Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bonnaroo 2013 - The musical highlights and lowlights

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

The 2013 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival wrapped up on Sunday and left tens of thousands of fans exhausted and musically satisfied. Sure, Mumford & Sons didn't play, but if you were only going to Manchester, Tenn., to see one band, you probably should have stayed home in the first place.

Dozens of bands flood the fields of Bonnaroo on each of four days representing every genre under the sun. I managed to catch nearly 70 bands over the weekend, so here are some of my highlights and lowlights, in no particular order:

* Matrimony performed to a solid crowd in the Miller Lite New Music on Tap Lounge on Friday night, drawing in some fans who weren't in the mood for McCartney or big crowds. The band made the most of its time at Bonnaroo by performing a handful of one-off acoustic shows and doing plenty of interviews. They now hit the road for the next few weeks in support of their recently released EP, a prelude to the full-length Montibello Drive due this year.

* As Tame Impala's set went on, more and more people flooded the corner of the festival grounds to witness the band's set. Filled with psychedelic overtones and indie rock spirit, this is one of those must-see bands if they ever make it to Charlotte.

* R. Kelly had a great idea in kicking off his show from a crane above the Which Stage, but the two-minute delay while he was lowered back down was one big fail.

* Like the Black Keys? Check out Deap Vally, a female duo with the same raw spirit.

* Swans is known for its brooding, dark brand of metal, but when you scare off 80 percent of your audience before the set is over, is that good or bad?

* Father John Misty's Joshua Tillman looks a bit like Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and has about the same level of stage presence - enough to draw in a massive crowd to feel like you were the only one watching his brand of folk-rock.

* Cat Power was the most difficult to watch all weekend. She was twitchy, a bit erratic and generally uncomfortable to be on stage. Her hands were shaking, her banter was disjointed, her voice was not the best its ever been.

* I can't remember the last time I saw a drummer perform without one cymbal on his drumkit, until I saw Alt-J. The band uses a tambourine and other instruments, but there wasn't a crash to be heard or seen.

* I'm not the biggest modern country music fan, but Kasey Musgraves has what it takes to draw those of us in. She's got edgy lyrics and strong songwriting - after all, if the song's good, people will notice.

* Of Monsters and Men could have easily headlined Bonnaroo judging by the size of its crowd, but it only has one album out, so that's probably not the best choice. Give it time, I'm betting they'll be at the top of the list within the next two years at the rate they're going.

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