Day two featured an exciting blend of acts. Check out some of the shows WPGU 107.1′ers attended. Some highlights, the Kooks simple but effective set, Foster the People’s inflatable monster, and Big Freedia calling up backup dancers.
The Kooks [Which Stage, 12:15-1:15 PM]
The Kooks, an act who made a trek from across the pond, were the first big act of Day 2 to hit the ground running. Their indie vibe was the perfect start to a lazy afternoon. ‘Rooers who came out to see the show picked up on the relaxed vibe. Some stood close to the stage, others huddled in the shade for some relief from the midday sun, while many more set up camp around the stage laying out on blankets and kicking back in lawn chairs. The awkwardly adorable Luke Pritchard, lead vocals and guitar, looked somewhat out of place amonst his on-stage counter parts decked out in pastel. Pritchard rocked a black and white t-shirt, while one member of the band was decked out in a bright pink suit and the other was in a bright blue pastel button up. The set was robust and filled with songs off all three of their albums. From their first release Inside In/Inside Out there was “Naive,” “Ooh La,” “She Moves Her Own Way,” and “Matchbox.” “Shine On” and “Down to The Market” made an appearance from their album Konk. Then there was “Junk of The Heart” off of their album of the same name. It was a simple performance. The Kooks got on stage and just played. There were no pyrotechniques, no crazy light show, and no long winded stories. They just performed, thus stealing the show.
The Avett Brothers [What Stage, 5:00-6:30PM]
I’m not one for country music. In fact, I’m the type of person who thinks that country is only suitable as the back track to a dinner at Cracker Barrel. But The Avett Brothers showed me all that country is capable of when mixed with rock, punk, pop, folk, bluegrass, and ragtime. From guitar rips to bass drum kicks, from their heart felt vocals to the rock and roll energy, they have it all. Thousands filled the grass acreage before the What Stage to experience this act that’s a little of everything. “Alright, good afternoon Bonnaroo!” was the first thing Seth Avett said as he walked on stage. The crowed roared in response, then the bass drum kick began and audience went from standing still to jumping in time with the beat. The show began with “Will You Return?” into “The Fall.” There were many notable pieces throughout the set including an electric version of “Kick Drum Heart,” and a call and response version if their single “I and Love and You.” There was the soulful performance of “January Wedding,” the heartfelt “Murder In The City,” and the revenge ridden “I Killed Sally’s Lover.” It was an amazing set from an incredible act that had everyone in attendance rocking along.
Feist [Which Stage, 6:15-7:45PM]
The only thing left to say after this performance is this: what were the Bonnaroo organizers thinking?! Sure, Feist is a big act fit for a huge stage, however she was overshadowed by Ludacris who was performing at the same time in This Tent, just down the road. Despite less than stellar attendance Feist continued on. The strategy? Simplicity. The sweet singer song writer came out in a red maxi dress complete with sunglasses, a floppy hat and her guitar. Despite the size of the stage, the volume was quite low and was overpowered by the bass from Luda’s set. Though, when you could hear Feist, it was beautiful. She included songs that span her career from her first album Monarch to her most recent release Metals. It was a decent set that was fit for one of the smaller tents, not the second biggest stage at Bonnaroo.
Foster The People [Which Stage, 8:45-10:00PM]
As the sun set over Bonnaroo, Foster The People were preparing to hit the Which Stage. A bright light momentarily blinded the crowd. Emerging from the light was Mark Foster, looking heavenly in a white suit accentuated by the white light behind him. The set, which happened to be one of the last performances in the US promoting Torches, was kicked off with “Miss You.” Foster placed singles strategically throughout the performance pulling new comers along through the show. Lesser known songs and a new one, “Got To Get Away There’s A Warrant On My Head,” were the fillers in between their safety net singles including “Helena Beat” and “Don’t Stop.” Of course, they saved the best, or rather most well known, “Pumped Up Kicks,” for last. The song seemed simple at first then all hell broke loose. There was confetti everywhere, a dubstep style verse, and a giant 20 foot tall inflatable monster on stage. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Radiohead [What Stage, 10:00PM-12:00AM]
I was beyond excited to see Radiohead perform this year at Bonnaroo. I’ve heard rave reviews about their live performances, though most of them are within the confines of a closed venue. Last night it was an open stage, plenty of music, and something like 70,000 fans eager to catch a glimpse of this amazing act. That is a lot of people. Unless you got to the What Stage during Foster the Peple’s set or before, there was no way you’d be able to see anything. Sure, there are two gigantic television screens at either side of the stage broadcasting what’s happening on stage out to the masses beyond those in the mosh pit. But Radiohead instead decided to use those screens as pieces of their light show. Affixed on screen where split shots of things happening on stage, though it was difficult to interpret them thanks to the color filter on the screen adding to the light show, but detracting from the experience had by those farther back in the crowd of people. At least, if you couldn’t see, you were able to rock out. Radioheads set included much more from their later albums (Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows, and King of Limbs). Highlights included “15 Step,” “Nude,” “Idioteque,” “Paranoid Android,” and more. Overall, great show from a solid artist.
Big Freedia [The Other Tent, 3:15-4:00 AM]
If you haven’t yet met the Queen Diva Freedia, you should make yourself acquanted. The artist straight from The Big Easy is coming to Pygmalion 2012 and bringing with her NOLA bounce music. Don’t know about bounce music? No worries, all you need to know is how to shake your behind, hard. Last night, booties were everywhere. See, Freedia has her own set if booty shakers who put my white girl dancing abilities to shame. Volunteers came up onstage and trued to bounce as best they could, but Freedia put them all to shame. It wad a fantastic, fun show. If you’re not afraid to shake what ya mama gave ya and aren’t bothered by stage dancers making their booties bounce, then mark Big Freedia and The Divas on your Pygmalion calander. Your mind will be blown. Key tracks: “Gin in My System” and “Azz Everywhere.”