<p>Mumford &amp; Sons at Bonnaroo</p>

Mumford & Sons at Bonnaroo

Credit: Katie Hasty

Bonnaroo roundup part two: Mumford & Sons, Loretta Lynn, Wiz Khalifa

Deer Tick are brats, Patty Griffin joins Mavis Staples, Justin Townes Earle sells snake oil

There’s been a triad of music First Ladies, a series of trailblazers that have shaped the goosebumps on the skin of everyone’s sunburned arms at Bonnaroo. Friday brought the Queen of of Rockailly, Wanda Jackson, among one of my favorite Immaculate Noise interviewees. Last night brought my first full set sit-in, from country great Loretta Lynn. She wore a combination of Flashy Loretta and Down-Home Loretta, with a simple pant-suit with a bibbed, rhinestone shirt. Her petite frame was fragile against her male-dominated, inveterate band and she rarely strayed from her place on stage.


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Review: Eminem blazes through 'Recovery' hits, nostalgia at Bonnaroo

Can the rapper still be the villain he aspired to be?

MANCHESTER, TENN. - Loud, banging explosives went off a couple of times during Eminem’s Saturday night set at Bonnaroo, the end-cap to particularly violent songs in his set list like “Kill You.” Red, flashy scenes of blazing matter and bombs glowed behind the rapper and his full band on screens, like early visions of doomsday. He defiantly claimed he “Won’t Back Down” to his rivals, and performed darkly in front of the burning house from “Love the Way You Lie.” 

Eminem envisions himself a villain, as he raps in Drake’s star-studded “Forever”; at times over these last 12 years, he’s wanted the world to think he wanted it to burn. He’s stepped on the toes and fingers of gay rights, women’s and parents’ groups, nurtured some nasty murder fantasies in song, has been sued by his own family and suffered tabloid fatigue due to his relationship with on-and-off again ex-wife. He’s pissed off more than his fair share of public figures with his in-verse disses.
But he’s also a multi-award-winning Grammy artist, a former and recovering drug addict and one of the most in-demand rhymers in hip-hop. In addition to becoming a self-described baddie, Eminem has turned into quite the deconstructionist, too, to the point of almost-parody.
“Weighing in at 175 pounds… the undisputed, most diabolical villain in the world… Slim Shady!” Em said in the usual intro to “Crack a Bottle,” a party track so juvenile, I thought it was a joke the first time I heard it.
“Are we having fun or what?” hypeman and D12 cohort Mr. Porter asked unironically of this vile villainry.
[More after the jump...]
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<p>Arcade Fire's Win Butler at Bonnaroo</p>

Arcade Fire's Win Butler at Bonnaroo

Credit: AP Photo

Arcade Fire makes a Bonnaroo debut: Are we really hippies?

Canadian rockers are all alarm and no surprises, at least for a setlist

MANCHESTER, TENN. - -- Arcade Fire made its Bonnaroo debut last night (June 10), and frontman Win Butler seemed somewhat at home.

"My brother and I grew up in Houston and it's great to feel the proper humidity for once," the Montreal resident said, referring to his brother Will. His button-down insistently stuck to his chest and the top of his arms. “It’s really cold where I live.”
Butler busted up the set of hit after hit with little side-notes and addresses, calming the attendees between songs after 90+ degree-heated tizzies. Fists would pump in the air, with emphasis on lines like “The rain can't get you wet / But do you think your righteousness could pay the interest on your debt?” from “City With No Children” and, naturally, “Lies / Lies” from “Rebellion.”
At the Bonnaroo music festival, there’s an undercurrent of subversion, a desire and want to turn the minor humiliations of expensive food, unpleasant conditions, bottled water and port-o-potty lines into something with Meaning. A Summer of Love Revisited, maybe, or a revival of – as Buffalo Springfield puts it – “something happening here.” For the most part, there’s not (although organizers have some phenomenal environmental awareness and programming here).
So perhaps it was said with a smirk, then, as Win rang the alarm for the cause of Partying, exclaiming, “Hey you f*cking hippies, let’s do it,” before banging out “Month of May.” Richard Reed Parry sung his parts into a megaphone, right before the lead singer put his hands up in prayer and crossed himself.
[More after the jump...]
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<p>Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine</p>

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine

Credit: Katie Hasty

Florence + The Machine debut new song at 2011 Bonnaroo

British singer proved a fan favorite at farm fest

MANCHESTER, TENN -- Florence Welch smiled many, many times during her highly anticipated set at Bonnaroo. It often indicated thanks, and obviously she had a good time at that. But she also had a secret she was eager to reveal.

The Florence + The Machine singer alluded to her new album mid-set, and then launched into her new song. The refrain sounds like it may be called "feeling on the earth." It starts out with her outer-space, new age coo, then bumps into a minor-keyed rock swing beat, the synths humming into a chant-sing. The chorus then goes into "feeling..." and "singing on the Earth" repeated several times each, and banging into a full-soul verse and a breakdown and a dreamy, Christine McVie-like backing vocals and a third part that devolves into "ahs" and "dum-dums." A harpsicord synth pokes out until a crash finish.

[Edit: A Florence spokesperson has confirmed that the track was "Strangeness and Charm" and that it will be on the new album.]


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<p>The Knux</p>

The Knux

Credit: Katie Hasty

2011 Bonnaroo: Day One roundup with J. Cole, Best Coast, Twin Shadow

How 'bout that heat, huh?

A girl wearing an “Indian headdress” likely purchased at a costume shop lay dormant on the ground starting mid-Wavves, through the Knux and halfway through J. Cole. I happened to see her as I traveled from photo pit to photo pit at the big tents at Bonnaroo. Without lifting her sunglasses or moving, really, the girl’s limp fist raised from the ground into the air. “Fun!” she exclaimed, as her crew laughed around her.

Even on the half-day day one of the Manchester, Tenn., fest, there’s kids already whupped. It’s estimated to hover around 95 degrees every day for the four day fest, and a 30% chance for each. Even a sprinkle of showers could settle some dust that rises from the ground, creating what looks like fog but is really an unavoidable pitfall of events on a 80,000-person scale. You can taste the dirt, and revelers are without a puddle in sight in which to wallow, as per custom. There’s fountains and water slides opening up, and a considerable number of gentlemen in skimpy Speedos are starting to weigh out the amount of flesh that college girls permit themselves to bare.


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<p>Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss whips off her jacket at Bonnaroo. The front of the jersey says &quot;Bells&quot;&nbsp;and, yes, the back says &quot;Slay.&quot;</p>

Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss whips off her jacket at Bonnaroo. The front of the jersey says "Bells" and, yes, the back says "Slay."

Credit: Katie Hasty

2011 Bonnaroo: Sleigh Bells say 'See ya in 2012'

Noise-rock group slays at opening night in Manchester, Tenn.

Sleigh Bells may only have one full-length album and a half an EP to work from, but that doesn't bar them from providing main-stage, headliner-caliber performances time after time.

That's what they achieved last night at the opening of Bonnaroo, as vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek E. Miller whirligigged around the stage like janky Chinatown wind-up toys. The duo took the stage only after a full blaring of Queen's "We Will Rock You," the opening strains of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere," segueing into a death metal track and into that wall of sound that's put the band on the map.


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<p>Man Man</p>

Man Man

Listen: 2011 Bonnaroo Podcast with Black Joe Lewis, Man Man, Sallie Ford

A brief rundown, from Eminem to The Head and the Heart

If prepared my heart and said my prayers: tomorrow is the start of a four-day run at Bonnaroo. I'll be reporting from the grounds and the photo pit, and have assembled a podcast of lesser-known artists I'm looking forward to hearing below.

The Manchester, Tenn. fest is historically known as a hippie/jam event, but obviously has flung the door wide open with the addition of a substantial comedy lineup, a dance stage and headliners that aren't exactly "rock" guys.

This year will mark the first time that I've seen a full set live from Eminem, who -- like everybody who's from the suburbs -- I grew up on, in a way. And while I've seen Arcade Fire something like 2.3 million times, I am very interested in catching up with their warm-up My Morning Jacket for a third. Dan Auerbach and Ben Sollee sound like they'll be showing up to jam at everybody else's set, like the Black Keys' singer's sit with Dr. John and Sollee's with MMJ and Abigail Washburn.

I'll certainly be watching who will guest with Lil Wayne, and what kind of inclinations he's giving his forthcoming "Carter IV" material. Same can be said of Florence + the Machine, who have been churning out their material in private for a sophomore set. And naturally I will be as close as possible Robyn, on the off-chance she's shaking hands and magically transmits the happiness that surrounds her charmed life. I'll be reduced to a pile of glitter. Loretta Lynn will show me how to shake it off.

[Podcast and more after the jump...]

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<p>Buffalo Springfield</p>

Buffalo Springfield

Interview: Buffalo Springfield's Richie Furay talks Bonnaroo, reunion tour

After 43 years off, the seminal folk-rock group is on for the farmland fest

Bands break-up or go on hiatus all the time; reunions have almost become a standard for cult acts, particularly after big 10th or 20th anniversaries.

Try 43 years on for size.

That's what's happened with Buffalo Springfield, the seminal folk-rock group that acted as a springboard for Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Jim Messina in the mid-'60s. The troupe only put out three albums, and disbanded after a little more than two years.

But now some of these superstars have played a couple warm-up shows for the big gig, at Bonnaroo this weekend, the lineup featuring Furay, Stills, Young, Rick Rosas and Joe Vitale

"Bonnaroo is the most significant festival in the country," Furay said during a recent phone press conference. He sounded pleased with revisiting the back catalog, so much so that he might have trouble remembering to sing when the group hosts a field day for the heat in Manchester, Tenn. on Saturday. “I can sometimes just get caught up in the moment and listening and say ‘oops, I gotta go sing now.’”


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Listen: Selena Gomez' new single 'Bang Bang Bang'

Listen: Selena Gomez' new single 'Bang Bang Bang'

Is there anything to this Disney star on this particular tune?

I'm not trying to make it a habit of reporting on Disney singers, past and present, but I have been curious about Selena Gomez, considering her stock went up recently for dating the world most famous-est teenager evah.

The Toby Gad-produced "Bang Bang Bang" has the synths of the '80s but rings reminiscent of early-career Britney, starting with those very teasing, very mature "yeahs" at the beginning. I hear nothing particularly extraordinary about her voice, but the chorus sorta has me doing a dance. Let's get a Boyz Noize remix, stat.

Like Taylor Swift -- who also had her hands on a Jonas -- there comes with songs of this sort speculation on just who she's trying to court and burn. I'm not particularly interested in whom 18-year-old Gomez is dating and experiencing the normal brash of teenage fumblings, but the politics of starting that game this early into one's career is somewhat startling, as it always is. She boasts that her new "man" -- perhaps 17-year-old Justin Bieber -- knows how  to "flaunt this," her as a thing. But it's not like pop has ever pretended to turn the corner on teenagers objectifying themselves (nor in journalists reducing artists to calculated brands).


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Listen: Wu-Tang prep new album, release 'Only' single with RZA

Listen: Wu-Tang prep new album, release 'Only' single with RZA

Kung-fu-inspired set looks heavy on the Ghostface

Wu-Tang have some "Legendary Weapons" up their sleeves.

The new collaborative project from the equally legendary rap troupe is scheduled to drop July 26, and has the promise of executive production from RZA, the band backing of Brooklyn's The Revelations and a high number of contributions from Ghostface Killah.

A released describes the 14-track "throw-back sound" set as being "inspired by classic soul and kung fu imagery," neither of whcih are surprises coming from these guys.


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