Buncombe to Bonnaroo (ongoing coverage)

Xpress headed down the road to Manchester, Tenn. to cover Bonnaroo last weekend. Hailed as “America’s best festival” by Rolling Stone, Asheville was well represented this year, with Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Hunab Kru, Poetix Vangaurd, DJ Equal and other locals rocking alongside the biggest names in music.

PODCAST

The Xpress Krewe recorded this podcast as we were on the road to the ‘Roo. Here, we talk in the van about what we’re looking forward to seeing (and not seeing) as we roll down I-40. On board: Jake Frankel, James Fisher, Par Neiburger (AKA DJ Gift) and Will Kaylor:

On the road to the ‘Roo

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Also, be sure to check out the new podcast at the bottom of the page: The road back from the ‘Roo.

Views from the ‘Roo Day 1

Asheville’s Molly Kummerle greeted us at check-in. We totally wish her killer band, Paper Tiger, was playing here this year.

Bonnaroo 2010

We then had to navigate the extremely muddy and treacherous roads through the VIP campground (see DJ Gift’s report below on how our van narrowly escaped its clutches). If the VIP campground is this bad, it’s hard to imagine how things are looking out in the general camping fields.

Bonnaroo 2010

Late last night, we ran into Ashevillian Esmee Dorf playing in the mushroom fountain.

Bonnaroo 2010

The first show we caught was The XX, who got things started with a set of sexy, downtempo indie-rock. Check out DJ Gift’s review below.
Bonnaroo 2010

The ferris wheel was going late into the night.
Bonnaroo 2010

This morning we ran into WNCW’s Martin Anderson as he was just finishing a yoga class. He promised us he was determined to do yoga every morning of the ‘Roo. We’ll see about that.
Bonnaroo 2010

And here’s Martin later today as he’s broadcasting from the Bonnaroo Radio headquarters, which is operated by Asheville-based music marketing company, Music Allies. Martin was checking out Xpress’ coverage of Bonnaroo when we ran into him (cool!).
Martin

Just down the hall, Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips was giving an interview. They play a special set late tonight in which they’re planning to cover Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
Wayne

—Jake Frankel

Blogaroo Day 1
Road to the ‘Roo>The XX>Lotus>Wale>Comedy Tent Fail

Most bands had already played by the time we finally got through all the access points. It took a while to check in and get through the mud from the rain the night before.  The staff at the gates for the backstage area where we were supposed to camp didn’t really buy our story that our friends in Hunab Kru had saved a spot for us. But just when we thought all hope was lost, “Asheville” turned out to be the magic word.

The staff security guard was a Georgia native who had been planning on moving to Asheville and was looking for a job with a local newspaper. We went from not being let in the gate to the guy literally jumping in the van and personally guiding us through the mud piles (Editor’s note: We may or may not have told him we could possibly give him a job when he moves to town). He jumped in the van, yelled “Buncombe Country Reprazent!” and guided us through the mud like a freakin’ champ.  We barely made it over the last mud puddle. After 20 minutes of deliberation we finally got the courage to hit the pedal to the medal, trust in grace that we weren’t going to get stuck in mud, and made it through the last mud pile by the skin of our teeth. That 2-wheel drive van barely made it.  And glorious day, Hunab Kru and the folks from Asheville Pizza Company awaited us with open arms, and a saved perimeter for us to camp.  It was about 11pm by the time we got our camp set up.

The XX

We went to see The XX as our first show of Bonnaroo. Personally, I thought they were magnificent. I’ve been a fan of their record for a while, but haven’t had the opportunity to see them live. It was indie-rock at its finest. Perhaps too down-tempo for a lot of the crowd, but that’s never a problem for me. The musicianship was top-notch, their song craft was excellent, and the live performance was well done.  I particularly liked their style of switching back and forth between male and female vocals. It added a nice touch to the well crafted pop songs.

Lotus

Lotus honestly didn’t do much for me. Lately, I haven’t been too excited about this band.  It was your basic, spacey live instrumentation jamtronica. It’s not that they’re a bad band; in fact they’re a good band. I think it’s really just a taste issue.

I think the same people who looked bored to tears by The XX, were jamming out to Lotus with glow stick head-bands, twirly dancing, hula hoops, and hands full of (you guessed) more glow sticks. People love this band and I respect that.  I’m just not the hula hopping, glow stick, give-me-a-hug, I love you, give me a massage, did I forget to mention I love you, kind of a guy.  But, I’m not judging—to each his own.

Wale

Wale was just flat out not good. I’m a big hip-hop fan, probably more so than most of the Bonnaroo crowd—so just so everyone knows—my opinion is not biased by genre. This guy is mediocre at best, and the horde of girls he got from the crowd to dance on stage with him didn’t help. I’m ecstatic to see Jay-Z Saturday night—it’s one of my top reasons for coming. But hearing this guy do a Jay-Z cover was not very impressive.

Sometime after our dismay with Wale: Comedy Tent

We tried to go see Margaret Cho to close out our evening. I’m sorry to say that even near 2 a.m., the comedy tent was packed past capacity. There was a huge line, and the one-in-one-out approach left little hope for us to see the Cho-meister. At that point, I just needed some freakin’ sleep so we went back to the camp site and passed out.

Okay, gotta run. I’m going to have to go stand in line for over an hour to try to catch Conan O’Brien at the Comedy Tent. I fear I may already be too late.

—Par Neiburger

Views from the ‘Roo Day 2:

Asheville b-boy posse Hunab Kru and is one of the hardest working groups at Bonnaroo. Over the course of the weekend, they’re scheduled to perform six shows of intense physical elasticity.  This marks the Kru’s 5th year at Bonnaroo since 2004. Joining them on the 1s and 2s is Asheville’s DJ Brett Rock.

We put this slide show together from last night’s awesome performance on the Solar Stage.

This just in from Xpress’ James Fisher:

Mountain Xpress organized a recycling drive at Asheville Earth Day in April, collecting old unused cell phones for proper recycling. There are over 1 billion unused cell phones in the U.S. alone, each loaded with toxic metals. We brought the phones to Rock the Earth at Bonnaroo, joining in their effort to recycle these phones on a bigger scale. Check out www.RTEphonedrive.com to learn more about free phone recycling and win prizes!

Xpress collected this box of cell phones at Asheville Earth Day and turned them in to Rock the Earth here at Bonnaroo for recycling

Asheville native DJ Equal rocked thousands of revelers last night at Bonnaroo’s Silent Disco Tent:
Asheville native DJ Equal murdering  the Silent Disco
Photo by Jake Frankel.

—Jake Frankel

Blogaroo Day 2
Comedy Tent EPIC Fail>Nas and Damian Marley>Tenacious D>Tori Amos>Les Claypool>Kings of Leon>The Flaming Lips>The Black Keys>Daryl Hall and Chromeo>The Flaming Lips>LCD Sound System

The Comedy Tent – EPIC FAIL

My day began with a totally failing attempt to see Conan O’Brien. I foolishly assumed that getting there an hour before he was supposed to perform would be adequate lead-time to get into the show. No such luck.

People had literally been lined up since 7 a.m. to get tickets for the 1 p.m. show. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t wake up at 7 a.m. for anything, not even work. I mean, I adore Conan, and I’m with Coco and all of that, but 7 a.m.? I talked to people who had showed up at 9:15 a.m. and hadn’t even gotten tickets. The worst part of it was that they made everyone get tickets and then form a line and wait outside the tent until the performance. So it’s not like you could get your tickets and then go walk around—oh no, that would be too simple.

The bottom line: seeing Conan at the ‘Roo takes the most intense level of commitment of any performer here, and I’m just not that committed.  I thought I’d just go over to the movie theatre tent where they were doing a live stream of the performance. But even that was sold out. After being worn down by dismay and heat stroke, I decided to go back to our camp area to cool off and wait until Nas and Damian Marley. 

Nas and Damian Marley

Nas and Damian Marley tore the roof of the ‘Roo. It’s not suprising, of course. If Bonnaroo did in fact have a roof I can pretty much guarantee that it would have been significantly raised and also on fire (though we all do need some water, desperately). It’s a guarantee that if you put one of the best emcee’s in the history of hip-hop with one of reggae’s most promising new talents, you’re going to have a match made in heaven, errr, I mean Zion. Basically, it was the jizzam. 

I was particularly impressed with Damian Marley’s dreadlocks. No joke —they were only a few inches off the ground—I don’t know how he does it.  Among all the Nas and Damian Marley solo and combo hits that we were all expecting, they did a total of four Bob Marley covers: A medley of the songs “War” and “No More Trouble” (two songs that Bob himself often created a medley out of), a modern take on “Exodus,” and “Could You Be Loved.”

Tenacious D

The good news is I finally got to see Conan, if only for five minutes as he came out to introduce Tenacious D. Conan yelled that Coachella wanted him to host but he said “no, it’s not humid enough.” That would probably be more funny to me if I weren’t sweating like a mule even as I type this blog.

Tenacious D was one of the most satisfying live performance experiences of my life. They were amazing, Jack Black was hilarious, and it was pretty much as good as anyone could have hoped.  They included all of their hits, along with live skits to correspond to the music and put the songs in context. When they launched into the “F*@# Her Gently” hit, the entire crowd song along when Black sang the lyrics: “What’s your favorite dish, I’m not gonna cook it but I’ll order it from Zanzibar.” It was quite a treat.

Tori Amos

I rushed over to catch the tail end of the Tori Amos set. I love Tori Amos. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. It absolutely broke my heart to not see her entire set, but making decisions as to what you’re are going to see at Bonnaroo is a complex process. It’s basically impossible to see everything you want, and you’ve got to prioritize.

The first line of logic I use when two acts I want to see are playing head to head is that I go see the band that I’ve never seen live. I’ve seen Tori Amos live several times throughout my life and I’ve never seen Tenacious D. Moreover, I’m not so sure I’ll ever get the chance to see Tenacious D again.

The crowd for Tori wasn’t huge. I would imagine for a few reasons: firstly, it’s not an easy thing to go head to head with Tenacious D. Secondly, Tori doesn’t quite have the following that she did ten years ago. And lastly, I’m not so sure that the jam band crowd is really Tori’s fan base.

What the crowd lacked in size it made up for in absolute Tori fanaticism. The crowd was hysterical. Everyone—men and women alike—were close to weeping and screaming like teenage girls at a Beatles concert circa 1963.  As I walked up, I was satisfied to hear “Space Dog” off her second album ‘Under The Pink’ (my favorite). The crowd was screaming so loud that she stopped half way through the song and spontaneously yelped out “F#*@ing A…”

She closed with “Silent All These Years” and I nearly wept. She exclaimed “I Love You” to the crowd and held her heart out to us all, while we sat in awe. The 13-year-old boy inside of me was officially a happy camper.

Les Claypool

You gotta love Les Claypool, and I’m certainly a big Primus fan.

Claypool has become such a festival staple that it’s almost not a jam band fest without him. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but I would venture to guess it’s due to his Oysterhead project with Trey Anastasio of Phish. I think its great, because had the jam band kids not latched onto Les, I could have easily seen him fading off into 90’s alt-music obscurity. I’m happy to see that this didn’t happen and the crowd for Les was huge. He closed out his set with a Bootsy Collins number, which I thought was mega awesome and I left the Other Tent fully satisfied.

Kings of Leon

I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, but I must have missed the part where Kings of Leon became so famous. I’ve heard that one radio hit that gets played constantly on every Clear Channel station in the country, but I didn’t realize they were Bonnaroo headliner material. 

We walked up just at the right time as they launched into a cover of The Pixies song “Where is My Mind.” They immediately won me over with this—any band that has the guts to cover The Pixies in front of tens of thousands of people is alright with me.

I have to admit that Kings of Leon were pretty good—they are a tight rock/pop band. Apparently, they are the first band in Bonnaroo history to go from playing the smallest stage (the Troo Music Lounge) to playing the main stage. The whole show had a local-boys-make-good feel to it that was hard to not be endeared by. Still, I don’t think I’ll be buying a Kings of Leon album anytime soon.

Midnight. The Flaming Lips

As I stated earlier, I’m used to the Bonnaroo juggling act, but whoever’s idea it was to put The Flaming Lips playing ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ The Black Keys, Bassnectar, and Daryl Hall with Chromeo all head to head, needs to have a serious talking to. The admonition needs to begin with the phrase: “What on earth were you thinking?…” I finally decided on The Flaming Lips because I doubt I’ll ever get the opportunity to hear them cover ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ in its entirety again. 

The Lips started in a typically over-the-top fashion, with a huge video screen projecting a naked woman over the crowd. When the woman crotched down, her vagina turned into a gaping, pulsating black hole. A door in the black hole opened up and the band walked out the door, through the vagina, as a huge confetti and balloon explosion shot into the audience. They began with some Flaming Lips songs and by the time they got to “Vaseline” I realized we weren’t going to be hearing Dark Side anytime soon. So, I decided to push my way out of the crowd and go see The Black Keys.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys nailed it like a prom date. I mean, seriously, these guys are good live. The crowd has huge and the performance was amazing.

Daryl Hall and Chromeo

Daryl Hall and Chromeo was better than expected. I only caught the last two songs, but I loved it. Say what you will, but I think Hall and Oates were one of the best bands of the 80s. At the very least, “I Can’t Go For That” is one of the top songs of that decade.

Pairing Daryl Hall with Chromeo makes a lot of sense. Their style is very derivative of that particular eighties sound. I met a guy on the way back to the Lips who had literally called his mother at near 2 a.m. to rant about the show. He said he couldn’t wait to get back to the real world and buy a Hall and Oates CD. I recommended ‘Private Eyes,’ which I consider their best record.

The Flaming Lips

As I got back to the Lips show, there was no music playing and what appeared to be the band packing up on stage. Apparently they were getting a late start on Dark Side and my decision to go wander and see the other acts was a good one.

A few moments later the Lips launched into it. I had been skeptical of the whole thing, with good reason. Any band that chooses to cover ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ in its entirety at a hippie music festival has got to be out of it’s mind, right? I mean, this is one of the Holy Grails of rock n’ roll music. The only thing that I can think of that would be more ambitious would be trying to recreate the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s. I have to admit the Lips did a pretty good job of it. They sounded great and put their own spin on the songs successfully without taking away from the integrity of the originals.

LCD Sound System

LCD Sound System is one of my favorite bands on the ‘Roo line-up. I’ve been geeking out about the chance to see them live all week.  They were amazing and actually way better live than I was expecting.

I’m not quite sure how this DFA Records, hipster band from NYC wound up on the jam band circuit, but I think the crowd couldn’t help but be blown away and dance their asses off. James Murphy was so obviously out of place that he kept asking the crowd to stop throwing glow sticks at him. He began with irony and eventually defaulted to kindly asking the crowd to stop, every other song.

Obviously he doesn’t realize where he is: there is no feasible way known to mankind to get hippies to stop throwing glow sticks.  His super hot female keyboard player kept a look of healthy hipster disdain as she threw back the glow sticks at the crowd. He pleaded with her to stop, telling her she was making the situation worse. I’d say he was partially concerned about angering the crowd, but I think he mostly figured if the crowd kept throwing them up on the stage and they didn’t throw them back, the crowd would eventually simply run out of glow sticks. Which, again, shows you how much he knows. Anyone that knows better could have told him that hippies inexplicably have an infinite supply of glow sticks. And just when he basically acquiesced to the glow stick situation, some buck-naked guy jumped on stage and started dancing around.

I watched a security guard escort the guy off stage, but when for one spilt second the guard took his eyes off the guy, he rushed back. It took four guards dragging the guy literally by all four limbs, face down, to get him off the stage. It was quite a scene. But despite the hiccups, LCD brought the pain. They were amazing and thus far the best performance I’ve seen at the ‘Roo!!!

—Par Neiburger

Views from the ‘Roo Day 3:

Truth & Salvage Co., a group with strong Asheville roots, rocked the True Music Lounge at Bonnaroo yesterday.

Truth & Salvage Co. at Bonnaroo 2010

Made up of several members of longtime local favorites, Scrappy Hamilton, the band is now based in LA and touring in support of their new Chris Robinson-produced debut album. Their set of heart and soul-fueled southern rock was very well received, and it’s easy to imagine them coming back next year to perform on a much bigger stage.

Truth & Salvage Co. at Bonnaroo 2010

Beer City USA’s brews are being well represented at this year’s Bonnaroo. Asheville Brewing Company was one of 20 breweries from across the country picked to share their beers as part of the ‘Broo’ers Festival.’ Here’s ABC’s Mike Rangel as he’s getting ready to work the taps.

Asheville Brewing Company's Mike Rangel is reppin' at this year's 'Roo

—Jake Frankel

Blogaroo Day 3
Baaba Maal> Jimmy Cliff>The Melvins>The Dead Weather>Jeff Beck>Stevie Wonder>Jay-Z>Thievery Corporation>Gwar

Baaba Maal

I began my day with Baaba Maal—I’m a big African music fan and Baaba is a seminal figure in the genre. I have to admit, though, that I’m not as impressed with the Western/African fusion he’s been producing over the last several years.

His more traditional and classic style records, though, are some of the most impressive African music that I’ve ever heard. For anyone who cares enough to listen to my opinion, I highly recommend buying a copy of ‘Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck: Djam Leeli’: it’s my favorite album of African music.

I’ve never completely understood his choice to go the fusion route.  I could have done without the keyboards and the electric guitars, but his talking drum player was out of this world. All in all, it was great to be able to see the legend live.

Jimmy Cliff

My next stop was to see Jimmy Cliff play the main stage. Again, a difficult decision because it meant I was going to have to miss Dave Rawlings Machine. But, I just saw them play The Grey Eagle and when am I going to get another opportunity to see Jimmy Cliff?

To be honest, I didn’t even realize he was still alive. And he was great. I don’t know what it is about these old reggae pioneers, but it’s like they never age. Every time I’ve seen Toots or Burning Spear, it’s like not a day has passed, and Jimmy Cliff was the same way. I’m not sure if I missed it, but I don’t think he played “The Harder They Come,” which is pretty confusing—but all in all it was a satisfying experience.

The Melvins

After Jake and I rushed back to the camp to secure it from what we thought was a pending rainstorm of doom, I headed to This Tent to catch The Melvins. Again, I love the eclectic range of music presented at the ‘Roo and I’ve been a fan of The Melvins since I was a teenager.

Their classic punk/hard core was melting the face off the crowd. This is a band that’s so intense that they need three, that’s right three, drummers. The performance was really tight and though I only caught the last four songs, it was a great performance (and it never did end up raining that hard).

The Dead Weather

I rushed over to the main stage to catch The Dead Weather.  For those who don’t know, Dead Weather is the new project from Jack White.

Basically, it’s not a Bonnaroo line-up without one of Jack White’s new bands. For future reference, if you see a Bonnaroo line-up and there are a couple bands you’ve never heard of, make sure to do some google searching to find out if it’s Jack White’s new band. That’s how I found out about Dead Weather.

They were decent, but nothing special. It was curious to see Jack White not taking lead vocals, and also not playing guitar, but rather drums most of the set. The lead singer was a woman that Jack White introduced as Baby Ruthless. I would venture to guess that’s not her real name, but the lady was truly ferocious. She was like a drop-dead gorgeous Patti Smith on steroids. She had a look in her eye like she was going to rip someone’s arms right out of their sockets. And I would volunteer anytime. I fell in love three times last night and this was my first. All in all, though, they were good but not great.

Jeff Beck

It would have just been wrong to have not seen Jeff Beck. Of course, he’s one of the greatest guitar players ever and the dude shreds. But, that being said, he’s really better as someone’s guitar player. Seeing Beck shred through a bunch of rock/blues instrumentals got a little bit boring, which I know sounds sacrilegious. But, all in all it was amazing to see a guitar legend of this magnitude.

Stevie Wonder

This was it, the holy grail of this year’s ‘Roo.  I’m sure I’m not shocking anyone when I say Stevie blew everyone’s mind. This performance alone was worth the price of admission.

A camera shot accidentally showed his set list to the crowd on the big screen before he played, so we all knew what was coming, unfortunately. He also started a half hour late for whatever reason, and didn’t make it through that whole set list. He played all the hits we wanted to hear: songs like “Superstition”, “Higher Ground” and a fantastic medley of “Signed, Sealed, Deleivered” into Marving Gaye’s “I heard it Through the Grapevine” and George Clinton’s “Tear the Roof Off.”

The one song that I sadly didn’t get to hear was “Wish” off of my favorite Stevie album, ‘Songs in The Key of Life.’ It didn’t help to know that it was on his set list, but he just ran out of time. But, how can I complain, I just saw Stevie Wonder blow away a crowd of tens of thousands of people. His positive message of peace and love was exactly what everyone needed. Stevie announced to the crowd that he was staying to watch Jay-Z and we all waited patiently for the don to begin.

Jay-Z

The first thing Jay-Z says when he comes out to the crowd is that he can’t wait to call his mother to tell her that Stevie Wonder stuck around for his set. Then Jigga brought the pain. He was incredible, way better than I could have expected.

As much as I respect Jay-Z, I’m more into underground hip hop and I have to admit that I don’t even own a Jay-Z album, aside from some 12” singles of his hits that I have to rock at parties. I gained a hole new level of respect for the man and it was clear why he is the absolute don of this modern hip-hop game. When he played “Big Pimpin’” it was quite a scene. Some girl in the crowd yelled out that it was her birthday and he brought her up on stage and had the whole crowd sing happy birthday to her. You know that’s a story she’ll be telling her grandkids.

Thievery Corporation

Jay-Z finished early, so we rushed over to see Thievery Corporation. These guys are always phenomenal live and, as per usual, they did not disappoint. I’ve seen them give better performances in the past, but an average Thievery set is better than most band’s best performance.

2:30 a.m.: Gwar

For those who don’t know, Gwar plays loud heavy metal, dresses up in monster costumes and generally sprays fake blood, puke, and various other liquids all over the audience. My goal here was to get close enough to see the performance, yet far enough away to not get sprayed.

The band’s central narrative to the performance was that were on a quest to rid themselves of a virus that they had been infected with which was going to turn them into a Christian rock band, should they not find the cure.

The performance included every attempt to offend everyone: they brought Michael Jackson on stage to fornicate with a dead baby (and then ripped his face off); they brought Barack Obama on stage to give the band a Presidential medal of ass-kickin’ (then chopped his head); and then battled with a giant robot and stole his huge crack rock (even the robot sprayed blood on everyone, even though it’s highly unlikely that robots really have blood). The grand finale was bringing the real life Margaret Cho on stage—she ripped off an appendage from the singer, and then danced in the spray of blood that cascaded over the audience. (Note: I successfully avoided all of the blood).

—Par Neiburger

Views from the ‘Roo Day 4:

Asheville photographer Josh Rhinehart has been on the job this weekend, capturing images of Bonnaroo’s biggest stars as they rock the main stage and hang backstage. Here’s a slide show of his images, from Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z’s performances to Weezer’s River Cuomo playing soccer in the artist lounge:

A festival within the festival: Asheville’s Josh Phillip’s Folk Festival had a big crowd of hula hooping fans as they rocked the Solar Stage.
A festival within the festival: Asheville's Josh Phillips Folk Festival rocking the Solar Stage

Asheville-based music marketing company Music Allies ran the hay-fortified Bonnaroo Radio studios backstage.
The hay-fortified Bonnaroo Radio studio

Asheville’s DJ Brett Rock provided the beats for Hunab Kru.
Asheville's DJ Brett Rock killin' it at the Solar Stage

—Jake Frankel

Blogaroo Day 4
Tinariwen>Regina Spektor>John Fogerty>Kris Kristofferson>They Might Be Giants>Ween

Mali to Manchester: Tinariwen

These guys were straight up Sahara imports to Bonnaroo and their noon performance was one of the best of the festival. Their trance-inducing desert-rock was deeply unique and funky—the perfect way to get going on a hot Sunday afternoon. The band befriended Asheville’s Toubab Krewe when they traveled to Mali and are scheduled to perform with them later this summer in Central Park in NYC.

Regina Spektor

I’m officially in love with Regina Spektor.  This was my first time to see her live and she did not disappoint. I think Regina is one of the best contemporary female songwriters around. She has a wit and a song craft that is unparalleled. Her live performance was really well done, with her playing piano, keyboard, and even guitar as a back up musicians on cello, violin, and drums joined her. I wanted to pull myself away to not miss the beginning of John Fogerty’s set, but I just couldn’t.

John Fogerty

John Fogerty sounded like he hasn’t aged a day. It was a treat to see this legend because, I mean, who doesn’t love Creedence? He played a plethora of CCR tunes and sounded just as good as he always has.

Kris Kristofferson

It was time for another one of my multiple band juggling acts. I started with Kris Kristofferson; I felt obliged to see him—the man wrote “Me and Bobby McGee” for crying out loud. His performance was fairly disappointing, though, I have to admit.  It was just him and his guitar, and Jake was convinced that he was drunk. I really can’t disagree with that observation, because he did seem trashed. Also, it was a little too downtempo compared to everything else at the ‘Roo and we left after two songs.

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants played a solid set at The Other Tent. They sprayed the crowd with confetti (that’s right Flaming Lips, you’re not the only one with confetti). I couldn’t tell if it was intended as a Flaming Lips roast or not.  They finished their set with their classic tune “Istanbul,” but the crowd wasn’t satisfied and called them back out for an encore.

Ween

Ween played a weird set, but that’s to be expected, seeing as how they’re Ween. Listening to a Ween album is like doing a balloon of nitrous, and then having your brain pick up instruments and attempt to make a concept album before the effects wear off. But, I love these guys.  A highlight was when they played a cover version of the David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” The crowd obliged and boogied like there was no tomorrow, which in literal Bonnaroo terms, there wasn’t. I left Ween to head back to the camp-site for us to pack and and leave the ‘Roo. I was sad to miss Medeski, Martin, & Wood, and I was particularly sad to miss Phoenix. But, this was all made up for by the tremendous relief I felt that we got the heck out of dodge before being subjected to the Dave Matthews Band.

—Par Neiburger and Jake Frankel

‘Roo Roundup: Our Krewe’s Bonnaroo ‘Best Of’ List:

James Fisher:

1. Stevie Wonder
2. Tenacious D
3. The Flaming Lips

Runner up: Jimmy Cliff

Biggest letdown: The Dead Weather

Jake Frankel:

1. Flaming Lips
2. LCD Soundsystem
3. Jay-Z

Runner up: Eclectic Method

Biggest letdown: Kris Kristofferson

Will Kaylor:

1. Stevie Wonder
2. The Flaming Lips
3. Jimmy Cliff

Runner up: Tenacious D

Biggest letdown: The Dead Weather

Par Neiburger:

1. Stevie Wonder
2. LCD Soundsystem
3. Tenacious D

Runner up: Regina Spektor

Biggest letdown: The Dead Weather

The road back from the ‘Roo

The Xpress Krewe successfully survived the ‘Roo and recorded this podcast as we drove back towards town. We discuss the weekend’s highlights (and few of the challenges). On board: (Pictured below from left to right: Jake Frankel, James Fisher, Will Kaylor and Par Neiburger (AKA DJ Gift).

'Roo Krewe

Rounding up the ‘Roo Podcast:

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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