Tag Archive: Bonnaroo


Charli XCX

Long-time readers may remember that I consider True Romance by Charli XCX to be one of the true sleeper albums of the year. The British indie pop starlet released one of the most deliciously subversive and insanely catchy pop records of recent memory. Throw in the fact that she wrote one of the biggest mainstream pop hits of the last several years (Icona Pop’s “I Love It”), and it’s clear that Charli is someone to keep an eye on. I actually interviewed her at Bonnaroo, and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that I’ve developed a minor crush on this bad-ass indie pop heroine. At one point, she covered Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” at Bonnaroo and made it work. If that’s not a sign of her bad-ass credentials, I don’t know what is. Enjoy her single “You (Ha Ha Ha)” which was one of the first songs that made me fall under this British star’s spell.

 

Reptar

Long-time readers may remember my fondness for Athens, GA freak-rockers Reptar. Reptar played Baeble Music’s (the company that I interned with in NYC) showcase at the 2012 SXSW in Austin, TX, and I was responsible for writing our introduction for the band. I fell in love with their single “Sebastian” on first listen. They were the first band that I saw on Friday at this year’s Bonnaroo, and though their set was far from perfect, they were an appropriately fun and crazy way to start of the first full day of Bonnaroo (and were one of many very good acts I saw that day). Their psychedelic spin on indie rock and freak folk may not be for everyone (Pitchfork notoriously hated their debut LP), but I enjoy them. I hope you do as well.

 

Killer Mike

For some reason, i woke up at 4 AM and I find myself completely unable to fall back asleep. I’m not even tired in the slightest which is weird since I took a sleeping pill before going to bed at 11. It’s bothersome because I need to up at 7:30 for class and I won’t be getting home from work tonight until around 1:30 AM or so. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take a short nap at some point today. Anyways, I figured that meant now was as good a time as any to catch up on some of my blogging. Continuing my Bonnaroo series, I give you “Big Beast” by Atlanta rapper and Outkast associated act, Killer Mike. Long time readers might remember me using his fantastic number “Reagan” earlier this year. “Big Beast” isn’t as good (it just isn’t as deep) but it’s without question a fun party track.

As an aside, I had a very difficult time getting a good picture of Killer Mike. He was playing after midnight and his stage was poorly lit, and since this was still the first day of Bonnaroo, I was still getting used to what types of settings on the camera to use to get the best photos in dim lighting.

Japandroids

I really am terrible about remembering to do this. In fact, had I not been randomly singing today’s Song of the Day while walking down the stairs, I would have likely forgot all about this, yet again. Anywho, although I didn’t feel that way about the band way back in last year when I made “The House That Heaven Built” my Song of the Day, I’ve sort of fallen in love with Japandroids. Every time I listen to their album Celebration Rock, I like it more and it worms its ways higher up the ranks of my favorite albums of the 2010s so far. As an exercise in bombastic, anthemic indie punk, it’s spectacular. I’ve been really into “Younger Us” for a while, and I’m not sure why. They put on a superb show at Bonnaroo, and the above photo was one of my favorites from their set. Enjoy.

 

Walk the Moon

I’m really bad at staying up on this particular aspect of my blog. My sincerest apologies to long-time readers. Anyways, I’m back again with my Song of the Day series as I chronicle the bands that I shot at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. I saw better bands at Bonnaroo, but there was only one other act that seemed to be having as much fun on stage as Ohio indie pop act, Walk the Moon. I only discovered this band (despite the fact that my upcoming Song of the Day was a radio hit for them) when I was doing my prep work for the festival, and I’ve immediately fallen in love with them. And if any band is a perfect Festival act, it’s Walk the Moon. If they ever come your way, take the time out of your schedule to see them live. They rock. Enjoy their single, “Anna Sun,” which was one of the most crowd-pleasing numbers of the whole festival.

 

Ariel Pink

Well, this wasn’t quite the way that I intended to use this particular song, but if I was ever going to use it, I suppose this Bonnaroo series works. “Round and Round” from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s 2010 album Before Today is my favorite song of this decade so far. I mean, it’s not even a close race. I had the opportunity to shoot Ariel Pink at this year’s Bonnaroo, and I’m sad to say that I was actually sort of really disappointed. I only stayed for three songs. That’s how little I was feeling his set. I probably should have been stoned. I’m choosing this song, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear him perform this particular number which was pretty disappointing. Still, it’s my favorite song of the 2010s to date. It’s insanely catchy and has so much going on underneath the surface that even after three years of endless listens, I still find new things to discover in this phenomenal song. Enjoy.

(side note. I couldn’t get any good photos of Ariel Pink himself. I got a bunch of good photos of the Asian guitar player, but I figured I should use one of my pictures of Ariel Pink himself for this post. Also, be warned, this Wayne Coyne-directed music video is weird as fuck).

 

  1. Bon Iver put on the single greatest concert I’ve ever been to (this includes the likes of Radiohead, the Shins, and Red Hot Chili Peppers), and I was front row for it. Everyone in the first two rows was openly crying at the beauty of the set.
  2. In a list of statements I never thought I’d say in my life, the Red Hot Chili Peppers put on a significantly better live show than Radiohead. That may have more to do with my emotional and physical state than the actual strength of Radiohead’s performance (but more on that later).
  3. If Kendrick Lamar doesn’t wind up being as big as Kanye and Jay-Z some day (at least in terms of his critical legacy though I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t come near their commercial success as well), I will be in total shock.
  4. Apparently at Bonnaroo, body paint is an acceptable substitute for a top for some women.
  5. If you want to get into the pit for Radiohead, you should show up like 12 hours early. Showing up 2 and a half hours early (missing half of Feist’s set and totally skipping St. Vincent) just means you’ll be the first person at the rail for the pit when the security staff finally cuts people off and you have to watch for 2 hours while other people jump the fence while you try to be  a decent person and follow the safety rules even though you can barely see Thom Yorke or any of the other members of Radiohead.
  6. Just because it’s super cloudy and raining on Sunday doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to choose that day not to put any sun screen on. I’m half a ginger with a day-walkers complete intolerance to direct sunlight and now I look raw meat all over my arms and legs.
  7. Leslie Feist isn’t just a gorgeous vocalist (her voice being gorgeous, not Leslie herself sadly). She can play the guitar as well as many of the men that I saw, and her show (which I only caught the first half of in my ill-advised plan to get a decent spot for Radiohead) was a surprisingly up-tempo and hard-rocking affair from every one’s favorite baroque pop Canadian princess.
  8. Danny Brown might be the ugliest motherfucker on the planet, but his clever, filthy, fierce, and hilarious rhymes should be the cure for anyone who thinks that everyone in hip-hop these days take themselves far too seriously.
  9. I’m sort of stealing a joke that my managing editor made about Coachella, but they should consider changing the name of Bonnaroo to Bonnabro because of all of the incredibly douchey “bros” that were at the festival this year as well as the disappointing number of bands that were chosen to appeal to them (like Skrillex).
  10. Red Hot Chili Peppers might all be in their 50s now (except for new guitarist Josh Klinghofer) but damn they can still fucking rock. Flea is just an ungodly bassist. You can hear that on their studio records, but when he’s able to guitar battle on stage with Klinghofer and win with just four strings, you know he is a god among men.
  11. “Paranoid Android” live was more of a religious experience than any moment I’ve ever had in church.
  12. Water was more valuable than illegal drugs at Bonnaroo. I saw people openly sharing their drugs with strangers in the crowd but you horded your water (especially if you had prime real estate in a line for a big act) like you were one of the Jews being led out of the desert by Moses. People were dropping from heat stroke and dehydration left and right the whole weekend.
  13. Apparently, one should never miss the Superjam at Bonnaroo. It’s a (usually) annual event where members of different acts perform together in a “super jam” as a late night show after the headliners. This year featured 90’s R&B icon D’Angelo’s first performance in the United States in over 12 years as a last minute guest to the “super jam” alongside ?uestlove, other members of the roots, and a girl from Parliament Funkadelic. How the fuck did I miss this?
  14. Brian Wilson and the rest of the living Beach Boys might be in their 70s (and some of them are so old that their arthritis keeps them from playing their instruments well), but they haven’t lost one iota of their ability to produce stunningly beautiful and soaring harmonies.
  15. tUnE-yArDs is apparently way more popular than I thought she was because there seemed to be nearly 10,000 people for her show early Friday afternoon. It was nearly impossible to extricate myself from her concert because of the massive sea of people.
  16. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that you could leave Bonnaroo as disappointed about the acts you didn’t get to catch as you are excited about the ones you did see. I missed the Shins, Young the Giant, St. Vincent, Aziz Ansari, SBTRKT, Ben Howard, GZA, Black Star, Alice Cooper, and the Super Jam. Yet, if I had tried to do anything else that weekend, I would have probably died. All in all, it was totally worth it and I can easily see myself coming back next year (lineup pending).
  17. Childish Gambino’s set put aside once and for all any questions I had about his legitimacy as a rapper. He’s the real deal, and anybody who still wants to single Donald Glover out as a novelty act isn’t paying enough attention (even if his jokes can still be a wee bit offensive).
  18. When I woke up on Sunday (after the epic dust/dirt storm that blanketed the whole festival Saturday), I looked like Roger Sterling singing to his new wife Jane at their wedding reception. If you can make a classy blackface joke, that was about the closest I’ll ever get.
  19. I made so many buddies waiting in line for shows to start and talking about good music with people that it made me even more depressed than usual that I’m returning to the cultural black hole that is Morgantown, WV.
  20. Bonnaroo was one of the most amazing experiences of my life but it was also one of the most taxing physical endurance tests I’ve ever put myself through. I’m terribly sunburnt. Starting Saturday night, I literally had to limp back to my tent (which was mercifully close to Centeroo, the area where all of the stages were) because of how badly my feet hurt after three 12 hour days on my feet in poorly fitting boots. My ankles actually started bleeding by Sunday. However, it was all worth it in the end. Next year though, I have to learn to prepare for the more stressful and less luxurious elements of  the festival.