Will Rogers Memorial Stadium in Ft Worth, Texas
April 27-28, 2019
Written and Photo Gallery by Michael Mullinex
Cover Photo by Renne Dominguez
This past weekend, Fortress Fest returned to the Will Rogers Memorial Stadium in Ft Worth, Tx, and brought together the hitmakers of Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, and Soul. With the fairgrounds split between two stages, performers like Bobby Sessions, Tinashe, Khruangbin, and The Cush comprised the diverse lineup and kept North Texas concert-goers entertained during the day. The festival was a true audiophiles fantasy; not necessarily catering to one specific style, but finding a balance of unique and eclectic musicians to create an exceptional experience. Seeing newer Rap artist like Solar Slim play the same stage with the Rock band Meach Pango, followed by Texas Country Troubadour, Red Shahan, emphasized the wide-net cast for the weekend festivities.
On the bill, the special highlights were definitely the more soulful acts, such as Medicine Man Revival and Bright Light Social Hour. Standing out from the more modern collection of Hip Hop and Pop acts were incredibly rhythmic performers that combined traditional Soul music styles with contemporary Folk and Rock inspirations. The undeniable standout of this group was the Hip Hop-infused Tank And The Bangas. Frontwoman Tarriona Ball, aka Tank, is a slam poet with an incredible range, lightning-fast flow, and quite possibly the best vocal performance of the entire festival. No exaggeration. Her combination of Hip Hop rhythms with even an appreciation of Showtunes adds a unique quality to the band’s total package. And the crowd ate up every second of it, jumping and dancing for the faster paced hits, and moved to tears for her more reflective ballads.
Undoubtedly, the headliners were tremendous choices for this festival. Between Rae Sremmurd, Chvrches, and finally Leon Bridges, the crowd was electrified seeing some of the top names in their respective genres light up the Mainstage at the end of the night. Rae Sremmurd got everyone bouncing to Sremm-life with hits like No Flex Zone and Powerglide, and turned the festival grounds into a massive block party. After that it was Chvrches turn under the spotlight to close out the Mainstage, launching out on their song Get Out. Their set was lit up with two crosses leaned sideways in front of Ian Cook and Martin Doherty’s keyboard setup as Lauren Mayberry took to the front of the stage to serenade the crowd with hits like We Sink, Miracle, and Clearest Blue. Lastly, on Sunday night Leon Bridges took the audience by storm with an impressive backing band setting the mood for him to launch an incredible set. His command of Soulful melodies mixed with high-impact pop sensibilities mesmerized the crowd with fan-favorites like Coming Home, Bad Bad News, and Lions. Finally, when the crowd was already at its breaking point, Leon Bridges closed his performance and the festival with a powerful rendition of You Don’t Know.
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