6 Cool Things Witnessed on Bonnaroo 2013 Sunday
The final day of Manchester, Tennessee's Bonnaroo festival didn't disappoint, with crowd-pleasing sets by indie-rock supergroup Divine Fits, alt-rock darlings the National, thrift-shopping/tag-popping hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and many more. Less crowd-pleasing? The rainy weather, which probably had a lot of festival-goers wishing they hadn't squandered the last of their pocket money at the henna-tattoo and body-painting booths. D'oh!
But fans weren't going to let anything rain on their rock 'n' roll parade. Good times were still had by all, and listed below are the highlights of a literally thunderous Bonnaroo day four.
It Became Apparent That Kendrick Lamar is Really, Really Popular
I know what you're thinking. Something along the lines of, "Well, DUH." But at Bonnaroo 2012, the rising Compton rapper was playing in a tent. Now, only a year later, he was on the main stage, freestyling for thousands of screaming fans who hung on his every improvised word. "Does anyone wanna get f***ed up with me after the show?" Kendrick asked, rhetorically, as basically everyone in the audience raised their hands. Good thing he had a bigger dressing room this year.
It Became Apparent That Tame Impala Are Also Really, Really Popular
They may not be at a Kendrick-level yet, but judging from the reaction these neo-psychedelic Aussies received in the spilling-over Other Tent, they won't be playing tents for very much longer. With their Nuggety nods to Hendrix and Floyd, their set of psychotropic grooves was immaculately time-capsuled retro-rock that somehow also sounded incredibly current, the perfect bridge between Bonnaroo's hippies and hipsters. And when they played "Elephant," a song that pretty much anyone who owns a TV set must know by now (it's in a Blackberry commercial that seems to be airing on a constant loop these days), the audience absolutely exploded. See you on the main stage next year, boys.
Swans Blew Minds, Eardrums (Mostly Eardrums)
Speaking of things that exploded, let's talk about my poor ear canals for a moment. Recently reunited prog/goth/art-rock noisemongers Swans' set in This Tent was possibly the loudest concert of Bonnaroo 2013, or maybe in Bonnaroo's entire 12-year history. Seriously, they made My Bloody Valentine's body of work sound like one of those Rockabye Baby compilations. I doubt there is any sort of earplug on the market that could've provided any sort of protection from Swans' acute-tinnitus-inducing blast of noise...but let me tell you, the basic foam plugs I purchased at Bonnaroo's general store did NOT do the trick. Michael Gira and company's din could be heard all the way over on the other side of the field, drowning out the set by the decidedly jollier Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros…and it could probably be heard from outer space, too. You know how writing something in all caps makes it seem like you're shouting? Well, it was like all of Swans' songs were written in all caps. THEY WERE REALLY LOUD. It was all so intense, and actually rather awesome, at first...but then it became just too much, and one by one, spectators fled the tent before permanent tinnitus set in. (Warning: Turn the volume down on your computer/device before you play the clip below.)