SuperJam keeps the night young with Jon Batiste, Chance the Rapper

Photo by Meagan McPherson / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — A host of artists from an eclectic blend of musical genres brought the soul and funk to the annual late-night SuperJam, with electronica and hip-hop among the highlights from other stages as day three of Bonnaroo drew to a close early Sunday morning.

“The Soul Shakedown” becomes just that

Performing funk, jazz and hip-hop classics from generations old and new, a wide variety of musicians put on an unapologetically upbeat and irresistibly lovable show during Bonnaroo’s SuperJam.

The SuperJam, a yearly staple during which artists from many different genres team up to jam out, took place at This Tent in the early hours of Sunday morning. The already enlivened crowd surrounded the stage and began to lead a rendition of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” before the performers took the stage.

Once the 2017 SuperJam, titled “The Soul Shakedown” began, New Orleans-area native Jon Batiste — bandleader on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” — and a full jazz band walked onstage to start the show with a performance of C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat.” The band quickly fell into their groove as the audience screamed, “Everybody dance now!” back to the performers.

Directly after the opening number, Batiste took center stage to perform a fully funked-out version of Pharrell William’s “Happy.” With the audience jumping, hollering and dancing to Batiste’s sweet delivery of the modern chart-topper, the SuperJam was in full swing indeed.

Next Jax Anderson, known by her stage name, Flint Eastwood, continued the funky stuff with a rendition of James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.” The infamous rhythm-and-groove anthem lent itself well to the rest of the SuperJam with the help of trumpets, trombones, saxophones and a bass guitar.

Other artists who danced and sang their way through the SuperJam included Christian hip-hop singer Lecrae, funk and soul band Tank and the Bangas, Lukas Nelson (son of the legendary Willie Nelson), country singer Margo Price and many more.

Finally, as the hour passed 2 a.m., Chance the Rapper — who seemingly has been everywhere during this and  recent past Bonnaroos — entered the SuperJam to present a finale performance with the help of the other artists.

Chance the Rapper shook the This Stage with fast-paced hip-hop vocals and mesmerized the audience with his signature charisma and energy. After finishing his solo performance, he encouraged artists from all genres to step back onto the stage to deliver a final blast of funk, jazz and whatever else they pleased to the endearing crowd.

— Andrew Wigdor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Marshmello shakes the late-night house

Marshmello shook Bonnaroo with his 2 a.m. set early Sunday morning, the strobing lights and thumping beats making the Manchester farm feel like a warehouse rave.

The EDM artist, whose identity remains a mystery, played for a crowd of thousands at The Other stage, wearing his signature marshmallow-shaped mask.

The show was energetic, with fans brandishing totems with LED lights and wild reflective outfits to match the vibrant and overwhelming light show.

The graphics and pyrotechnics were part and parcel of the musical performance. Flames shot up from the stage along with billows of fog and confetti throughout the show. At the drop of each beat, a new animation played across the three enormous screens on The Other stage, most containing Marshmello’s caricature.

Marshmello got his start in 2015 by remixing tracks made famous by Zedd and Jack Ü. Since then he has released many singles and an album, “Joytime.”

For much of his set, Marshmello sampled songs made popular by artists such as Justin Bieber and Travis Scott, but his own unique beats easily outshined them in his performance. Instead of building tension to augment a pre-existing pop song, Marshmello used the beat drops to transition into his own larger-than-life electronic hooks.

His show was  unpredictable and original, but what else could you expect from somebody who wears a marshmallow on his head?

— Alexis Marshall, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Tory Lanez brings more than hip-hop to Bonnaroo

Canadian recording artist Tory Lanez shows what it means to be a versatile artist in the ever-changing hip-hop genre.

Performing songs like his own “Anyway” and “Juvenile,” he displayed his rapping skills while also bringing in the R&B with “Do It” and a cover of R. Kelly’s “Bump N’ Grind.”

“This is a party, right?” Lanez asked as he made his performance feel like an old-school house party as opposed to an actual stage performance.

Born Daystar Peterson, the 24-year-old artist doesn’t stop at just R&B and hip-hop but also throws in some reggae.

“What do y’all know about reggae?” Lanez asks the crowd as they surprised him in knowing the lyrics to Jamaican artist Gyptian’s “Hold You” and legendary Bob Marley & The Wailers “One Love.” 

Lanez’s affinity for his audience was on full display when he performed “Highschool Memories,” a song regarding acceptance and teen angst.

“Y’all as the listener don’t understand how similar we are,” he explained as he became more personal with his crowd.

Lanez finishes his set with the rap/hip-hop songs “Litty Again” by Meek Mill — on which he is featured — and his own “Diego,” electrifying the crowd as he physically crowd-walked out to end his set.

— Jarron Parker, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Bonnaroo brings Buress new material

Comedian Hannibal Buress gave a standup performance tailored specifically for Bonnaroo in the Comedy & Cinema Tent Saturday night.

Opener Sabrina Jalees brought her A-game to her first Bonnaroo performance, covering a wide range of topics, including Vice President Mike Pence’s time as governor of Indiana, Helen Keller and sexuality.

“One minute, you’re a brown lesbian from Canada. The next minute, you’re smoking a joint with Chance the Rapper,” Jalees, of Swiss-Pakistani descent, observed in a nod to the rap artist, who was in the audience just an hour or so before his own starring gig at the Which Stage.  

Once Buress took the stage, he came straight for the Bonnaroo jokes, citing a encounter he had with a 16-year-old Friday after Major Lazer and later imploring festival goers not to approach him at night during Bonnaroo.

“If you ran into me at Bonnaroo at 3 in the morning and said ‘Hannibal, two options: Fight to the death or take a selfie with me,’ I’d say, ‘Square up, motherf—-r.'”

Between Bonnaroo jokes, Buress divided his time playing with voice modification and making fun of rappers Nelly and Tupac for their obscure rap introductions.

At the end of his set, Buress mixed the rap, Bonnaroo and autotune elements of the show in an odd freestyle, including the lyrics, “Do what you gotta do at Bonnaroo.”

As dancers in banana suits, hula hoops and tutus filled the stage, Buress himself called it “gibberish rap,” a fitting title for the weak ending to an otherwise funny show.

— Sarah Grace Taylor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Future Islands creates somber, passionate atmosphere at What Stage

With solemn faces and passionate vocals, Future Islands kicked off their Bonnaroo performance with the song “A Dream of You and Me” on Saturday evening at the What Stage.

The Baltimore-based synth-pop group’s show remained candid and modest throughout, relying on the emotional performance of lead singer Samuel Herring and the weight of the rousing songs played.

Herring created a grounded and intense atmosphere through the majority of the set. The singer frequently pounded his face and chest and produced guttural growls and screams to accent his dramatic vocals. Bandmates William Cashion and Gerrit Welmers yielded the sound needed to support the raw emotion that Herring displayed.

Despite the somber tone of some of the songs, Future Islands was still able to excite the giant crowd in front of the What Stage with stirring renditions of songs such as “Walking Through That Door” and “Seasons,” the latter a 2014 song that became widely popular after a live performance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

While playing songs that helped them rise to prominence in recent years, the band continued to engage the audience in the latter half of the performance with fervent shouts from Herring.

“Life’s f—-ed up when you’re young, but it evens out over time,” Herring advised the audience.

— Andrew Wigdor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Tegan and Sara honor LGBT community on Bonnaroo stage

Indie pop duo Tegan and Sara Quin took Bonnaroo’s Which Stage by storm early Saturday night. The densely packed crowd roared with dedicated fans eager to see the duo’s colorful set decorated with clip art and effects.

Performing under the name Tegan and Sara, the pair performed songs from multiple albums including: “How Come You Didn’t Want Me,” “Drove Me Wild,” “Goodbye,” “Shock to Your System,” “Speak Slow,” “The Con,” “Back in Your Head,” “Hang on to the Night” and “Stop Desire.”

The Canadian sisters then took the time to honor the Gay Pride Month this June, stating, “Anyone in the audience who identifies LGBT or are allies of the community, we want to honor you today, because you are such a strong community… The government is whack-a-doodle, and publicly, we want to say we have your back.”

— Tiffany Brady, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

COIN’s the flip side of Nashville’s country

Although Nashville-based, COIN is the farthest thing from country music. In fact, the four-piece band has become  expert at performing indie pop in a city that hails so many country artists.

COIN kicked off their Saturday set with the track “Feeling,” a tune off their 2017 album “How Will You Know If You Never Try.”

Despite the Tennessee heat, fans came out in full force to see the band. Amid the sun rays, the audience danced together in a frenzy as COIN delivered a psychedelic set.

Although Bonnaroo rookies, the group looked right at home on the sizable Which Stage. During the banger “Boyfriend,” fans moved closer to the stage, crowding close under the midafternoon sun.

— Brinley Hineman, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

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