Thursdays at Bonnaroo are like the first day of school every year. You get your wits about you and see what is new and exciting. You run into friendly faces you may not have seen in a year. You set up your tent and you get ready to enjoy four days of glory.
Speaking of differences, there was a lot to look at. The comedy tent and cinema tent have been combined to one tent and Subway and Jeep both have stations to look at their products. The biggest difference though is The Other has been converted to an all EDM stage, with a man-made beach right next to it. Bonnaroo is changing with the times and always trying to improve the experience for the audience.
The weekend started with Luke Combs playing some country music for a fairly large audience, but Welles really kicked things off with a grunge infused set. They gave the crowd a schooling in rock music and even covered Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.” Look for these guys to be getting a lot of buzz soon. Hippo Campus packed This Tent for a dose of indie pop rock, while Walden had the New Music on Tap Lounge singing along to a medley of Beatles songs.
July Talk easily had one of the most energetic sets of the day with Leah Fay standing on the speakers and pulling people from the crowd, while the band raged behind her. Peter Dreimanis also leapt on the speakers, making the audience go absolutely wild. The two of them have such perfect chemistry that it’s hard to take your eyes off of them. Kyle Kinane, easily one of the funniest comedians working today, graced the audience in the Comedy & Cinema tent with a raucous set. He joked about the festival in terms of today’s political climate, did a 20-minute bit on the KKK and their everyday life problems while of course condemning them, and ended on a fart joke that went back to his high school. It was Kyle at his purest.
Two Feet had one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen at The Who Stage, mesmerizing them with his guitar. Meanwhile The Orwells brought their punk attitude to That Tent, driving the crowd wild. Mondo Cozmo put on an absolute rock and roll clinic at This Tent, packing the crowd in and keeping them jumping around and singing along. Their hour set went by in a flash and was easily one of the highlights of day 1. The Lemon Twigs were the perfect come down for that with a gorgeous set of music that eased everyone towards the late-night sets of Thursday.
Turkuaz’s funk was made for night time at Bonnaroo. The band was on fire from the get go, dancing in unison on stage and just throwing smiles every which way they could at one another and the crowd. Watching their entire set is tiring for the audience, let alone the band, since you can’t stop moving along with them. Twiddle closed That Tent with their brand of jamming that drove their audience nuts. They brought out the horns from Turkuaz during the set. The band were much happier with the later set time as they were originally slated for mid-afternoon. The band is built for late night jamming, so they were all systems go at 1 AM.
Plenty of people were still partying throughout the grounds after Twiddle, but it’s a marathon not a sprint, so it was time to turn in. Check back for Friday coverage soon!
Article: Bryan Lasky