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Give me a f&$%ing break Kanye…

bonnaroo_f_kanye.JPGKanye finally breaks his silence on the Bonnaroo fiasco here.

Choice quotes from the article:

West also blamed thrown bottles for malfunctions with his “Jane screen.” (In the concept concert, Jane is the HAL-like disembodied female robotic voice of his spaceship.)

West concluded by saying his elaborate stage cuts his payday in half and leaves him icing his knees.

Are you fucking serious? Come on man, that is some ridiculous shit. Are we supposed to be ok with this now that he apologized and then whined and diatribed and shifted blame everywhere but to himself? The man is like a ranting child. Check his hilarious blog entry after the jump:

Read the rest…

Bonnaroo 2008: Day 3 in Review

nice sax and tubaAs I meandered over to the Which Stage to wait for Sharon Jones, I heard strains of brass-driven jazz.  Soul Rebels Brass Band weren’t in the booklet schedule, but they more than satisfied my desire for groovy funk.  They combine a hip-hop approach to performance with jazz, funk and reggae.  Obviously really talented instrumentalists and veteran jamsters, they formed some tight, impromptu sounding grooves that really energized the crowd.

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Bonnaroo 2008: Day 2 in Review

Though I’ve seen the Fiery Furnaces (Wiki) twice before, I decided to go after their set at the That Tent since the two previous shows had been like night and day, presenting some of the most musically stimulating and challenging live experiences I’ve ever had.

Their Roo performance proved no different. Read the rest…

Bonnaroo 2008: Day 1 in Review

Setting the atmosphere and general attitude of the festival, the first set I saw was Brooklyn’s the Big Sleep in the table-filled Troo Music Lounge. There was a huge turn-out for the low-marquee band and they delivered on the promise of their expansive, brooding, garage-y fuzz rock. Though a bit hesitant at first, they locked into solid grooves that by the end of their set had a sizeable dance pit going, a few tables askew, and the tent bursting with people.

Superdrag (Wiki) was up next at the That Tent, where I spent the remainder of the evening.  I must say they underwhelmed.  To be generous.  Read the rest…

Bonnaroo 2008: Painstaking detail

Covering a festival like Bonnaroo can be difficult to say the least. Aside from the sheer number of acts one digests over the course of the weekend, myriad factors can affect how a performance goes, from the appropriateness of the music to the festival environment to the audience.

One of the biggest influences on the quality of a set can be the attitude of the crowd. I can safely say that after experiencing the crowds at Bonnaroo, I am a little more encouraged about the state and tastes of the music-devouring public at large. Overall, the audiences were attentive and high energy, willing to dance at the first hint of bass or a soaring guitar line, and extending warm welcomes to anyone making high-quality music. It didn’t matter if this was an artist’s first tour or hundredth, whether they’d been in your brain for years or for seconds.

I was surprised by how overwhelming the reception was on opening night for relatively novice acts MGMT, Vampire Weekend and most curiously to me, the experimental post-rock, Battles. The uproar between songs was headliner-level. I think it’s safe to say that the jam-band, hippie stereotypes from early Bonnaroos have greatly diversified their tastes. Even Metallica, the somewhat controversial, probably most perplexing headliner choice, received a warm welcome.

Honestly, the only negative reception I saw was for Kanye West. And deservedly so, as he pushed his set to 2:45AM and requested all other sets end early before his started, since he was premiering some whiz-bang, glow-in-the-dark live experience. He probably should have remembered he wanted to perform his set in the dark, since he didn’t actually hit the stage until 4:30-ish and the sun was coming up by the time the set was underway.

Other than the crowds, the most positive thing at Bonnraoo was the overall average quality of music being produced. While some sets definitely charged me more than others, everyone I heard was good, if not great, tight and was genuinely enjoying playing their music. For a music geek like me, this is nirvana. With those two general points aside, I will attempt to delve into my musical experiences day by day.

Detailed Daily reviews:

Bonnaroo Day 3 – First Impressions

What a curious day at the festival, containing multiple highlights (Sigur Rós and B.B. King) and one of the lowest moments (Kanye)

Sigur Rós

Competing with MMJ for my personal highlight set at Bonnaroo. Resplendent with beautiful and moving moments, ethereal and visceral, distant yet warm and welcoming. Oft conjuring images of the tundras of their native Iceland, they create music with a distant yet familiar feel, almost akin to a déjà vu of a memory of love or beauty from a past life. Visually electrifying with elaborate accoutrements and unexpected images, such as the all-white-garbed, small marching band or the rearrangement of core members on the stage into specific sections as if a split orchestra. Now one of my favorite performances, epic in scope and fully captivating. Read the rest…

Bonnaroo Day 2 – First Impressions

Day 2 impressions, in order they were seen. More in-depth overview coming by mid-week.

Fiery Furnaces

Extremely tight set, fantastic as always. More rock-oriented than usual, with some great extended guitar jams that sounded like high-quality prog jams, bordering at times on metal. It’s always a treat when Eleanor straps on her Stratocaster. They are truly talented instrumentalists, able to stretch out into any stylistic direction.

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Bonnaroo Day 2: A peek…it’s too busy and rainy to write things up yet.

James Hetfield (Metallica), photo credit: Taylor Hill

Jim James (pictured right) with band My Morning Jacket, covering classics from James Brown (“Cold Sweat”) and Kool and the Gang (“Get down on it”) in the second half of a 3-hour marathon late-night set, also featuring Kirk Hammett (Metallica) helping out on “One Big Holiday,” photo credit: me

The day/night also featured Chris Rock’s fantastic round-up of our presidential nominees, another great set by Fiery Furnaces, a surprisingly flat Willie Nelson, a riveting Bela Fleck/Bluegrass All-stars set and tons more that I swear I will comment on in the next day or so (probably Sunday since I find myself wholly uninterested in 90% of things going on Sunday).

Bonnaroo 2008: Travelogue Part 1

Exhaustion hasn’t quite set in yet. The drive from Baltimore to Pittsburgh was smoother than I’ve ever experienced taking only the 4 Google-predicted hours to get there. After getting some logistics out of the way, we embarked at 8PM on the 10-hour trip to Manchester, TN and the 100-acre farm owned by the now 7-year old Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
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