You know how when you’re in college, everyone is always asking you stupid-ass questions like, “What’s your major?” Bonnaroo is just exactly like that. Only they want to know what bands you’ve seen today, and, “What’s the best thing you’ve seen so far?” I don’t know how to answer these kinds of questions. Don’t they read my blog?
The truth of the matter is, I really didn’t see much in the way of the music during daylight hours yesterday. Rather, I spent my day putting myself in the shoes of those less fortunate. Instead of taking for granted my conveniently remote camping spot, complimentary wi-fi, free bottled water, and daily pedicures, I roughed it in the trenches with the unwashed masses.
I reclined in a hammock for awhile in the State Farm Better State Tent. I wedged myself into the jam-packed Fuse Barn, which I suppose was as hospitable as one would expect standing elbow-to-elbow with the sweaty, fleshy, half-naked masses watching Adele videos.
The Dell Intel lounge was a little less crowded. I managed to snag a laptop, recharge my phone a bit, but their Internet was too slow to check. Being the entitled prick that I am, I walked straight up to an iPhone station and while I was looking for a spot to plug in, got a tap on my shoulder reminding me there were at least 25 people in line. Oh, right. You guys wait in lines and shit.
Okay, and yeah, eventually I did see some music. In fact, as I was watching PUJOL soundcheck at the Miller Light Good Taste Lounge, I realized most of what I’d seen at Bonnaroo so far, I’ve seen in Nashville 100 times. Hell, I’ve probably seen PUJOL perhaps 100 times (most definitely if you count MEEMAW shows). Unlike your average local act, the Pooj is one that only gets better with each show. Daniel acknowledged friends in the crowd whilst cranking through old faves and new cuts from his newly released United States of Being.
An attempt was made to see Radiohead. But the transition from hoisting crowd surfers from within a 75-person huddle to finding a comfortable spot in the midst of 80,000 — where even the giant TV screens helped little in the way of watching the band, and Radiohead’s amplitude was dampened by the distance of a football or two field full of bodies — didn’t keep my interest long.
Nope, the best show I saw last night was again at the tiny Miller Light Corporate House Party Lounge, where Valient Thorr gave this festival a healthy and much-needed dose of ballz. Not unlike Motorhead, the brutally relentless VT plays full throttle rock n roll just fast, loud, and hard enough to ascend into the metal stratosphere.
At this point, my old age as getting tough to ignore. My eyelids were drooping, my tent was sweetly calling, my belly was growling, but my work was not yet done. Cranking up around 3:30 a.m., New Orleans bounce sensation Big Freedia somehow managed to top all the barely covered, jiggling asses we’d seen walking around in the sun all day. Accompanied by four healthy auxiliary rumps, Freedia’s fast flow and unfaltering syncopation was raised to cartoonish levels with his crew’s bouncing backsides pointed directly at the audience for the remainder of the evening. It’s basically everything I needed before drifting off to sleep.