Sunday morning found us awake early, baking in the early Tennessee sun for one last time. We took the opportunity to take down our tent and canopy, as we were planning to leave the festival grounds right after the last set that night. An hour later, we gathered enough energy to make the trek to Centeroo one last time. Our schedules diverged a bit today, as Ben wanted to see Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, while I was more interested in Dillinger Escape Plan. I figured, they added a ton of energy to Nine Inch Nails’ performance of “Wish” the previous night, so they would probably put on a pretty decent show on their own. Unfortunately, it turns out the Dillinger’s music falls into the same trap as much of today’s hardcore/metal scene. Jerky phrasing and overemphasized screams ruined what could have been a decent metal band. While the band’s instrumental ability is not to be underestimated, their songwriting leaves much to be desired, focusing on confusing riffs and arrhythmic time signatures instead of melodic, traceable song construction. I couldn’t take it for more than a few songs, and soon stepped back to grab some shade while I waited for the next act.
After Ted Leo had finished, we met up and headed over to What Stage to catch rising hip-hop vocalist Erykah Badu. Her latest album, “New Amerykah, Pt 1: 4th World War,” garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews, and I wanted to see if her voice translated to the live setting. I should feel lucky to say this, but this turned out to be the first really frustrating show of the festival. Badu set herself up for failure early by delaying her scheduled set time by over thirty minutes, and then sending out a backing band to play the same funk rhythm over and over again for almost another ten. The fact that artists can get away with being so late is one of the only things I hate about live music. By the time she showed up, I was almost willing to forgive, but her actual show fared no better. Both her attitude and her music were annoyingly pretentious and preachy, and her sound was thin at best. The only part of the set I actually enjoyed was at the end, when her DJ played her offstage with Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli.” I’m not kidding. I was so pissed at this point that I felt the need to rant, so I did, as Ben will confirm. The only thing that kept me going was the promise of a few good shows before the end of the festival.
We grabbed some much-needed barbque fare from the What Stage area and waited for the last show I was eagerly anticipating, Snoop Dogg. Now, regardless of your feelings about hip-hop, Snoop is the shit. He just is. I can’t think of a more gangster person in the world, much less one who makes good music and doesn’t come off as washed up. The show started almost on time, and we weren’t disappointed. As simple as his show was, Snoop provided the musical and comic relief that I desperately needed after the dual frustrations of Dillinger and Erykah Badu.
I then headed over to That Tent to catch the last few minutes of Coheed & Cambria. I was actually pretty excited for this, as I like a few of their songs, and I’ve always enjoyed appreciated their instrumental ability. It didn’t really matter that they’re essentially a less talented, more poppy version or Rush, because I like Rush. I got there in time to catch fan favorite “Welcome Home,” which rocked considerably harder than I expected. However, the intensity was short-lived, as the band soon moved into less familiar territory, and I was quickly put off by their insistence on playing five-minute guitar solos without structure or melody. The show ended soon enough, and eventually it was time for us to head back to What Stage for Phish’s closing set.
Now, I knew going into the set that I didn’t really like Phish, regardless of their immense hippie/Deadhead following. I’ve just never been able to get into their music. I did expect to be able to get through the entire set, though. The deep fatigue and jam-induced boredom soon had us itching to get out of the festival grounds, and we left with well over two hours left in Phish’s set. We stopped only to grab a waffle ice cream sandwich, which turned out to be a highlight of the day. Seriously, these things are amazing. They go beyond just waffle and ice cream; there’s something transcendental about them that I can’t quite describe, a combination of flavor and texture that leads to an almost religious experience. I can’t accurately describe it in words, but I’d imagine that the face of God provides a similar experience. They were an excellent way to end the festival, and I felt energized as we navigated our way out of the campgrounds and onto the road home.
That’s it for the Bonnaroo review. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed it, and I’d love to have feedback on any part of it. New, more random posts will soon follow.