer Jared Leto and company to perform “Hurricane.” Eilish shared on her Instagram page a video of her performing with him, saying that she’s loved the group since she was seven years old!

To round off day one, Post Malone rocked the stage with a red solo cup in hand, filled with a drink that was definitely not water! He performed songs from his latest album, “beerbongs & bentleys” and his 2016 debut “Stoney,” including his breakout hit “White Iverson” and chart toppers “Psycho” and “rockstar.” Post was very grateful for his fans, thanking the crowd after every song. He showed off his instrument playing skills as well, playing “Stay” from his latest album on an acoustic guitar. Near the end of his set, he shared the story of how he ventured off into music in the first place. He said that after receiving his first guitar at age 12 as a Christmas gift, he learned to play, then began producing his own beats when he got older, and eventually began passing out mix tapes to friends in school. Most doubted him, but as he got successful, the naysayers said “Congratulations,” which, unironically, was the last song in his set.

Day two was just as much of an adventure. VOX ATL had the opportunity to interview two performers for the day, Atlanta’s very own Lyric Rachae and A R I Z O N A, a band hailing from New Jersey. Both were very excited to be performing at Music Midtown, as Lyric was very happy to be in her hometown doing what she loves most. She performed covers of songs from many prominent female artists, including Pink and Beyoncé, and performed her debut single “Bad Decisions,” which released two days before her performance. Music Midtown was A R I Z O N A’s first time performing in Atlanta, and the band members were happy to share their experience as far as touring and even a few Atlanta misconceptions. One member admitted he believed there would be a lot more barbecue and fried chicken spots than he had seen. Granted, the group had only been in the city for less than a day, so they probably have learned a bit more about Atlanta and the wonderful things the city has to offer. The group performed “Freaking Out!” and “Where I Wanna Be,” along with many other hits.

SiR took the Salesforce stage early in the day. Hailing from Inglewood, California, the R&B singer and TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) labelmate of Kendrick Lamar performed songs from “November” and “Seven Sundays,” as well as his single “W$ Boi.” He shared that the song was based on real life experiences with his now-wife, as she lived in a dangerous part of California and he’d often pick her up to take her out on dates when they were young, with her male neighbors mean-mugging the couple all the while. Still, he enjoys performing the song as it is very special to him.

Sir with VOX staffers, Jasmine and Amariyah

The Salesforce stage became home to the music industry’s heavy hitters later on in the day, including the beautiful talent and artistry of Janelle Monaé, Gucci Mane, the hometown hero of trap music, and the ultimate crowd pleaser, Kendrick Lamar. Janelle owned the stage and took the throne (literally), performing songs from “Dirty Computer,” “Electric Lady” and one of her earliest hits, “Tightrope.” She even paid tribute to her mentor, the late and great Prince, merging “Primetime” with his hit song “Purple Rain,” and Janelle’s guitarist Kellindo shredding the stage.

Gucci Mane showed out in classic ATL fashion (besides being a bit late to his set), performing older songs such as “Lemonade” and songs he’s had featured verses on such as Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles.” He also brought out a very special guest, Atlanta’s very own Lil Yachty, to perform his very catchy hit, “Minnesota.”

Kendrick Lamar wrapped up day two with a high-energy set to end his “DAMN.” tour. Performing songs from “DAMN.,” “good kid, m.a.a.d city,” and the “Black Panther” soundtrack.

For more content about Music Midtown, look for more videos and interviews at later this week.

Photos produced by Jasmine Martin, 16, DeKalb Early College Academy.

Story produced by Amariyah Callender, 17, DeKalb School of the Arts 

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