Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bonnaroo 2014: Thursday had a couple of cool moments but ehh

I thought the Thursday lineup was weak compared to previous years. Last year we had Haim, Alt-J and Father John Misty, and Thursdays past have had Vampire Weekend, Kendrick Lamar, and Zac Brown Band (all before they became big). I'm not sure we'll be seeing that much out of anyone this year. I didn't have much interest in anyone playing during the early part of the day so I just wandered around seeing if anything would stick.

The Preatures stood out more than anyone else. They weave a compelling blend of Britishy pop/rock, but lean more on the pop side than rock. It's fun, sunny, feel good music. Jonathan Wilson had some great guitar solos, but I didn't care for him much beyond that. He had a mellowed out, hippie vibe and looked like a homeless person. All La Lahs presented 60s beach rock. I sat on the grass for a song or two and then went elsewhere. It wasn't until after that that I caught my first full set of the weekend.


They were okay, but nothing special. It's like really chilled out guitar rock, is the best way to describe it I guess. The singer said they were all drunk, and then asked someone to toss one of the beach volleyballs onto the stage that people had been batting around. He smacked it with a pair of drumsticks and knocked it out of the park like a baseball. This was the best part of the show.


I only saw Caveman though to get a good spot for this band, who were one of my favorite post-lineup discoveries. If you know me you know I love my synth pop bands, so the moment I found out that's what they were I had to check 'em out. They're more about vocals/hooks as opposed to electronics/production, which has its pros and cons. On stage though, the band is far too infectious to deny.

Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow ripped their way through most of the cuts from their debut, Secondhand Rapture, and tossed in covers of the Arctic Monkeys' "Do I Wanna Know" and LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yrself Clean" for good measure. This was the first band of the weekend I saw people seriously getting hype over, and it looked like the band themselves were blown away by the reception they were getting. They were eating out of our hand as much as we were eating out of theirs.

Cloud Nothings

As much as I was digging MS MR, this was the band I truly wanted to rage to so I bolted for This Tent as quickly as possible. That one two punch was one of the greatest of the weekend.

The departure of guitarist Joe Boyer didn't seem to slow them in the slightest. This set was a pure unleashing of energy and emotion. It was great getting to catch these guys in such an intense environment, being one of the more recent appointments to the ranks of my favorite bands. There were many cathartic moments: the shrieking of "Psychic Trauma," the colossal build up and release of "Wasted Days", straight up to the eerie parting drone of "No Future No Past." Apparently it was too much for some of the crowd, as people were leaving the show in droves, 

Omar Souleyman

Getting to see him was cool. He's a dance music artist from Syria who weaves in traditional sounds of the Middle East into modern dance music. He doesn't play stateside much and when he does he's pretty much exclusively a festival act. That said, I wasn't really feeling this set for whatever reason. I was already tired and felt bad, so I was just sort of there for this set. But it was the first show I caught with my entire crew so that was cool.

After that I decided to book it back to camp. In retrospect, I wish I had gone to Ty Segall's set. Having seen him once before, I'm sure I would have loved it. It might have picked up my mood and provided a nice capper to my night but I decided it would be better to pace myself and conserve energy for the weekend.

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