Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bonnaroo Rumination 6 Or: Egoroo

(Editors Note: If you are Kanye West I swear these aren't my photos and I didn't break your lame ass no photo policy at your show. Thanks.)

I'm typing this entry so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!! HAHA JK I don't even own a Mac Book air. Nor am I really angry right now.

Much has been said about Kanye West's performance about Bonnaroo. It ended up being the most controversial and talked about performance of the festival because of it's epic, colossal failure. This is the best roundup of the performance can be found here.

It's probably better than anything I'll write but fuck it, I'm gonna do the same exact thing and just try to objectively approach this performance from the point of view of someone interested to see the glow in the dark performance, had seen Kanye twice before, but isn't a huge Kanye fan, just likes the spectacle and doesn't mind the music.

No more than a week before Bonnaroo, an e-mail was sent to ticketholders with the following words verbatim: "We are excited to announce that Kanye West will now be performing a late night show on the Main Stage on Saturday, June 14th instead of the previously announced time! This scheduling change is being made to allow Kanye to fully present his critically acclaimed "Glow In The Dark" show. " OK so that seems pretty reasonable. His time slot got moved from 8pm across from Jack Johnson on the smaller mainstage to 2:45 am on the bigger mainstage. Rumors flew around everywhere that Kanye also was not happy about being on the "second" mainstage and did not want to be opposite anyone at all, nevermind Jack Johnson. Also, there were reports his stage couldn't fit on the second mainstage. Regardless of the actual reason, a 2:45am Glow in the Dark show sounded awesome to me and I was looking forward to a novel concept for a live show. Afterall, novel live shows continue to be one way to save the music industry (although they might be going extinct too because of gas costs). Honestly, I kinda wish the only reason was so that he wasn't opposite Jack Johnson, because that would be a hilarious conflict. Kanye would yell at him and Jack Johnson would probably just passively sit there and not do anything, possibly asking "Why can't we get along?" At least that's what I'd expect from his music, which is as boring as that response. Maybe it would be awesome if Jack Johnson went to his trailer and got a rabid raccoon and had it purposely bite him. And then he would go attack Kanye West while foaming at the mouth and Kanye would do dance moves in his stupid spacesuit from the performance to get by him and then he stabs Jack Johnson who's soul goes crashing into the abyss. Because that's what raccoons can do to you. That and make you look like Robin from Batman and Robin. It would be hilarious if Kanye put on a Robin mask while dancing away from rabid Jack Johnson too. I completely forgot what this post was about.

So after Sigur Ros I go to meet up with Erin and Arthur for Kanye at the mainstage. Naturally, we meet near the beer tent and the jumbotron on stage reads "KANYE WEST WILL PERFORM AT 3:30". A little late means right on time for a rapper. We ran into my coworkers again who were looking for their drugs which I really only mention because I find it hilarious and slightly disturbing that my coworkers are so willing to share their drug habits with me despite having never been in Waterworld. Now keep in mind that at smaller stages, other bands are playing. Phil Lesh was playing (hippie fare), as well as Dumpstaphunk and another jam band. According to SOPTRANTA, at 3:30 Phil Lesh and others just stopped playing and said, "Sorry, but we were just told we had to end so Kanye can be the only performer." Fact: it is VERY POSSIBLE to anger hippies. Stopping their crunchy grooves and painfully lame dancing is the secret.

Don't worry Kanye, I do too

Only there's another problem: Kanye doesn't start at 3:30. Now I'm assuming that Pearl Jam going an hour late had A LOT to do with Kanye starting late, afterall, it takes a while to take one stage down and put perhaps the most complex stage out there up. But does a drunk crowd, tired from dancing for 12 hours straight care? Hell no. That crowd assumes that Bonnaroo has been planned for months, and that there are backup plans when things go wrong, and that Kanye's tour manager has an idea of what they are doing. And that's when the boos started. And kept going. And kept going. And then FUCK KANYE chants started, and people started throwing bottles. Allegedly someone threw a bottle that damaged Kanye's screen as well. I really can't communicate how pissed off at least half the crowd was, it was a shitshow of angry hippies. 4am rolls around. Still no Kanye. Many people leave. Those that stay get louder.

An angry and confused concert goer

Finally, at 4:25 am Kanye West begins playing. For all that I crap, I do have to hand it to Kanye, the man did not flinch in the least bit to begin his show and danced his heart out and still did a great job of entertaining. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the first part of the show. It actually was a very impressive stage set-up and the glow in the dark concept was really cool at times.

It was glow in the dark for realz with lots of lights, not like crappy t-shirt glow in the dark or rave glow stick glow in the dark. Kanye had a chance to make me mostly forget how late his show was except for two problems.

First problem was the type of show. Kanye's show was a very scripted sci-fi adventure where his computer named "Jane" leads him from planet to planet while he sings a song on each planet. At no point is anyone else on the stage. This is fine, but seriously man, you aren't Jessica Simpson, you can stray from the script for 1 minute to acknowledge the people still there. Kanye did not say anything about the late start time, didn't once thank people or apologize, he just very bizarrely did his little weird concept show. I just about lost it when he complained to "Jane" that there wasn't "any pussy in space". Way to go guy. You stay classy Kanye West. Unless by space you meant Bonnaroo and by pussy you meant attractive women who aren't hippies. But even then you'd still be drastically and incompetantly wrong.

The second problem was irony. Kanye West had his time slot changed to present his "Glow in the Dark" show in full form. One problem when you start at 4:30 am is... THE FUCKING SUN RISES AT 5 AM. This represented one of the most surreal moments of my life.

The sun clearly came up evident from many pictures as if to mock Kanye West and say, you may think you're the best in the world, that people don't show you enough respect, or that you are always correct, but fuck you bitch, I am the motherfucking sun, and I will rise every day and stomp your bitchy ass whether you like or not. Fuck yeah sun, you're a super hero.

Now Kanye took a lot of shit in the presses for this show and here is his response (I really highly recommend you read it in it's entirety, it's so hilarious and awesome):

Who fucking cares what his points are, I will summarize the hilarious phrases that needed to be added to my daily lexicon of speech-

I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!






We trudged back to camp after Kanye's performance at about 6am and got a whole 2 hours of sleep before the sun's hell heat vanquished us as well. Brothers in Kanye's war we are. The next day featured a whole mess of FUCK KANYE graffiti and FUCK KANYE t-shirts. It was sprawled everywhere as seen here.

I can say that morale about Kanye West was could not have been less "Stronger".

Let me end with this:
Kanye West: You may be a great producer, you may perform your heart out every night, this may have been almost 0% your fault, but man, don't be a douche about it. You should not have asked every other group to stop play NO MATTER WHAT and you 100% should have said something to the crowd. If you had done that, you would have come across as the saint, and not the sinner. Instead, I have little sympathy for you. The words are "I'm sorry" squid brains.

Walking back

(Also, stop typing in AIM speak you don't write for LOLcats gosh that pisses me off).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bonnaroo Rumination 5 or Spirit-a-r-oo and the Happy Dance Magic

Let's get back to talking about the festival and bands now, enough acid dropping.

As we departed from Saturday Bruncheroo to see some bands there were a couple of Evangelicals preaching about the evils of rock and roll. I found this wonderfully exciting as I thought people had moved on to accept rap as the devils music, but was thrilled to see rock still has it's bad ass edge to it. These people were relentlessly mocked by concert goers, who like me, are part of the smartass generation. People made counter signs and stopped to take pictures with them as seen here:

Obviously, these guys probably didn't generate the positive impact they hoped to.

The first band we saw saturday was Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. The Dap Kings were featured as the backup band to Amy Winehouse in her album Back to Black (with single "Rehab" which I am documented as saying is lyrically appalling, but hey, looks like she turned out OK). However, unlike Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones is completely awesome live. Even at 52 years old the woman bounces around the stage and sings her heart out, even keeping in key and on beat in between songs to joke about taking her heels and clip on earrings off. All of us there had a blast and danced our asses off.

Not from Bonnaroo but I love this pic, it sums her up very well

Next up was the Gypsy Punk Revolution of Gogol Bordello. I've seen Gogol Bordello many times and they always put on an awesome show. As always I get a few skeptical looks from my friends when describing the crazy multi-national gypsy dance along and they were sufficiently weird out by the freak show that rolled up,

but after seeing them and the absolutely crraaazzzy show they have everyone becomes a convert. Such a fun show to see and another one to lose ya butt dancing to.

Gogol Bordello

A change of pace was needed after the non-stop dancing of the previous two artists and Cat Power was perfect for this. I've professed my love for her before, and she was surprisingly different in a live setting. She was very very intense while singing and having a full backup band gave a much richer feel to her songs rather than the stripped down emotion I'm used to. All in all, a pleasant surprise.

After Cat Power, we headed over to the legendary BB King and his guitar Lucille, still going strong at age 82. I wasn't expecting much but BB King was absolutely awesome. He was incredibly gracious, humble, endearing, and still put on an amazing show. He's like all of your grandfather's funny and crazy comments put on stage and bolstered by absolutely legendary songs and guitar playing. As someone from SOPTRANTA said, "After the show I just wanted to sit next to him and listen to his stories he was so adorable." Right on, SOPTRANTA.

We caught a bunch of Ben Folds following BB, but we stayed way in the back, due to exhaustion from dancing all day in what was by far the hottest and muggiest day of Bonnaroo. Also adding to the distraction, I very surprisingly ran into some coworkers (fellow Taco Bell employees?) at Ben Folds and talked to them for a while as neither of us had any idea the other party would be there. But as a result, I don't have much to say about Ben Folds other than he claims to be retiring "Bitches Ain't Shit" but is probably lying.

We headed back to camp to restock up on beer and vodka and whiskey because 2 of the absolutely highlites of the festival were coming up for me, Pearl Jam and Sigur Ros. Also, Jack Johnson sucks and we didn't want to see him

Back at camp SOPTRANTA introduced me to a new concept of Beirut. Now being a legendary Beirut player, I am always open to new ideas and interesting ways to play the game. 3-D Beirut features 6 cups on the bottom with 3 stacked above that and 1 stacked on top. You must work your way down, anything hit in the bottom with cups remaining up top does not count. The fun part of it is that many times, when you hit a top cup, it falls back into a cup in a lower row which means both cups are taken and drankened (bad english alert). This can lead to the dreaded 7 cup hit of awesomeness. Altogether, a fun alternative to regular Beirut worth a play every once in a while.

3-D Beirut in action

And so, on to Pearl Jam. I'm not going to write too much about their show since I already did at Lollapalooza, but here's what I will say: 3 hours. They played for 3 freaking whopping hugely awesome hours included hitting up some rarities I never thought they'd play. Eddie Vedder continues to command a massive stage presence and tight grips your attention without ever letting go. All this while drunk too. Eddie Vedder was clearly and obviously drunk at this show, which made it even more amazing that he could still sing so well. Pearl Jam has fought Ticketmaster, MTV, global warming, and countless other issues and still remained one of the strongest, funnest, incredible live bands in the world. In an era of little decent arena rock left, they are the true champions.

Can you name this rarity?

So is Eddie Vedder drunk?

Pearl Jam ended at 1am, just in time for me to head over and see the 1-3am set of one of my favorite bands on Earth, the mysterious and otherworldly Sigur Ros. Sigur Ros probably isn't a band you'd think would be one of my top 5 favorites, given my heavy guitar pedigree, but there is something just so beautiful and wondrous about their music that I love them. When people ask me to describe them I say they are a slow deliberate band that creates a heavenly atmosphere and I borrow a quote from my friend Aly when we saw them a few years ago, "It just feels like being hugged." Sorry if that's too cute for you, but it's true. It's wonderfully moving, happy, and emotional. A beautiful band from an amazing place that played a soaring late night set. It makes me happy just to think about seeing them live or hearing them in headphones.

Sigur Ros come equipped with a Mariachi band

Love this band

Which is why I'm going to stop this rumination here and get to Kanye West next time.

Bonnaroo Rumination 4 or Drugeroo

Before you read this post please go watch the movie Waterworld. It will make one joke in a very long and stupid post much more hilarious.

In my last rumination I mentioned how 5 different people asked me what drugs I was on and if they could partake in the drug usage. I have also mentioned how Bonnaroo has it's roots as a hippie jam festival. Thus it is not surprising that drugs are very omnipresent at Bonnaroo, so much so that it becomes annoying at times. Now I don't ever consume any drugs that aren't alcohol, and I don't have any desire to, but at the same time I don't get on the case of other people that use them. Drugs are corrosive to society when amplified by an addiction and I'm not going to joke about that, but I have plenty of college and high school friends who smoked a whole hell load of weed and they are still contributing members of society, wonderful people, and it didn't gateway to anything else for them. Overall, I am pretty libertarian about drugs, I'm going to say no and please don't use them around me if you offer, but if you wanna smoke up in your house or do cocaine in the girls bathroom whatever, hey it's your life, who am I to tell you to stop.

Drugs are everywhere at Bonnaroo and they are not hard to get. Dealers constantly stop by your camp during bruncheroo and offer and are overall very polite and will go away immediately if you say no thanks. They're just trying to do business, not harass you. Saturday morning when we woke up had the two of the most hilarious encounters of druggies and dealers by far. First was the guy (I'll name him Sketchy J) who provided this conversation: Sketchy J: "Hey I'll trade you a bump of cocaine for a beer!" Me (giving a WTF look): "What the fuck?" Sketchy J: "OH WHAT AM I SAYING I didn't mean to say that um I mean I'll give you a dollar for a beer haha." Me: "Go away." I don't really know what the going price of cocaine is but a bump for a shitty PBR hardly sounds like a good price for him, but hey, whatever you gotta do for a cold one I guess.

The next story involves the most bizarre actual human being I've seen in my life. This guy came to Bonnaroo with his friends in a van painted entirely black except for the punisher symbol painted on one side. Here is his picture (taken the last day as we were leaving, the ones I took of him in the camp didn't come out well):

This dude comes in and says to Arthur and I: "krryyyzaaazzzkkkzkzkkzkkkkzkkzk qqqqqpooopqqqqqqkikikkkkkkkk" to which Arthur and I at once give a WTF look and I notice this crazy bastard only has one tooth. I literally had no idea what he said, and since I am smart said, "um ask them" pointing to the SOPTRANTA camp. SOPTRANTA was much more fluent in druggie speak but even they had no idea what this dude was saying and just gave him two beers and he went away. As he was leaving, one of the SOPTRANTA's says: "Was that guy an extra in Waterworld?" causing me to burst out laughing, because seriously just look at that picture again. Now look at this picture of waterworld:

This dude was obviously prominently involved in that film. In addition, waterworld guy and his waterworld people would frequently enter the forrest behind us, presumably to use their drugs. Once again, not consuming any drugs, I have no idea what the purpose of doing this in the woods is, but they seemed to love it. I'm not even entirely sure they saw any bands during the trip.

Two final observations about drugs and their place in Bonnaroo: At a few points I was warned about drug sniffing dogs at posts on the way to Centeroo, and one person lamented to me about how all of his weed was taken, but not his other drugs because they were in a scent proof metallic box bolted beneath his car (holy crap that's a long way to go just to smuggle drugs). Anyway, weed guy was looking for some more weed and he brought up an interesting point, that none of the dealers were selling weed. I found this to be very true as well, almost all dealers were selling cocaine, acid, or ecstacy, very few, if any (I can't fully remember since I always say no thanks) offered weed. I'm not sure what to make of this, whether it was because of the metal and electronic kids (do they tend to do harder stuff than hippies? I thought hippies also did acid? What do I know?) or what, but it was interesting because weed is blatantly obviously used everywhere in the camps and during the bands. SOPTRANTA had a gravity bong and you could smell weed before every single band. By that I mean, literally, every single band, to a point where on the final day, sunday, Erin and I were just blatantly tired of the smell of weed and hoped that most people were out of it already (many people were). So why are all the dealers selling hard stuff if such a huge percentage of people are smoking? Seems like the old grocery economics where if you sell a ton of a cheap product (with small profits) you can make more than selling very little of an expensive one (with large profits) because of the power of aggregate.

That's all I have to say about drugs.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bonnaroo Rumination 3 Or Armagederoo

When we went to the liquor store thursday morning to get our whiskey and beer for the weekend (the Tennessee girls wanted whiskey, proving they know the way to a man's heart) I noticed a local free newspaper similar to Chicago's RedEye. It had the following headline: "ARMAGEDEROO! Is Metallica's appearance at Bonnaroo a sign of the apocolypse?" This tickled me to no end. As if a metal band playing at a huge festival was the end of the world. That's quite the overreaction. Regardless, despite the presence of huge names like Pearl Jam, Kanye West (just wait til that entry), Chris Rock, and more, this headline was evident of how, going into Bonnaroo, Metallica's appearance was the most talked about performance of Bonnaroo. It is no coincidence that it was the performance I was most pumped to see, and a big reason I came to Bonnaroo. But we'll get to them later tonight. First, the buildup.

I've said quite a bit about !!! before, but wow do I love this band live. There are very few bands on par with them in terms of pure energy and delight to be on stage. They are a non-stop dance fest and impossible not to shake that butt to. In a bizarre turn of events, at one point there were large cardboard cut outs floating around everywhere in the audience. That didn't stop lead singer Nic Offer from humping the speakers though. I NEED to see this band late at night in a dark club (I'm seeing them again at the Pitchfork Music Festival, once again, during the day).

I love me some !!!

Next we met up with SOPTRANTA for State Radio. Jackie is in love with their drummer. What can I say, the man knows his way around a set of skins. I guess these guys used to be in Dispatch and I guess I'm supposed to remember who Dispatch is but I don't so whatever. As for a sound it was a peculiar combination of Dave Matthews band-ish stuff, Sublime-ish reggae and Sublime-ish punk with overtly political lyrics. Let me tell you, when they started singing "Guantanamo" and "CIA" everyone was so moved they left straight for the Conscious Alliance Food Drive Tent and the Clean Vibes Earth Tent because they were inspired to create positive change. HA JUST KIDDING everyone just cheered and smoked more weed. REVOLUTION!

I am creating my molotov cocktail now

As with any major festivals, there are going to be serious conflicts of what bands to see. Willie Nelson was in a set directly opposite M.I.A. for whom my love is well documented. Since I saw M.I.A. less than a month ago in Chicago and have seen her 5 times already I opted for Willie Nelson. Willie was classic and a lot of fun but I think I personally wasn't in the correct mood for it. I was too jacked up about the creeping approach of the Metallica set. We stayed for a while and then went back to our camp to stock up on booze and to get some rain gear for the fresh rain that had started.

Willie Nelson

Once again it's impossible to see everything and going to Willie Nelson then stopping back at camp to meet up with friends and get some more whiskey meant we had to miss Chris Rock. Unfortunate. But we had to set the mood for Metallica and that mood was set perfectly using cans of PBR and shots of whiskey. Jackie boob flasked it and we were off to see METALLICA. Note: from here on out I will only be referring to "Metallica" as "METALLICA". This is less understood in type, but saying it the former way is speaking as a normal person, but saying it METALLICA is like barking it with a gutteral howl and powerful force. This is the only way to say METALLICA when you are listening to and especially about to see METALLICA. You may hate METALLICA for the whole Napster thing, you may hate them for the utter shitbag that was St. Anger, you may hate them for cutting their hair and putting out the 80% crap that was Load and Re-Load, but there is no denying that from 1981 to 1991 METALLICA put out 5 of the greatest metal albums of all time including the best metal album of all time (Master of Puppets, don't even try to argue this), completely changed the entire genre, and were the first American metal band to gain mainstream acceptance. All of this, with zero radio play. That is impressive and that is why they are METALLICA.

/end ferocious man-love run on sentence

Hetfield and Hammet at Bonnaroo

...And METALLICA for all - DAMN did they deliver. They shredded for 2 and a half straight hours of fist-pumping fury and shout-along anthems. Accompanied by a stark metallic set and a few pyrotecnic feats during "One" they ripped through a set list that consisted of 95% songs off of those 5 classic albums, deliciously playing at least 3 songs from Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...And Justice for All, and the Black Album. Kirk Hammett absolutely melted my face off with scorching barn storming solos and I was in Heavy Metal Heaven. They kept the interest of even the non-metal fans for an entire 150 minute set, through sheer energy, talent at the instruments and undiluted joy in their craft. I think that's what surprised Bonnaroo veterans and those afraid of the miscreants METALLICA would bring to the festival: the pure joy of the band and it's fans. Instead of the apocolypse, it was a band that said "we are so happy to be here playing for this wonderful festival", instead of violent moshpits erupting at other performances there were METALLICA die hards excited to check out new bands and curiously approach new music. All in all I (very obviously) had a blast at METALLICA, so much so that at one point, the person in front of me turned around, laughed, and said, "Dude are you on acid or something?" No, friend, I was high on the power of heavy metal.

In addition, I know I've said this, but thank you to my friends who were awesome enough to pound whiskey and head bang with me despite having virtually no knowledge of early METALLICA, it was kick ass and made my night 1000 times more awesome. I raise my horns to you. \m/

Metallica fans at Bonnaroo

WHEW following that epic set we grabbed a bite to eat, for the night was still young. MSTRKRFT was next for us. I've actually seen them twice before in clubby clubs in Chicago and had a blast so I knew they'd be fun, but was curious to see how they would transfer into a late night rural festival. But they were awesome as usual, splicing and mixing their best with crazy stuff like AC/DC. It also helped that I was still elated and overjoyed from the METALLICA set so I was dancing like an absolute maniac. Over the course of MSTRKRFT and Tiesto, who was next I was asked the following questions: "DUDE that must be crazy shit you're on, you got any left?" "Oh wow look at this dude go he's gotta be rolling, man can I join you?" "Hahahahaha this guy is tripping balls, you wanna share bro?" and "You've gotta be on [drug I've never even heard of and can't remember the name of], can I have some?" The first couple times I tried to explain that I was just naturally like this and a bit drunk, but after that I just said, sorry, all out! METALLICA = drugs I guess.

Like I mentioned, Tiesto played starting at 1:30am and the tent he played in was jam packed. Tiesto is apparently ranked the #1 DJ in the world so a lot of people were excited to see him and he delivered. His show was obviously tailored and used to large club environments and wasn't as awesome as Daft Punk last year, but that's an unfair comparison because nothing is like Daft Punk (sorry Kanye). What made this show extra cool was the Bonnaroo guests he brought on stage. Tegan and Sara joined for a song, the Swedish Chef Jose Gonzalez sang a song, and someone else I didn't recognize did one too. Tiesto was a blast and a great cap to an unbelievably night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bonnaroo Rumination 2 Or Bruncheroo

Instead of talking about specific days I'm going to loosely follow the chronology and stop whenever I feel like it. The reason behind this is that with bands going off so late in the night, days turn into nights turn into the next day and sleep is forgotten and so forth. So this rumination begins with waking up friday morning and the topic of sleep. You do not sleep at Bonnaroo. This festival is like hippie endurance boot camp. Now, none of the bands begin playing until 12:30 the earliest each day so you would think you can just sleep til 11 or even 12 since you aren't gonna shower anyway. You would be wrong though. Being in a tent, the sun blares down on you and scolds you for partying so late in the night. By 8:30-9am every tent becomes a sweltering hippie toaster oven and it becomes impossible to sleep. You are forced to wake up by 9am. So what the hell do you do until noon or later? You sit there and try to move as little as possible, drink plenty of water, and eat whatever scraps you have lying around. Since there are no refrigerators and ice is a pain to get (and needed for beer) we brought in non-perishable foods and cooled beer as we needed it instead of buying it cold. This leads to a 9am breakfast of sweltering hell heat, beef jerky, tortilla chips, bananas and power bars with water or breakfast beer to drink (the beer is if you're feeling pretty zesty). That's what I like to call nutrition folks.

I have an endorsement deal with Jack Link's

In addition to bruncharoo, this gap before bands is also high time for all the illegal t-shirt salesmen and drug dealers to walk from camp to camp and sell their goods. Now I don't consume any drugs other than alcohol, but it's still impossible not to have a drug related story at Bonnaroo and tons of hilarious encounters. I'm going to save my thoughts and experiences with the dealers and other people looking for drugs to consume for later ruminations.

On to bands for friday, I had no real agenda until 4:30pm and the insanity that followed for the rest of the night, so having an open day to explore was fun. First band we saw was a band called Steel Train. They were in the vein of traditional American Rock and put on an energy packed show. A good way to start off the day without expending too much energy. But guys, lay off the cheery sounding songs that end up being about watching the twin towers fall on 9/11. This is like having a pinata filled with razor blades. It's real fun till you actually see what's inside and you want to cry. On the other hand maybe everyone at the birthday is a cocaine user so they are excited about the razors. My analogy is lost. Please provide a better analogy in the comments.

9/11! WOOO!

Next up we saw one song by Jose Gonzalez. We were following Jackie around because she had plenty of bands she wanted to see so we let her lead the way. She tackled Bonnaroo the way I tackle amusement parks and european vacations: see and do as much as possible and make the most out of your day. This was perfect for the gaps of time where I didn't know what to go see, it was like having a bonnaroo pu pu platter. A pupuroo, if you will. Then again I have terrible memory, hence why I blog things and take pictures so I can't really remember too much of Jose Gonzalez, just that he was by himself with an acoustic guitar and is SWEDISH making his name kind of stupid (yeah he's probably an immigrant or his parents were, blah blah whatever, just assimilate already).

Not Swedish

We also stopped by a small tent to see a few songs by State Radio where it was mostly short people asking me to take pictures. More on them later.

We then took a break before the friday evening madness to walk around and check things out. We said hello to some campsites, stopped by the incredible yarn artwork, and went to the food stations outside of centeroo (there's food stations inside, as well as in selected areas in the campgrounds). Fooderoo: festivals never seem to get the food thing right. Bonnaroo had a couple good options, the $1 grilled cheeses were a thing of beauty and the NY style pizza was legit and delicious (if not that filling) but holy nikki sixx people I WOULD LIKE SOMETHING OTHER THAN JUNK FOOD AT LEAST ONCE in 4 days. The closest I got to realizing that desire was the last day when I had a fish platter with crab and shrimp and fish and rice and some cooked veggies although it ran me $12 which sucks when you've already paid so much. Some grilled chicken with corn on the cob is easy to do. There are plenty of options, just so much junk food at such a high price starts to wear you down.

Do these people honestly look like they want nothing but french fries for 4 straight days?

OK that's it for now, more on the Friday night madness next rumination.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bonnaroo 2008 - Day 1 Or Entrance to the Refugee Camp: Death to my Cleanliness!

This year I have the unfortunate situation where I have to miss Lollapalooza. What could possibly fill my need for mind numbing exhaustion in summer heat while listening to a million live bands? BONNAROO. As background, Bonnaroo is essentially the same thing as Lolla but with a few key differences. First, Bonnaroo is 4 days to lolla's 3 days. Next, and most importantly, Bonnaroo is in farm grounds in the middle of nowhere Tennessee, and once you enter Bonnaroo, there is no re-entry. By that I mean, everyone arrives thursday to Bonnaroo and are caravanned into a spot that they use for camping. You live in your tents in Bonnaroo for the next 4 days. Showers are $7 and therefore, the majority of festival goers do not shower while they are there. I assume it's the majority, because that's what I did. It was a very smelly weekend. However, this gives Bonnaroo a very distinct advantage over Lollapalooza in that set times can be at any time of the day or night, and as a result can be much longer. This also creates cultural differences at the festival that are pretty entertaining. Although the lineup style has changed dramatically over the years, it is still evident that Bonnaroo began as a Hippie Centric Jam Festival. Thank you Metallica, for turning this festival into a slice of awesome (despite the hippies disdain for your appearance).

Bonnaroo Hippies

We arrived into Bonnaroo on Thursday afternoon. I'll change my friends names for their own safety and discretion and will henceforth refer to them as such: My car had me, "Arthur", and "Erin" and we followed a car with "Jackie" and "Mike" who followed a caravan that had "Shitloads Of People That Reminded Arthur of New Trier Assholes" or SOPTRANTA from now on. Also a guy named "Dave" joined us. We were ushered into a camp that was a straight shot to Centeroo (where all the stages and shit are) and right next to a forest (more on the forest and it's inhabitants later). At first we were dismayed at what appeared to be a daunting walk to Centeroo, but we quickly realized from the maps they handed out that it could have been significantly worse. Our trek to centeroo ended up only being about 20 minutes (some could get up to 45!). We set up our tent and connected our open air parasol thingy with the SOPTRANTA peoples open air parasol thingys. I immediately starting sweating due to the heat. At no other point during this weekend was I not sweating. And I didn't shower once. I thought you'd like to know that.

Bonnaroo Overhead

Immediately after that we started drinking (OH YUENGLING GLORIOUS YUENGLING IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN) and headed off to see our first band.


Bonnaroo lesson number 1: Figure out creative ways to smuggle in alcohol.

At Bonnaroo you can bring anything you want into the festival as long as you don't have any glass. There is an "inspection" before you get in where you have to have your car "checked" but all it consists of is someone asking you if you have glass or drugs and then you say no (lies) and go in. They fully expect people to bring in alcohol and it's totally cool. What you can't do is bring that alcohol to Centeroo, where they have people checking your bags before you enter. There are ways around this. Our most effective methods are putting cans of beer inside jacket pockets tied around the waste, and my favorite and the most effective method, which I will code name "Flask in boobs". This method is top secret and I will not share it with the public.

The first band we saw was MGMT. MGMT is notable for being a "hot new band" and because Jackie and Erin both dated the lead singer at different times in middle school. Thus they were both incredibly excited to see them live. Although unimpressed by the lead singers looks (sorry ladies), I did enjoy the band. They reminded me of 1970's David Bowie but without the outrageous look. Perhaps all they need to do is wear an eyepatch and they will become super mega stars.

Was apparently a dreamy 7th grader

Next, was one of the bands I very excited to see. THE SWORD. For I knew the Sword would bring me on a journey where I could Harken on the Howl of the Huntsmen Hounds and Labor in the Liquid Light of Leviathan while I stand in the presence of the Gods of the Earth. Arthur joined me for what was undoubtedly the LOUDEST performance of the entirety of Bonnaroo. Man were they loud, but damn Thor, did they slay. If there had been a spider priest present, their colossal riffs would have slayed it in a heartbeat. I thoroughly enjoyed them and they left a twinkle in my eye like a flash from Barael's Blade in the sun.

Short Sword clip since I know you have no attention span

Next up was Vampire Weekend. Now for such a bad ass name you would think you would get bad ass music, but they're more like Paul Simon in playing in the Ivy League Quad than the Norse God Sounds of the Sword. Truthfully, I can not remember much of this performance other than the fact that there were no vampires leaving me tragically disappointed.

About what I was expecting

LEZ Zeppelin was next. Months prior to Bonnaroo there were crazed rumors that Led Zeppelin was playing. Turns out people are stupid and it was actually Lez Zeppelin, a lesbian Led Zeppelin cover band. While the lead singer isn't quite the same as Robert Plant by any means, I still really enjoyed them because it was so awesome to FINALLY hear Zep played in a live setting. I really wish they would unite for a tour rather than just the one time dealy last fall in London. Those tickets would be hotter than hell and very pricey but it would be so worth it. This was the last band I saw. More observations and band descriptions to come later!