X102.9 Winter Formal
Featuring The 1975, Silversun Pickups, Phantogram, Glass Animals, & Coin
By: Morgan Bates
12/2/2016 – St Augustine Amphitheater
When some of hear “Winter Formal” our minds immediately flashback to the days when it was associated with a school dance surrounded by chaperones & awkward slow dancing. Leave it to X102.9 to make over the “Winter Formal” image by shaking things up! They said to hell with the ball gowns and typical DJ playing non-stop bubblegum or rap by creating a musical celebration with no dress code and some of today’s greatest bands! So we left corsages at the gate, laced up our chucks, and thanks to The 1975, Silversun Pickups, Phantogram, Glass Animals, and Coin we danced the night away to music we actually enjoy!
Ready to get the party started, I walked into the amphitheater, the crowd bundled up in their combat boots and flannel button downs with beer in hand as Glass Animals warmed us up with enthusiastic performances of hits like “Gooey” and “Black Mambo.” Their set was entertaining, upbeat, and full of amazing energy as Dave Bayley showed off some rad tambourine skills and stood on the edge of the stage inspiring as much crowd participation as possible. Such an amazing way to start off the evening!
Next on the lineup was Phantogram, a dynamic electro pop duo with many musical layers. As we all raised our hands in the air and sang along to hits like “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” “Blackout Days,” and “Fall In Love” I realized how much I really liked them! One of my best friends is a huge fan and I had liked them but, seeing them perform live made me appreciate them a whole lot more! Their sound was marvelous as Sarah Barthel played the keyboard and guitar while singing every deep lyric with meaning and Josh Carter plucked guitar strings (along with a few heart strings) with such incredible ease. Together this duo created a one of a kind sound that brought the amphitheater to life.
Not only was Phantogram impressive on stage, but they were fun and gracious off stage! They joined in on the fun in the pit after their set to enjoy the show, took pictures with fans, (My friend Sara and me included!) and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. But, they weren’t the only ones in the crowd living in the moment of the Silversun Pickups set. Front man Brian Aubert, bass guitarist Nikki Monninger, drummer Chris Guanlao, and keyboard player Joe Lester looked as if they had as much fun playing hits like “Friendly Fires,” “Lazy Eye,” and “Panic Switch” as we enjoyed jamming along.
And before I knew it, the time had come for The 1975 to take the stage! I felt my heart speed up with excitement as Matt Healy, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann, and George Daniel glided across the stage adding an extreme burst of energy to the air. The amphitheater roared as Matty showed original swagger dancing in a coat as red and fierce as fire. Suave is the best way to describe this English pop rock band as they had each and every one of us hanging on every expressive lyric and dancing to every beat. Colorful lights engulfed the amphitheater flashing in perfect harmony to hits like “Love Me,” “Sex,” “ The Sound,” “Girls,” “Heart Out,” “She’s American,” “Robbers,” and “Chocolate” to name a few. Sax solos and a three piano piece during the set had us all in awe, fans gave pink roses and a pack of cigarettes to the band, and I know I am not the only one that gave it my all singing along! (I was hoarse for two days.) These guys never disappoint except, for the sad moment when the show comes to an end.
At the end of the night when the lights came on, X102.9 and all of these amazing artists were triumphant in shattering any bad reputation that may have come with the term “Winter Formal.” Together they have taken us from prom pose and lackluster music to Phantogram selfies and singing at the top of our lungs with some of our favorite bands!
For more information about the bands, the St Augustine Amphitheater, and X102.9 check out their websites: