Head in the Clouds 2022: Stage visuals, effects add flair to Day 2 festival performances
Day two of the Head In The Clouds Music and Arts Festival included performances from Warren Hue, Jackson Wang, Raveena and ATARASHII GAKKO!, pictured from left to right. (Megan Cai/Assistant Photo editor)
Aug. 22, 2022 5:55 p.m.
This post was updated Aug. 28 at 9:09 p.m.
Head in the Clouds is floating once again.
Hosted by music label 88rising, the Head In The Clouds Music and Arts Festival took over Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Saturday and Sunday. From 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., the two-day festival featured a variety of Asian and Asian American artists performing across three stages, in addition to a selection of Asian fusion cuisine curated by the 626 Night Market.
Read on for the Daily Bruin’s coverage of day two of Head in the Clouds 2022.
ATARASHII GAKKO! brought Head in the Clouds to new heights.
At 3:25 p.m., Suzuka, Rin, Kanon and Mizyu – members of the Japanese girl group – started their set on the 88rising mainstage by sitting on top of each other’s shoulders and waving a navy blue flag high in the air. Decked out in sailorlike schoolgirl uniforms, Suzuka took the lead on the first few songs and pretended to pull the hearts out of Kanon’s chest as their fellow members writhed around her. Performing acrobatic tricks and martial arts movements while singing in Japanese, the J-pop group greeted the crowd with an enthusiastic “konnichiwa” and then sang “CANDY” alongside vibrant, psychedelic swirling visuals.
With jerky yet coordinated moves, the quartet marched down the catwalk to the bass-heavy beat with their arms extended into fists above their heads. Their third song had the stage lit up with a sparkly sheen reminiscent of a disco ball. For the intro to “Pineapple Kryptonite,” the members of ATARASHII GAKKO! donned long dark coats and broke into a choreographed sequence, with the screen behind them displaying black and scarlet cartoon renderings of the group’s members.
Before they launched into their finale, the members taught the crowd the translated hook of “WOO! GO!” by using the characters emblazoned on the back of their coats until Suzuka proclaimed that they were ready to “all dance together.” With their last two songs, “NAINAINAI” and “Free Your Mind,” the quartet was joined by a group of similarly-dressed backup dancers who jumped alongside them as the screen showed colorful, animated lyrics in both Japanese and English.
Before the members of ATARASHII GAKKO! took their final bows, they were each handed a bouquet of flowers by fans in the crowd.
Warren Hue and Chasu
Warren Hue asked audiences to “RUNAWAY W ME.”
The rapper bounced onto the 88rising stage at 4:15 p.m. alongside his producer and frequent collaborator Chasu. Wearing silver chains and a black Supreme jacket in contrast to Chasu’s bright, salmon short-sleeved shirt, Hue started rapping “THIRTYNINE,” with the crowd waving their hands to the beat. Throughout “Star In Love,” Hue’s vocals were quiet in-and-out thanks to the backing track and noise from the CO2 special effects jets that lined the edge of the stage. Afterward, Chasu interacted with the audience by hopping off the catwalk to greet fans.
Both Chasu and Hue then launched into “RUNAWAY W ME,” with each taking selfies with the crowd using the fans’ phones and grabbing roses from those standing closest to the barricade. Hue paused to quickly promote his sophomore album “BOY OF THE YEAR,” explaining that the Head in the Clouds performance marked the first time he had performed the album since its release.
“There’s a lot of emotions and rollercoasters: sad, lit,” Hue said. “So I need all of you guys to get turnt with me, is that okay?”
Hue then shared the stage with special guest tobi lou, where the two performed their collaboration “IN MY BAG.” tobi lou bounded onto the stage in the middle of the song to cheers from the audience. Although technical difficulties made tobi lou sound like an echo of his own backing track, the rapper swaggered around the stage with one arm around Hue at the song’s conclusion, joking that the walkway was longer than he thought, before he asked permission to perform one of his own songs solo. Following tobi lou, Hue spared no time and launched into his final two tracks, “omomo punk” and “JADE.”
Despite sound issues that kept their vocals off sync, the duo was grinning by the time they exited the stage.
As golden hour radiated onto the Rose Bowl, Raveena brought her brand of sultry soul to the clouds and beyond.
Wearing a neon pink dress that complemented the hues of magenta and peach that spiraled on the screen behind her, the R&B/soul artist kicked off her set on the Double Happiness stage at 6:40 p.m. with “Honey,” a free-flowing ballad that kept audience members swaying to the rhythm. With one hand on a microphone adorned with colorful flowers and the other hand tracing curves in the air, Raveena smiled her way through the opening of her first Head in the Clouds performance.
Playing multiple tracks from her 2022 album “Asha’s Awakening,” the performer pointed and waved at fans during “Mystery,” pausing to sign an audience member’s Peppa Pig lunch box. Raveena received her loudest cheers when she picked up an iridescent blue electric guitar and sang “Dum Maro Dum” in Hindi. Adding runs and ad-libs in her falsetto, the songstress grooved with her fans to the pulsing bass along with her guitarist and drummer.
Illuminated by fuschia spotlights, Raveena concluded her set with “If Only,” capering from one end of the stage to the other as the crowd sang along with her. She crooned, “You still don’t understand, a woman is holy” while the screen behind her showcased rosy depictions of the artist as a life-giving goddess.
And as such, Raveena’s debut performance left the crowd floating.
Jackson Wang performed not only new music but also a magic show for all.
The Chinese singer brought a bevy of backup dancers and special visual effects to his Head in the Clouds headlining performance entitled the “MAGIC MAN Experience.” At 8:20 p.m. on the 88rising stage, the artist appeared onstage surrounded by fog and several black-clad dancers to open with his first song, “100 Ways.” Wearing a black suit jacket, cobalt gloves and a headset mic, Wang was free to use his hands to perform choreography that took him across the entire stage and catwalk.
With his eyes outlined in dark makeup, Wang used screens and strobe lights for his performance that included a mix of the artist’s early hits and unreleased songs from his upcoming album “MAGIC MAN.” Lighting effects, lasers and visuals displayed on the stage’s screens were prominent in Wang’s set, particularly for one tune where the audience screamed as the monitor emanated a tricolor aura off of Wang before he addressed the crowd directly to express his gratitude.
“Never rely on other people making it happen for you because it’s not their dream, it’s your dream,” he said while gesturing to his heart. “Me as an Asian artist, as a Chinese boy, my dream is always to leave something behind for my culture and my people before I’m gone. I might fail, but I’mma die trying.”
As flames shot up from behind, Wang fled from the stage and off into the night.