Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bonnaroo Breakdown!

So Bonnaroo 2009 is over and done and speculations are already brewing about what next years festival will be like. I saw lots of bands and heard lots of good music so here is a list of the top 5 shows I saw along with a worst and surprise artist award.

5. Andrew Bird - Although not as lively as some of the other acts of the weekend (NIN and The Mars Volta) Bird's instrumentation and talent left me in awe. I venture to say that he is one of the more innovative and talented musicians of our day and age. Numerous times Bird strummed his violin like it was a guitar and looped different violin and guitar riffs together until he created an orchestral barrage for the audience to try and decipher. He was literally stunning to observe not to mention his songs are great.

4. Bon Iver - I was very impressed with this band's ability to bring their limited number of songs to life on the stage. Justin Vernon's singing was great, and the band kept me interested despite its slower paced style. I could almost transcend myself from the sweat soaked tent to the feel of a little intimate bar, well almost. Elvis Perkins and Dearland joined the band on stage for a couple of songs giving the show an added bonus of brass instrumentation.

3. Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen - The boss' show did nothing but bolster the already high expectations that I had for seeing him live. Springsteen, along with his E Street Band, rocked the Bonnaroo crowd for almost four hours. "The Rising," "Thunder Road," "Born to Run,"and the venerable "Outlaw Pete" all made appearances and an encore including "Glory Days" and "Dancing in the Dark" kept the 50,000+ dancing and singing on into the night. His mid show rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" was not bad either.

2. David Byrne - David Byrne's 57 year old body ran around and performed with five white clad backup dancers longer and with more intensity than my 24 year old body could possibly have endured. His encore which included "Take Me to the River" and "Burning Down the House" was outstanding.

1. The best live performance of Bonnaroo 2009 goes to Athens, GA band Of Montreal. While David Byrne only slightly missed the number one spot, Of Montreal pleased a sweat soaked crowd with a veritable psychodelic broadway show complete with christmas trees, gas masks, white monsters, tigers, large armed creatures, and pigs to name a few. The onstage act was as entertaining as Kevin Barnes and crew who played a good set, but left out a few of my personal essentials. During the final 12 minute tirade to "The Past is a Grotesque Animal," Of Montreal broke every guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard on the stage, threw the remains into the audience, then flung themselves into the audience while the music dissipated. It was a great performance.

Surprise award - Crystal Castles - this boy/girl duo translated their loud and dynamic elctroclash to the stage with ease. The show was LOUD and raucous with glow sticks and glowing things flying through the air the entire show. They should have replaced the next band.

Worst show award - MGMT - they were given the two in the morning slot for one reason and one reason only, to give the 30,000 drug-enduced stragglers a dance party that would get them to sweat out their chemicals and allow for a good nights sleep. They failed. The show was uninspired, boring, and sounded bad. Not sure what the overflow crowd thought, but I left after three very bland songs. Not to mention, they opened with the same song ex-whigs member Hank Sullivant's new band Kuroma ended with.

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