Day Two – There are few things I can think of that are more physically uncomfortable than waking up in a puddle of your own sweat. That is exactly what happened Friday morning at our scorching campground. The weather called for scattered thunderstorms, however they must have been scattered elsewhere because it was hot and ridiculously humid the entire day.
This did not deter me from heading to Centeroo early to catch Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave at the Which stage. The man known as Trombone Shorty had the early morning crowd pretty hyped up and dancing to his blues infused big band rock music. His ability to excite the crowd and show off his trombone skills were worth getting up early to catch.
[mp3] Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave – Orleans & Claiborne from Orleans & Claiborne (2007)
I tried to snag a spot for Conan O’Brien, however you needed to get there early to receive a ticket. People ended up getting there as early as 5am to grab a seat. I unfortunately did not. So I made my way to the Other tent to catch Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.
It’s always a blast to see Alex Ebert and his band (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros). Everyone on stage performs like they love every minute they’re up there. This helps the crowd enjoy the show ten fold. Edward did his fair share of leaping into the crowd and embracing his minions of love and peace. The carefree nature of the band palpable and was felt by anyone willing to witness their performance.
[mp3] Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home from From Below (2009)
Afterwards I headed to the This tent for The Gossip and She & Him. I never allowed myself to understand what the big deal with The Gossip was. People are obsessed with the band and that kind of attitude kind of scares me when I want to learn about a new band (see also: Ween, Phish, Grateful Dead, etc). Well I decided to let go of that and embrace The Gossip and I’m glad I did. The band is a soulful and energetic group exploding with personality. Lead vocalist Beth Ditto is the centerpiece of this act and has this magnetizing presence that grabbed me right away. Definitely my favorite performance of the festival thus far.
[mp3] The Gossip – Are You That Somebody? (Aaliyah Cover) from GSSP RMX – EP (2006)
Now I have heard mixed reviews about She & Him’s live shows. I’ve heard it’s dull, unenthusiastic, and sounds identical to their records with no improvisation. On the other had, I’ve heard the opposite and that’s what I got at Bonnaroo. Zooey Deschanel hopped around all smiles as M. Ward added his gentile folk rock to the mix that makes She & Him a charming little group. They broke out a few covers including M. Ward doing Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven and Zooey performing a stripped down cover version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You. The chemistry between the two was showcased well and Zooey (as usual) was adorable.
[mp3] She & Him – In the Sun from Volume Two (2010)
After She & Him I caught a few songs from one of my favorite bands, The National. Lead singer Matt Berninger belted out a few new ones as well as songs like Mr. November. He was even able to coerce an audience member to toss boxed wine on stage, to which he drank with a sly grin.
[mp3] The National – Terrible Love from High Violet (2010)
I made it over to the main stage, also known as the What stage to catch Tenacious D. I had already seen them close last year’s Outside Lands festival, to which they did fantastically. The show was basically the same. The band fights The Metal, the Devil himself, and each other all the while playing classics like Wonderboy, Dio (of course), Tribute, and Fuck Her Gently (something about calling Fuck Her Gently a classic makes me chuckle) as well as a mean cover of The Who’s Pinball Wizard.
I left the What stage early to check out Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers at the That tent. Usually a gage my favorite performances on how much a smile during a show and it was Steve Martin that won me over that night. Not only is he a talented banjo player, as well as his band, but his wit and humor have not left him. Jack Black even got on stage to take bow when Steve asked him to say hi. I would’ve liked a duet but one can dream. At least he busted our a twanged out version of King Tut.
[mp3] Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers – The Crow from The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (2009)
I had a few hours to kill after Steve Martin as I have this deep hatred for Michael Franti and don’t find what the big deal is with Kings of Leon. I grabbed some Samosas, which turned out to be the best thing food-wise about Bonnaroo. They were cheap ($3 each), filling, and pretty good. I also explored the festival’s other attractions; like the Cinema Tent, which played movies like The Hangover, adult swim programs, and various music documentaries.
There was also the Silent Disco; which on the outside it looks like people on drugs dancing to the music in their head but on the inside it was people on drugs dancing to music coming from the headphones they distributed at the entrance of the tent. Entertaining to say the least.
I decided to skip The Flaming Lips, who I’ve already seen at Treasure Island Music Festival for The Black Keys. I had never seen the Keys and it was about time I say these guys tear it up. It’s actually a magnificent and impressive thing to witness. Here’s these two guys; drums and guitar, exuding so much energy that you can’t believe there’s only two members in the band. The hour and a half long set included all the hits as well as my favorites off this year’s Brothers. It was an entertaining performance from this talented band.
[mp3] The Black Keys – I’ll Be Your Man from The Big Come Up (2002)
After The Black Keys I checked out the Lunar Stage, which showcased mainly DJ sets from select electronic artists. My main interest was Crystal Method. I was a fan of the duo back in high school but haven’t kept up on their efforts since then. It was kind of fun to see the guys take the stage and completely dominate the Lunar tent. I don’t normally go to clubs or listen to music like this but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dancing.
[mp3] The Crystal Method featuring Matisyahu – Drown in the Now from Divided By Night (2009)
I closed the night with a brilliant set by LCD Soundsystem. They ended up playing many of the songs that made me fall in love with the band (Us v Them, Daft Punk, Tribulations, All My Friends, Yeah (Crass Version) ) as well as the new ones (Drunk Girls, Pow Pow, I Can Change, etc). The neat thing about LCD Soundsystem live is the amount of instruments and devices the band plays on stage. Not to mention the high energy of James Murphy himself. It’s hard to believe that the band thought they were going to have a tiny audience due to the late performance (2:30am). Such a special band shouldn’t be missed.
[mp3] LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls from This is Happening (2010)
Before I close this post, I have to mention the famous midnight staging conflict. At midnight you had to choose between The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips (who also did a set covering the entire Dark Side of the Moon), Bassnectar, and Daryl Hall with Chromeo. It seemed like whoever I talked to could barely make up their mind. However in the end, from what I heard, there was no wrong answer.
I made my way back to camp only to pass out in my clothes face down on my sleeping bag. Hopefully I’d have enough energy for Norah Jones, The Dead Weather, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, and Deadmau5 tomorrow.