Bonnaroo 2014 was my sixth Bonnaroo experience, and one of, if not the best one yet. Everything about Bonnaroo encompasses exactly what a music festival should be. From music, to food, to art, to the camping, and especially the length of set times, this is truly America’s greatest music fest. Traditionally in the past I do a general Bonnaroo Pre-cap, followed by a recap after the festival. Due to laziness, this year I failed to do the former so will attempt to combine it with the latter. Long story short, here is my recap to my favorite weekend of the year.
– Reasons I Went –
Bottom line, Jack White never disappoints. I have seen him in many different shows, in multiple different bands, and every time I walk away thinking, “that was one of the best damn shows I have ever seen”. His 3+ hour set at Bonnaroo was absolutely no exception.
Kanye may not be the most beloved artist at Bonnaroo, but like in life, his egotistical mark is prominently made all over the festival. Fans either love or hate him, there really is no in-between. His show was one of the most intense performances I have ever seen from an artist, ever. Fiery and spiteful, passion fueled the fire for this show, and it made for an incredible set.
Seeing them live is a blissful experience. Not only do they sound incredible, but you can witness every deeply rooted influence of the band and watch them turn into their own unique sound with every moment they are on stage. Whether it is punk, hip-hop, classical, African, or dub, they spew out great music inspired from great influence.
– Reasons I Stayed –
She performed with as much class, energy, and soul as a young James Brown. Might as well just call her the Godmother of Soul.
One of the most underrated acts of the festival. Their dual drumming made me wish I had dual hearts to love them all the more.
Who do you call on when you take a beautiful women out for dinner, then end up back at her apartment and need to set the mood? LIONEL RICHIE!!! I am so glad he opened for Jack White and I got to experience him.
– Reasons That There Just Isn’t Enough Time in the Day –
The Flaming Lips
I have loved seeing them in the past, but with set conflicts it made it hard to see the whole show due to artists I have not previously seen. Nonetheless, catching a few classics like “Do You Realize?” and “The W.A.N.D.” along with a cover of “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” was definitely a festival highlight.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
My entire life I have been missing opportunities to see or listen to Nick Cage, and I hope one day that will come to an end. Only really catching two songs of Nick was nothing short of a tease, but it was great to hear his bellowing voice, even if for just a bit.
Damon is a lot like Jack White in the sense that he is the mastermind from many different outfits and everyone has a different opinion on which one is their favorite. But no matter, hearing songs from Damon’s solo work, Gorillaz, Blur, and The Good, the Bad & the Queen all in a four song stretch is pretty incredible. Sad we missed “Feel Good Inc.” with De La Soul but glad we at least caught “Clint Eastwood” with Del the Funky Homosapien.
– Reasons I Should Have Stayed In the Beer Tent Instead –
Typically, Superjams are a big highlight of mine at Bonnaroo, but the bits that we caught of them this year just seemed weird an convoluted. Too many mixed-matched artists that shouldn’t be playing together, covering the same songs we hear every year at these super jams. Go back to the basics with just Questlove and a guitarist spitting out jam after jam.
The Comedy Theater
Rarely do I spend the time it takes to wait in two separate lines to get into a show at the comedy theater, and now I remember why. This year’s act I caught was Taran Killam and some Good Neighbor cronies, along with a few SNL writers. Sounds like a great crew, and I love their work on SNL/YouTube, but live, it bombed. And an afternoon wasted. I guess it was air conditioned in there though so that was a plus. It was cold, it wasn’t hot.
No. Seriously. THIS IS NOT A DISS ON THESE GUYS IN THE SLIGHTEST. They played in the fkin beer tent, which was way too small, the crowd went nuts and EVERYTHING got destroyed. I really wish I would have caught it, but my eyes and ears and heart were too caught up in Janelle Monae.
– Reasons to Get Punk’n’Dirty –
Just grungy, dirty, nasty music that is so thick in tone and substance I want to puke. I love that he exists and I am glad that I know him more now than ever. I was glad he played an electric set at ‘roo, it was the right move, and makes me love this man all the more.
King Khan and the Shrines
Full-on horn section, mixed with grungy garage punk music. These are some real bad ass dirt bag musicians, and if there is anyone other than the Black Lips I want to see start off my day at a festival it is these guys.
Old Danny Brown is the new punk ass of rap and hip hop. This dude always puts on a fun live show, and I am glad to have caught him here at ‘roo again.
– Reasons to Love Bonnaroo –
Unarguably the greatest set times in the modern music festival scene belong to Bonnaroo. Most acts you see last at least an hour or more. Some have to potential to last up to three. Jack White went over three. Glitch Mob played from 2:30 am until 7:15 am. Yea.
Bonnaroo is like being in a different country. Nothing normal applies. Best of all, unlike Coachella, you don’t have any rich preteen daddy’s girls being dropped off for the day from LA. Bonnaroo is a full-on commitment and one that is generally only made by serious lovers of music and fun. I like music, and I certainly also like fun.
The most fun you will ever have interacting with people while wearing headphones.