WPG-“Roo”: Bonnaroo 2011 Recap Day 1

Thursday, Day 1 of 4. Vids and photos–check ’em out!

Wavves [This Tent, 5:30-6:30 PM]
Bonnaroo 2011 officially kicked off for me with Wavves, and I couldn’t be happier. Not only was it the first day of ‘Roo but it was my first time at Bonnaroo ever. By the time this first show rolled around I was exhausted (and really, so was everyone else). Once sound check started the crowd was instantly rejuvenated though, breaking into its own rendition of countless classic tunes that seemingly everyone knew. Wavves finally came on and the crowd broke out in (what else?) the wave. The whole set was amazing and once they played their super dance-y “King of the Beach” to end the show we were all officially ready to really get Bonnaroo started. – Natalie Wontorczyk

Best Coast [The Other Tent, 7:15-8:15 PM]
Best Coast was a great choice for the summery feel of the day and Bonnaroo as a whole. From the get go, the first song “I Wish He Was You” really added a perfect soundtrack to the backdrop of a setting sun and a crowd of sweaty, pumped people. “Summer Mood” took the words right out of my mouth, when Bethany Cosentinois crooned “there’s something about the summer” all ‘Roonians sang along totally feeling the oneness that comes from a shared experience unique to Bonnaroo. Vocalist and songwriter Bethany Cosentinois is not only super talented but she’s as cute as button. Her constant “thanks you’s” to the crowd were always greeted with wild cheering and when she screamed out “tie-dye and tits!” the crowd went wild. Yes, they played “I Wish He Was My Boyfriend” and yes, it was expertly done just like the rest of the set! – Natalie Wontorczyk

The Drums [The Other Tent, 8:45-9:45 PM]
I was really excited to see what The Drums would be able to do playing on such a huge stage. The band itself formed in 2006 and has only one studio album out to date, the self-titled 2010 album The Drums. Clearly, they still have a lot to prove and Jonathan Pierce, vocals, immediately admitted to the huge crowd that the band didn’t know what to expect and how happy they were for “you guys to show up”. It might have been this pressure that drove The Drums for perfection but whatever it was, it definitely worked. The boys all seemed so genuinely likeable and with the super charismatic Pierce leading the pack they were absolutely mind blowing. They stuck mostly to their better-known songs like “Best Friend”, “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “Me and the Moon”. And when they played their super summery, super fun “Let’s Go Surfing/Don’t Be A Jerk Johnny” the whole crowd was feeling it: clapping, dancing, and singing along without any reservations. They did also play a new song called “Money” and Pierce introduced it as a song off of their latest album, recorded and finished just two weeks prior. I was so impressed that my aching legs couldn’t stop me from groovin’ and I can’t wait to see how The Drums continue to grow as a band. – Natalie Wontorczyk

Sleigh Bells [The Other Tent, 10:15-11:15 PM]
Fact: Everyone becomes friendly at Bonnaroo. This is a fact I now know goes undisputed, hammered in by seeing Sleigh Bells take to The Other Tent stage. With people shoulder to shoulder, the capacity crowd was an entity all to itself; singing along with songs such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” which came blarring through the stages speaker as the band was sound checking. Though the crowd did grow reckless as the soundcheck took a little longer than expected, however, the wait was worth it. Guitarist Derek Miller hit the stage first and came out swinging. Seconds later singer Alexis Krauss did much of the same and, with an unparalleled sense of urgency, the duo took comand of the stage. Sleigh Bells energy is what made their set stand out. Playing all of the songs off of their debut studio album Treats the show was non-stop excitement. Particular standouts incuded both “Tell Em” and “Rill Rill,” which had the crowd going wild. The only criticism about the show would be this: it was short. Playing all of the songs off of Treats left the duo about 15 minutes short of their hour long set. It would have been icing on the cake if they were to bring a cover or something new to the table, but with what they had, they rocked it. – Aubrey Morse

Deerhunter [That Tent, 11:30-12:45 PM]
I’m so glad that I managed to muster enough energy to make it to see Deerhunter at the end of the night. The crowd was a perfect mellow to accompany lead singer Bradford Cox’s haunting vocals. The rad backdrop of lights really made my first late-night show at Bonnaroo even better. The crowd was loving the up-beat and in your face guitar that Deerhunter brought to the table and tunes like “Don’t Cry” kept ‘Roonians completely happy. Frontman Bradford Cox gratefully told the crowd “I realize a lot of you guys have never heard of us and I appreciate you checkin’ us out”. If that’s not reason enough to check them out then I don’t know what is. – Natalie Wontorczyk

Childish Gambino [This Tent, 11:30-12:30 PM]
Though some may not know Childish Gambino by name they would likely recognize his face. Donald Glover, aka Childish, is a talented character who not only acts (currently he plays Troy on the hit NBC show Community) but is currently making his way through the music industry. Though his raps have a fantastic flow, he also has an impressive vocal range which he showcased on the this tent stage. Shortly after 11:30, as the crowd was on their fifth round of chanting “Gam-bin-o,” the lights dimmed and he hit the stage. “This is so f&$king ill!” Gambino yelled as he grabbed the mic. The first time Bonaroo artist went right to work kicking off the show with “Let Me Dope You,” off his album Culdesac. The set list also included “So Fly,” in which Gambino broke out his falsetto, showing that he can do it all; and do it well. Perhaps the highlight of Gambino’s show was when he sampled Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Hearing “there’s a fire starting in my heart” from Gambino’s “John Legend voice” was something remarkable. Overall, the show which also included, “Put it in my Video” and “Lights Turned On,” could only be described as dopeness. Simply a perfect way to top off my first night at Bonnaroo 2011. – Aubrey Morse

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