What a long strange trip it’s been.
After four days of battling the blistering heat, sleeping under the Tennessee stars, wandering about the 700-acre campground and singing along with musical legends, my body is begging for rest. My feet are worn, my eyes are slipping shut, my fingernails are buried under heaps of dirt. But I survived my first Bonnaroo, and live to tell the tales of an extraordinary weekend.
The eleventh annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival gathered more than 80,000 music lovers to the small town of Manchester, Tennessee for four days of peace, love, and music. While Woodstock may have pioneered the festival movement in America, Bonnaroo has taken over where the hippie extravaganza left off. Bustling with eco-friendly activism, throngs of naked bodies twirling around and mudslides forming across the farm, Bonnaroo successfully transformed technology-obsessed Americans into carefree and wild-spirited festi-lovers - if only for the weekend.
The small town of Manchester, Tennessee has welcomed the bulging crowds of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for eleven years - opening its quiet roads and grassy knolls to infiltration by hippies, hipsters, burnouts, ravers, rockers and every other category of music lovers imaginable. Giant RVs, cars stuffed to the brim with supplies and hitchhiking hopefuls invade the nearby Walmart en route to the festival, gearing up for four days of foregoing electricity and showers in favor of nature exploration and musical madness. Excitement flairs during the hours-long wait to the entrance, everyone eager to set up camp and start boogying down!
April 21st is right around the corner and the people working on Record Store Day just posted a complete (and massive) list of all of the releases!
You're going to need some time wade through all of the choices, but here are some highlights:
Animal Collective: Transverse Temporal Gyrus LP
Arcade Fire: Sprawl II LP
Beach House: Lazuli B/W Equal Mind 7”
Bruce Springsteen: Rocky Ground 7”
Gorillaz: Do Ya Thing 7”
The El Rey, one of Los Angeles' more intimate venues, is the perfect backdrop for St. Vincent's performance. I was lukcy enough to experience this first hand at the concert last week. Though the location is standing room only, the sparkling chandeliers and dim lighting suggest elegance and charm that compliment the singer's dreamy, down-tempo vocals.
St. Vincent, the stage name of talented musician Annie Clark, is diminutive and humble, her only hint of defiance are the wild curls that cascade around her shoulders and bounce rebelliously in her face. The impressive voice that we were introduced to a couple of years ago when touring with Sufjan Stevens proves to be only more melodious in concert. What most were not aware of, however, is how talented and versatile, not only her band, which includes three men who alternate between violin, bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, drums and woodwinds were, but St. Vincent herself, who expertly strums an electric guitar during vocal breaks and instrumental rifts. St. Vincent is not an emotionally devoid guitarist either, she seems to curl into her instrument, falling to her knees a couple of times, as though the emotion in the song were punching her in the abdomen.