WPG-“Roo”: Bonnaroo 2011 Recap Day 4

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

Smith Westerns [This Tent, 12:30-1:30 PM]
Playing for an audience not much older than themselves, Smith Westerns took to the This Tent stage with a nervous energy. After jumping right into their set with “Imagine Pt. 3,” off their album Dye It Blonde, lead singer Cullen Omori quickly introduced the band from Chicago, Illinois, only to jump right back into the music with “Only One.” Smith Westerns played numerous songs from both of their albums, Smith Westerns and Dye It Blonde, including “Tonight,” “Be My Girl,” and their smash hit “Weekend.” After listening to plenty of shows over the weekend, it is safe to say that Smith Westerns seemed a bit shy and timid while playing to the crowd at Bonnaroo. Though, Omori’s vocals sound mature for his age, their was a sensible awkwardness about his stage presence between songs. For instance, before several songs Omari mentioned whether it was going to be fast or slow, which seemed unnecessary. However, what they lacked in stage presence they made up for in sound. Their pop-y lyrics and melodies, were balanced out by guitarist, Max Kakacek, whose slashing chords and guitar rifts added that little special something that really moved the audience. It was refreshing to look around the crowd and see smiles on every ones face. This is what the Smith Westerns do best; leave people feeling happy. The stage presence and maturity will come in time, but it is thrilling to contemplate what lies ahead for this act who does things their own way. – Aubrey Morse

Neon Trees [This Tent, 2:00-3:00 PM]
Cheering broke out as the Neon Trees sign was lifted to position, about 20 minutes before their performance on the That Tent stage. As those around me were discussing their favorite acts of the weekend, thus far, I was preparing myself for the performance to come. Like many, I learned of Neon Trees after their breakout song “Animal” hit the air waves. And though I enjoy their music, I had no idea what to expect from their live performance. Neon Trees walked on to the stage dressed appropriately as stereotypical rock stars, all of whom were decked out in outrageous gear. However, lead singer and keyboardist Tyler Glenn took the cake wearing tight black pants paired with a My Morning Jacket tee, topped off with a fur vest. Despite their duds, Neon Trees hit the stage with an incredible energy that fed the crowd. In fact, Glenn took command of the stage the moment he stepped on it. As the band began to play a vamp of the melody for their first tune, “Your Surrender,” Glenn walked out from the backstage curtain with sunglasses on, toward the drum set, turned his back to the crowd and threw his right arm in the air. After about 30 seconds he then turned back to the crowd and began to sing as he threw his sunglasses into the crowd. As Neon Trees continued on, there was music played, stories told, and clothes taken off. Glenn who was constantly moving around the stage kept the audience glued, eager to see what he would do next. At one point he grabbed the black and white spiraled mic stand and carried it around as an accessory, then picked it up revealing an eye staring back at the crowd. “I’m watching you, Bonnaroo!” Glenn yelled right before going into “1983,” at which point he wrapped the mic cord around his neck by spinning it through the air. Neon Trees performed songs off of their debut album, Habits, which included “Love and Affection” and “Sins of My Youth.” Even when Glenn’s mic cut out for the last couple of verses of, “In The Next Room,” the audience, who was involved in the show from the beginning, sang Glenn’s part and clapped until the mic problem was worked out. Then of course there was “Animal” which was as strong as ever and apparently left Glenn hot and bothered seeing as he took off his pants mid song revealing his American flag boxer briefs. Neon Trees wanted their crowd to “let [their] inner freak out,” and with an upbeat, adrenaline filled performance, they were able to do just that. – Aubrey Morse

Robyn [The Other Tent, 4:30-5:45 PM]
If you’ve never heard of this Swedish babe then you must’ve been asleep during the 90’s when her hit “Do You Know (What It Takes)” swept the globe. The trilogy of albums she released in 2010, Body Talk Pt. 1, Body Talk Pt. 2 and Body Talk had some of the best dance songs I’ve heard in a long while and she stuck to playing tunes mainly off of them. Her stage was the kind of thing I expected and wanted: two huge plastic flowers (that began to spin once Robyn walked on), a cute little white bird on the all-black drum kit and her band wearing all white jumpsuits. Kanye blared through the speakers as the crowd was already dancing in place, screaming at every bit of movement coming from behind or on the stage. Robyn strut her way on to the stage looking SO 80’s from her spandex shorts to her yellow pleated jacket. With a pair of shades on, she jumped and danced (again, SO 80’s) to “Fembot”. Before taking the show to another planet, a far more fun and groovy one, with “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” and “Dancing On My Own” Robyn said, “It’s so hot in here! And it’s my birthday! So you’ll have to help me out-dance!” And my, my, my the crowd definitely delivered. – Natalie Wontorczyk

Cold War Kids [This Tent, 5:00-6:15 PM]
Cold War Kids played the This Tent stage Sunday afternoon and gave their audience a show filled with hits, old and new alike. During their set Cold War Kids performed classics from Robbers and Cowards, some songs from Loyalty to Loyalty, and a few more recent hits from Mine and Yours. Cold War Kids Kicked off the show with “Mexican Dogs”. Though a decent way to begin the show, it was apparent that the levels were a bit off. Nathan Willett’s vocals were muddled and Jonnie Russell’s guitar, which sounded more like a screaming banchee, drowned out everything else on stage. However, despite the techical problems, the show carried on. Though there was not a lot of talking in between songs, Cold War Kids had plenty to sing. Their set included crowd favorites, “Audience,” “Hang Me Up to Dry,” “Louder Than Ever,” and “Hospital Beds.” After asking the mellow crowd if they were still with them, Cold War Kids broke into “We Used To Vacation,” that had everyone singing along. They rounded out the set with a song they recorded in Nashville a year ago aptly titled, “Good Night Tennessee.” Followed by “St. John”, which left the audience in an excited frenzy. Overall, a decent performance from Cold War Kids that could have been better if their sound troubles were addressed before or during the show instead of after they walked off stage. – Aubrey Morse

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