Bonnaroo Day 3- Matt
Good morning from Bonnaroo! Yesterday was a long, historic day for me. We saw about nine shows, which if you’ve never been to a festival, is an absolute marathon. The sun was intense and the crowds were massive. You must be prepared if you want to survive out here. There will be cigarette smoke blown in your face for the entire weekend—that’s a fact. If you don’t enjoy that, it could be a long weekend for you.
Our first show that we went to was actually the most surprising. We walked up to the Districts, who had started their set about ten minutes before we arrived. Their energy was unmatched throughout the day. They were on stage looking to have fun and it showed. Their set placed the bar awfully high for the day.
But, in headlining fashion, of course, Alabama Shakes and Kendrick Lamar were everything I’d hoped they would be. They went back-to-back on the main stage and the crowds were like something I’ve never seen before. Once you were in, there wasn’t any chance of leaving. The main stage is set up with two large screens on each side of the stage. As the Shakes were about to come on, the screens showed the band walking out from the back. It was honestly so badass because the front woman walked out with a swagger of an athlete. If you’ve never heard anything from The Alabama Shakes, know that their lead singer, Brittany Howard is a soulful black woman—in the most non-cliché form. She owned the stage and put her pipes on a pedestal. They played most of their new album and some of their older songs—except for “Hold On,” one of their most popular.
After the show was over, instead of leaving like what normally happens, the audience packed in even further. I’m talking packed in. There were probably more people at the Kendrick Lamar show than full populations of small countries. After about an hour of sound checks—the absolute worst part of festivals, but a necessary evil—Kendrick came out to “Money Trees.” For my first rap show, it was gratifying. He had complete control of the audience. A god among men. At one point, he did about 15 minutes of “M.A.A.D City,” only to wind it completely back and do the whole song again. It was impressive. The trend I enjoy in live hip-hop is the implantation of backing bands in the place of DJ’s. Wiz Khalifa does it. Even Mac Miller did a tour with the Internet. It’s a nice change. Kendrick played some hits from his latest album, but not as many as I would have liked.
Shows to see today: Bleachers—I’ve already seen them, but since they play such a great set, I will absolutely be seeing them again. Also, Childish Gambino will grace the stage later on in the night. My first two rap shows should be exceedingly good.
To catch some of the sets, head to fuseTV online.