Bonnaroo kicked off June seventh and WPGU 107.1 brings you reviews of some of the best moments of the day. Some highlights: Dale Earnheardt Jr. Jr. covering “God Only Knows,” Kendrick Lamar taking requests from the audience, and the humorous absence of hosts for the comedy central stand-up.
Comedy Central Stand-Up: The Bonnaroo Experience; Hosted By Key and Peele [The Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre, 5:00-6:45 PM]
Bonnaroo 2012 has been scheduled as a festival that builds; an entity that gets bigger and better day by day. Realizing that the lightest part of the music festival was going to be the afternoon of Day 1, I decided to kick off this years festival with a laugh…at least, that was the goal. The Comedy Theatre, an air conditioned oasis from the Tenessee heat, is a stage that houses comedians who perform live at Bonnaroo for a special that will be aired on Comedy Central. The stakes are high. So, it would follow that the comedians blow us all away, but, unfortunately that didn’t happen. There were, however, a few redeeming comdians that stole the show. Amongst the dull and taste-less jabs at abortion and rape, Natasha Laterno’s bit about Taco Bells and DUI’s stood out. Why does the goverment fork out cash for DUI checkpoints? Just patrol Taco Bell after midnight, because “the only people who go to Tacobell after midnight are drunk.” The Learning Channel (TLC) or as Laterno called it, Toddlers, Lunatics, and Cakes, was another hot topic. The last comdian on the stage, Rory Scoval, captured my attention once he mentioned the TLC show “Storage Wars.” Being a fan, I screamed along with the rest of the crowd, who was then shut up by the comedian. “No one likes that show enough to scream for it. HEY HONEY, STORAGE WARS IS ON! GET IN HERE! It’s the kind of show you watch and realize it’s a joke. You’re just waiting for someone to pop out and yell, ‘Just kidding!'” But that never happens. Luncheables, Dinnerables, Breakfastables, and road rage finished off Scoval’s great set. Thank goodness for Latrino and Scovall, who made the miserableshowcase of comedic talent bearable. P.S. – Key and Peele never showed up.
Dale Earnheardt Jr. Jr. [The Other Tent, 7:15-8:15 PM]
Seeing as the Comedy Tent was a surprising disappoinment, Bonnaroo truly began for me as Dale Earnheartd Jr. Jr. took to The Other Tent stage. The ‘Roo newcomers fought off their nerves and rallied to perform a set that “Sounded better than the CD,” according to those around me. Though I was expecting the boys from Detroit to come out in authentic NASCAR fire suits, as is the norm, they instead looked refined and simple in bright neon argyle jackets over v-neck t-shirts. The jackets came off as Dale Earnheardt Jr. Jr. began to play to a crowd hundreds deep that kept growing by the minute. Swarms of concert goers were drawn in the acts electronic beats, but remained for their rich, sweet sounding vocals. It’s the kind of music you can get lost in. Playing songs off Horse Power, their first EP, and It’s a Corporate World, their first full length CD, the set was filled with tunes that took the crowd on a ride. The set started off with “Morning Thought,” and flowed into “An Ugly Person On A Movie Screen,” at which point the crowd began to chant “Na,na, na, na,” in time with the band. During their electric set, Dale Earnheardt managed to pay tribute to fellow Bonnaroo act the Beach Boys by including a rousing cover of “God Only Knows.” What came next included crowd surfing, lots of bubbles, and fantastic live performances of, among others, “The Fisherman” and “Nothing But Our Love” which closed out the show. Throughout this performance, I felt as if in a dream. Though dream isn’t the right word, it was more an experience; an amazing, fast-paced electric experience.
Yelawolf [This Tent, 8:30-9:30 PM]
The This Tent wasn’t filled with people, it was flooded, all of whom were eager to see Yelawolf pounce onto the stage. The crowd was getting restless and the energy could be felt through the air. Yelawolf walked onto the stage ready to perform. His wish was our command. Hands in the air? Right on. Middle fingers to the sky? Hell yes. “We’re gonna blow the roof off of this mother fucker!” With statements like that how can you not get pumped? His delivery was flawless and his banter flowed. “Fuck yeah Bonnaroo! Makes me want to call my mom and say, ‘Look mama no hands!'” Then the base dropped and we were in the middle of “No Hands.” Other notable songs from the set included “Shady 2.0 Cypher,” “I Wish,” “Growing Up In The Gutter,” and a medly which included songs from Johnny Cash, Outkast, And Eminem. Yelawolf made sure to include a tribute to MCA, in which he performed snipets of “Fight For Your Right,” “Brass Monkey,” and “Intergalactic.” At which point the crowd went insane. Soon after the sky filled with lighters, at Yelawolf’s command of course, and on he went into “Pop The Trunk.” It was a show made all the better because of Yelawolf’s personality. He discussed his Alabama roots and his influences, then made sure to move onto the next song before any one could get bored. An excelent show from an act who is only get better in time.
Kendrick Lamar [This Tent, 10:00-11:00PM]
I was expecting a lot from Kendrick Lamar, a fresh MC out of Compton, California. He’s a young man with a decent flow who has worked with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Drake, and Busta Rhymes. Perhaps Yelawolf filled my quota of rap for the day, but I have to say, I was bored with Lamar. He performed to a good crowd of devoted fans, those who, as he said, have been with him since his start. Lamar likes to call it a “family;” he gives his all and he expects it in return from them. Plenty in the crowd knew each verse, every rhyme which made it less awkward when he would throw his mic in their direction expecting them to fill the silent void. Some highlights from the set included, “Hol’ Up,” “P&P,” “A.D.H.D,” and “Women, Weed, and Weather.” it was also refreshing to hear him take requests from the audience. It is obvious Lamar cares about his “family,” though this concert was good enough for me; I don’t need any more family.