After several extra hours of travelling half dozen construction areas in Kentucky and Tennessee, I finally made it to Manchester, Tennessee late Wednesday night. But all that is behind me now, literally and figuratively.
Today is a new day, a new Bonnaroo and a lineup featuring newer artists.
Thursday schedules generally feature lesser-known acts, with varying degrees of buzzworthiness. Matters can change very quickly. MGMT played such a date in 2008 and a year later the psychedelic rockers performed before more than 20,000 at a midnight show. Zac Brown Band had a similar experience – moving from a tent setting in 2009 to the main stage two years later.
For the 80,000 coming to this year’s festival, day one allows everyone to get acclimated with their surroundings, their campsite neighbors and the layout, activities and concerts happening in the Centeroo area. Once again, Franny Thomas, Sirius XM DJ on the Loft channel, is settled at our site.
With early camping available in 2011, Thursday becomes very crowded, with one Superfly Entertainment staffer estimating more than 50,000 are already inside the Centeroo concert/vendors area. As it turns out the multitude of artists gave them a good reason to show up.
–Wavves ingested the catalog of the Buzzcocks and used it to great effect. A nice way to get the blood flowing and the body prepared to walk miles and miles today.
–As part of her ‘divorce party’ Karen Ellson steps away from the shadow of being married to Jack White with a strong performance that mixed blues, country and folk. Her band included bassist Jack Lawrence (the Greenhornes, the Dead Weather, the Raconteurs), and her set included a cover of “Season of the Witch” and another number that subtly lifted the melody of “Scarborough Fair.”
— Best Coast filled up my longing for a band to fill the hole in my life since L7 broke up. Especially loved “Boyfriend.”
–Haven’t seen School of Seven Bells since it became a trio, and its Cocteau Twins on steroids sound worked wonderfully.
–Actor/writer Donald Glover (“Community”) added rapper to his growing resume in the guise of Childish Gambino. He was part of a popular hiphop slate at This Tent that included the Knux, J. Cole and Dam-Funk & Master Blazter.
–The Walkmen were ecstatic to finally play at Bonnaroo. While the members would be perfect for a small club, they created that setting with a fiery set of blues-meets-gritty rock.
–Deerhunter made a fitting end to my evening with its astounding mix of post-rock, noise rock and more.
My attempt to make it an early night (a.k.a. in bed before dawn) in order get an early start on Friday comes crashing down when someone in my campground decided that they were going to host a disco party. Eventually, the booming system fades out and it’s off to dream of more musical discoveries tomorrow.