It’s a diary: TVD at Bonnaroo 2011, Part III

Saturday, I saw a total of ten acts. Bouncing around from one act to the next on what was the hottest day of the festival proved to be effortlessly tiring.

I napped much longer that morning, and tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. Though, in a field shade is difficult to come by, so I ended up sleeping under the shadow created by my car. It was still hot, but sleeping in your tent during the day isn’t, or shouldn’t be an option as it basically becomes an oven (remember, people die at this festival every year, and I was not looking to be one of them.) In addition to my naps, I drank water like it was my job. I drank probably two gallons—two gallons of water on Saturday to escape heat exhaustion. I also spent a good deal of time in bathroom lines, which was fine, because it was a reminder that I was still alive.

Remember, I was by myself. If I baked in my tent no one would find me until the festival was over. And my parents would be so pissed.

Anyway, I grew up on country and oldies. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of my dad’s favorite movies. I have seen it probably hundreds of times. Alison Krauss and members of Union Station band performed on the soundtrack, and performed many of those songs for us Saturday afternoon. Whether or not you’re a fan of bluegrass and gospel music is irrelevant, she is one of the most decorated musicians of our day and certainly deserving. They’ve been making music together for over twenty years, and their chemistry and talent shows.

From there I walked over to Man Man. If there is an opposite to Alison Krauss, Man Man is surely it. Their noise-rock is the counter to her smooth voice. Man Man fans, more than Man Man themselves, are some of my very favorite people. There is not a group that could give less of a fuck about anything. They move and shout and probably masturbate more than the average person, because well, Man Man fans aren’t exactly the most social people. But they have a great time by themselves, and in close proximity with other people hopping around by themselves.

I left Man Man to catch Mumford and Sons, I didn’t see a full set by anyone Saturday because I was trying to see as much as possible.

Mumford and Sons are a great band, they’re talented, they fill a particular niche and have managed to take that to the Top 40. If there are people that don’t like folk, or bluegrass or country, this is the one band that has borrowed from all of those genres that they do like. I am a skeptic when it comes to these types of bands, I tend to find them vapid and passionless, just out to make a buck, but Mumford changed my mind about them. They were so much more than that during their performance. We were all miserable and hot, and tired and dirty, and they were, too. They weren’t putting on any sort of rock-star facade, they were dealing with it and moving forward doing their best to deliver what they so earnestly wanted to share. The crowd managed to tug along, too and carried the set in a series of sing-alongs.

I needed some shade and there was only one stage, that had it without being crowded. I found a spot at a picnic table and listened to a few songs by Fences. They’re a alt-rock set from Seattle. The Seattle bit is important because they do have a nineties sound. These guys probably listened to way too much grunge and know what to do besides repeat the sounds of their childhood, which is fine because that’s what the kids are doing these days. These guys are going to be huge, whether it’s deserved or not is up for debate.

Loretta Lynn. When you hear her name you conjure up a picture of big hair, big sleeves, bedazzled prairie dresses and that is exactly what I saw. Loretta Lynn is a legend. There is no one that has such a celebrated conflicting controversial, yet moral career. For us she played everything gospel and scandal. She is a country girl through and through and tough, while singing “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Steal My Man)” she seemed to exude the same appeal she had in the seventies. She may be older, but she’s certainly kept everything that made her famous in the first place, her roots.

From there I went to see Black Keys, though I couldn’t really see them, so I gave up and took a seat. I couldn’t be bothered to pay attention, I don’t know if it was their lack of energy or my inability to see them, but whatever it is they do was lost on me and a boy named Frankie who I ended up speaking with for the entire duration of their set. He’s a PHD student in Alabama and had smoked some really strong weed. He wasn’t completely cognizant, but was interesting nonetheless. After pretending to listen to the Black Keys, he wanted to go back to his campsite, which was one of the one’s farthest away, but then decided to go to his friend’s campsite instead because it was closer to mine.

It had started raining so we picked up my jacket before heading to his friend’s campsite, or where he thought it was. We must have wandered around for over an hour looking for this spot and could not find it. I finally made him stop and told him he could sleep it off back at my site, which he agreed to at first. We had walked the long way to where we were and I wanted to take the short way, but he was convinced that “something bad” would happen, so we split up. I took a much needed nap with Eminem echoing in the background before going out for the late night sets.

I have been a Scissor Sisters fan for a long time, but have always managed to miss them when they’re in town. Their set was like attending most dance nights in DC, that is to say, it felt like home. The same energy, the same crowd, but most of all the same dancing, or rather – flailing. “All you girls out there, not wearing any clothes, WHORES!” Ana Matronic said to an enthusiastic applause. “And boys, girls like gay boys because they’re pretty, dress gay – get girls…here’s to hoping everyone fucks someone tonight!” Their set was predominantly made up of their glam-rock singles, which was more than fine with all of us.

After the Scissor Sisters’ set, I was drawn to a very large T-Rex shaped balloon, and as I got closer I noticed a large cluster of white balloons that had what looked to be a giant rodent hanging from them set on fire. It was all hanging over The String Cheese Incident, yet another jam band. But unlike Primus the day prior, TSCI wasn’t grating and was actually great fun to watch. The crowd was slightly older, mellow and quieter than most audiences I had observed. And a lot of them didn’t seem to notice the flaming rodent get replaced by an actual human being until the ballooned man floated beyond the stage. After a couple more songs, I wandered over to Girl Talk.

I know a lot of people that really love Girl Talk, I’ve listened to his stuff, and I like mashups and dancing, but he’s not treated like a normal DJ. His fans treat him as though he’s actually a musical act, this isn’t to say he’s not talented, he is, but he’s a DJ not a band. Where DJs are usually ignored at dance parties, the fans at a Girl Talk set still face the stage as though there were something happening up there besides a laptop. I stayed and danced for about half and hour before I moved on.

I ended the night with Gogol Bordello, the Ukrainian, Gypsy punk outfit. Similarly to the Scissor Sisters, I’ve been a fan for years, but always missed their shows. They were everything their high energy, though sometimes creepy videos would have you believe they are. To combine punk rock with traditional Eastern European folk music, is bizarre in the best possible way. They know they’re weird and each misfit in the crowd was, too. It was a sea of masked faces, we all had handkerchiefs wrapped tightly around our faces to avoid the dust that wasn’t settling beneath our moving feet.

This entry was posted in TVD Washington, DC. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text