By Drew Stewart
The city of New Orleans is already full of weirdos on the daily but when BUKU or any festival (such as Voodoo, Jazz Fest, etc.) comes to town, the population of trippy hippies (including me) grows exponentially. I am from Mobile, Alabama so I have had my fair share of experiences in New Orleans, including attending Buku 2018 (which was amazing, and confirmed my observation of being my favorite city festival that I’ve been to so far). So once the lineup dropped for 2019, (featuring A$AP ROCKY, Griz, Excision, Kevin Gates, Mersiv, Dog Blood), it was an easy decision to go.
As you can see there are plenty of reasons to go back to this festival. Me and my crew hopped on the tickets and even went VIP because we wanted to hear the VIP-only sets of CharlesTheFirst, Jantsen, and Kittens; plus, the VIP viewing areas and perks are definitely worth it at this festival.
Now, on to the sets that I went to:
We started off Friday with SFAM at the Float Den stage, which had changed a lot since Buku’18. It’s where the city stores all of their Mardi Gras floats so it definitely makes for a cool stage. During the set, SFAM brought the heat as always. Both Jacob Hoerner and Micheal Pearson were hype, so hype that Micheal actually went down wrong on his ankle and was hopping on one foot for a solid 5 min (continuously killing it). Their graphics were so insane that my iPhone 10 could barely keep up.
This was the first time that I have seen Excision but knew exactly what to expect: plenty of head banging and moshing. I was so thankful for VIP because it saved us from having to push through tight crowds and had plenty of standing room at the front rail to the stage. Excision was good and definitely broke the rails, as I knew he would. The graphics were insane with his ultimate collection of 3D styled monsters. This is also where we saw the infamous head banging pizza tosser.
From First to Last (DJ SET)
From First to Last is a hardcore screamo band created by Sonny Moore (Skrillex). So we were definitely intrigued by this “dj” set. We got there and the band members Matt Good and Travis Richter were up on stage serving up a mix of their songs and other bands/artist music, ranging from rap, rock and little edm. They were both on the mic singing/screaming the lyrics. It was definitely jumping and they put on a great show with some cool visuals.
The Canadian dj, Nathan Shaw, was at The Wharf stage and played a beautiful melody for all of Buku and the ships out in the port to hear accompanied by a sunset and beautiful graphics.
We left half way through Ekali so that we could catch 1788-L, which caught me off guard. I had no idea what to expect because I had never really heard of him. He hit us with some dirty bass and strange noises. He represented himself very well and earned my respect. I will definitely be mixing him into my playlist from now on.
On to Kevin Gates, I was definitely excited about this set because I’ve wanted to see him live since college. He got up there representing himself with his multiple gold chains and smooth technique of spitting lines. He dropped multiple bangers and tried to steal every guys girl in the crowd. (Lol) I sung along to a couple of my favorites by him and had a great time.
NGHTMRE B2B SLANDER
Calling in the heavy hitters! I cannot even begin to explain how fire this set was. Banger after Banger for the entire 1 hr and a half. They even went so hard that one of the speakers in the VIP section blew out but was quickly fixed by the next song. This was the only set that I felt like I needed to put my ear plugs in because the sound production at The Wharf stage was insane.
My lady grew up on punk rock music so she really wanted to see them. I had never really listened to them but was surprised when I knew a few of their songs. They definitely gave me that old school headbanger vibe and put on one hell of show. Lead singer was barefoot and hopping around the stage with the rest of the band as they melted faces. 🖤
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Ray’s set was definitely for the ladies. She sung beautifully and looked flawless on stage with her incorporated array of beautiful lights, choreographed dances with her dancers, and even had a swing to be able to swing out over the crowd. She was perfect in every way.
I had been on a CharlesTheFirst kick leading up to the lineup announcement for Buku’19. So whenever he was on the lineup and was only available to VIP, since I had never seen him, there was no doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going VIP. He started off with a shout out to Lana Del Rey and then proceeded with his dreamy vibes and mixed the music with such finesse that you were on a continuous journey throughout his set. It was amazing to be 1 of maybe 20 people at this intimate set. You felt so close and connected with him. What a beautiful way to end the first day.
The Wharf stage was definitely the most hopping stage of the weekend. We got to the festival half way through Liquid Strangers set, which I had seen two weeks before in my local city, but was still encapsulated by his mixing. He threw his trippy/creepy vibes out into the air and brought the fire, like always. Plus I just like his voice when he gets on the mic.
My girl had never seen one of Griz’s DJ sets and the look on her face when that first drop happened was priceless. Griz had a beautiful sunset backdrop to perform in front of, not to mention his unique visuals. He slayed on his sax and gave the people what they wanted. I’ve never been disappointed by his sets. Funny side story- I was at the set and looked to my left and see a guy pulling out an ounce of shrooms and then proceeded to shovel them in his mouth by the hand fulls! 😝 I again saw him, two set later, finishing off the bag. So insane!
The thief of my heart. I tend to be a lil “sloot” when it comes to female DJs. At first it was Rezz, then Elohim, and now Kittens. She had this Bad B*tch look on her face while she dropped rap style music mixed with dirty bass. Each dirty drop, she would have a little smirk on her face because she knew she was dropping heat. It was a VIP set but she still attracted a good amount of people. She’s definitely a beautiful DJ and has a special place in my heart now. ❤️
Now onto the heart breaking set of the weekend, A$AP Rocky. I was stoked to see “him.” As most rappers do, he was about 20 minutes late. He starts off with a white sheet in front of the stage and just his silhouette shining through. Which is cool but when most artist do this, they only play 2 or 3 songs and then bust out. He continued to be behind the screen for a strange amount of time, almost 20 – 25 minutes. The sheet finally drops but he is in a full mask, covering his entire face and mouth, like off his new album and kept it on until maybe the last 5 minutes of the show. And to top it all off, whenever he took the mask off, it wasn’t even him… I figured as much since the prolonged sheet drop, complete mask and the over all shitiness of the singing/rapping. It didn’t even sound like him and the mask had his mouth hidden so you couldn’t see if he was really spitting lines, which he didn’t even really do. It was more of him saying random words and rapping over a track. There were really no graphics, just a bunch of strobes which actually irritated my eyes to the point that I had to walk off to the side of the stage. So disappointed in this set. You let me down A$AP…
After that disappointment, we decide to go catch the end of G Jones, who I had seen before but was skipping for A$AP. A fair warning for his sets, he only uses BLACK and WHITE visuals and lots of strobes so if those bother you, be prepared. He was killing it as always though for the little bit that we saw him.
My crew and I had never seen $uicideBoy$ so we decided to go check them out. They didn’t have any visuals, they were just up there doing their thing and rapping with the crowd. The crowd was definitely hype and it was a fun set to dance to.
Dog Blood (Skrillex x Boys Noize)
I had no idea what to expect for this set. It started off slow but as soon as they dropped Chicken Soup, half way through, the crowd got into it and then they continued to get more hype from that point on. Their visuals were insane. They were actually using, what looked like, 100+ programmed lasers to shoot at a screen behind them. The lasers were moving so quick that they were drawing images of huge animals on the screen. I had never seen anything like it and was truly unique.
Closing out the festival, another huge reason I bought my ticket, was to see Mersiv again. Mersiv is the type of bass music that every basshead seeks after. With his luscious, long hair, he worked that table like no one else. He was head banging and hype his whole show, fueling the crowd with his amazing talent and drops. He was so humble when he was on the mic and was there to do what he does best, drop BASS IN YOUR FACE. He’s definitely the brightest star that is on the come up in the EDM community.
Beside the A$AP Rocky fiasco, Buku remains to be my favorite city festival. New Orleans is already my favorite city filled with people that are eccentric and has a certain creative energy about it that empowers you. If you ever get a chance definitely start your festival season with Buku.
Written By: Drew Stewart