Ten minutes into Living Colour’s commanding set Thursday night at SunFest 2018, charismatic singer Corey Glover stopped his performance to ask an obvious question: “Look in my eyes? What do you see?”
At least, it seemed obvious to Jared Levy, of Boynton Beach, who crowded into the grassy bowl in front of the Tire Kingdom stage.
“The cult of personality!” Levy, and hundreds more revelers roared back, repeating the name of Living Colour’s massive 1988 hit, which turns 30 this July. That’s the moment the 45-year-old from Boynton Beach realized that the night felt right for body-surfing the crowd.
“I’m coming out of retirement,” said Levy, 45, tilting back a Coors Light tallboy as his friends Jon Danowitz, 42, and David Friedlander, 41, winced and shook their heads. “If I had a couple of cocktails, I might rip off my shirt and stage-dive.”
Glover, sporting a royal-purple crew cut that resembled the Joker’s hair, spent the next 65 minutes of Living Colour’s set leaning heavily on cranium-crushing rock over style, blasting through blistering songs such as “Preacher Blues,” off the band’s 2017 album, “Shade.”
At first, overcast skies and a light sprinkle during the opening hours of SunFest darkened the convivial vibe along the waterfront in West Palm Beach. But at 5:15 p.m., sunlight finally poked through and stayed that way as soulful rock trio Brothers of Others played the first guitar chord of the festival on the Tire Kingdom stage.
“We’re from that distant nether region called Miami Beach,” Brothers of Others singer Derek Cintron joked between songs, registering a look of surprise when the audience cheered. “Wow, I didn’t expect applause for ‘nether region,’” he said.
A safe distance away from Brothers of Others sat Jade Lynch, 34, her husband Chris, 34, and their 8-month-old son, Bodhi, who sported a pair of blue noise-canceling headphones and munched on a thick, yellow straw. Lynch, who’s been coming to SunFest every year since high school, says she met the band when they performed recently at a Miami hotel bar, and found herself hooked.
“They’re the whole reason I’m here,” said Lynch, of Stuart. Digging a fork into her meal, a hollowed-out pineapple stuffed with rice and chicken, Lynch admits that SunFest’s lineup sounded “a little weak” this year. But she was looking forward to that night’s headliners, ‘80s rock icon Billy Idol and rapper Logic.
The opening day of the 36th annual festival also featured enthusiastic sets from acts such as trap musician Marley Waters, hip-hop act the O’My’s, alt-rockers Sir Sly and electronica mashup DJ Girl Talk.
Friday night’s headliners include electronica DJ Zedd (9:30 p.m., Tire Kingdom Stage), alt-rock veterans Incubus (9 p.m., Tire Kingdom), Lukas Nelson (son of Willie) and Promise of the Real (7 p.m., JetBlue Stage) and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (9 p.m. JetBlue).
SunFest 2018 will continue 5-11 p.m. Friday, May 4, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, May 6, and noon-9 p.m. Sunday, May 6, along the West Palm Beach waterfront. Tickets cost $49-$54 for one-day passes, $76 for two-day passes and $92 for a five-day pass, available at the gate, at 800-SUNFEST and at SunFest.com.
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