We got back on Monday morning from a filthy yet highly satisfying couple of days at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. We saw lots of Vassar people there, plus a lot of bands that have played Vassar in the past. Below are the highlights, lowlights, and everything in between.
Thursday: Went to the comedy tent to see Janeane Garofalo, who ended up being a complete disappointment. She ended her set early saying, "I'll stop torturing you guys." Pete Holmes, on the other hand, was absolutely hysterical. On the music coming from a nearby tent, Holmes said: "It's like we're in my apartment trying to watch a DVD and the people next door are having a really loud party. It sounds pretty good, base-wise." Eventually, Passion Pit started playing next door and we immediately left the comedy tent. We were surprised to see such a huge turn out for them, and most people seemed to know the words to their songs. Back in December we said to keep an eye on Passion Pit, and like Vampire Weekend, they have definitely blown up since playing Vassar. Passion Pit is quickly becoming our favorite band of the summer. Listen to: "Make Light," "Little Secrets," "Moth's Wings," and of course "Sleepyhead."
Friday: Our first full day of music and we tried to hit as many stages and tents as possible. We started the day with Gomez, which turned out to be slightly disappointing. Next were two amazing back to back shows by St. Vincent and Santigold. We had never heard any of St. Vincent's music, just the buzz around her, and she definitely lived up to all of the hype. Actually, we were expecting her to be much more mellow, but she rocked out. Listen to: "Now, Now" from 2007's Marry Me. After St. Vincent, we squeezed our way into the front row for Santigold. Despite the subwoofers in front of us nearly destroying our eardrums, the experience was incredible. There were some technical difficulties at one point, which caused her to stop her band mid-song and tell the sound guys to figure out the problem. She ended her set with "Creator" and pulled up a few lucky audience members. Listen to: "L.E.S. Artistes," "Creator," "Brooklyn Go Hard."
After Santigold, we rushed out to see the very end of Grizzly Bear. They were one of the more buzzed-about bands playing this year, but unfortunately we didn't get to see very much of them. After that we stopped by TV on the Radio, which surprisingly wasn't very good, before heading over to the Beastie Boys. We didn't stay there very long either, wanting to conserve our energy for Crystal Castles and Girl Talk later that night. Crystal Castles was pretty disappointing, but Girl Talk was quite the experience. Within the first few minutes of his set, at least a hundred people (including us!) had climbed over the barricades and joined him on stage. Among the people on stage were people dressed as robots, Chewbacca, and a green man.
Saturday: Another very full day. Caught Chairlift and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the smaller and more intimate Sonic Stage. Chairlift turnd out to be one of our favorite bands of the festival. You may know their song "Bruises" from the iPod commercial. Next was Bon Iver, who also lived up to all of the hype, followed by Jenny Lewis (disappointing) and Of Montreal (crazy and awesomely theatrical). After that we headed over early to the main stage to get a good spot for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. We ended up getting in the eighth row and came close to literally touching the Boss when he kept coming over to our section. We nearly lost it when he did "Born to Run." After his three hour set we took a break before heading over to MGMT.
An interesting thing happened at MGMT. All of the hippies and hipsters from the other shows were replaced by drunken Greek lifers. MGMT kind of went the Dylan route and played mostly only new songs and new versions of their old ones. The audience wasn't really into this, and became preoccupied when thousands of glow sticks came flying from the back of the tent.
Sunday: Saw a little bit of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Neko Case before calling it a day. We also watched Snoop Dogg from afar (hilarious!) and the beginning of Phish. The day's highlight must have been when Snoop Dogg asked the crowd, "Y'all ready for mutha fuckin' Phish?"
As if that all wasn't enough, Jack White of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs was on our flight home! We said hey and he was really friendly.
Check back from videos from some of the concerts mentioned above. Anyone else have an awesome Bonnaroo experience? Email us!