Bonnaroo 2009: Friday (Day 2): Oh So Harmonious

Friday morning started with some nice cloud cover that made it easy to sleep in a little while. After hanging out at camp, I headed for the press area to work and sit through an orientation, and then I went to see some tunes. I caught the last half of Katzenjammer‘s set, and it was really good. The Norwegian 4-piece was comprised completely of ladies and they put on a damn good show. They would all be switching instruments between every song and had a striking sense of showmanship to match their musical prowess. At one point they did an a cappella number with everyone singing that was impressive, and this would seem to be the theme for most of the day: Stunning vocal harmonies.

After that I managed to get one person back from the front for Dirty Projectors on That Tent, and they totally brought it as per usual. I’m still blown away by the vocal tricks they employ. They opened with a slow jam in duet form, and then brought the rest of the band in for the second tune as they would continue changing their on-stage configuration for different sections of the show. They rocked some older jams this time in addition to all the best stuff from Bitte Orca. Pretty much everyone expected a David Byrne & Dirty Projectors team up on “Knotty Pine”, and when they closed with just that, the crowd went nuts.

After that I moved into front row for St. Vincent, and my high expectations for this show were met. It seemed like everything she played from Marry Me had a completely different arrangement that greatly enhanced the already beautiful songs. The brief moments when she does the noise-jam guitar solos, like the one at the end of “The Strangers”, are simply breath-taking. She is totally rocking my world right now, so if you have yet to check her out, go listen to her new album right now.

After scoring one of the danker corndogs, I headed over to This Tent to get a good spot for Grizzly Bear. Their set was delayed slightly for sound checking, but then they completely owned a day packed with more incredible performances than I can ever remember seeing. Every single song sounded absolutely perfect, with the exception of “Two Weeks” which was noticeably missing Victoria Legrand’s vocal contributions. I’ve been completely obsessed with Veckatimest lately that I forgot how good those Yellow House songs are, so I think my favourite moments were when they played those. I appreciate how this band meticulously crafts their live show as brilliantly as their studio work, for instance at one moment Chris Taylor picks up a random am/fm radio and tunes it to some static to create a weird effect during a succinct vocal part for only a few seconds. The Griz are the real deal, and I hope you ATLiens are going to see them tonight.

Next I went to the Which Stage to see TV On The Radio. Unfortunately the sound was terrible and despite TVOTR seemingly putting on a good show, it was barely listenable. I don’t understand what it is about this particular stage, but everything seems to sound terrible on it every year. This is exactly why I went to go see Animal Collective in Florida earlier in the week, as the consensus from the everybody who went to see them yesterday was that the setting was detrimental to their show, as I predicted. It is just so weird to me because the sound on every other stage here is great.

I left halfway through TVOTR to go see Mt St Helens Vietnam Band in Cafe Where, which is a tiny little tent at the back of the main stage field. MSHVB totally slayed it. They have this intense, driving energy that I’ve seen very few bands match.

I left halfway through that set because dark clouds were rolling in fast and I didn’t want to get caught out in the rain. I went back to camp and began pre-gaming for Phish. Our crew eventually made our way to the back of the field at What Stage and experienced the 3 hour jam-athon. I have been to about ten Phish shows over the last ten years and I had never seen them play my favourite song, “The Divided Sky”. They ended up playing the elusive song 3rd in the set and was the cherry on top of the delicious cake of a day. They went on to play a ton of songs I like as I continued to drink myself into oblivion.

I really don’t know that any single day in Bonnaroo’s history compared to this one musically for me. I got to see the three artists behind my three favourite albums to come out so far this year within a span of about 5 hours. It was a day where every little thing seemed to come together perfectly and will be one for the ‘roo record books as far as i am concerned. I’ve got to run and catch more music and will have more to report tomorrow.

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2 Responses to “Bonnaroo 2009: Friday (Day 2): Oh So Harmonious”
  1. kate Says: June 15th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    i was up close for tv on the radio at which and thought that it was awesome.

  2. Clint Miller Says: June 17th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    yep, you have to be in front of the soundboard to get good sound on the 2nd stage. I was close for NIN and it sounded great.

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