Bonnaroo 2015: Saturday Round-Up

My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket

What can I say to do this set justice?

This was my tenth My Morning Jacket show and this one was unquestionably the best. And it had nothing to do with the venue or the setlist.

Simply put, the show was good because if the band could take chances it did. They didn’t play this show as pre-headliners looking to preserve a reputation, but like the hungry young lions that earned that it. Carl Broemel’s guitar has never sounded so fearless.

The band also included a fair amount of new material, which sounded just as thunderous as their classics and more in character with the band’s natural sound when performed live.

After ripping through the second half of “Run Thru,” and “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt.2,” the band closed it out with Tennessee Fire rarity “The Dark.” Just kidding, they played “One Big Holiday.”

So My Morning Jacket finally got to headline Saturday night, kinda.

The War On Drugs

I’ve never considered myself a fan of The War On Drugs until Saturday night, but that’s because I’d never seen them live. Like so many doubters I’ve spun the record and heard the vague influences of Springsteen and Petty with mild interest, but I’ve never bothered to see what this band was really all about.

Good thing for me their live show showcases that.

It’s true, the classic rock influences are rife, but something about the disparate structures and the way Adam Granduciel makes you wait for his ear-splitting, sonically-curious guitar solos brings to mind the best work of contemporaries Wilco or My Morning Jacket. Which isn’t to say The War On Drugs is even in the same conversation as those two bands right now, but if they can continue down the adventurous path they’re paving right now, it seems like an inevitability.

Woods

Woods’ breezy, ’60s-inspired brand of folk rock was a nice break from the onslaught of Friday night.

For a band known for weird pop, Woods calmed the weird down and stuck to chilled out pop tunes for most of the set, saving up their energy for an explosive climax, or pre-climax.

“Maybe we played the songs too fast, we have time for one more,” Jeremy Earl said after what was to be their last song.

Instead they tuned up, gushed over Belle and Sebastian for awhile, and played one more.

Belle and Sebastian

“We’re going to have a party if you’ve got any energy left,” said singer Stuart Murdoch before Belle and Sebastian launched into their ultra danceable single “The Party Line.” The band took the stage late Saturday evening, just in time for the sun to set and the cool, night breeze to roll in: perfect party weather.

And party they did, with Murdoch at his most energetic and exuberant. When he wasn’t being fed jellybeans on stage or dancing with friends in the crowd, he was leading the band through some of the most enduring indie pop songs of the past two decades.

Aside from the plethora of instruments on stage, one of the most striking parts of Belle’s live show came from the screen projected behind the band. Half psychedelic visuals, half full-on music videos, it was entertaining watching them sync up perfectly with the band as if they exist to confirm “yes, they’re really that tight.”

If you haven’t caught the band on this recent tour, now is the time to make sure you grab some tickets before they disappear back to Glasgow for another hibernation.

P.S. I caught a shuttle with some of them and they’re really nice, genuine people.