All Things Go returned to Merriweather Post Pavilion for its 9th edition. The festival has been long dedicated to uplifting women and queer artists through their meticulously curated lineups and partnerships with organizations like Amplify Her Voice, Spotify Equal, and Calling All Crows. This year, they truly put together an event that had its finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. The independently promoted festival started out as a small single-day, single-stage event and has since grown to 2 days, 2 stages, and hosts 20k+ attendees per day. They’ve absolutely grown to be one of the best festivals on the east coast and maybe even the country. During their performances, many of the acts gushed about how incredible the lineup was and how excited they were to be part of it. Tegan and Sara said, “I hope all the other festivals take note. We’ve been playing festivals since most of you were born, and this is what I wish it looked like.” Check out our highlights below.
Hemlocke Springs opened the festival with the very first slot at the Chrysalis stage. Despite this being one of her first live shows, the 24-year-old North Carolina native had the stage presence of a seasoned artist. She happily greeted the crowd before diving into the sparkling “enknee1.” Her charming and eccentric vibe puts a quirky twist on the DIY pop genre. While she was only given a 20 minute time slot, she really packed a punch into her performance and showcased over half of her newest EP, “Going…Going…GONE.” She delivered her lyrics with theatrics and fervor over ’80s inspired synth riffs while strutting across the stage. Hemlocke’s new EP, “Going…Going…GONE,” is out now via Good Luck Have Fun Records.
Self taught songwriter, producer and violinist, Sudan Archives, took the stage with her instrument tucked under her chin. She wielded her prowess as a 1 woman show, performing with a headset mic so she could seamlessly transition between playing her violin, delivering lyrics with authority, dancing, and controlling electronic elements of her set. Her music is an extraordinary blend of R&B, electronic, and hip hop elements. Most of her setlist was made up of her 2022 album “Natural Brown Prom Queen.” She had everyone jumping during “NBPQ Topless” and during “Freakalizer,” she stood on the very edge of the barricade while the crowd raved below her.
Fletcher’s performance marked the grand finale in her year of touring. She definitely finished her run with a bang. Writing pretty much exclusively about WLW love and heartbreak, Fletcher is truly the queen of the sapphic pop song. Her powerful voice soared across anthems like “Serial Heartbreaker” and “Becky’s So Hot” enveloping the audience in an irresistible embrace of euphoric choruses. Her most dedicated fans secured the coveted barricade spots for her set and adoringly screamed every word with her. The connection she has with her fans is undeniable. She even recognized the girl who makes the viral “are you gay” tiktoks at her shows, and affectionately called the festival “All Things Gay,” in celebration of the remarkable lineup featuring numerous women and queer artists.
Lizzy enchanted festival goers with a gorgeous golden hour set at the Chrysalis stage. Her ethereal, angelic voice cast a spell over Merriweather’s symphony woods, and her charm made a crowd of thousands feel like they were experiencing an intimate performance. Every note hung in the air, and fans passionately sang along, especially during the crowd-favorite, “Ceilings.” The biggest highlight of her set was when she unveiled a new song called “Movie Star.” A group of girls at the barricade looked on adoringly while holding a sign that said “We met because of you.”
Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly’s performance was sheer joy. The crowd was up on their feet and dancing in pure elation. Disco ball graphics gleamed across the screen in the background. She spent the majority of the set jumping across the stage with boundless energy and dancing alongside her band and backup singers. She touched on all parts of of her discography, making sure to honor classic bangers like “Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You” as well as moments from her newest album like “Psychedelic Switch” and “Western Wind.” During the finale of “Cut To The Feeling” someone passed an inflatable sword up to the stage. It would not have been a true Carly Slay Jepsen set without someone giving her sword in perfect compliance with the iconic 2018 meme.
A montage of her past eras played across the big screen before she appeared at the center of the stage. She opened opened with “Anywhere with you.” The song started soft and built on itself into an anthemic explosion. Maggie was absolutely radiant. Having grown up on the eastern shore of Maryland, this was technically a hometown show for her, and the excitement she felt playing at Merriweather was palpable through her entire set. The setlist was equally split between her debut album and her 2022 project, Surrender. She put an exciting spin on “Retrograde” by mashing it with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” and sprinkled in 2 unreleased songs “So Sick of Dreaming” and “Don’t Forget Me.” Before performing “Horses,” she reminisced on attending her very first concert at Merriweather, The Black Eyed Peas and The Pussycat Dolls in 2006. She could not believe she was headlining at the venue she grew up going to concerts at. It was a sublime full circle moment for her.
Meet Me @ The Altar
The trio made up of vocalist Edith Victoria, guitarist Téa Campbell, and drummer Ada Juarez, took the Chrysalis stage for an early Sunday set. Despite having started their band creating music remotely through the internet, their on stage chemistry was undeniable. Each band member brought a different but complimentary vibe to the performance. Their early 2000s pop punk flair was a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the festival’s indie and pop mood. Edith was also excited to be celebrating her 23rd birthday. They treated the crowd to a mix of tracks from their debut record, their most popular singles, and a few covers, including “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson, ”Complicated” by Avril Lavigne, and Christina Vidal’s “Take Me Away” from Freaky Friday.
Festival goers swarmed the main stage for Ethel Cain’s Sunday service. Despite being a midday set, the turnout for her was as if she were a headliner. Feral screams erupted from the crowd as the opening note of “A House in Nebraska” rang throughout the pavilion. Her fans were easy to pick out. Most were wearing outfits covered in camo, Budweiser and Marlboro logos, and of course the occasional “Meemaw, I’d like to ****” tank tops. Another giveaway was that they started crying the second she walked on stage. Ethel Cain’s creator, Hayden Anhedönia, took the stage in a layered Givenchy T shirt, and combat boots that only lasted until the second song before she went barefoot in true Ethel fashion. Her soulful voice and haunting slowcore melodies commanded the attention of the entire amphitheater. The crowd screamed with delight as she whipped out a harmonixa during “Thoroughfare” and during “Crush” she went down to the barricade where one girl gifted her an envelope with her teeth inside.
“The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy echoed through the venue, setting the atmosphere for the eagerly anticipated Boygenius set. The screen unveiled the power trio backstage, where they kicked things off with “Without You Without Them” before rushing onto the stage and igniting the crowd with “$20.” The climax of which resulted in deafening roars. During the breakdown of “Satanist,” they all headband and wildly flailed across the stage. They overcame a few technical difficulties and powered through their entire discography, effortlessly transitioning between elegant ballads like “Letter To An Old Poet” and “We’re In Love” and power anthems like “Not Strong Enough.” During “Bite The Hand,” the lawn passed down giant asterisks shaped balloons all the way onto the stage. Some found this to be controversial considering the song is about fans being disrespectful and expecting too much from them. Phoebe and Lucy bowed down to the iconic Julien Baker during the finale guitar solo of “Salt In The Wound.” In the end, they took their bows and playfully exited the stage to “Dumbest Girl Alive” by 100 Gecs.
MUNA’s set immediately followed Boygenius. The festival grounds erupted into pure chaos as fans migrated from the Pavilion to the Chrysalis. Organizers even rescheduled them to start 10 minutes later to ease the anticipation between these two back-to-back acts. The trio emerged from the fog-shrouded, alien-looking stage in the woods and immediately launched into “What I Want.” Katie sported a tank top that had “American Whore” written across the chest, perhaps a nod to headliner Lana Del Rey’s song, “A&W.” Josette’s boundless energy had them shredding their guitar across every inch of the stage, while the versatile Naomi switched between synthesizer, guitar, and backing vocals. During “Anything but Me” Katie straddled an inflatable horse named Stacy while singing “You’re gonna say that I’m on a high horse, I think that my horse is regular-sized” and swiftly kicked it out into the crowd. ”I Know A Place” felt particularly special at this festival surrounded by such a diverse and accepting crowd. Arlo Parks was brought out as a special guest for the iconic “Silk Chiffon.” Katie introduced the song by saying “Whatever you’re feeling, let it out and scream Silk with us.” It was truly a cathartic moment.
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey made her return to Merriweather Post Pavilion for the first time since 2014’s Sweetlife Festival. This time, she was equipped with full-fledged theatrics, complete with backup singers, a troupe of dancers, and a live band. The hysterically screaming fans also returned. Her setlist spanned across 8 out of 9 of her records, making sure to touch on timeless classics like “Born to Die” and “Video Games.” Before performing “Cherry,” she exclaimed, “This is no coincidence that we’re playing on the full moon tonight in the land of Poe.” People looked up at the sky in confusion because moon was not full, and we also were not really in Baltimore, but if Lana Del Rey wanted to be under a full moon in Baltimore, then that’s fine. The surprise appearance of esteemed pop producer and 2022 Festival headliner, Jack Antonoff, sent the crowd into a frenzy. Together, they sang “Venice Bitch” and “Margaret,” the song they co-wrote about Jack’s wife, who looked on from in front of the barricade. She finished with a dramatic rendition of “hope if a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it” that ended with her dancers wrapping her in a white sheet and dragging her off the stage, an iconic finale to an unforgettable weekend.
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Photos and Review by Hailey Collins. All photos were shot for Merriweather Post Pavilion & IMP Concerts.