“All Things Go” A Review

By Mya Petryshyn

It’s Saturday, September 30th, around 2:30. There’s a cooling breeze that echoes throughout the Pavilion Lawn, refreshing all the concert-goers along the hillside. Blankets are spread out on the grass and girls with long, flowy skirts are dancing to Suki Waterhouse, singing out “Good Looking.” It’s the first day of the Columbia, Maryland alternative music festival All Things Go. The lineup for this year is stacked with prominent artists Lana Del Rey, Maggie Rogers, boygenius, Ethel Cain, Muna, and Carly Rae Jepsen.

A few hours later, people crowd into the Chrysalis Stage for the highly anticipated afternoon show, ardently shouting Lizzie McAlpine’s lyrics from her hit “Doomsday.” Although my friends and I are packed like sardines and our feet are hurting from cute shoes we mistakenly wore instead of comfy ones, we’re still having the time of our lives.

Next up is RAYE, the UK native, who shows the audience that she’s more than just her radio-hit “Escapism.” She delivers the energy as if she was performing in a sold-out stadium. Her first song, “Oscar Winning Tears” packs a punch with a pulsing beat that folds into a belty, painful end. Her voice is something you cannot ignore; goosebumps roll up our arms and I practically feel the release of endorphins. 

RAYE plays the audience like her own personal violin with her next song “The Thrill is Gone.” We bend and break with her. She also has the power to uno-reverse you- her next two songs,“You Don’t Know Me (Jax Jones cover)” and “Escapism”  make you feel like you’re in a club with aureate lighting and someone grinding up behind you. It’s gone from a sultry jazz bar to a blinding, sweaty dance club, and no one’s mad about it. 

The night ends with food truck delicacies: plates full of chicken tenders and fries, and the folky, entrancing voice of Maggie Rogers. Rogers delivers a mix of her classic folk tunes and her new reinvented sound of club and pop music. She invites the audience to share her excitement about performing at All Things Go, her so-called “dream” crowd. I understand why Rogers describes music-making as a religious experience, as we, the audience, are now her devoted followers, worshiping the ground she walks on.

The next day, I’m a bit more prepared with blankets, water, and store-bought food stowed. Although I’ve woken up feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck, and my body is sore in ways I didn’t know was possible, my friends and I are all excited for the impending day of festivities. And of course, seeing the main attraction, Lana Del Ray.

It’s 3pm, and there’s an unspoken sense of urgency hanging thick in the air. I’m trying to secure my spot for the day’s incredible lineup of Ethel Cain, boygenius, Muna, and Lana. I’m riled up, ready to fight to the death to get the perfect view of “the boys” kissing each other. The crowd is full of savages, ruthless and territorial because of the larger day two crowd. With the sun beating down on me, prickling and smoldering my precious, exposed skin, I’m irritable and exhausted. 

I wait in hour-long lines and pay too much money for average-tasting coffee, which to me, is divinity in a cup. I don’t even bother to move to the other stage for undoubtedly wonderful artists like Alex G or Alvvays for fear of losing my precious spot.

I am, though, temporarily revived by the lithe, harrowing voice of Ethel Cain, whose real name is Hayden Silas Anhedönia. A sea of people rise to their feet, cheering and screaming for “Mother Cain.” She starts off with her heartland heartbreaker, “A House in Nebraska,” where her soulful, rich voice floats along the crowd like a cloud over the unbearable sun. The vibes switch on “American Teenager,” which compels people to move about, dancing to the twangy, guitar-driven tune. The mood drifts to a more laid back, gothic tone, when Anhedönia sings “Family Tree.” While it starts out with sultry drums and her voice guiding us through, I’m met with a wall of wet guitars, amplified reverb, and her transcendent voice. It slams into us with force as she belts through the rest of the chorus.

The sun has finally fallen below the horizon and leather jackets and sweaters are being thrown on. I’m vibrating with excitement, because in a couple of minutes, the three members of boygenius, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker will take the stage. I’m slightly disappointed with how late they arrive—around fifteen minutes past their set time—but nevertheless, I cheer. The boys start off with their song “$20,” an indie-rock tune with a focused intro that takes a frenzied turn: it ramps into a throaty, desperate scream from Phoebe Bridgers’ singing “I know you have twenty dollars!” The crowd joins in the hysteria, a unified voice yelling back to the members. 

A juxtaposition to the previous song, the audience is moved to tears with boygenius’ next track, “Cool About It.” A mix of bluegrass and indie, as well as Julien’s solitary voice and I’m hooked. While each member gets their moment to shine, the standout moment is Bridgers crooning her verse “Once, I took your medication to know what it’s like/And now I have to act like I can’t read your mind.”

While my friends and I are enjoying the concert, I can’t help but feel unnerved and confused by the noticeable displeased tilt in the three members’ voices. They walk off early and don’t play some songs the audience was hoping for. Some people later alluded that the boys’ peeved attitude was caused by the ample technical difficulties during their set. Others speculated that the audience was not paying attention to the set, or rather talking through it. One TikTok user wrote, “the girl next to me in the pit was playing subway surfers during their set” (@misguidedghvsts). I glance around the Pavillion Lawn and find everyone singing their hearts out, but closer to the stage, where the area is restricted and only specific, pricier tickets permit access, people sway uninterested. Others just stay in their seats.

The lights on the stage dim, and an overwhelming surge of power from the crowd envelops us; it’s time for Lana’s set. A glance around the crowd and you’ll find black bows and ribbons, large chunky Doc Martens, and an essence of what you can only describe as the “Lana Influence.” It’s at this moment that I experience a lapse in memory. I’m in disbelief that Lana Del Ray is a real human, flesh and bone. All I can do is stare in awe as a beautiful harmonized violin transitions into a heartfelt ballad for Norman Fucking Rockwell. What feels like thousands of voices sing along with her, shouting “’Cause you’re just a man/It’s just what you do.” I feel her words—while relaxed and limitless—hit the center of my chest.

I’m shocked at the guest appearance of Jack Antonoff who performs “Margaret” with Lana, singing on and off with her. This song feels extra special, because the crowd knows it’s about Antonoff’s initial meeting with his now wife, actress Margaret Qualley. 

We’re taking a chronological journey of Lana’s life through her music. From her first album, Born to Die, to her most recent, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd. The journey is uplifting, sorrowful, and captivating. I’m still in a trance, hypnotized by Lana to the point that when she comments about the full moon (there’s not one) and being in Baltimore (we’re in Columbia), I still clap and cheer, ignoring the blatant lies. 

She dives into a breathy, melodramatic melody for her song “Pretty When You Cry,” which eventually shows the maturity and range of Lana’s voice. It’s grungy, dark, and addictive.

Lana takes a break in her set to welcome the audience and announce that she’s on a strict time limit, in which she asks the audience what songs they want to hear from her. She leaves the festival in a memorable fashion—dragged from it on a white sheet, carried by her male dancers.

While everyone leaves, they start to awake from their dazed, dream-like state and realize she didn’t play her most notable hit, “Summertime Sadness.” There are mixed emotions on the second day of All Things Go. Day one had the vibes of Woodstock (before the rain), whereas day two was closer to Coachella. Nevertheless, the artists delivered a notable set, and while most of us are suffering from red, peeling sunburns, you’ll see us there again next year. 

Photo courtesy of All Things Go

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