Stereogum’s been descending upon the inevitably muddy swampland that is the Bonnaroo family farm since 2003, each year getting a little better at balancing immediacy with being comprehensive in our dirt-caked dispatches so you can see, hear, and (one day) smell all that we do. This year we’ve taken another step, with the newly launched stereogum.com/bonnaroo — a one-stop page collecting all our live-tweetering from @stereogum, @scottgum, and @amritsingh, along with a smattering of pics, vids, and debauched detritus from the weekend. Nice!
This year kicked off earlier than usual. Bonnaroo’s one of the few fest’s that spans four days, and the organizers seem to consider that when lining up Thursday, usually scheduling bands of varied appeal on a day when most are knocking out the essentials — traveling, pitching tents, securing drugs. But this year was different. Where the weekend’s itineraries have B-rate bands creating pools of downtime, Thursday hit with a relatively nonstop list of ticks off the blogger checklist: Local Natives, the Dodos, Here We Go Magic, Baroness, Miike Snow, Blitzen Trapper, all bands that could have filled gaps on other days combining to make a strong day their own. It was Bonnaroo’s most appealing Thursday to date, a legit reason to start the WiFi party early, and while travel logistics kept us from seeing as many bands as we’d have liked, we did make it in time to see the topless bodypainted “Indians” who crashed Neon Indian’s stage during “Deadbeat Summer,” engulfing Alan Palomo and Leanne Macomber, all mock Native American war hoops, headdressed, hands over mouths, bootys stage front. Put another way: we made to the festival in time.
That was an unplanned, unsanctioned, unfortunately offensive photo op, but the rest of the set couldn’t have gone better if it’d been straight from script. It was the band’s biggest crowd to date, all hands in the air for “Sleep Paralysist” as much as “Should Have Taken Acid” or “Ephemeral Artery,” a revved-up lead-in for the spaciously languid sexy times that the That Tent saw later with the night-closing xx set. The trio played “Shelter”; all of Bonnaroo made out. Here’s some sorta audio-blown out but good looking video of their take on “Do You Mind”:
More on the video front: YouTube is streaming Bonnaroo sets throughout the weekend, as is NPR. Between us and them (that’s a tease of the Lips playing Dark Side this weekend, btw), there’s never been a better time to not go to a festival. Technology.