Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2015 – Day 2 All Systems Go

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Article & Photos By L. Paul Mann
From August 2015 Vandala Magazine Read in our online flip magazine HERE
Read Each Day  – Wrap up + Photo Gallery, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4,

Day two of Bonnaroo saw the whole Centeroo come alive with both mainstays up and running as well as some ten other venues across the grounds. With so many music fans trying to move about it was time for them to pick their battles.

The day was much more humid than the previous one, but the large fluffy white clouds acted as an insulation from the searing summer sun most of the day. All possibilities of rain were erased from the forecast, ensuring there would be no repeats of the mudfests from some of the years before. Everyone seemed to be getting into the spirit of Bonnaroo, with creative outfits, face painting and all manner of totems being displayed. The giant waterslide and mushroom fountain were of course big hits again, with some adventurous fans shedding their clothes completely to take a bath. The music started early and went into the early morning hours this day. Some of the highlights included:

Brown Sabbath got things rocking on the second largest Which stage early in the afternoon. This Austin based band rocks covers of Black Sabbath songs. But they are not really a cover band adding their own funky rock take on the heavy metal legends, including a stellar horn section, creating an incredible cacophony of sound.

The young psychedelic rock band from Australia, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard packed the tent where they played early on. Often compared to Tame Impala, their sound is retro and fresh at the same time and band members perform with the rebellious energy of young Avant Gard rockers.

Back over on the Which stage, English rock duo Royal Blood took over the crowd sweltering in the blazing afternoon heat. “Is everyone sufficiently sweaty?”, lead singer and guitarist Mike Kerr asked the crowd, as they erupted into a huge water bottle spraying fight. The band takes thrice from other power rock duos like the Black Keyes and White Stripes, but with an edgier English garage rock sound. Jam music veterans, Guster, returned to Bonnaroo for the first time in eleven years, which is hard to believe since their campy Indie sound is tailor made for the traditional Bonnaroo fan base. The band did a clever cover of “Come On Eileen” to mark their return to the festival.

Nashville resident Ben Folds, who may have been at every Bonnaroo festival so far, brought his new project YMusic to one of the tents, featuring a mini orchestra backing offering up one of the most unique sets of the day. One of the other most unique sets of the day was by Tanya Tagag. The native Inuk Canadian comes from remote Nunavut on the South coast of Victoria Island. She joked with the crowd that she had to fly back the next day because it was too hot for her so far south. The young singer displayed a modern take on the guttural vocal style of traditional throat singing usually done between two women. But it was modified by Tagag with the help of two incredible musicians playing avant grade instruments like a tiny horn that emulated the sound of whales. The trance like music produced truly unique music.

Santa Barbara based Soja turned in one of the only Reggae inspired sets at the years Bonnaroo, but what a set it was. Playing to a mid afternoon main stage crowd of at least 30,000 people, the band pulled out all the stops in their genre bending take on Reggae music. Speaking of genre bending music local Nashville Indie music favorites, Moon Taxi played a rock set that was infused by influences as diverse as Radiohead and Hip Hop music. The resulting musical cocktail was magnificent.

The newly remodeled Who stage, formerly the Sonic stage, showcases lesser known musical acts, and some of the real gem sets of Bonnaroo can be heard here, without the massive crowds of the bigger stages. Mini Mansions, the side project of bassist Michael Shuman from Queens of The Stone Age was on the Friday treasures found on the little noticed stage, playing some southern California desert tinged rock.

As night fell on the main stage, the Athens Alabama band Alabama shakes brought their rocking Gospel music inspired sound to a massive euphoric audience. Led by gutsy Gospel and Blues singer Brittany Howard, the band brings back memories of an early Janis Joplin with Big Brother and The Holding Company. These veterans of the festival circuit have reached a new crescendo of sound with their latest tour and album. Meanwhile back in the tent area classic English rockers Tears For Fears were wowing the crowd with their timeless Beatlesque sound that made them so famous in the 80’s. The founding duo, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith may have aged physically but their immense musical talent has stood the test of time and they are still a great live band.

Ben Harper the blues drenched singer and phenomenal guitarist played a smoking set, now back with his band of veteran musicians, The Innocent Criminals. As the night wore on a massive crowd made their way to the main stage for what may have been the best set of the night.

Bonnaroo Festival 2015 Day 2 - Against Me

Against Me Photo Credit – L.Paul Mann Full Gallery HERE

Kendrick Lamar, the Los Angeles hip hop artist has had a meteoric rise in his career over the last two years, headlining a dizzying array of music festivals. Lamar came to perform at Bonnaroo and the crowd went wild for his fresh rap sound. The inevitable comparison between his set and last years’ set by superstar Kanye west had to be made. Unlike the whining meandering set of probably the biggest rap star on the planet, Lamar endeared himself to the crowd and played off of a terrific backing band. His incredible group of musicians gave a whole new dimension to Lamar’s’ popular rap songs.

Meanwhile a much smaller crowd was swaying to the super “Avant Groove” sound of Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood. Any one of these jazz rock greats could turn in a formidable set of live music, but together they created some of the most sophisticated and intricate music of the festival.

Late night on the Which stage a large crowd gathered to see and hear the offerings of 70’s disco legends Earth, Wind and Fire. The band has actually been producing a variety of different music sounds over the decades, but it is their timeless classic dance hits that always get the crowd gyrating. The surviving members of the classic band played on singing, dancing and joking like teen spirits. While Kendrick Lamar’s set may have been the biggest surprise of the night. It was the last main stage set on Friday that made history.

Bonnaroo Festival 2015 Day 2 - Moon Taxi

Moon Taxi – Photo Credit – L.Paul Mann Full Gallery HERE

Canadian EDM star, Deadmau5 was the first EDM act to headline Bonnaroo. The mouse eared electronic music guru, seems to take his cues from the legendary French electronic wizard, Jean Michel Jarre. Jarre was well known for his spectacular one of performances of EDM music, with incredible synched visuals like fireworks and huge light shows. He was the precursor to today’s modern EDM show, heavy on visual emphasis. To this end Deadmau5 has taken the visual performance to a whole new level with a unique and spectacular light show. Whatever you may think of EDM music as an art form, Deadmau5 creates a unique symphony of sound for each set, more like a classical orchestra than you typical EDM mad up DJ. The huge crowd at Bonnaroo loved his closing set, creating a sea of glow sticks and all manner of gyrating EDM costumes. Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, and Soja all warmly received on the same stage. Could that happen anywhere else but Bonnnaro?

Article & Photos By L. Paul Mann
From August 2015 Vandala Magazine Read in our online flip magazine HERE
Read Each Day  – Wrap up + Photo Gallery, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4,


3 responses to “Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2015 – Day 2 All Systems Go

  1. Pingback: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Wraps Up 14th Annual Festival With Plenty of Firsts +Photo Hightlights | Vandala Magazine·

  2. Pingback: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2015 – Day 3 Heats Up In More Ways Than One | Vandala Magazine·

  3. Pingback: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2015 – Day 4 The Final Day | Vandala Magazine·

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