Apologies: I was unable to blog about Saturday at Bonnaroo because of Saturday at Bonnaroo. It's Sunday afternoon now, and with the festival still buzzing and thumping all around us (am currently at our tent in the Sonic Village, with a band called Harrybu McCage doing their thing on the stage next door) I'm just now getting around to processing everything from the past thirty-something hours.
Bonnaroo had My Morning Jacket's 1 AM set listed as Friday, but it
happened well after midnight so I'm counting it as the first show I saw
Saturday. In the pitch-black night, with two huge floating orb-balloons
suspended in air on either side of the Which Stage, the band came on in
between rain showers, which picked up right along with the set. We're
all convinced Jim James has personal control of the weather, which was
a more moving effect than the flowy red scarf he kept swinging around
when not tied to his guitar. The rain, at least, kept their cover of
Sly & the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" from being a
too-obvious celebration of the upcoming steamy festival season.
few songs in, I followed Multimedia Intern Ashley-- who's been doing
all our camerawork this weekend, and is so patient with us even though
sometimes we forget to point our mics at the people we're
interviewing-- over to This Tent to see the guy someone had told us was
the greatest DJ in the world, DJ Tiesto. Whether or not that's an
accurate superlative, I don't know-- the whole time I kinda felt like I
was at Ru San's, a local sushi place in Atlanta where pulsing dance
tracks are a permanent accompaniment to the lunch buffet. The
highlights were Cary Brothers, Jose Gonzalez and Tegan & Sara each
taking the stage at different points to perform live the DJ Tiesto
remixes of their songs, which is a completely baffling idea to me that
I imagine must involve the artists practicing singing remixed versions
of themselves which was probably weird to do, but if the
maybe-possibly-greatest DJ in the world beckons, I guess you oblige.
Jim James Brown. He was writhing around on the stage, lurching and
howling, with a cape on and everything. Then there was a cape and a
straw hat. Then just a straw hat. Then more rain. Then we played the
Lame Card and high-tailed it through the mud to the hotel.
few hours later, Sharon Jones dapper wool suits, but they put on a great show with Sharon Jones as
the sassy, soul-shuffling anchor. "I wore this dress so I could shake
it!" she proclaimed after the first song, and shake she did. I grabbed
a kebab and returned to the Which Stage for Gogol Bordello, the band of
gypsy punks led by Eugene Hutz, whose wild flowing hair and handlebar
mustache gave the look of a deranged Yanni, stripped down to cut-off
marching band pants by the third song.
Later caught the Avett
Brothers at the Other Tent. Didn't see them actually, thanks to awkward
scaffolding-and-green-velvet-drape configuration, but they sounded
great and I'm really liking the addition of yet another maniacal
string-instrument player, Joe Kwon on cello. Skipped Ben Folds-- I'll
love him forever but his live show hasn't changed in years-- but sang
along to the bleed-over of his set as I booked it over to the Solar
Stage for the Everybodyfields.
sallied forth to a growing crowd, closing with Neil Young's "Helpless"
which almost made me cry because I am a big baby. The second one was
tucked into the quiet-by-comparison Troo Music Lounge, which was
comparatively packed, seemingly with a lot of fans given the yelled-out
song requests and hometown shouts of "Johnson City!" A few new songs
were sprinkled in among others from the nearly year-old Nothing Is Okay little romp through the Bonnaroo grounds that will be available for
your multimedia consuming selves sometime soon.
to the What Stage for Kanye West as Ghostland Observatory rocked away
at This Tent. And kept rocking. And kept rocking. As we staked out a
spot on the lawn, waited, waited, and kept waiting. The original start
time of 2:45 AM passed, then the new start time of 3 AM, then 3:15,
then 3:30. When he was fifteen minutes late, folks started leaving in
droves, and by the time we gave up nearly an hour after he was
scheduled to go on, the crowd was livid-- a chorus of "Fuck you..!"
"Kanye!" "Fuck you..!" "Kanye!" was rolling up from the back. Pretty
much the only folks who were okay with the delay was the crowd in front
of us with the balloons and the tank of nitrous oxide. No telling if
the tank lasted them til 4:30 AM, when we hear Mr. West finally took
the stage. We hear, too, that it wasn't a bad set-- just that, as the
set edged towards 6 AM, the light show was a little hard to see thanks
to, uh, you know, the sunrise. Can't confirm that, though, as we passed
out at the hotel a mile away as the first basslines thumped across the
Today's the first bakingly hot day of the festival
so I've just sought out one band: Tennessee Schmaltz. Billed as a
bluegrass klezmer band, I ducked into the Troo Music Lounge to check
them out but was a little disappointed. Guess it had to happen sometime.
Happy Father's Day to my dad, who may or may not be reading this, but
who should be fully ashamed of me for missing Levon Helm's set
yesterday because, according to everyone who was there, it was