Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Bonnaroo 2010 recap: Sunday

I think a lot of artists get frustrated with some of the crowds at Bonnaroo. Bands who are used to wowing the crowd and rocking the house are sometimes perplexed that they don’t get as much energy back from the audience as they’re used to. There are two reasons for that. The main thing is that people are spent. By the time the big evening shows come on, people have spent 9 or more hours in the June Tennessee sun, they’ve danced, maybe drank during the day, and probably didn’t get that much sleep the night before to begin with. The other thing is that a live show, which is usually a highlight of your week, becomes almost commonplace. I had seen over 20 shows before Sunday kicked off.

The rest of the pics I took with my camera weren't great, so thanks to 20watts.wordpress.com/ for the great Bonnaroo image.

I have heard front men ask the crowd, “Are you digging this at all?” And we are. The crowds are very appreciative. That’s why we brave the traffic, expense, and elements to see the shows. We’re just tired and a little jaded. I remember festival veteran Jeff Tweedy of Wilco saying, “I know you’re hot and tired and enjoying the music. I’m not going to ask you to sing or clap with me. Just be comfortable and we’re gonna play some music for you, alright?” That probably got the biggest hand Wilco had received thus far in their set. It was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I set out to see the shows on Sunday.

I have been a long time fan of Calexico and theirs was the first show I saw Sunday. They were in fine form playing their slippery blend of rock and mariachi Tex-mex. The songs are often mellow, but surging with controlled energy. Here is a good recording of great performance of a representative track. I loved “Feast of Wire” and have another on order right now. Check them out.

I stopped by Lucero’s show, not having done any homework on them and not knowing what to expect. Turns out they play deep southern rock that is almost country. The songs are heartfelt and kind of cool but definitely not my thing. I will still recommend it to folks who lean that way. Check out this track, for example. I like this one. I just didn’t enjoy the show too much and I left. Sorry, Lucero. It’s not you; it’s me.

After that I had to go check out Blues Traveler. They’re not as hot as they were in the 1990s and I have seen them before. Still, I love their songs, what’s left of John Popper remains the most impressive harmonica player I have ever seen, and their first 3 albums were the soundtrack to my fun post-college years. The guys still have it. It was an energetic and fun show, in spite of the fact that my attempts to claw and elbow my way into the tent for some shade failed.

I had to pass on They Might Be Giants, Dropkick Murphy’s, and saddest of all Ween because I needed some shade, food, and beer at my tent for a little while. I returned to the venue much refreshed and ready for the last two shows of the weekend.

Phoenix is a band from Versailles, France that has been at it for about 10 years now. I really enjoyed their set of ear friendly pop with elements of electonica. The first minute I walked up, I didn’t think I was going to like it because radio pop usually has a little bit of a hill to climb with me, but they won me over by keeping most of their songs either a little edgy or surprising.

The final show of the week was Dave Matthews Band. I have been a big fan of DMB since I saw them at Red Rocks in 1994 (before the official release of “Under the Table and Dreaming”) opening up for Los Lobos who were in turn opening up for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Judging from the number of platinum albums under their belt, there is a great chance that everyone reading this has at least 1 DMB album. I am pleased that their new album, “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” is great and has some tremendous music on it, particularly because they played a lot of songs from it. Matthews himself seemed either a little goofy or maybe just drunk, but it didn’t stop him or any of the band – including former Flecktone Jeff Coffin, filling in for the untimely deceased LeRoi Moore – from putting on a powerful rock show. DMB has been at this for 20 years and had no problem engaging the 50,000+ in the field.

Another Bonnaroo come and gone. Nothing left but to finish the beer back at camp and get ready to pack it up in the morning. It’s always strange to head back to civilization, where people wear the full complement of clothes and don’t drink beer at 10:00 AM. Throughout the day when we encountered grungy, weary people in gas stations and fast food restaurants on our way home we would look for the bracelet and share a nod or a smile. I wonder who is going to headline next year…


June 22, 2010 - Posted by | Alt Country, Country, Popular, Rock

1 Comment »

  1. Well it sounds like another amazing Bonnaroo experience! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed DMB. I still love them.

    Going back to the real world is so surreal…

    Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Jenn | June 23, 2010 | Reply

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