When the dust settles … Bonnaroo Day 2 rolls out with the fog


Some of the attendees try to grab the lasers produced during Robinson's show at Bonnaroo on June 9, 2018. Victoria Leuang / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Per custom, the 17th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival moves from hot and dusty afternoon grooves to nighttime headliners to late-night and early-morning beat makers, with the Day 2 Friday night lineup closing in the early morning fog thanks to extra-special effects from an electronica music favorite.

Virtual Self has night-closing crowd in the palms of their hands

American electronic music producer Porter Robinson takes the alias Virtual Self for his performances, which included a Bonnaroo Day 2-ending set ending after 3 a.m. Saturday morning at The Other stage.

Some of the attendees try to grab the lasers produced during Robinson’s show at Bonnaroo on June 9, 2018. (Victoria Leuang / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

Fog filled the air between stage and crowd — which filled the field with creative totems, balloons and glow sticks — setting the mood for a memorable set.

The show kicked off with a constant upbeat rhythm that made Bonnaroovians heads bob and sway to the music. At times it fit right in with other electronic dance music performances, but Robinson clearly wants to create something new and different.

Thus the Virtual Self set became surprisingly trippy, complete with colorful lasers that appeared to be shooting straight to the palms of audience members’ hands. Occasionally you could hear “ooohs” and “ahhs” every time visuals would switch.

The intensity made for pyrotechnic sparks and flames from the stage and a won-over electronica-loving crowd.

— Victoria Leuang, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Crowd on feet and sometimes shoulders as T-Pain draws big crowd

Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Faheem Najm, better known as T-Pain, attracted thousands of roaring fans Friday evening at Bonnaroo’s That Stage. Fans — some riding atop shoulders — overflowed the venue to hear the artist’s most popular hits. The rowdy crowd chanted, “T-Pain,” until he appeared.

Once the music started, the crowd loyally bounced to every song. The multifaceted artist performed his hits and others, including “Booty Wurk,” “Cyclone,” “Two Step,” “Buy U a Drank,” “Blame It,” “I’m in love with a stripper” and “5 o’clock.”

Also known as a record producer.and founder of Nappy Boy Entertainment in 2005, T-Pain is known for using auto-tune pitch correction, set at extreme settings, to gain a unique sound. He did not disappoint his Bonnaroo fans with this technique.

T-Pain’s set was distinctive from other Bonnaroo offerings, performing snippets of each song. The set was very DJ-like, making room for a number of songs in his set.

— Tiffany Brady, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Khalid spreads joy at Which Stage

Bonnaroo was in full swing with the grounds getting increasingly crowded, and having Khalid set to perform didn’t help that matter.

The Which Stage towered over the rows of people, with the par can lights shining over the grinning faces.

The lights dimmed and a burst of light shined from the LED screen behind the backing band. Then, Khalid’s high top fade rises from a hydraulic platform.

The crowd roared with pure joy, and a shining smile from Khalid’s face beamed over the thousands of people hoping to catch a glimpse of one of R&B’s top talents.

Khalid jumps for joy during his set at the Which Stage on Friday, June 8, 2018.
(Photo by Anthony Merriweather / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

He strolled down a stairwell from the platform with a pep in his step, greeting everyone from stage right to stage left.

Then Khalid broke into song.

“So let’s do all the stupid shit that young kids do,” he sang his song “8TEEN” to the youthful faces hugging the metal barricade.

Khalid never broke away from his smile as he did acrobatic high kicks in his Yeezy Boosts, exuding an infectious wave of positivity to any and everyone watching.

He then broke away from his free-form moves into choreographed dancing. Dancers plastered in neon athletic wear joined him with grins of their own, making ground on every inch of the stage.

Khalid performed other tracks from his album “American Teen,” including “Winter” and “Coaster” and even let one of his dancers join in for a few lyrics.

— Anthony Merriweather / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Ex-SNL-er Zamata throws Christmas Barn comedy party

Sasheer Zamata’s Party Time, hosted by former Saturday Night Live member Sasheer Zamata, kept the comedy flag flying at Bonnaroo’s Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Barn Friday night.

With Bonnaroo doing away with its longstanding Comedy Tent, Zamata and other comics have been performing at several other smaller venues at this year’s festival both inside the festival proper and outside in the campground plazas.

Zamata started Friday’s show by introducing a few jokes about feminism and how cat-calling should be dealt with. The night was full of comedy, music and games. Featured comedians and musicians from across the country included Kyle Ayers, Joel Kim Booster, Janelle James, Drennon Davis, and comedic DJ Donwill.

Comedian Ayers said it was his 30th birthday, and he was happy to spend it at Bonnaroo, with rapper T-Pain dropping it in the background of his Friday performance.

After each comedian had their spot, the group played a game of emotional “Never Have I Ever.” This is typically known as a drinking game, but the bunch told their stories of when they cried in public, got into a fistfight as an adult, or had a breakthrough on drugs.

The crowd also participated, with one audience member saying, “My girlfriend was cheating on me, so I punched the new guy in the face.”

How’s that for emotion in a comedy show?

— Megan Cole, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Sultana proves to be jack of all trades, master of many at This Tent

Tash Sultana proved her versatility at Bonnaroo’s This Tent Friday night.

The Australian singer-songwriter wielded an electric guitar, drumsticks, a trumpet and a wooden pan flute to provide fans with an unforgettable performance.

During the largely instrumental set, the crowd grooved to his entrancing melodies. During the genre-bending performance, Sultana employed “live-looping” to create the complex beats that made up her songs. During each track, she recorded and played back portions of her own vocals or instrumental sounds, mixing them together to create something new.

Sultana performed some of her songs, such as “Jungle” and “Notion,” that were made popular from self-recorded YouTube videos she made in her bedroom. The live bedroom recording of “Jungle” currently has more than 18 million views on YouTube.

Donning a backward cap, round-rimmed glasses, bare feet and a contagious smile, Sultana worked hard to make all feel welcome.

Near the closing of the show, Sultana, who is gay, explained to the crowd that if anyone is racist or has a prejudice against those who do not adhere to typical gender norms, they should “get the (expletive) out of this tent.”

To wrap up the performance, Sultana performed the full unedited version of “Jungle.” She announced that radio stations tend to edit her songs down, but that she would be playing the song “exactly how it’s written to be played,” leading the crowd to erupt in applause.

— Andrew Wigdor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Trombone Shorty brings New Orleans brass, sass to This Stage

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue brought Louisiana to Tennessee Friday afternoon at Bonnaroo.

Mixing blues, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, rock and funk, the New Orleans-based group took Bonnaroo by storm at This Stage. The band used a variety of brass, electric, woodwind and percussion instruments during an extremely animated

Trombone Shorty brings his Louisiana style to Bonnaroo on June 8, 2018. (Victoria Leuang / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

performance, with constant dancing, soloing and playing multiple instruments.

Bandleader Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, showed his versatility by playing trumpet, trombone, drums, and singing lead vocals. The band played songs from their albums “Parking Lot Symphony” and “Backatown,” including: “On Your Way Down,” “Here Come the Girls,” and “Parking Lot Symphony.”

The set also offered unique-sounding covers of “Give It Away” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and “Brain Stew” by Green Day, with saxophonist Dan Oestreicher taking lead vocals for Chili Peppers hit and Andrews played the iconic Green Day song through his trombone.

— Tiffany Brady, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Philly retro rockers Low Cut Connie honor Bourdain in eclectic set

Fiery American-based Low Cut Connie rocked the Who Stage Friday afternoon with their raw energy and Philly sound.

Formed in 2010 and counting former President Barack Obama among its legions of fans, the six-member band energized the crowd with a soulful performance, attracting a diverse crowd. The band’s frontman, Adam Weiner,

Low Cut Connie singer Adam Weiner ends show by ripping his top off at Bonnaroo on June 8, 2018. (Megan Cole / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

jumped into the crowd twice to offer hugs to his fans yelling, “You’ve got soul, Bonnaroo!”

Low Cut Connie covered the late-era Johnny Cash’s song “Ain’t No Grave” and dedicated it to TV celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide on location in France, as reported early Friday morning by CNN, who produced his award-winning show “Parts Unknown.” Before their afternoons Low Cut Connie tweeted, “Today’s show @Bonnaroo is dedicated to Anthony Bourdain. Brilliant guy, open heart, a voracious appetite for life.”

In its party band mode, the song “Shake It Little Tina” caught a retro vibe as backup singer Saundra Williams — Miss Black America of 1968 — took the front of the stage with a powerful voice and stage presence.

Weiner ended the show with high intensity, jumping atop the piano and ripping his shirt open.

“If we all stick together, boys and girls of Bonnaroo,” said the singer, preaching love and acceptance, and we spread this good feeling all around this country for a little while, no matter what happens we’ll never lose!”

— Megan Cole, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Childers pays homage to outlaw country sound … his way

Tyler Childers brought a bit of Southern-fried country-rock to Bonnaroo’s That Tent Friday afternoon.

Childers’ music breathes American authenticity, as the Kentucky artist’s sound seems to draw much inspiration from the Outlaw Country style of artists such as Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard in. The 1970s and beyond. While

Tyler Childers performs at Bonnaroo’s That Tent on June 8, 2018. (Hayden Goodridge / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

Childer’s sound is undeniably country, it defies the common themes dominating pop-country charts today, instead looking to the musical past for its inspiration.

The songwriter’s most recent record is titled “Purgatory” and was produced by the progressive-country artist and mentor Sturgill Simpson — another act performing at this year’s Bonnaroo.

As the scraggly, red-headed Childers and his posse opened their set, fans quickly caught on to the group’s relaxed-but-engaging energy. His raspy, Southern-accented vocals were backed by various bluegrass instruments, including a lap steel guitar and fiddle.

The band’s setlist traversed themes ranging from Appalachian hardship on “Born Again” to substance abuse on “Charleston Girl.” Although the subject matter of his songs was varied, Childers’ genuine songwriting talent remained consistent.

For the closing song, the band left the stage to allow the Kentucky singer and his fingerpicked guitar to be the audience’s sole focus. Before launching into the track, he announced: “This song I wrote for a lady. Lady May.”

With a melancholy look in his eye, Childers began the opening line: “I’m baptized in your name / Lovely Lady May.”

— Hayden Goodridge, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Lahey shares stories with crowd at What Stage

Australian indie-rocker Alex Lahey mixed raw passion and sweet emotions in a charismatic set at the What Stage Friday afternoon.

Alex Lahey shares her personality-driven songs at Bonnaroo on June 8, 2018. (Andrew Wigdor / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service)

Lahey, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, made Bonnaroo a part of her current “Huge and True” tour in the U.S.

“This Southern jam thing is actually a thing, isn’t it?” Lahey asked near the start of her performance. “I never want to leave.”

Lahey opened with the title song on her 2017 album “I Love You Like A Brother,” an upbeat and playful track that details her relationship with her brother, Will Lahey.

From there, Lahey launched into many of the personality-driven songs that make up “I Love You Like A Brother” and her first EP, “B-Grade University.” Through witty lyricism and a tongue-and-cheek demeanor, Lahey shared stories of relationships, experiences, and times of change.

Fans continued to gather around the stage as Lahey dived deeper into rapid guitar ballads, wild vocals and tales of love and loss.

Before ending her show with an impassioned rendition of her song “I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of My Self,” Lahey shouted, “It’s a dream come true to be at Bonnaroo.”

— By Andrew Wigdor, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Road to ‘Roo winners The Foxies brings edgy indie pop sound to Fest

Winners of this year’s annual statewide Road to ‘Roo nightclub competition, Nashville-based indie pop band The Foxies kicked off their first Bonnaroo performance at the New Music on Tap Lounge stage Friday afternoon.

The band — consisting of Julia Lauren Bullock, Jake Ohlbaum, Rob Bodley and Kyle Talbot — performed songs from their EP “Oblivion” to a modestly sized but appreciative audience. A fast-paced, mesmerizing beat from low guitars and groovy bass and drums welcomed frontwoman Bullock, clad in a long silver fish-scale coat, to the stage.

The Foxies launched into catchy late-70s/early 80s-style pop tunes, including “Floods” “Our Blood Is Fire” to “Disco.” Bullock’s edgy vibrato added a unique modern-indie sound to the band, which got the crowd dancing. Some even ended up on stage to sing along with her.

Intent to keep the crowd interaction going, the band finished its set a bit earlier to meet with new and old Foxies fans.

— Victoria Leuang, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service 

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