Yesterday was fun. The day started with a relatively slow start. We visited the Miller Lite Lounge, which plays host to some of the smaller bands. Radio Loose, a five-piece southern group, were the first acts of the entire festival. I have to admit; I was getting tired of waiting around for something to happen.
If you are more into the music and less into the partying atmosphere, I would actually recommend coming later.
So, because I hadn’t seen a single set yet, I was willing to listen to whatever was put in front of me. Radio Loose was just okay—nothing really more to say about them. After that show we walked over to the That Tent where most of the shows we wanted to see were taking place. When we got over there, a band called Unlocking the Truth was in the middle of their set. They were a metal band from New York City. Oh yeah, and they were in eighth grade. Take a moment to think about what you were doing in eighth grade and realize that it probably wasn’t as cool as playing one of the larger stages at Bonnaroo.
Iceage played next. They’re an indie-thrash band, and I don’t know if it was part of their act or their actual personalities, but they looked like they did not want to be there. The bassist never really looked up from his guitar, and absolutely never cracked a smile. The other members left all of the personality and presence to the front man—who has a voice resembling The Clash’s iconic sound. He moped around stage flinging his body around. He also never really smiled. At the end, the members looked at each other, and realized that their time was up. The front man says, “Time’s up,” drops the mic and walks off the stage. It was very angsty. I loved it.
Courtney Barnett was amazing. She has a quality about her voice that translates beautifully to a live performance. Usually, she has a three-piece backing band, but for some reason, it was just her and two other members. The sound was not lacking. She played all of her hits and had an overall fun-loving go at her set.
Mac Demarco, however, stole the show—as we all knew he would. Sitting on an eight-song EP to be released late this summer, I was expecting to hear some new songs. I did, and I loved everything about them. Mac and his band’s demeanor on stage is playful. You can tell they legitimately love what they’re doing. You take a band like Iceage who, even if it is an act, make it seem as if they don’t want to be playing the show and you compare it to the nature of Mac Demarco’s performance. The latter is more appealing. That’s not to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy Iceage, because I did. Mac played all of his hits, which was nice because it was the first show of the festival where I could actually follow along with everything that was going on.
“Chamber of Reflection,” off of Mac Demarco’s latest album, was a nice change of pace that really brought the whole crowd together. At the end of his set, he turned “Still Together,” a regularly three-something minute song, into fifteen minutes of wailing and crowd surfing. It was a perfect way to end a long first day at Bonnaroo.
Today, the set you can’t miss comes from Alabama Shakes. Sound and Color— their latest album that was released earlier this year in April, will make for an amazing live performance.
Sleeper set: Flying Lotus. It’s late at night and it’s going to be dance-y.