The third and final day of 2022’s So What?! Music Fest welcomed a crowd of sunburned, limping patrons into its grounds, ready for one more day of music and fun.
Bands like The Words Alive, Against The Current, Counterparts, Free Throw and The Plot in You delivered the bite a mosher craves.
We Came as Romans played well, and the fans were among the most responsive I’d seen all weekend. Everyone from the outskirts to the barrier were jumping in tune of the beat.
Princess Nokia was a welcome break of feminine energy to disrupt a stream of men on the rap stages. She brought excellent energy performing everything from “Tomboy” to “Brujas.”
The Maine pumped up the crowd with playful jabs, the banter worked, as the crowd was soon jumping and singing along. A fan even got to sing “Taxi” with lead singer John O’Callaghan.
Tiny Moving Parts played a sunset set with their backs to a waterfront. The Idobi Radio stage was at the bottom of a hill, allowing tired fans to sit in the cool shaded grass and still have an excellent view.
The band seemed as happy as the fans to be there, maintaining grins on their faces throughout their set, which included explosive performances of songs “Always Focused” and “Feel Alive.”
The Pennsylvania rock act Grayscale crooned their way through their evening set, leaning heavily on songs from their 2019 album Nella Vita for the biggest crowd reactions, such as the explosive dancing inspired by “Painkiller Weather.”
Mom Jeans teased the crowd with their sound check before filing out before filing back in. By now, the amount of people at the show had grown substantially. The band was jovial, joking with their fans and each other like it was a living room and not a concert venue.
Guitarist Sam Kless stole the show with his dancing, posing, and general stage antics. The rest of the band didn’t join in, keeping the mood high in contrast to the lyrics of some of their songs, masked by uplifting melodies.
The final hours of the festival were carried by the largest acts. Underoath went first, drawing the largest crowd of the day as they opened with “Damn Excuses.” The Florida band brought a kick that was irresistible to people of all ages. Small children ran and jumped to the music on the outskirts of the crown while older adults started most pits near the middle.
Outside, Blackbear warmed up what remained of the crowd for 2 Chainz a stage over, concluding Arlington’s first So What?! Weekend.
So What?! Music Festival fills a much needed hole in the Texas festival circuit. Based off attendance, there is certainly demand. Rock isn’t dead, it’s just evolving, which is why it makes sense to include hip-hop and rap acts. After all, the two sides are branches of the same musical tree born of rhythm and blues. It should come as no surprise that the crossover becomes more pronounced every year.