As a personal rule, I tend to speak unfavorably about Bonnaroo bands who don’t allow media into the press pit. After all, it is the press pit. But hey, sometimes, for whatever reason, your services are not needed. For Danzig Legacy, we let that slide, considering they at least let us in the sweet spot. The muscle-bound godfather of horror-core strictly forbade celluloid of any sort. No photo, no video, and some would-be photogs seen snapping a shot were sometimes squirted with water guns by security.
In fact, Glenn himself took issue with one photog in particular. The shutterbug in question was our own Michael W. Bunch, who was photographing some people in the crowd dancing. Mid-song, Danzig ran to the side the of the stage pointing and screaming before approaching security and then proceeded to run all the way past the side stage, almost into the crowd to "walk among us." As you can see from the exclusive footage above, security soon slowed his roll, and Danzig returned to stage after a matter of minutes. (More on the performance in Lance's post.) Bunch told us that he was certain "Danzig was going to kick [his] ass." Awesome.
Satisfactorily crammed full of the greasiest food available to me, I took a leisurely stroll to the What Stage to have my mind blown by "Screaming Eagle of Soul,” Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires.
And while I might be bummed out not Friday was nothing but sunshine and badass tunes. I kicked off my music listening day in pretty much the best way you can: right up front for Afrocubism. There are sublime frequencies that manifest when you combine badass Cuban musicians with badass African musicians and let 'em roast in the middle of Tennessee on a Friday afternoon. So many guitars! So much percussion! Mix in the first post-work beer of the day — they taste so much better when there's no guilt in the can — and you've got yourself a perfect festival set.
Post-rock and soul seem to be my primary genres of choice this weekend, and Sharon Jones — backed as always by the phenomenal Dap-Kings — delivered the latter with stunning proficiency on Friday afternoon at What Stage. Jones was confident as ever, strutting around the stage in her purple sequined dress, thanking her fans and the universe for the success she’s achieved despite obstacles like the recent loss of her mother, getting a late start in life — she cut her first solo track at age 40 (she’s 56 now), having worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island for many years — and a recent dental procedure gone awry.
By contrast, Radiohead brought the future.
It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since OK Computer, in part because each new Radiohead record pushes the group's earlier work farther off its radar. (You didn't really think you were going to hear anything off Pablo Honey or The Bends, did you?) Roughly a quarter of the band's generous 25-song show (including two encores) was devoted to last year's The King of Limbs, an album of electronic experimentation and hiccuping beats that cast off the pop-songcraft vestiges of 2007's In Rainbows like a zeppelin ditching sandbags. At first listen, it sounds like a studio hothouse flower that would wilt in Manchester's heat and dust.
The concert opener, Limbs' lead-off track "Bloom," removed any doubts about its stageworthiness. Framed by a rapidly blinking grid of monitors offering kaleidoscopic cubist glimpses of the band members, against a backdrop resembling a cathedral organ's pipes undulating with marbled light patterns, the group turned a rhythmic headscratcher of a song on record into a billowing sail of beats, nervy and elating.
Though some of the oeuvre was lost at the Manchester festival, hearing the spot-on phrasing of the trumpets, the chill-inducing swelling of the two trombones, or the brown-note honk of the tuba on PAs like mid-size sedans was nonetheless electrifying. The crowd was almost immediately held in their sway, as they stamped with bare feet, sang, shouted and lunged for Mardi Gras beads the band hurled into the air.
Remember yesterday when I complained about the comedy lines? Well, I missed Marc Maron because I was waiting in line for Aziz Ansari, and was only five people away when they ran out of tickets. It was a bummer, but A: I've seen Aziz before, and B: I had nice conversations with other folks queued up around me. This one guy had on a Game of Thrones T-shirt, and I saw him receive at least two high-fives from strangers shouting "King of the North!" and "Winter Is Coming!" respectively. Comedy nerds are an affable sort, which is important: I estimate at least 5,000 people were lined up trying to score tickets to Aziz, and I saw no line cutters, queue jumpers, or "saving a spot" jerkoffs.
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.
Since I’m a creature of habit with limited, decade-old camping gear, my sleeping situation has been the same for the past five years of Bonnaroo-ing. I have a tent, and inside that tent is an air mattress that probably has a leak in it, a sleeping bag, a sheet and a blanket. The sensible Bonnaroo camper — one who doesn’t want to wake up in a pool of sweat at 8 a.m. — winds up sleeping on top of all of that stuff. On Thursday night, I slept inside my sleeping bag and was still cold. And, while I welcome the mild temperatures and the lessened chance of spontaneous combustion via heat index, that was totally weird.
Then I tried to escape my sleeping bag and immediately pulled a muscle. An auspicious start to Bonnaroo day two!
Every Bonnaroo needs a theme, and after starting my slow descent in to beer-drenched insanity — at 10:30 yesterday morning, mind you — my man main Gravy and I decided that this year our theme is gonna be “Wriot Boiz." Mind you, we polished off half a case of beer between the two of us while listening to Gang Green really loud in the parking lot for press check-in. Basically we walked in this piece and set the pace. It's now your responsibility to keep pace, 'Roosters. Actually, don't, because I worry about your safety, and Wriot Boiz are more pro than most folks can hang with. And by “pro” I mean "drunker than shit."
But that was a helluva way to start things off! We made a bunch of new friends, we somehow managed to set up camp, and then by the time we had almost (almost!) sobered up, it was time for the real party to start. And you know what that means: arepas and Mariachi El Bronx! I never actually made it to the Mariachi stage — it was the first night of alumni weekend, you gotta stop and chat. But they set the tone for the night with their joyous Latin sounds. And arepas are just awesome, there's no better way to put it. And maybe it's because I live on Nolensville Road, but nothing makes me feel more at than some Latin music and some Latin food.
I'm too sexy for my human, as I do my little turn on the manwalk.
Nope, still listed on his Ticketmaster page...
The kingston springs are going to hve to start paying ranch ghost royalties on copying…
If no half japanese cover band, then at least a half japanese karaoke night? please?
That new Features video has to be one of the worst music videos I've seen…