With fall beginning Wednesday, there is only one way to give the summer a proper send off: the 2015 Summer Ends Music Festival. The second annual festival will be held this weekend at Tempe Beach Park with Hozier, Cold War Kids, Jimmy Eat World, J. Cole, Slightly Stoopid, Kanye West and more sending the season out in style.
The festival kicks off Thursday with “Take Me to Church” Irish singer Hozier, followed by The Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers. The night culminates with a performance by Cold War Kids.
Friday features performances by Manchester Orchestra and hometown favorites Jimmy Eat World. Chris Freeman, Manchester Orchestra’s keyboardist/percussionist said the band is excited about playing the festival.
“It’s always fun to play festivals because you end up seeing acts you don’t normally get to see," he said. "The variety, as well as all of the friends we get to hang out with make experiences like Summer Ends a nice change from regular touring."
Manchester Orchestra’s most recent album, "Cope," was released April 2014. However, last September the band released "Hope," a reimagining of their previous album, but with stripped down, more emotional versions of the songs. Freeman said the decision to re-record the album came from the band’s curiosity of whether or not the task could be done.
“It was a conscious decision to see if those songs could be manipulated and reimagined for what would become 'Hope,' " he said. "It became its own living breathing thing after a while that, as it went on, continued to make more sense as a product that we could absolutely release and be proud of."
The festival’s lineup sees a noticeable shift in tone on Saturday, going from alternative rock to a mixture of rap and reggae/ska. Whereas bands such as The Green, Pepper and Slightly Stoopid will play the west stage, rappers G-Eazy, Big Sean and J. Cole will play the east stage.
Pepper frontman Kaleo Wassman is looking forward to headlining alongside musicians who play music that is so different from his own.
“We’re really excited to play on a day where there’s going to be such a diverse group of music fans there,” he said. “I think what’s so cool about music is that it really brings people together, and I’m really looking forward to seeing people who are into the two styles of music come together and just enjoy themselves for the day at Summer Ends.”
Wassman added that Summer Ends looks to be the most exciting show the band has played in its nearly 20-year career.
“For me, it’s the opportunity to show up and play with my friends all day," he said. “It’s all of us, hanging out and watching each other play. Does it get any better than that?”
Also playing on Saturday is Jez Dior, the son of frontman Steve Dior of British punk band The London Cowboys. Unlike his father, Jez is a rapper who uses a grunge sound to help elevate his music.
“Growing up I was always interested in both kinds of music,” Jez said. “When I started making my own, I put them together to see how it sounded and I was really impressed.”
His music deals mostly with his relationships and touches on his use of alcohol as a crutch and coping mechanism.
“My music just comes from a really personal place,” Dior said. “I make what I feel and hope it can help other people who feel the same way I do at the time of recording.”
Dior’s first EP "The Funeral" was released last year, though the musician is currently working on new material.
“I can’t wait for the festival,” Dior said. “It’s actually going to be the first one I’ve ever played so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got some new stuff to play too that I think people are really going to like.”
Dior said while his new music will be the same at its core, it will be different as a whole.
“It’ll have less of that grunge sound to it, but I think shedding that a bit let me grow as an artist immensely,“ Dior said.
The festival wraps up on Sunday with Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott and Kanye West. For ticket information, set times and more information about the festival, visit www.summerendsaz.com
Follow The State Press for band interviews and more coverage of the festival.