Saturday, June 10, 2023

Bonnaroo 2016: Saint Motel brings beach vibes to the farm


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Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records

As soon as the first jazz notes came out of This Tent from indie pop band Saint Motel, the crowd was treated to the smooth and sensual playing of the saxophone, explaining why this upstart band is making the hashtag #saxual a thing.

One problem with outdoor music festivals is the amount of sound bleed and the normalcy of multiple bands performing at the exact same time. This usually leads to a mixing of noise, but Saint Motel held their own by staying true to their roots and bringing a unique jazz-infused beach vibe to the farm.

Even though they were on a smaller stage, Saint Motel didn’t feel like any other band out there. This year marked their first Bonnaroo appearance, which they blew out of the park with nonstop hits and synchronized light shows reminiscent of what you’d see on the Which Stage.

“Thanks for braving the heat with us,” vocalist-guitarist A/J Jackson expressed after the first two songs. The band members were constantly playing up the crowd and acknowledging their energy. Jackson pointed out several homemade signs and other odd items in the crowd, including a giant fish on a tall reel and a Bob Saget sign, to which he playfully responded, “Nice to see you, Bob.”

Their Caribbean island vibe stems from their origins in sunny California, where all four band members met. A nice treat for Bonnaroovians, Saint Motel showed that their love of aesthetic and visuals in their many music videos makes for a cohesive and themed atmosphere on stage.

Before playing crowd favorite “My Type” as an encore, they made a startling announcement: “The second album is done.”

— Sara Snoddy, MTSU Seigenthaler News Service, Twitter:@sara_snoddy

To contact Lifestyles Editor Olivia Ladd email

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