We Came. We Saw. We Thrived. (Day 1 Recap)

Another year – another Thrival. Thrival Music Festival kicked off at Carrie Furnaces in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this weekend, hosting more than 20 artists and innovators and music, arts and technology fans from all around the country.

As we started to get closer and close to festival date, our photographer, Alyssa King, and I started to make lists of who we thought were going to be the standouts of the night – and most followed through. Here are our impressions:


The group played to their crowd of 40 as if they were playing to 400. Having only listened to a few Circa Waves songs previously through friend-created Spotify playlists, I was a bit apprehensive. I didn’t really know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised!

Photo By: Alyssa King

They were a great contrast from the EDM DJ, J-Rod, who was playing the adjacent stage only a few minutes earlier. They gave off a “Clash Meets Top 40” vibe and although their live set didn’t see a lot of jumping and dancing, but was the furthest thing from boring. They were in the middle of a tour with Two Door Cinema Club, (which after seeing both at the same festival made all the sense in the world). Their sound was crisp and clean and from the sheer expressions on their faces, every single member looked happy to be there.

Lead singer and front man, Kieran Shundall, interacted with fans while changing a snare drum head. He called out the fan raising his Australian flag high, cheering on the foreigner. They used this brief interlude to show off their Liverpool-pride by a guitar rendition of “Blackbird.” I think I can speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait until they’re touring the states on their own headlining tour.


Emerson Jay’s set hit a bit of a road block when the rain started. However, it was nice to see that even though the Thrival attendees started looking for cover in the different arts and sponsor tents, they didn’t stop dancing and singing along – and neither did the band. Despite the weather, they were not discouraged and gave their set everything they had. It’s not too big of a wonder why they won the WYEP contest for their set.


Photo By: Alyssa King

Following up the list of our standouts was TOKiMONSTA, a Los Angeles-based DJ, who really got the crowd going. This is when the reality of this festival really kicked in. Her music and her personality seemed to completely contrast. The music she was playing was loud, exciting, upbeat dance music but her voice sounded like it just came out of a cartoon character. She knew how to get the crowd up and ready to go, which was perfect because she was followed up by Two Door Cinema Club.


If I had to perfectly capture how to describe this band, I would have to look no further than the man who danced next to me throughout their entire set. The guy was a taller gentleman wearing a long scarf with brightly colored striped pants. He was drinking a Shock Top and running his fingers through his trendy haircut while a cigarette threatened to fall out of his mouth every time he swayed. I hope that gave you a good idea of what kind of atmosphere it was.

Photo By: Alyssa King

If you didn’t have a schedule yourself, you would have thought that Two Door Cinema Club were the headliners. It felt like we were at one of their shows despite having two more artists following them! The crowd reacted positively almost immediately, despite the few technical difficulties that no one would have noticed if he hadn’t actually said anything. Even during those difficulties, lead singer, Sam Halliday, played it off without a hitch – just apologized to the audience and drank some wine. They had no clutter, everything was clear and precise. The crowd was engaging and the energy was electric!


Photo By: Alyssa King

Logic closed out the night and it was one of the most emotional performances that I think Thrival has seen. One thing I respect a lot with Logic is his honesty and how truthful it is with his fans and last night was no exception. My first reaction at his set was that he didn’t seem like he was having fun – but not with the fans. He seemed like he was tired and based solely on the success that I’ve seen from him over the last few weeks, it makes sense.

At one point in the set, Logic broke down. He talked to his fans about how tired he was, how much he wanted to leave and just go home. He did stick out the rest of the set for all his fans but it was hard hearing him sound so detached.

Photo By: Alyssa King

At the beginning of the festival I took notice to how many people were there wearing Logic merchandise and how many little kids I saw talking about how excited they were for the headliner. My first reaction was “You’re like 12 years old, why are you listening to Logic? It’s not for little ears!” But then, I thought about the topic of all his songs. It’s about acceptance. It’s about racism and things that are serious issues in society and in America. It’s about things that 12-year-olds are experiencing and need to be aware of – because it is impacting them right now. Today. When you take into consideration the inspiration he’s giving his fans, to see him so upset was really telling. He’s wearing himself out and it’s not something any of us want to see.

Despite what he was going through, Logic still killed it. But I think I speak for everyone when I say that it’s time for him to take a break. He needs to take a breather and make sure that he is taking care of himself first. When the time comes that he’s on the way back through Pittsburgh, we’ll show up and represent all the same.

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