Bonnaroo Day 1 A Pleasant Start
Article & Photos By L. Paul Mann www.lpaulmann.com
From August 2015 Vandala Magazine Read in our online flip magazine HERE
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Opening day of Bonnaroo 2015 was a down right pleasant one, with temperatures peaking in the lower 80’s and puffy white clouds partially blocking the blaring summer sun. The mood in Centeroo was a pleasant one as well, with perhaps one of the most polite crowds ever at the festival, at least this first day. Pardon me and excuse me may have been the most used expressions throughout the grounds as eager fans daintily made their way through the masses. Bonnaroo often emphasizes the “we are all in this together” and “exude positive vibes” approaches to dealing with the massive crowds in their literature, and the message seems to have been received. Everywhere eager concert goers offered up high fives and chanted ROO incessantly.
This years’ festival offered new and bigger facilities all throughout the Centeroo. In fact, there are even new developments in the campground. New this year was The Grove, a shady tree area within the campgrounds complete with fancy lighting, hammocks, and art instillations. Performance artists planned entertainment throughout the festival at the new site.
In Centeroo, the infamous Mushroom fountain was the center of attraction long before the music began. With a huge waft of fresh white water the fountain proved irresistible for sweaty music fans to indulge in a showery euphoria. As the festival processes the fountain tends to take on a brown tinge from the recycled water and the water pressure slowly wanes. So this first day is the optimum one to take a dip in the watery wonder. This years fountain artwork was designed by Queen Andrea (Andrea von Bujdoss), a New York graffiti and paint artist.
First Day Band Highlights
With the two main stages yet to open on Friday, the three tent stages became the main stages.
First to play in them was the young all black hard rock trio Unlocking The Truth from Brooklyn, New York. First formed in 2010, the trio consists of guitarist and vocalist Malcolm Brickhouse, bassist and vocalist Alec Atkins, and drummer and vocalist Jarad Dawkins. Playing in the heady tradition of Jimi Hendrix and In Living Colour, began as a child novelty act, but has greatly matured over the last two years on the festival circuit both musically and physically. Lead singer Brickhouse has a much deeper voice than just a year ago, lending itself better to the traditional metal music that the band has perfected.
Sydney based Australian band DMA, followed soon after with their own Indie style rock music sounding a bit inspired by Faith No More. Strand of Oaks, a music project by Indiana singer, Timothy Showalter, also was another crowd favorite, firing up the audience with folksy southern inspired rock. Sultry San Diego singer Ryn Weaver turned in an early smoking performance with her kick ass band.
Copenhagen based Iceage brought a retro feel to their music with animated lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt seeing to channel Jim Morrison and the band playing music which sounded like a cross between the Doors and a modern jam band. Meanwhile across the way another European band, Temples, from Kettering England, played some fierce Euro style psychedelic rock, led by another charismatic singer guitarist, James Bagshaw. Southern Americana rockers, Houndmouth, from Indiana played an impressive set, thanking fans who helped propel them from the smaller stages that they had played in years past at the Bonnaroo festival.
One of the most highly anticipated moments of the first night was the set by Swedish disco darling Tove (Love) Lo. It was a pleasant surprise to see her appear with a full band of veteran rock musicians and the sensuous young singer may have stole the evening with her steamy performance.
The tiny performer offered up strong vocals belying her little frame. The barefoot little singer gyrated her tiny frame while repeatedly simulating masturbation techniques as she belted out her sexy lyrics. Yet another sexy late night performance was turned in by yet another sensuous tiny framed female, this time the black Hip Hop artist known as Dej Loaf.
This little Detroit rapper with a big voice dressed only in a camouflage jumpsuit with nothing underneath briefly flash the crowd to add to the excitement. But her music was what really captured the festival goers attention with crisp modern Hip Hop attributes.
On a more jam band vein festival circuit veterans, The Growlers from Southern California offered up some intricate Indie music, led by the larger than life persona of lead singer Brooks Nielsen, who tends to channel an early Bob Dylan, although Brooks can sing and dance a lot better than the legendary Dylan. The band likes to call their music “Beach Goth,” and their concert jams are stuff of legend in Southern California. Dopapod, originally from Boston may have turned in the most impressive true jam band set of the evening offering up the kind of music that the legend of Bonnaroo was built on. This band could have played until dawn and virtually no one would have walked away.
The last impressive set of the evening was turned in by EDM masters Gramatik, joined by EDM rappers Cherub for a funky EDM all out dance party finish for the main stages first night.