Hello fallows, what's crack-a-lack-ING??? To answer the demands of the fans in the last post, I'm all for getting the wheelzzz of steel ready to go for "Origins of Rock," June 26th at da Mannhaus, the craziest off-da-chain shindig the 'Ville ever did see. But with all the traveling and spending going on this month, I'm kinda short on money and time to get the left turntable back up to fighting condition. I'll see what I can get accomplished this weekend after I get back from VEGAS, but any offers of help would be greatly appreciated, so scroll all the way down and tell me what's up.
So today at 4 AM, Chops, Doug and I got back to Columbus from the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee (Doug proceeded to drive back to Cleveland from here, he's insane). Our second Bonnaroo adventure was a pretty damn good time. Of course, there were some serious shenanigans in the organization department, as this time it took us about 7 hours in line to get into the campground. But you'll have that. At least it gave us time to listen to the Envelope EP a few times in the car. Chops and I like it, Doug didn't seem to, so we proceeded to annoy him by singing the hook from "Love..." all weekend. The weather started out hot as hell like last year, but then we had some serious rain Saturday night and when the forecast (provided by our friendly neighbors) called for an even worse storm last night, we decided to pack up and get the hell out of Dodge. Since Doug got some good sunscreen this time, I don't think I really got burned anywhere, at least nothing like last year (as the tears well up). Other than the line and heat, the other main problem faced was the endurance of the human body. We did alot better than last year in seeing the bands we wanted to see, but when you go to bed around 3 or 4 and the sun/heat won't let you sleep past 8, you're gonna have problems. Oh well, what can you do? It was cool to see Margaret and her wild gang of old Wooster hippies, they're good folks. Otherwise, I met a few nice folks, got all my clothes pretty dirty, and overall survived like a champ. With that intro, I'll give a quick review of the bands I saw, in chronological order:
The Black Keys, our homestate boys from Akron, rocked it pretty hard. I was still gaining my rock strength, so I wasn't too into it, but the duo still kicked their garage-blues-rock HARD.
We tried to meet up with Margaret at the Wilco set on the main stage and failed. Doug and Chops weren't too into those guys, so we soon moved on to shadier pastures.
The North Mississippi AllStars Hill Country Review was pretty sweet, at least the part we saw. The heat was really bearing down, and we were unable to get under the tent, so we only took about 20 minutes before going back to the tent for a break. But the guys did have R.L. Burnside himself onstage for a bit, which was damn sweet.
After I took a nap, we did make it to see the end of Bob Dylan's set. Doug kept complaining about his old man vocals, but Chops and I thought he was pretty good. Now I can say I heard "Like a Rolling Stone" live.
We went back again and we ended up eating and hanging out with Margaret, so I missed the headlining show of Dave Matthews & Friends, boo hoo hoo. It was a good time for gathering strength, because the after-midnight sets were pretty hardcore. So Doug and Chops were down for the count Friday night, but I was ready to rock.
At midnight at Another Tent were the X-ecutioners. They were pretty damn cool, with some nice mixing and scratching. Definite party music. After their set, I was wandering around seeing if the other bands were any good, but none really caught my interest. But then I found the Dirty Dozen Brass Brand parading around the middle of the grounds...awesome. Loud, funky and in person. Soon I got back to Another Tent for the second DJ set of the night, this time from Danger Mouse. He had some very inventive mixes, with Air, Audio Two, and Suzanne Vega, amongst others, all getting friendly with each other. He also put music from "Amelie" over a hip-hop beat, pretty nice. Though I didn't hear him do any mixes from the Grey Album, he did put the bassline from White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" on Jay-Z's "Encore," which was good enough. After he wrapped up, I retired to the tent for the night.
After getting a late start with cooking delays and overall fatigue, we finally made it over to the stages and caught a little bit of Grandaddy and Gomez wafting around. We met up with Margaret and crew to see the Del McCoury Band, some fine ol' timey bluegrass. Any band that does a song about a man who is set for life because he has two moonshine stumps is OK with me.
After that, we headed over to the main stage to see some Government Mule, but it was still a desolate wasteland over there, and hard to take. The Mule was good though.
Next up on the second stage (there were two huge "stages" and four smaller "tents") was My Morning Jacket. They were good, but were noticing the wind and clouds rolling in, so after catching a majority of that set, we headed back to the campsite. The storm definitely showed up, but our sturdy tent and tarp held up, minus one pole's brief failure. I weathered the whole thing with pride. After getting some grub together, we decided to venture back into the thick of things.
First we saw the Jazz Mandolin Project, who were pretty damn sweet. They rocked a cover of Zeppelin's "Goin to California" (made me think of Andy, awww) which segued into another Zeppelin tune which Chops and I couldn't name. They were killer.
Due to some rain-caused delays, we had some time to see another bluegrass legend, Doc Watson. More good ol-timey hits, and perseverance when the banjo player's string broke and I think the fiddle player started playing the remaining banjo strings or something crazy. Good either way.
But we had to pull ourselves away to get to the Galactic set on the second stage. And it's a good thing we did, because they killed it. Their guests included Krazno, guitarist from Soulive, and two horn players from Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (wait for it...). There was another Zeppelin cover, this time "Whole Lotta Love." It was a muddy wonder, as some rain continued to fall. We then ventured back to the tent.
The rains came back, and we bunkered down instead of attempting to see the Dead. Unfortunately, I was worn out and fell asleep around 11, and was unable to wake up around 12 to see the late-night goodness, which pisses me off, but oh well. Chops and Doug tell me that Robert Randolph was insane, as was the Tokyo Ska late night set, and there was some other good stuff too.
We got going around noon, our earliest start yet, to see the second Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra set, this time on the second stage. They were probably my biggest Bonnaroo surprise (barely edging out Jazz Mandolin). It was a bunch of Japanese guys in matching white suits, and they kicked out some serious horn-driven, skankin jams. There were vocals on most songs, but they were in indecipherable "English," so they were mostly just funny. The bari sax player delivered a fine speech including wisdom like "Music closest thing to peace" and "We play very fast music, because it is the speed of life." Awesome, I love those guys.
Soon Chops and Doug were feeling pretty miserable and went back to the tent. I soldiered on and wandered by the Leftover Salmon set, but it wasn't too engaging. I also caught a few songs of Burning Spear at the muddy debacle of the main stage, but the slow reggae just wasn't doing it for me.
So I got to That Tent early to see the Bad Plus, just the ass-kickinest jazz piano trio out these days. Their set wasn't super-long, but they rocked it hard, and played covers including Aphex Twin's "Flim", Black Sabbath's "Ironman," and an encore of Blondie's "Heart of Glass." Unfortunately, I was waiting in vain for some new covers, as all those are on the two albums I own. Oh well, it was cool to see the covers live. And the guys were very appreciative of the love from the crowd, which was very cool.
After that, I meandered over to see some of the Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven set. It was cool to hear songs like "Eurotrash Girl" and their cover of the Kinks' "Victoria" live, but I don't think I heard any Camper Van B songs, I musta missed 'em. So I gathered my strength in preparation for AGP.
Chops met me at Another Tent to see the Addison Groove Project, an awesome band which we helped out a bit with street team activities. They were rockin' as ever. We got free big orange foam #1 hands that say "GO AGP GO," which are pretty cool.
In the middle of the AGP set we left to see Soulive, who were playing at the same time. So I finally get to see the entirety of Soulive in concert after years of waiting and...pretty large disappointment. I couldn't really see the stage, but one of the guys said they were playing all new songs from their upcoming album. If that is true, COUNT ME OUT! We just heard a couple weak numbers with VOCALS, got fed up, and went back to AGP. Chops got worn out and went back, so I got to see AGP rock covers of "Love & Happiness" and "Have a Cigar." They're an awesome band, check 'em out if you get the chance, or at least give 'em some website love.
After AGP, I went to the second stage to see Femi Kuti, Afrobeat artist and son of the king of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti. Femi and the band were good, with some scantily clad backup singers. Not as engaging as Antibalas, but good just the same.
When I got back to the campsite, the boys had packed things up due to the forecast and we soon got out of there. Sure I had to miss a few more bands, but the forecast was brutal.
Here is a list of bands I missed for a variety of reasons, but wanted to see: Peelander-Z, Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos, Kings of Leon, Steve Winwood, The Dead, Primus, Ween, Robert Randolph, Cut Chemist, Medeski Martin & Wood, and Trey Anastasio (sorta). A long, sad list, but this festival is a bit too much to handle.
So there's the Bonnaroo report, big thanks for reading this far. It's off to VEGAS tomorrow, I'll be back late Friday night, so hang loose.