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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Live from Bonnaroo: Hairy legs and indecent proposals


Overheard at Bonnaroo: "I should have done more mushrooms at prom." — One of the perpetually stoned high school students camping next to me

Hygiene update: I smell better than a dead person, but worse than a chicken salad sandwich left out in the sun for an afternoon. I think my sweat and sunblock have formed an impenetrable layer that will protect me from both the sun and bullets. Apparently it is now de rigeur to bathe and shave one's legs at Bonnaroo. I did not get the memo, so my legs are hairier than some of the men's I've seen so far today. It can be hard to be this extreme.

The last day of a music festival is a tough one — the audience is too partied-out or sunburned or exhausted to embrace acts as fully as they could the day before. I definitely fell into that category, as I was still pretty beat from the night before ("KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAANYE!). Here's what I saw:

Broken Social Scene

I was only able to catch a couple songs of their set, but I did hear this gem: "Put down the bong and vote for Obama / You know that you gotta / You know that you wanna."


This might be the only band I saw this weekend that I wasn't already tangentially aware of, and it sounded a lot heavier and more industrial than I anticipated from a mid-afternoon act — they might have worked better at 2 a.m. But the crowd loved them, so maybe my sense of decorum is way off here. Or maybe everyone else's was.

Jakob Dylan and the Gold Mountain Rebels

I haven't listened to much from Dylan since his Wallflowers days, and his new group has a more mellow vibe that's perfect for laying in the sun while you wait to see another band. Pleasant, but not world-changing, at least not for me.

Aimee Mann

I love Aimee Mann, but I have to admit that her live show wasn't as dynamic as I hoped it'd be. Everything sounded great, and admittedly her material doesn't lend itself to wacky onstage antics, but there were long, painful, silent pauses between songs that provided obnoxious fans ample opportunity to yell "I love you!" or "Marry me!" or various other things I hate to hear screamed at shows.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss feat. T Bone Burnett

When Alison Krauss and Robert Plant teamed up last year for Raising Sand, the collaboration seemed unlikely to me but when I heard the album it made so much sense. Both Krauss and Plant are dynamic vocalists with a long history of rocking my world. Their set was like watching the sonic equivalent of a Batman/Superman team-up, if Superman wasn't incredibly lame and used to front Led Zeppelin. (Does this make T Bone Burnett Robin?)

Their live show was a treat for Zeppelin fans as well — there were several bluegrassy covers.

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