Acts big and small brought the heat at day two of Bonnaroo 2019, even with the weather for the annual Manchester, Tenn. music festival resting at noticeably cooler-than-average temperatures. Two modern R&B titans Childish Gambino and Solange, wowed the Bonnaroo faithful, along with everyone’s favorite Australian indie rocker Courtney Barnett, metal stalwarts Deafheaven and Northern Irish singer/songwriter SOAK. Keep scrolling for the lowdown on our favorite performances from the second day of the always transcendent Bonnaroo music fest.
If I told you about a cool arty punk band from Brooklyn yelling about gentrification and collectivism, you might roll your eyes. But Parquet Courts sound better than they do on paper. The band’s sixth and latest album, Wide Awake!, is a peppy, funky affair, and their afternoon set at Bonnaroo was much the same, but a tad bit jammier. I was worried some dazed, free-spirited Bonnaroo attendees might skip the moshing, but sure enough, they delivered. With “Jell-O Man” launching Jell-O shots into the crowd and a festival-goer waving a flag that read “Fuck Tom Brady” on one side and “No Apologies” on the other (both lyrics from “Total Football”), Parquet Courts and the audience were on the same wavelength. —Lizzie Manno
Solange’s live show is a testament to her vision. The younger Knowles sister shares Beyoncé’s adoration for spectacle, but her execution in a live setting feels even more—dare I say—intentional (excluding Homecoming, of course). For her tour following 2016’s A Seat at the Table, she went for an all-red look. Everyone on stage, including her all-black brass band, wore the same color. She went for a similar idea on Friday, but this time everyone was decked out in all black, save for a troupe of dancing cowgirls in white. From the powerful testament to black faith that is “Almeda” to the groovy “Stay Flo, the set was cohesive, beautiful and impactful. It’s not dramatic to say Solange’s live show is one of the best around. —Ellen Johnson
Bridie Monds-Watson (aka SOAK) might have had a brief lineup clash with Courtney Barnett, but the modest crowd who turned up to watch the Northern Irish singer/songwriter was treated to one of the most refreshing, breezy performances of the festival so far. There was also an annoyingly glitchy EDM act playing in the distance, which loudly blared in between songs (her guitar player joked with the crowd, “Why aren’t you guys at that?”), but SOAK cut through the noise with a buoyant performance of her musically cheerful, lyrically wistful selections from her new album Grim Town, released earlier this year on Rough Trade Records. SOAK is much more soulful than your average indie-pop act, and she bared that soul for the Who Stage audience, all while donned in impeccable, zany printed pants. —Lizzie Manno
Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett is a road warrior. She’s been touring off and on behind her 2018 album Tell Me How You Really Feel for the better part of a year now, and she’s currently supporting The National, who are also playing the fest Saturday. But the months spent on the move have done nothing to deter her energy. Her Friday evening set was just as loud and moving as you’d expect. She tore through several of Tell Me’s more political tracks, like “Nameless, Faceless,” and saved room for tender tunes from her back catalogue like “Depreston,” what she described as a story about death and “real estate.” —Ellen Johnson
Donald Glover brings the same energy to his live show as everything else he puts his name on. Wearing his now instantly recognizable “This Is America” shirtless getup, Glover went full-on Gambino for an hour of grooving, singing, rapping and dancing those iconic moves. “Tonight is church,” he said. Indeed, there was among the crowd a deep sense of connection, something that’s felt all over Bonnaroo. But still—Glover knows how to preach, and he knows how to schmooze. “This is definitely the best crowd we’ve had so far.” That’s just the magic of ‘Roo. —Ellen Johnson
Deafheaven don’t exactly have home-field advantage at Bonnaroo. While the number of rock acts on this lineup might be slim, the number of metal acts is even slimmer. Their midnight set essentially drew two groups of people: diehard metalheads and metal novices. Both camps witnessed a commanding, artistically-nuanced metal band on Friday night. Frontman George Clarke forcefully gyrated his head with his long hair twirling majestically in the spotlight, and the crowd control staff looked like concerned mothers when the circle pit opened up, but fans had each others’ backs. Their 12-minute monster “Honeycomb” from their latest album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love was the obvious highlight with its thrash metal and blackgaze crescendos. —Lizzie Manno