Finally, a no-brainer. Kicking of Merriweather Post Pavilion's season, the Sweetlife Food and Music Festival boasts an eclectic, solid lineup of established acts and rising talents. In chronological order, here are the five acts I suggest finding time for on Saturday:
Action Bronson (12:25 p.m., Treehouse)
Before heading over to the main stage for Fun., check out a few songs from this Albanian-American star-in-waiting. If you like raps about high-end food, left-field pop references and other atypical topics for hip-hop, Action Bronson will make your day. His latest mixtape, "Blue Chips," is an intoxicatingly fresh listen.
Fun. (12:30 p.m., main stage)
After talking with lead singer Nate Reuss last week, I appreciated this pop trio's ambitions more than I had. They refuse to apologize for going for pop's throat (read: the top of Billboard), and that's exactly why they've succeeded — Fun. surrounded itself with the correct producers and collaborators, the type of people that know what works on the radio in 2012. "We Are Young" seems undeniable at this point, and it will sound appropriately epic at an outdoor amphitheater.
A$AP Rocky (1:45 p.m., main stage)
When the young Harlem rapper performed at Baltimore Soundstage, I left impressed with his "infectious, undeniable charisma." He has the songs to back it up, too. I'm hoping a certain Ravens quarterback is in attendance so he can experience the adrenaline rush that is "Pretty Flacko."
Explosions in the Sky (4:30 p.m., main stage)
The Texas rock act transports listeners to stranger headspaces with its all-instrumental songs that build layers on top of layers, creating an atmosphere that's raw and magical. I'm also a "Friday Night Lights" fan so that could explain this pick, at least partially.
Kid Cudi (7:20 p.m., main stage)
This comes with a disclaimer: I like Cudi's rap music, not his style of "rock." He will likely play both, so you've been warned. But "Pursuit of Happiness" will sound fantastic at Merriweather; it just has to.
Tickets are still available for the Sweetlife Food and Music Festival. $75.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun