Bri Blahg… ‘Roo Wrap… The Good, The Bad, and Muddy

17 06 2009

by Brian Phillips (@BrianBlahg)

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Elvis Costello, Saturday, That Tent

I’m back. Got some sleep. Time to formulate some conclusions on Bonnaroo 2009. First let me say that after being a bit off their programming game of late, the festival seems to have gotten itself back on track. The overall vibe was very positive. Bare in mind that it is impossible to see everything at Bonnaroo. Too much overlapping.

Top Shows:

1. Elvis Costello
The set began as the angry man with a guitar, and ended with Costello, Jenny Lewis, and Jenny’s band ripping through “Piece, Love, and Understanding.” I’ve never seen Costello have so much fun.

2. Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 Hitchcock’s current band featuring R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, R.E.M. sideman and Minus 5 leader Scott McCaughy, and ex Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin gives the 56 year old a righteous rock kick. Classics like “I Often Dream Of Trains” took on a new luster.

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Robyn Hitchcock & Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

3. Robyn Hitchcock at the Saturday press conference Hitchcock quipped that he came to Bonnaroo because it was suggested to him that he play in front of people. His story of seeing Jimi Hendrix at The Isle Of Wright three weeks before Jimi’s death was compelling. There were bigger stars on this panel (Jimmy Buffett, Robert Kennedy Junior) but Robyn stole the show.


4. Band of Horses
It was the last set I saw before heading north. Spine tingling.

5. Justin Townes Earle
Where dad Steve Earle is a volcano of agit anger and venom, son Justin is a humble, insightful storyteller. It’s quite amazing that they are father and son actually.

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Jeff Tweedy & Wilco on the What Stage

6.  Wilco Continuing their evolution into the Sonic Youth of roots rock, Wilco kicked up an arty twister of soundscapes Saturday on the main stage.

7.  Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor says it was NIN’s final American appearance. If indeed it was, they left no bullets in the chamber. Highlight? Of course “Head Like A Hole” and for me, the song Reznor wrote for David Bowie “I’m Afraid Of Americans.”

8. Jessica Lea Mayfield
Despite playing the AT&T mud floor tent, the Kent, Ohio native held the audience in rapt attention. It’s that voice man. Haunting. She’ll be back, and at a much bigger stage next time.

9. Interviews Mayfield, Grace Potter, Passion Pit, Zac Brown, Portugal The Man, Everest, Alberta Cross. Good people all.

10. Everest Saddled with an early afternoon set at the tiny Bud Troo Music stage, the LA men nonetheless let loose with some Crazy Horse style biker roots rock. I look forward to seeing them again.

11. Passion Pit After seeing the Boston blog blow ups live,  I can tell you they live up to the hype.

The Bad.


1. My Aldi cheap ten
t $24.99 for a tent. Yeah not such a great idea. During the four downpours we had Thursday it turned into a water balloon. I slept in my van instead.

2. Crystal Castles Sorry don’t get it.

3. Not having much to complain about. Can’t think of anything else that seriously bummed me out.

The Muddy

1. My boots.

2. My Rolling Stones flip flops.

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24 08 2009
Bri Blahg: Music News Round Up Monday August 24, 2009 « 2009 Festival Season

[…] NIN play entire Downward Spiral at Farewell NYC gig. I’m laying money right now that Nine Inch Nails will tour again within five years. That said I’m glad I saw them at Bonnaroo. […]

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