Bonnaroo 2010: Friday
Hot, blistering heat made the day time look really difficult early on Friday. With a long road of superb night shows ahead, it was easy to put off waiting for the right time to launch into festivarian mode.
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers have massive buzz in both the bluegrass world and outside the smaller genre with mainstream festivals and media. Their afternoon set did not disappoint. The instrumental prowess of this tight group of pickers had them making waves before banjo-loving actor Steve Martin tapped them to help with his recent album and tours. The whole set was great, but the "Orange Blossom Special" really got the tent moving.
After a brief stop at the Bonnaroo beer garden (great beers from Starr Hill, Magic, Sweetwater, Yazoo and many other craft breweries), it was on to the Which Stage for a bit of Spearhead. Franti and crew brought on the night with a great set in front of a large crowd. Though his shows always seem way to familiar, the message is always strong and the energy right.
After being denied the right to shoot the Kings of Leon and with a lackluster start to their set, it seemeed like a great time to bolt back to camp for cocktails and to regroup for the late night.
With choices like The Flaming Lips, Chromeo and Daryl Hall, Bassnectar and The Black Keys, no choice could take you in the wrong direction. The Black Keys won out, and they killed it. With recent album Brothers all the rage in the media and buzzing about with fans, anticipation was high for this show.
Galactic was the main event of the late night. These Bonnaroo veterans always bring their A-game, especially when being given a late night slot. This year was no exception. Along with friends Cyril Neville and Corey Henry, the G-men brought the funk. Lots of material from recent release Ya-Ka-May, and with NOLA in the house, Big Sam dropped in for a few tunes. This one went late, and with the Lunar Stage right next door, it was easy to roll over in and greet the morning with deejay Lee Burridge.
As the sun came up and the grooves beginning to fade, it was time to bed down and get ready for a long Saturday.
Bonnaroo 2010: Thursday
Day one went down in smashing fashion. What started as a day of people getting settled in and ready to charge into an amazing weekend has grown over the years into a full fledged worth the price of admission night of music.
After long lines and a few will call snafus, I made into Centeroo later the expected (which seems to be the case every year), yet still ready to rage. To be honest the 10:15 show with Blitzen Trapper was one of the shows I most looked forward to, and after it was over, I would be willing to say it crushed the hype.
The cool thing about Thursday is nobody is in a hurry yet. The music lineup is fairly easy to navigate, except for the Temper Trap / Blitzen Trapper head to head.
After indulging in the BT set I stumbled across the beach area and new addition the Lunar Stage. This stage was jumping all night with an onslaught of talented deejays, the first being Dieselboy. It always amazes me to watch a deejay tug and pull his beat purveyors in any and all directions. When they’re good, the crowd hangs on their every segue, accelerated beat and tempo flop. Dieselboy had a sea on Bonnarooers moving to the music.
Being a closet hip hop head I had to go check out Wale. They were decent, but might have been the least enjoyable thing I went to.
After about 30 minutes I had to go see a few minutes of Lotus. They definitely have nurtured a strong fan base, and they seemed to offer up a very heart felt performance in exchange for their late night slot on the Other Tent stage.
I closed the night down with more beach action. The Lunar Stage had a swarm of people grooving late into the night with sets by Afrojack and Sharam. With the edition of the Lunar Stage, and its pretty much straight up deejay line up, Bonnaroo has injected another genre into what has possibly become America’s most diverse music festival. In fact, diversity may well be the word of the weekend.
Friday afternoon there is tons of great music going down, but the night time has my heart. So look for a mostly night time wrap up from Friday to post tomorrow.