Electronica rules the late-night roost to close Bonnaroo’s Day 2

Photo by Hannah Schwartz / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Electronica stalwarts Big Gigantic and Major Lazer were among the acts wowing the buzzing crowds both after and preceding the headlining superstar U2’s performance late Friday night and into the wee hours Saturday morning to close day two of the 16th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Big Gigantic proves just that to end evening

Electronica duo Big Gigantic ended day two by being exactly what the name suggests: larger than life.

The pair from Boulder, Colorado has been recording and performing livetronica, a subgenre in which live instruments and electronic production are used together, since 2009.

The Bonnaroo veterans took The Other Stage by storm at 2:15 a.m. Saturday and delivered a 65-minute set of energetic producing mixed with live instruments, gaudy, kaleidoscopic light displays and pyrotechnics.

Over-the-top production value aside, the set showcased producer and saxophonist Dominic Lalli’s live performance skills and technical abilities while drummer Jeremy Salken demonstrated an unreal ability to adapt live music to accompany the electronic.

Being the last show of the evening and one of the major acts of the weekend for EDM fans, the duo maintained a large, rowdy crowd for the duration of the late-night show.

Attendees danced vigorously to remixes and original beats that rattled the campgrounds around them.

From the first bass drop to the fireworks at the end of the show, Big Gigantic most assuredly put on one of the most literally and figuratively electric shows of the weekend.

— Sarah Grace Taylor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Major Lazer engages unwieldy crowd in post-midnight performance

Genre-leaping electronica group Major Lazer delivered a typically unpredictable display of remixes, samples and some impressively off-kilter audience interactions early Saturday morning at the Which Stage.

From the show’s beginning, Major Lazer DJ Walshy Fire incited the crowd to let loose, as he shouted, “Let me see you put those middle fingers up!”

The audience needed little incentive to dance, jump and scream as the show kicked off a little after 1 a.m. Using their samples to incorporate the wild onstage promptings, Major Lazer allowed the crowd to be pulled into the show with every passing drop.

Drawing from a wide spectrum of genres and styles, Major Lazer included samples from songs such as Moon Hooch’s “Number 9” and the Spice Girl’s “Wannabe.” The show incorporated pyrotechnics, fireworks, confetti canons and, fittingly, a healthy amount of lasers and lights.

As the late night eased closer toward morning, the group presented some of their popular tracks, such as “Lean On” and “Believer,” to keep the crowd lively.

Near the end of their performance, Major Lazer continued the trend of absurd audience participation when they encouraged the crowd to “take something off and put it in the air.” Bandannas, jackets and shirts flew into the air as Major Lazer continued to weave reggae, dancehall and house beats into their vibrant and intentionally erratic performance.

— Andrew Wigdor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Portugal. The Man spreads the love

Portugal. The Man gave audience members at Bonnaroo a post-midnight show to remember early Saturday morning. The band opened with an elaborate guitar intro that lasted a solid five minutes before easing into their song, “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.”

Multicolored laser lights synchronized with the music. At one point, the fog machines and laser lights appeared to melt together, creating vivid swirls of color in the air.

The energy inside This Tent was electric — and absolutely contagious — both on stage and off. A massive crowd surrounded the tent, cheering on Portugal. The Man with enthusiasm only seen at festivals such as Bonnaroo.

When “Feel It Still” and “Modern Jesus” were played, screams could surely be heard from other parts of the festival.

The band played some of their most familiar songs and a few well-chosen covers. Their take on Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” was dedicated to terrorist-torn Manchester, England, and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” ended the show.

Before the band exited the stage, lead singer John Gourley left the audience with some parting advice: “Keep music alive.”

— Lacey Kanipe, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

The xx make chill debut on massive What Stage

As openers of sorts for headlining U2, the English indie band The xx played to a jam-packed crowd at the  What Stage Friday night at Bonnaroo.

The band kicked off their show with “Say Something Loving,” one of their newest tracks. Throughout the set, the xx offered listeners a cool, laid-back sound. In a word: chill.

This marks the band’s third performance at Bonnaroo and their first at What Stage, the largest venue on the Farm. The xx is known for being a genre-blending band, marrying the sounds of indie pop, electronic and dream pop. Earlier this year, the xx released, “I See You,” a record that debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart.

“You’re making us nervous,” said singer-guitarist Romy Croft, laughing, at one point in the set.

Her raw comment made sense, though, as the next song she performed was a solo track called “Performance,” offering powerful vocals that quieted the crowd.

The show really started to heat up during “Fiction,” a hit track off the album “Coexist.” Croft and bandmate Jamie Smith have a comfortable onstage relationship, vibing off each other and using the other’s energy to further their own. This type of familiarity only comes after performing alongside one another for over a decade.

— Brinley Hineman, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Angelique Kidjo, ‘Remain in Light’ become one with Bonnaroo crowd

Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo took the stage Friday evening at Bonnaroo’s That Tent with a full-band revival of the Talking Heads’ landmark 1980 album “Remain in Light,” just a month after performing a show at New York’s fabled Carnegie Hall.

The artist, a native of Benin, Africa, weaved African words and melodies into the classic album. She kept the crowd grooving with her exotic and energetic dance moves. With a skilled ensemble of guitars, horns and chorus backing her, Kidjo covered the classic David Byrne-penned songs that at times were only mildly recognizable songs to longtime Talking Heads fans, including: “Born Under Punches,” “Cross-eyed and Painless,” “The Great Curve,” “The Overload,” “Houses in Motion,” and “Once in a Lifetime.”

While introducing “The Great Curve,” Kidjo relayed her personal activism from the stage, saying, “We are gonna connect together, because the world relies off humanity.” Breaking away from the “Remain in Light” interpretations, Kidjo encouraged the crowd come together in their beliefs and diversity as she walked through the crowd of Bonnavoorians singing her original “Momma Africa.” The crowd dazzled at her sincerity in humanity and ability to humble herself before her crowd. The rest of the set was full of solos from members of her band. They ended with a cover of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House,” capping a set of life, diversity and truly inspiring music at Bonnaroo.

—Tiffany Brady, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Fan Joins Car Seat Headrest on Bonnaroo Stage

Indie rock band Car Seat Headrest took Bonnaroo’s This Stage by storm late Friday afternoon, the buzzing crowd eager to hear songs from the Seattle-based band’s 2016 breakthrough album “Teens of Denial.”

The band didn’t disappoint, performing songs that included: “Fill in the Blank,” “1937 State Park,” “Maud Gone,” “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” and “Unforgiving Girl.”

Just before launching into “Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” drummer Andrew Katz decided to bring long-term fan —and her cowbell-playing skills — onto the stage.

“Over the last six months, I have been getting messages from a girl and her friends covering this next song we are about to play (“Destroyed by Hippie Powers”), and I finally agreed to let her come play on stage with us tonight,” Katz said.

It was as delightful as could be hoped, the young woman smashing a cowbell and leaping to and fro on stage while Car Seat Headrest crashed through power chords and pop hooks.

— Tiffany Brady, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

For more Bonnaroo coverage, click here.

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