Category Archives: Concerts

Negative Approach + Bloodclot 8/1/17, Denver

Dates: August 1, 2017

Location: Marquis Theatre, Denver CO

The Marquis Theatre was the scene of the crime, as singer John Brannon might put it… and our resident yuppie scum was there to document it.

BY BEN CURNETT / PHOTOS BY TIM HINELY

I’m not a raw power kind of guy, at least not most the time, though there was a long-past era in my life when I lived and breathed hardcore music. That younger hardcore me would have absolutely lost his shit when all kinds of punk/oi!/thrash godfathers showed up via the bands Negative Approach and Bloodclot last Tuesday at Denver’s Marquis Theater. It was a lot like taking a time machine to 1985, but a fucked up one that let 2017 seep through the cracks during the trip. The skinheads were there, just like every Oi! show, but I saw a guy in a Fred Perry and Nikes, for instance. But because I am now yuppie scum and definitively not hardcore, I had to do my people watching furtively. Suffice it to say there was a lot of stuff like that; a lot of very retro-but-fuck-it-everything-changes moments scattered throughout the scene.

Bloodclot, touring in support of their new album Up In Arms, were loud and brutal, just as you’d expect from a group of veterans of their particular pedigree. That veteran lineup happens to include Nick Oliveri of QOTSA and more. Frontman and way-back-when Cro Mags singer John Joseph regularly spouted some pat antichrist philosophy between songs, as well as some rastafari shit but I couldn’t make out if he was for it or against it (the smart money is on “for,” considering how far he goes back with HR/Bad Brains and since the dude is the most jacked, wilded-out vegan you’ll ever come across). They played a song about Monsanto, which got me to thinking how unique this whole thing was; even if you don’t like the music, which for me is more just fascination than actually being into it, you have to appreciate how much of a community there is in this trying-to-get-to-the-post-apocolypse group of misfits, where a hare krishna vegan is singing thrash metal odes to destroying the masters of war. The set was like an AA meeting with no rules and lots of beer (or not, in John’s case) and everybody calling bullshit on everything.

“There should be some threat in rock ‘n’ roll … that’s what rock ‘n’ roll’s all about.” That’s a quote from Negative Approach and storied pisser John Brannon that gets about as close to the heart of this hardcore thing as you’re likely to find. Threatening as ever and completely true to form, John commanded the show from start to finish with his trademark visage, which begs a little something in the way of explanation: Anyone that says John Brannon has a scowl on his face when he performs has completely missed the fucking point. The man is exorcising all kinds of shit-sucking, flesh-destroying demons up there, and not just his own; every single person in the room gets to share in the glare. Before the show, I read that he will occasionally pick someone out in the audience and stare them down … like, for a while. I have to admit that for a few seconds mid-set I though that poor bastard was going to be me, until I realized that a few seconds feels like an hour when John Brannon is staring into your cerebrospinal fluid. The songs are simply John’s countenance expressed in furious two minute musical bursts. The songs mostly sound the same to my old guy ears, though I recognized the absolutely spot-fucking-on cover of Sham 69’s “Borstal Breakout.” (BTW “borstal” is like “juvie” but for United Kingdomonians. The more you know, right?)

NA was as hardcore on a random Tuesday in 2017 as any hardcore band could ever have hoped to be in 1985, and for that reason, if you’re lucky enough for them to come through your town, they should never be missed.

 

SHOWDOWN AT THE SLOWDOWN: Steve Earle & the Dukes Live

 

Onstage at The Slowdown, the rock ‘n’ roll gunslinger had an Omaha showdown to prove he is, indeed, one of our finest living elder statesmen.

TEXT/PHOTOS BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

Steve Earle is a hardcore son of a bitch.

For the better part of four decades, he has blazed a trail of truths that few, if any, in music today will even broach, let alone have the lyrical prowess to hang with Mr. Earle.  Finally, after years of fandom, I was getting to see Steve Earle live, the man himself in action and it was everything I thought it would be.  The intimate setting of The Slowdown, a venue situated  in downtown Omaha next to an Urban Outfitters, holding 800 strong in attendance, was the perfect place to see Earle and his band The Dukes, weave tales of lost love, immigrant strife, a drunken week, or the Holy City of Jerusalem.

On the road supporting the exceptional new record, Steve Earle and the Dukes’ So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, Steve and the Dukes showed why they should be considered in the “best of” conversation; stacking the 25-song-strong setlist with the most standout tracks from the new record, notably “Goodbye Michelangelo” (written in memory of the recently departed mentor/songwriting great Guy Clark), the shout out to all the “hot shots” out there battling the ever present wildfires (“Firebreak Line”) or the sound of a man at peace with his choices in life, at peace with his place, his future. (“Fixin’ to Die”).

Where Earle stands above the rest as a songwriter is his ability to convey heartbreak, a sincerity that is strong to a fault, and the joy he seems to find with the creation of art that will stand long after he has shaken loose this mortal coil.  He has mined the self-doubt and resignation that hangs above those that staff the death houses in America’s prisons (“Ellis Unit One”) and Earle’s stance on the deeply flawed culture built around retribution, the misguided belief that two wrongs make a right.  He’s told stories of moonshiners (“Copperhead Road”), confusing religion with God (“Jerusalem”), gunslingers (“Hardin Wouldn’t Run”), immigration (“City of Immigrants”), segregation (“Taneytown”), or what happens when you turn your back on responsibility and head for the border (“A Week of Living Dangerously”).

Steve has spent his life telling those who would listen what he believes in, even as he fell deeper and deeper into his own demons, channeling the frustration that comes with the hells of addiction, the soul shattering bottoms and otherworldly highs, all the while becoming one of America’s greatest songsmiths.  Earle helped create a genre, blending country aspects and rock n roll spirit, and on this August Midwestern night, as he has done on countless nights in endless towns before, he proved that he is not planning to go quietly into that good night.

Building a legend through his words, marathon length shows, surviving seven marriages (twice to the same woman), sixteen records, and a drug intake that rivalled Keith Richards, the granddaddy of rock star excess, he survived it all and still has very moving stories to tell.  For those that focus on the legendary wild times and the even wilder truths, they are missing the point.

Earle’s body of work stands higher than the stories, his approach to writing, drawing from his personal heroes Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, helped lay the bricks for a road that he shares with Dylan, Springsteen, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young in terms of songwriting ability and lyrical superiority.  This, my friends, is a road that faux country stars like Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, and every other joker out there claiming to be country, insisting to all that will listen to be outlaw, will never see, much less tread.  When all those are washed away by time and changing fads, Earle’s work will stand above the wreckage as an example of how to write and song and rise above chaos to leave an indelible mark on the world.

The Steve Earle that took the stage this night is not the Steve Earle of old.  This man on the stage was older, wiser, happier, and somehow better than he was in his so-called glory days of “Guitar Town”; he’s accepted that he is doing what he was put here to do and that he does it better than most anyone out there running today.  He has aged into an elder statesman of country injected rock n roll, a champion for all those left behind or oppressed.  Much like Cash before him, he speaks to the common man, speaking for those that have no voice.

Steve Earle is a hardcore son of a bitch, he speaks the truth and I am glad I finally had the chance to hear it.

The Descendents 7/21/17, Denver

Dates: July 21, 2017

Location: The Fillmore, Denver CO

Live at Denver’s Fillmore venue, the gang plowed through 40 years of hits, touching on all eras of the band.

BY TIM HINELY

The last time the Descendents played this venue was in late January 2012. I remember because we had moved to Denver a week later, Feb, 4th, 2012 and I was beyond bummed that I missed it by a week. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get a chance to see ‘em again, but alas, they have played Two of the four Denver Riot Fests here and having two of the guys in nearby Ft. Collins, well, they’re almost like a local band here (almost).

It’s funny how after all these years, I still think of guitarist Stephen Egerton and bassist Karl Alvarez as “the new guys” (these days both of ‘em sporting the Mr. Clean look).  None of the other early lineups lasted more than a few years so this is easily the longest lineup of the band (and in their alter ego, All, too having Chad Price on vocals). So no, they’re not the  new guys , but the first time I saw them, Summer of ’86, Ray Cooper and Doug Carrion were still in the band so that strange thought is still in my head.

The band (with original members Milo Aukerman on vocals and drummer Bill Stevenson in addition to the two above-mentioned “new” guys) rarely disappoint though. At this point they’re a well-oiled machine, running through nearly 40 years of hits (hits in my mind, anyway).

They opened with “Everything Sux” (from their 1996 album of the same name) which seems to be their requisite opener these days and plowed through an hour and a half of melodic, gritty punk. For some of the old classics we heard “Hope,” “My Dad Sucks,” (written by original guitarist Frank Navetta who apparently had a very difficult relationship with his dad), “Coolidge,” “Suburban Home” (first Descendents tune I ever heard and the one that made me a fan), “Silly Girl,” “Pervert,” “Get the Time” and too many more.

They came out for not one but two encores as the first one included “I’m the One” (also off ‘96’s Everything Sux) and “Bikeage” off the classic Milo Goes to College). For the second encore we heard “Sour Grapes” (off Enjoy) and they ended it with an elongated version of Catalina” and called it a night.

After decades of obscurity its great to finally see these guys getting the respect they deserve (something that has eluded their alter-ego, All, thus far).

I’ll go ahead and say it. These guys are welcome back to Denver anytime.

Photo credit: 2014 by IllaZilla – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38020669

 

MP3: Download Arcade Fire’s 7/17/17 Milano Concert

 

By Uncle Blurt

Arcade Fire is apparently on the verge of taking a widespread drubbing for their new album Everything Now – it’s released this week, July 28, and already some high-profile early reviews have made it clear that the bloom is finally off the rose for the critical darlings, with extremely lukewarm commentary arriving from Stereogum (here as well as here – the latter for the whole “dress code” silliness) and quite pointed commentary from Brooklyn Vegan (here and, tellingly, here – again, on the dress code flap that had the band lashing out). Pitchfork had already semi-dismissed the title track and first single, doing likewise a few weeks later for second single “Signs of Life” – no small feat, considering it wasn’t all that long ago that Pitchfork served as a de facto fan club for the band. Even Salon, usually a safe harbor of puff pieces, critically speaking, is taking the cynical route by accusing Arcade Fire of being, er, cynical on the record.

So what can a poor boy do, except to… download some live bootlegs in advance of the album release, in hopes of whetting the appetite and as a result being able to ignore the critics. Thanks, then, to Big O zine, for posting the band’s show from Italy last week that was broadcast over the radio and subsequently surfaced at Dime A Dozen.

MP3: Arcade Fire – Milano Summer Festiva. LIppodromo SNAI di San Siro, Milano, Italy; July 17, 2017

You can nab the entire show in MP3 format along with a pre-show interview with Will Butler, plus downloadable artwork. A handful of songs from the new album are spotlighted, along with the expected fan faves. The full tracklisting is below.


      Track 101
. intro 2:00
      Track 102
. Everything Now * 5:11
      Track 103
. Rebellion Lies 5:45
      Track 104
. Here Comes the Night Time 7:14
      Track 105
. Chemistry * 4:31
      Track 106
. Electric Blue * 4:15
      Track 107
. Signs of Life * 4:55
      Track 108
. No Cars Go 6:00
      Track 109
. The Suburbs 7:10
      Track 110
. Ready to Start 4:40
      Track 111
. Tunnels 5:01

      Track 201
. Sprawl II 6:18
      Track 202
. Reflektor 7:08
      Track 203
. Afterlife 5:43
      Track 204
. Creature Comfort * 5:26
      Track 205
. Power Out 7:03
      Track 206
. encorebreak 1:43
      Track 207
. Wake Up 7:08
      Track 208
. Neon Bible 5:15
      Track 209
. radioutro 2:00
      Track 210
. Interview with Will Butler 12:28

House and Land + Footings 7/20/17, Peterborough NH

Dates: July 20, 2017

Location: Bass Hall, Peterborough NH

Bass Hall turns into a Baptist church with the North Carolina duo, for one memorable evening in New Hampshire.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JENNIFER KELLY

If you’re considering how to spend your evening, unaccompanied vocal music from the North Carolina Baptist tradition probably doesn’t sound like much fun. But for the North Carolina duo of House and Land, that raw, forthright tradition inspires an eerily evocative acoustic music where spine-chilling vocal descants collide with mysterious psychotropic drones. I went to Baptist Sunday school for years, and I never heard anything like this.

The show opens with a local trio known as Footings, that’s Thing in the Spring organizer Eric Gagne on electric guitar and vocals, violinist Elisabeth Fuschia and singer Candace Clement in the middle, singing harmonies. Unfortunately, the sound is a little off, with the electric guitar turned up high enough to drown out violins and both singers, which somewhat obscures the prettiness of songs like “Pajo” with its plucked and swooning throbs of strings, its tight dizzying harmonies and its gathering strength in chorus of “Keep breathing.”  (You wonder if it’s about the Pajo from Slint.)  On the BandCamp, Footings ventures further into 1990s indie rock blare, a la Superchunk and Sebadoh, and with the violin boosted high enough to register, and that would work too, but in the live show, the guitar blots out the details and even the songs themselves.

Bass Hall is a small room with extremely high ceilings, and hot enough tonight to make tuning a constant battle. The two bands solve the acoustic problem differently, Footings with the instruments plugged directly into amplification, House and Land with a complex network of microphones picking up sound from the variety of instruments they play. (It looks like they’re playing from inside an erector set.)  These instruments are diverse and interesting, a couple of guitars, a fiddle, a banjo, a mandolin, a recorder (“here’s something you don’t know about recorders – they’re awesome” says Sarah Louise) and a shruti box.

Still, for the first song of the set, “Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah,” from House and Land’s self-titled debut (out since last month on Thrill Jockey), it’s all about the voices – Sarah Louise with her piercing, otherworldly clarity, Sally Ann Morgan with a more blues-inflected, gutsy style. They find their notes effortlessly, without a reference point, in this warm July evening, tracing out main melodic lines and elaborate counterpoints in a song that sounds like the most ancient hymn, but also like an incantation.

Sarah Louise, in a dress made for church and a thick black braid tossed over her shoulder, takes the vocal lead in “Home Over Yonder,” with Sallie Anne Morgan accompanying on a fiddle that cavorts and frolics and drones, layering the hum of eternity under transitory pleasures. Morgan switches to banjo for “Wandering Boy,” and joins in tight, slightly dissonant harmonies with Sarah Louise, in a song that is, like a Shaker box, so primitively simple that it seems modern. The two of them are in what seem like telepathic sync, executing intricate fills and interplays without even looking at one another.

Morgan also sings on “False True Lover,” another traditional song she says she learned from a Shirley Collins recording. When she gets to the U.K., later this year, she says she’d like to meet Collins, and you can imagine they’d have lots to talk about.

Both Morgan and Louise take a turn playing the sruti box, a miniature harmonium played either on the lap with one’s hands (Morgan) or on the floor with a pedal while also playing a recorder (Louise). At one point, the box topples over and Louise has her hands full, so she gestures wildly to the first row, a member of which gets up and hastily props the instrument up.

The two women of House and Land differentiate the music they reference from shape note singing, which, they explain, is full of harmonies, whereas these songs rely on counterpoint and ornamentation. Still, whether secular or religious, the songs have a haunting aura of unornamented beauty and untamed longing. Even in a close room where the fans don’t work very well and the night-time temperature hovers in the 80s, these songs will put a chill down your back, so lovely and so wild.

Lucy Dacus 7/18/17, Denver

Dates: July 18, 2017

Location: Lost Lake Lounge, Denver CO

Live at the Lost Lake Lounge, Lucy charmed a Denver crowd and then some.

BY TIM HINELY

She walked by us an my pal swore it was her. “That was Lucy.” I looked at him and asked, “Are you sure?” “Umm…pretty sure.” She was a little incognito in the pair of horn-rimmed glasses and  t-shirt that said in big block letter “Fuck Fear.” Sure enough when she took the stage a little while later that was indeed her. Dacus (pronounced Day-cus) stated that her friend had made the shirt and it was the first time she’d worn it. She mentioned that she was in the Sprouts market (across the street from the Lost Lake) and got some thumbs up from folks approving of her t-shirt and other who gave her a very disapproving look. Dacus then stated that “Believe it or not I’ve learned a lot about people from wearing this shirt.”

The Richmond, VA native seems to have come out of nowhere, releasing her debut No Burden, last year on Matador Records, to critical acclaim.  She’s real young, early twenties, and seems to have plenty of confidence and has this dreamy voice that stands out above the pack. She also writes excellent, intimate songs and on this night the tunes were fleshed out with a full band who were all terrific players, guitarist Jacob Blizard, bassist Robbie King and drummer Ricardo Lagomasino (Ricardo was especialy talented).  On the more rockin’ numbers the band really came alive and they all seemed really in-sync.

Dacus opened the set with an acoustic song that she said she wrote when she was in 11th grade (or maybe she said it was when she was 11…. the friend who was there when she wrote it was in the crowd which is why she played it) and then the band came out and they proceeded to played everything off of her debut and a new one or two. In between songs Dacus joked with the crowd  about taking a sip from her water bottle and spilling it down the front of her and also about the last time she played Denver, in 2016 at the Lost Lake, and how there was hardly anyone there.

A few of the highlights were cuts from No Burden like “I Don’t Wanna be Funny Anymore, “ Strange Torpedo” and “Dream State,…..”

Dacus definitely has youth on her side, and with this much talent and the strength of the Matador label behind her who knows where this career in music might take her. Wherever that may be, I plan on following her on her musical journey.

Eric Bachmann 7/14/17, Denver

Dates: July 14, 2017

Location: Living Room Show, Denver, CO

Essentially a Living Room Show held in an equally intimate venue—here, an art space—that found the Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers mainman perusing his back catalog for more than 90 minutes.

TEXT BY TIM HINELY / PHOTOS BY JEFFREY WEBB DAVIS

Through the Undertow Music Collective there are certain artists who specialize in traveling around he country and performing intimate “living room shows.” Some of these bookings are in the actual living rooms or basements of residential houses; while some, like the Denver Eric Bachmann show, take place in a more formal setting such as an art space (or, in some cases, even a furniture shop) that might even have a corner set aside for a small stage. Each venue typically might host 30-50 people depending on its layout.

The shows have become increasingly popular and have evolved from what was once an ad hoc, kind of down-low social phenomenon (zoning issues being what they are), to what’s now considered by many musicians to be a solid, revenue-generating addition to their touring itineraries that are openly advertised. The discretion factor can remain in play to a degree; for Undertow’s presentations, fans who buy tickets only know ahead of time the city and zip code of the venue, with the full address not provided until the purchase is completed. My cohort for this evening, photographer, Jeffrey Webb Davis, has attended several to date, including Centro-matic’s Will Johnson and emotional folkster Rocky Votolato.

Former Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers guy Eric Bachmann, now performing solo, ambled out at 8PM with an acoustic guitar and banjo. He was certainly friendly and amiable, telling the crowd about becoming a new dad and how he was recently playing with Neko Case but had to leave that gig due to the fatherhood.

In his 90-minute set Bachmann played a healthy mix from his catalog (both solo and with bands). and was taking requests from the crowd all night. He dug into old gems like “Web in Front” (from the Archers of Loag debut Icky Mettle) as well as “Revenge” from The  Greatest of All Time EP. From 2006’s To The Races he played “Man O War,” “Genie Genie” and “Little Bird” as well as playing “Mercy” from his S/T record that was released last year on the Merge label.

As for Crooked Fingers tunes, he played “Devils Train” and “The Rotting Strip” among others. He ended the set with “White Trash Heroes” from the Archers ’98 album of the same name and came back for an encore (he wasn’t off stage too long) and played “Crowned in Chrome” and that was it. Bachmann thanked the crowd , walked over to his merch table  and began shaking hands and selling merch.

I hadn’t seen Bachmann perform in quite a few years but glad I went. I like the more intimate venues and you almost can’t get more intimate than this. The living room show idea is a great one: no sleazy club managers or assholes in the crowd (and I’m sure if there were they’d be removed and given their money back). I’ll bet the artists enjoy it too. I’m gonna check the schedule for more of these but in the meantime, if Eric Bachmann comes to your town try and carve out some time to see him. He’ll make it worth your while.

He is Legend 7/14/17, Atlanta

Dates: July 14, 2017

Location: Masquerade, Atlanta GA

Live onstage at the Masquerade, along with opening acts To Speak of Wolves and Islander.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY TIFFINI TAYLOR

A hot summer night and I was in Hell!

I went to Hell to see He is Legend—well, technically, the Hell stage at the iconic Masquerade venue in Atlanta. Anyone who has a taste for hardcore metal knows He is Legend and, if they don’t, they are missing out. The North Carolina band is touring and bringing their music to the masses. I admit it, I like hardcore metal and to see good bands playing it live is truly a delight. They say music brings people together and I am a believer. Opening acts Speak of Wolves and Islander, along with the headliner, rocked the city.

To Speak of Wolves (above) is a band I had not really noticed before. I had always heard of the name but never really gave it a good listen. You know how you hear a song and then the DJ says the name of the band but it doesn’t click in your brain? Well, I now know who this band is and I am happy about it. A hardcore band out of North Carolina, To Speak of Wolves is a band you should check out. A great start to a great night of metal.

I saw a terrific band back in 2015 at Rock on the Range, and that band was Islander. They blew me away then and they blew me away again. Islander (above) knows how to do hardcore and they hail from South Carolina. These southern guys know how to rock. This show also showed a different side to hardcore that not many get to see. During the set, there was a touching tribute to Adrenaline Mob, who had recently been involved in a horrible accident. Islander took a moment and changed the room in this one moment. Have you ever been to a show that was so hardcore but then in one moment of it all there was a couple of minutes that showed heart? A moment like this is something to remember. Their music is hardcore but the band has heart.
***

He is Legend took to the stage with a loud roar from the crowd. Hardcore at its finest. The Tar Heel state has always had some great bands come out of there state, and He is Legend is one of the best. Not only that, vocalist Schuylar Croom has great dance moves—and the entire band is filled with talented musicians who complement each other well. Guitars, drums, and bass filled the room with gyrating sound that shook the walls.  A great time was had by the crowd, there was even slam dancing, the old-style way and it was great. I did not participate in it, I’ve reached an age where my body does not bounce back easily, lol. Few is the name of recently released album from He is Legend. It is wonderful with the soulful voice of Schuylar Croom.

A great time was had by all this night. Looking for a night out with hardcore? Check out this tour—dates can be found HERE— because you will not be disappointed.

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ to Play Free Schoolkids/WUNC-FM Show On July 14

Part of the Mill Music Sessions at Rocky Mount Mills!

By Blurt Staff

Earlier this year, WUNC-FM formed a partnership with BLURT’s sister business Schoolkids Records (of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, NC) on a new, free concert series at Rocky Mount Mills. In the tradition of WUNC’s Back Porch Music on the Lawn Series these concerts are designed to both celebrate North Carolina’s rich musical heritage and provide families a fun night out, and to date we’ve had shows by Hiss Golden Messenger in April, Southern Culture on the Skids in May, and Chatham County Line in June.

Up next week is a longtime Schoolkids-BLURT fave, a band we’ve hosted and hung out with in the past on several occasions: Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, who will be kicking out the jams on Friday, July 14. We certainly hope you’ll come out if you are in the area – check the link above for Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, NC. The free show is open to the public and family friendly. These are free, outdoor concerts so bring lawn chair, pick up dinner from one of the local restaurants or bring a picnic and join us for an evening of music and fun.

“Rocky Mount Mills is fast becoming one of Eastern North Carolina’s premier live-work-play destinations,” said Evan Covington Chavez from Rocky Mount Mills. “This concert series, along with the restaurants and breweries, enhances the playful environment on campus and will appeal to anyone who enjoys good music.”

Coming next month, on August 11, will be Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops). And in late September or early October there will be a very special performance for the series finale, starring…. Sorry, can’t reveal this just yet. Stay tuned, punters…

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2017

This year’s event took place June 8th-11th in Manchester, TN, and featured, among many changes, an expanded Other stage.

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY: MARK JACKSON

The great music festival known as Bonnaroo took place Thursday June 8th thru Sunday night the 12th on “The Farm” in Manchester, TN. Bonnaroo turned Sixteen this year and it defiantly was a sweet sixteen! Bonnaroo has always been known and praised for its ability to put together a diverse lineup. This year might have been its most diverse year yet, and the attendance numbers – over sixty five thousand – seems to show the people approve.

This year they took the Other tent and turned it into a full-on open air stage just like the Which stage and the What stage. This new stage may have been part of the reason the festival attendance was up over last year as this stage catered to the electronic crowd. With such acts as Nghtmre, Herobust (below), and Marshmello Man (below), this stage keep the EDM crowd engaged and dancing with the most intense light shows and l.e.d. light boards that I have ever witnessed.

This year’s headliners included U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper, and The Weeknd. This in itself is a very diverse lineup, but now add in the EDM acts, a ton of new and up and coming acts, and a little country just for good measure and you have yourself one hell of a good weekend.

Bonnaroo also has a ton of vendors of all types of food including vegan food, lots of drink options with Miller Lite (Cherokee Distributing) and Bacardi being huge sponsors this year. There were also lots of vendors of all types of goods such as earrings, festival wear and casual clothing, paintings, hammocks, and air capture loungers that seemed to be all the rage this year.

The weather was the best it has been in the last three years that I have been attending the festival, with the first three days being sunny and in the mid-80s during the day and around 60 at night. Sunday rose to the lower 90s but was bearable as I ducked in and out of the shade and was able to stay hydrated with lots of water filling station across the farm. Many people took advantage of the water fountain mushroom, as it was a great place to cool off each day.

The people are the main reason this is one if not the best festival of the year. You will see all kinds of unique characters as you venture across the grounds.

Once Centeroo opens on Thursday afternoon it doesn’t shut down, going twenty four hours a day until late Sunday night. The Silent Disco is an all out dance party where everyone wears headphones while the DJ plays the tunes goes on until 4 a.m., and The Jake and Snake Christmas Club Barn featured DJs all day until 6 a.m. The motto is “radiate positivity” and the people live it through out the festival. It is common for random people walking by to be high fiving everyone they pass by. What other festival could you step on someone’s foot and them apologize to you.

There were so many great bands this year, but a couple of standouts for me this year were Wilderado, Boyfriend, July Talk, and Tove Lo, plus Marshmello Man. (All are pictured below.)

This is just my guess, but I suspect that you will see Bonnaroo become two festivals in one next year and going forward. I say this because of the layout of the land, being so large and the spacing of the stages, as it is you could have an upscale of this years EDM lineup. The Other stage is now large enough to handle the large EMD crowds that it drew this year and could easily draw even more big names.

If they either built or converted one of the other tents in place and expanded the Christmas barn, this end would be a huge draw and be little to no reason for these festivalgoers to venture to the other end. I also heard rumors that there might be a Country Music Festival in the works. Why not? You have everything in place, so why not take advantage of the facilities for more than the one week a year. Being so close to Nashville, this could easily become a huge deal, but again this is just a rumor.

We will have to wait and see what happens with Bonnaroo, but either way I can’t wait until next year the dates have been set for June 7th-10th in 2018.

 Follow my concert photography on Instagram @markjacksonphotography1

Belly

Big Gigantic

Big Jesus

Charlotte Cardin

Cold War Kids

Deap Vally

Dram

Gallant

Leon

Lukas Nelson

Luke Combs

Milky Chance

Preservation Hall Jazz Band w/Flint Eastwood

Head and the Heart

Tory Lanez

Travis Scott

Tucker Beathard

… plus the crowd!