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Lights- Little Machines
Sep 29, 2014

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The Kook-Listen
Sep 14, 2014

Sep 14, 2014

Royal Blood-Royal Blood
Sep 12, 2014

Coldplay-Ghost Stories
Sep 11, 2014

FKA Twigs- LP1
Sep 10, 2014

Kanye West: The World's Number One Rockstar?
Jun 17, 2014

Bonnaroo day 4 recap
Jun 17, 2014

Bonnaroo photos
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Bonnaroo Day 3
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Bonnaroo day 2
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:: September 14, 2014 :: by Jennifer Eng

RIYL: Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd. Lorde

Recommended Tracks: “Waiting Game”, “Someone New”, “Drowning”, and “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From”

If there is one word that could describe Banks, it would be “Goddess”. Her debut album dropped on September 5, 2014 and I can tell you it will be a hit. Compared to Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd, and Lorde, her unique gloomy electronic sound is one that is sure to catch a listener’s ears.

Although her music is described as “dark R&B”, there are a variety of different styles that this album covers. On her title track “Goddess”, Banks describes a one-sided relationship with lyrics like ““She gave it all, you gave her shit/You shoulda crowned her, cause she’s a goddess/Now you gotta deal with this glitch on your shoulder/fucking with a goddess, you get a little colder.” On the other hand, the ballad “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From” shows her soft side and her sultry vocals with her heartfelt lyrics and a piano accompaniment.

After hearing “Waiting Game” a few months ago, I wanted to hear more from Banks and this album did her justice. I believe this should be an album that other people should hear because its different and promotes the new electronic music sound that is now becoming popular. Also, Banks should be recognized for her strong vocals and powerful lyrics.  Overall, this album is impressive and is sure to be a huge success.  

Royal Blood-Royal Blood
:: September 12, 2014 :: by Sean Lynch

RIYL : White Stripes(Jack White), Kasabian

Tracks to listen to: “Out Of The Black”, “Come On Over”, “Little Monster”

Royal Blood comes out stronger than dark roasted black coffee in their self titled debut album. Hailing from Brighton, UK, the boys of Royal Blood really bring back the essence of hardcore rock music, a genre that is seldom covered in music world today. In doing this, Royal Blood boldly goes where few other bands will go. Mike Kerr belts Jack White-esque melodies as he goes in hard with bass riffs which, coupled with Ben Thatcher’s drumming makes for a deadly combination.

The 32-minute album could be described as pent up anger with some breaks of calmness in between. The song “Out of the Black” feels like aggression in it’s most raw form through crushing bass riffs .This idea is reiterated as Kerr sings “I got a gun for a mouth and a bullet with your name on it.” This rough, unpolished tone can be heard throughout the album, but it’s what really draws you into the music and keeps you listening to songs like ”Little Monster” and “Come On Over” which carry the same rugged vibe.

Royal Blood would not be something you listen to when you want to mellow out. This is in your face, get the hell out of my way anger. It’s the kind of power that would give you the energy to finish that last part of your workout.

Throughout the album, you’re hit with a rough mixture of drums and bass, but swept away by Kerr’s gentle tone until it fluctuates into a blast. This balance of the two gives the album overall a great sound. This unconventional sound is what brought them towards the top in the United Kingdom, and that is what's going to keep them going on that path.


Coldplay-Ghost Stories
:: September 11, 2014 :: by Alexandria Acacia

RIYL: OneRepublic, Linkin Park                                             

Many songs played today are categorized as one specific genre of music, but Coldplay breaks that mold as they spread their own type of music.

Ghost Stories definitely is a story telling album, which includes an eerie vibe, but temperate lyrics.The 40 minute album is a toned-down collection filled with mystery and captivation. It is obvious that the album is about relationships and love. Though there is some expression within the lyrics, the album comes off as lifeless, hence the “ghost”. Each song relates to love, but with love there are complications. Another’s Arms and True Love are songs that are about in denial and avoiding the deficiency of love.

Ghost Stories was released shortly after the divorce between singer, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. Some state that she was his inspiration towards writing the album, and I agree. This is one of those “I miss what we had” and possibly “I want you back” albums. The way that he put his thoughts into this album definitely shows his feelings towards the situation. At some points there is a battle between instrument and singer as they both try to verbalize the hidden emotions with in the album.

"A Sky Full of Stars," was an attention grabber because it is not like any of the other songs because the instrumentals were fast paced and more energetic. "Another’s Arms", is the complete opposite, you can almost hear ghosts’ being featured as background vocalists, which bring a more supernatural feel.

"Magic" is also an enjoyable song because the lyrics and the music really connect. It’s slow paced, but it is soothing and something to listen to if you want to relax. Some might say that the songs are slow and boring, but if you really take the time to listen to them, there are some good ones that are hidden like "Ink," "Midnight," and "A Sky Full of Stars." Many of the songs off this album are good to listen to if you just want to unwind. The whole album is satisfying for someone who is looking for something simple, but with meaning.


FKA Twigs- LP1
:: September 10, 2014 :: by Matt Hoey

RIYL: The XX, Sampha  

Tracks to listen to: “Two Weeks,” “Pendulum” “Video Girl”

Upon first glance, LP1 seems utterly empty, but it isn’t at all. In fact, there is a shit-ton of things going on. 

If you’re trying to get a grasp of who FKA Twigs actually is, you’re probably not going to gain a full understanding from this album, but that’s exactly how she wants it.  She’s a mystery, plain and simple.  It’s clear that, just like us, she too is struggling to understand her true identity. She sings on “Video Girl,” “I can’t recognize me.”

This idea of an identity crisis is furthered through her name; FKA spelled out is Formerly Known As, so who is she now? We’re not sure, and neither is she, but that’s half the fun of the album. 

The instrumentation, although I said seems empty, is filled with different drums, synths, people noises, and auto-tune.  None of these things take precedence over the others.  They all work in a sort of disharmony, which can create quite a terrifying effect.   Yes, terrifying. This is moonlight music; it’s definitely not something you would throw on for your pregame or social gathering. Get high by yourself and listen to LP1.

What surprised me most about FKA Twigs and this album is the cohesion that is present all the way through.  Each song fades blissfully into the next. There isn’t a song that stands out from the rest, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

Mixed with the clunky, sometimes stuttering instrumentals on the album, FKA Twig’s voice serenades listeners and provides a disharmony that makes this album a success.  

Bonnaroo photos
:: June 17, 2014 :: by Kirk Windus

Photots from our weekend at Bonnaroo including Sam Smith, Ben Howard, The Naked and Famous, The Head and the Heart, Kevin Devine, Jamestown Revival, Lucero, Sam Hunt and Fitz and the Tantrums.

Bonnaroo day 4 recap
:: June 17, 2014 :: by Kirk Windus

            I came home broke, unshowered, gross and exhausted. But I had the weekend of my life. If you can go to Bonnaroo and not feel like your life’s changed a little you did it wrong.

            There’s something about existing in place where there are no concerns outside of music that is beyond incredible.

            That said, by day 4, you’re bound to be exhausted, sore and flat out worn down. I woke up feeling a little like death. My back ached and my shoulders were on fire, but there were a few artists playing Sunday morning that I couldn’t wait to see.

            We kicked our day off with a little bit of a country flair. One thing a lot of people at the buzz may not know about me is that I’m a big country music fan, and the artists we saw Sunday morning more than know there way around a good country song.

            We started off with Lucero, a great Memphis style country band, who tread an interesting but great line between country and alternative rock. Lead singer Ben Nichols has the potential to be a great Nashville songwriter but thankfully opts to instead add his own gravely voiced touch to all of his brilliant country-rock songs.

            Next we headed over to see Sam Hunt play a small, acoustic set. Sam Hunt is more well known for his songwriting credits, but he has more than enough ability to take over the country pop mainstream very soon. You may best know him for his song “Cop Car,” which Keith Urban has made a massive hit.

            He played that song as well as other originals that have begun to grace country pop stations like The Highway on XM. He also has a slight alternative side to him and even puts hip-hop touches on his smart, crafty country songs.

            From there we went to catch The Arctic Monkeys on the main stage. Getting close to the main stage is pretty difficult on Sunday as people congregate there, waiting for the night’s headliner. And it becomes even more difficult to reach when someone as great as The Arctic Monkeys are playing. The band sounded great as they played through a mix of their albums, relying heavily of course on their most recent album AM, which is one of my favorite albums from this year.

            The Monkeys are so tight that the guitars seem to soar through the mix without much of a problem. Unfortunately, I think some of their sound got lost in the main stage mix, at least from where Joe and I stood, but for those who were close to the stage the set was probably mind blowing.

            I headed over to see Fitz and the Tantrums from there. Despite the 91-degree heat, the band conducted their indie rock dance party without letting up. The band’s two lead singers bounced energy off of each other as their voices soared over top of the band’s mix of keys and saxophone. The unique instrumentation was refreshing in a week full of great guitar bands.

            We soon went over to see a band that I was maybe the most excited to see during the weekend, Canada’s City & Colour. I’ve been a big fan of Dallas Green for a long time, and I was anything but disappointed when he opened with the gorgeous “Coming Home.” Dallas is one of those rare performers who doesn’t need to jump around or do anything crazy to be mesmerizing. His band of folk rock made quite an impression on the crowd who swayed along as if they were hypnotized. He even took a second to point out his appreciation of a Canadian flag adorning a pot leaf in the crowd.

            I then caught a little bit of Wiz Khalifa’s set as the burnt out rapper put on an impressive performance for the crowd he invited to light up with him. Puffing on a joint, even taking a “motherfucking smoke break,” the pot-loving rapper fronted a talented band (appropriately named Kush and Orange Juice) through a great set, including songs from his first albums and recent mixtapes.

            Then, along with the entire festival, headed to see the weekend’s final performance by the legend Sir Elton John. It was the 29th anniversary of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so of course Sir Elton relied heavily on those songs, which the crowd, equal parts young and old, adored. No, Elton John can’t hit the same screeching falsetto notes that he used to, but his voice is as powerful as ever and he brought his incredible songs to a couple very appreciative generations. 20 year olds an 60 year olds a like shouted along to his hits “Your Song” and “Crocodile Rock” as he brought the weekend to a flaming conclusion. The most amazing thing was just how appreciative the legend was to be closing out the festival. He constantly bowed and muttered thank you’s reminding the crowd just how happy he was. 

            And with that, the weekend neither Joe or I will ever forget came to a close. 

Kanye West: The World's Number One Rockstar?
:: June 17, 2014 :: by Kirk Windus

Kanye West and Bonnaroo will probably never be friends. In 2008 Kanye showed up hours late for his set, making “Fuck Kanye” the two must popular words in the temporary Tennessee city.

            Fast forward to 2014. Kanye comes back. This time for revenge.

            Kanye’s set kicked off with the anthemic  Yeezus hit, “Black Skinhead.” Full of energy and aggression, Kanye covered the entire stage, shouting his lyrics of cultural criticism and self-praise, his face covered in some odd sort of mask.

            In classic Kanye fashion, he neglected the huge screens attached to the stage, which make viewing a little easier for those way in the back of the massive main stage, in exchange for a minimalistic, radiating red backdrop.

            Musically, Kanye’s set bordered on flawless. He played everything from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s “Runaway” to “Mercy” to the 2004 College Dropout’s “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks.”

            In a very not-Kanye fashion, he ignored the initial boos and cries of “Fuck Kanye” and “Get Off the Stage.” It seemed as if maybe ‘Ye might just ignore it all and be the good guy Kanye we once knew.

            But then things turned bizzare, and the George-Bush-hates-black-people Kanye and the steal-the-mic-from-T-Swift Kanye that everyone expected made an appearance. After cutting out of “Stronger” he decided to address the 2008 Elephant in the venue and reminded the crowd that in 2008 they barraged him and wrote “Fuck Kanye” in the porta potties before he even got there. He then attacked the press for reporting it. He then asked the press if they were going to report about that exact moment with the crowd responding so positively, before again turning ridiculous and proclaiming himself “The number one rock star in the motherfucking world,” prompting a haze of boos from the crowd.

            Later, he decided to mix it up and set his next rant to a freestyle auto-tune session, during which he announced that he was coming after Shakespeare, Walt  Disney and Howard Hughes. The move was especially ironic after he had just discussed being humbled by a chance meeting with a ten-year-old boy on a plane who was coming just to see him at Bonnaroo.

            Still, Kanye wasn’t done, and he later killed the beat on “Heartless” and broke out into a rant that included screaming “Where the press at?” asking all members of the press to raise their hand (awkward). He then exclaimed, “This is real rock & roll!” referring to his set.

            But that’s not to say that Kanye didn’t have his great moments. At times he was uplifting and spoke of empowerment. He told his fans, “I talk that shit so that you can talk that shit. If you’re a fan of me you’re a fan of your motherfucking self,” reminding the crowd to be themselves and chase their dreams.

            During “Touch the Sky” he begged the crowd to join him in a great moment, calling out, “I heard that if 10,000 people jump at the same time you can feel the earth move.”

            Regardless of what happened, one thing became clear during Kanye’s set. Maybe he’s not the “number one rock star in the world,” but he’s damn close. In his  exhausting two-hour set, the crowd’s energy never subsided and most people in the crowd knew at least half the words to every single song he performed. Hell, the same can’t even be said for Elton John’s performance.

            No matter how you spin it, there’s no denying that Kanye has been one of the most impactful musicians of the last decade. Hate him or love him, this really is Yeezus season, and I for one am glad I’m witnessing it.

Bonnaroo Day 3
:: June 15, 2014 :: by Joseph Phelan Jr

Bonnaroo takes a toll on your body. Walking around, standing during shows and sleeping on the ground in a tent can really make your whole body ache. Right now, it’s 10:13 central time on the final day of Bonnaroo. The first three days having been absolutely life changing.

Day three featuring some incredible shows, including the best show I’ve ever seen. Kirk and I began our day at Kevin Devine. Devine’s a Brooklyn musician who Kirk has had the pleasure of interviewing. Devine played a 40-minute set, and he was simply fantastic. He had a really strong surrounding, and even invited fans to meet him following the show. After his show we walked towards the front of the stage and see Grouplove’s Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi. Apparently they are fans of Kevin Devine. Kirk talked to Kevin Devine briefly. There had to be about 40 people waiting to meet Kevin. He was selling t-shirts and vinyl. After Kevin Devine, we grubbed before Grouplove’s show. I ate BBQ pork sandwiches, while Kirk went with Mac & Cheese. Grouplove started at 4 p.m., so we arrived about 30 minutes prior to try and get a good spot. Kirk has seen Grouplove before, but yesterday was my first time, and it was freaking electric. Grouplove goes all out during shows, and I’ve become even more of a fan during their performance. Grouplove opened with “I’m With You” and then continued with songs from their 2013 album titled Spreading Rumors, including “Schoolboy”, “Shark Attack”, “What I Know”, “Didn’t Have to Go”, “Bitin’ the Bullet”, and more. They even tossed out their “Drunk In Love” cover towards the end of their set. Kirk wanted to see Cage the Elephant at 4:45, so he left Grouplove early. He’s disappointed he missed out on the “Drunk in Love” cover.

My phone barely had any service this weekend, so it died on Friday. I didn’t have any way of contacting Kirk since I didn’t have his number saved, but we planned to meet at Cage the Elephant at the “Which Stage.” I couldn’t find Kirk as Cage the Elephant’s set was finishing. We had this meeting spot near a beer stand, but I couldn’t find him. I ended up walking to Jamestown Revival, who was playing at 7 near the main stage, but still I couldn’t find Kirk. Believe it or not, it’s damn near impossible to spot one person in a crowd of 80,000 in a 700-acre farm. I walked back to the spot we planned to meet at for Cage the Elephant, but he wasn’t there. I made up my mind that I would just go see Jamestown Revival, and then see whomever else and meet him back at the campsite later that evening. Amazingly, I saw him walking with his backwards St. Bonaventure hat on, and his neon orange spring weekend shirt, so we walked to catch Jamestown Revival, who really put on an excellent show. They had a number of passionate fans that knew each word to each song. I knew only a handful of Jamestown Revival songs, but I was impressed with what I had heard from the indie folk band.

After Jamestown Revival we ate some food while listening to the beginning of Lionel Richie’s set. We then walked over to see James Blake. We ended up just sitting down a bench away from the stage. After about 30 minutes of James Blake we walked over to Jack White and the main stage. We ended up catching Lionel Richie’s finale, which was Michael Jackson’s “We are the World.” We had to wait 45 minutes until Jack White’s set began, but we ended up with a great spot. My lower back had been killing me for a number of reasons, but mainly because of standing all day. I didn’t think I could make it. I tried to just continue to move around and try to think about anything but my back, but once Jack White began his set, I stopped thinking about my back and I just thought about the music.

White played the best show I’ve ever seen. It was two hours and 20 minutes of pure awesomeness. He gave some inspiring words of advice, along with telling us to thank those workers who have difficult and thankless jobs like those who work in the auto industry. He told the crowd how much he loved his mom, and that if you have a mom, you should tell her that and spend as much time as possible with her. One of the more inspiring moments of the show took place pretty early when Jack White mentioned, “Who makes music happen? Does a tabloid like Rolling Stone make music happen?” then he continued with, “You and I make it exist.” That really spoke to me, and it gave me a personal connection to Jack White and his music that every music fan longs for. Jack White has never been a musician I listen to regularly, but only because I never really got into his music. That show last night changed me. I don’t know if I’ll be some die-heart Jack White fan or anything, but I definitely gained a new perspective on things after hearing his show. My favorite part of the night was his version of “We’re Going to Be Friends,” which has always been one of my favorites. The fans adored Jack White. He could say no wrong during that 140-minute set.

I’ve seen some remarkable shows over the past three days, and today, the final day, hopes to bring even more remarkable shows. I’m excited to see Elton John, Lucero, Artic Monkeys, City and Colour and The Avett Brothers. I don’t know when I’ll post my next Bonnaroo post. It probably will be Monday or Tuesday, depending on what happens with the NBA Finals, but I just want to say how wonderful this opportunity has been to write about Bonnaroo. The word Bonnaroo means “a really good time.” It’s a completely fitting and appropriate word for such a festival. Never before have I witnessed so many people mesmerized in the music. I saw people actually get lost in it. I can’t thank Kirk enough for driving us down and making this weekend one of the best ones of my life. We hope to be back next year, and bring some of our friends, because every single music fan should experience Bonnaroo.

Here are the top 7 shows I've seen so far:

7. Kevin Devine

6. Jamestown Revival

5. The Head and the Heart 

4. Grouplove


2. Kanye West

1. Jack White

Bonnaroo day 2
:: June 14, 2014 :: by Kirk Windus

            We had a feeling that yesterday would be incredible, and it’s safe to say that we weren’t disappointed. Day two was packed full of some of our favorite artists, and every performance we saw was special.

            After publishing yesterday’s post and eating some food we headed over to see Sam Smith. Smith is a soulful, pop/R&B singer from the UK who’s probably most known for featuring on Disclosure’s hit song “Latch.”

            Smith bet his mother that no one would show up to his first American festival appearance, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. Smith packed the tent as full as you could imagine as he played through some of his popular sings, mixing in a couple from his new album, releasing this Tuesday, as well as an Arctic Monkeys cover.

            Smith is a throwback to an older generation with a modern spin. He has the vocal style and chops of the great soul singers— much like another Sam, yes, Sam Cook. He showed his incredible command of his powerful falsetto, singing in registers most of us wouldn’t even dream of for fear of injuring ourselves.

            An amazing moment came when he showed the crowd his take on Disclosure’s “Latch,” a delicate, piano driven ballad full of beautiful vocal runs and tear-jerking falsetto flares.

            Next, we watched an artist I knew very little about named Danny Brown. He’s made a name for himself through his dark brand of hip-hop and his onstage antics— he once received a blowjob on stage.

            One thing about Danny is clear: his fans have a real passion for his music. The moment there was an opening ahead, fans pushed to see how close to the stage they could get. Brown was a little late to the show, but the crowd jumped and filed on top of each other even as his DJ played songs during the wait.

            So as you can imagine, the crowd went bat-shit insane when he finally took the stage. Moshing like it was a metal show, the crowd’s energy never subsided, not really even between songs.

            Next, we went to see England’s Ben Howard. Joe and I are both pretty big fans of Howard, and being in the photographer’s pit for his show was something really special. The little subtleties of Howard’s sound can get lost in the huge, festival setting, but in the pit, every little ambient organ or synth sound is noticeable.

            If you know anything about Howard you know that the man straight up knows how to play guitar. Much like a UK style John Mayer, Howard never uses a pick and plays incredibly intricate finger picking while singing his difficult melodic vocal lines and somehow makes it look effortless.

            His band played a little of everything behind him instrumentation-wise. At one point his drummer was even playing cymbals with a guitar. His bass player also played organ pedals, drums and more.

            More than anything, Howard amazes with his versatility. From spindly finger picking to up-tempo, electric guitar rock, he played through his set with an amazing sort of relaxed intensity. Songs like “Only Love,” which are incredibly difficult to play, looked almost too easy in the hands of the very talented Ben Howard.

            There were so many amazing artists playing on day two that Joe and I had to split up to be able to cover all the artists we wanted to cover. So at this point I headed over to see The Naked and Famous. The band brought their huge sounding electric indie-pop to ‘Roo right after Howard closed. The band have created a lot of buzz in the last year, so the crowd was huge and media were flocking to get some shots of the band.

            Photographers packed the pit in front of the stage, which sometimes annoys artists, who request that photographers are only present for three songs, but the band seemed to revel in it, smiling at photographers as they tried to dodge the beach ball flying about the crowd. (Later the lead singer would kick the ball off stage, which consequently hit me in the face. It must be love.)

            The crowd, more so than a lot of crowds we saw on day 2, really seemed to pour themselves into the bands set. I watched as all throughout the crowd people screamed the words, eyes closed, hands up like they were experiencing something truly transcendent. If you don’t know the band yet, you’re going to want to get to know them soon, because things are coming for them.

            Next came my personal favorite set of the day, The Head and the Heart. One of my good friends in high school introduced me to The Head and the Heart, and I fell in love instantly. When their new album came out this year I immediately wrote a review. The 6-piece folk group played a mix of songs from their two albums to a massive crowd, as they played one of the festival’s two main stages.

            “Cruel” is one of my favorite songs ever written, so that song may just be my very favorite moment of day two. Shamelessly, I closed my eyes, threw my hands in the air and sang slightly off-key versions of harmony. I probably attracted a few stares because I was alone, but it’s Bonnaroo. So fuck it.

            “Shake” may have been one of the day’s best performances, but like I said, I’m a little prejudiced. The band interacted more with the crowd than most performers, and I think that shows just how comfortable they are on stage, speaking to a crowd that may not all be fans like normal shows.

            In a literally picture perfect moment, the sun began to set behind the band as they closed out their set. Anyone on stage with photography rights probably got the best shot of the entire day during that show.

            Next, I headed over to the main stage, which becomes a small city during the day, to see Vampire Weekend. They played through their chill indie-rock to probably one of the biggest crowds they’ve ever played to, the cameras always focused on the amazing Ezra Koenig.

            The thing first timers like myself don’t know about Bonnaroo is that it’s truly a marathon. 12 hours of standing on your feet can get to you pretty quick, and by the time Vampire Weekend came around I was a little dehydrated, very hungry, very tired and very ready to see Kanye.

            Joe and I headed over the main stage area early to eat and get a good spot for the set we’d both been anticipating all day.

            In 2008, Bonnaroo got the best of Kanye, who showed up three hours late for his set, but it’s safe to say that Kanye put Bonnaroo its place last night. He played songs from every album and every major appearance he’s done. Everything from the “All Falls Down” to “New Slaves” to “Heartless” were performed.

            At times bizzare, at times transcendent, Kanye covered all of the bases that you’d expect him to cover. Whether it be screaming “Where the press at?” in anger, (awkward) or proclaiming himself the number one rockstar in the world, the arrogant  but amazing Kanye you showed up in full force. But, so did the Kanye who’s made millions being the best and most consistent face in rap music over the last decade. 10,000 people jumped together, screamed together and smiled together as Kanye played the songs that inevitably make up the soundtrack, in one way or another, to their life. All theatrics aside, it’s safe to say that Kanye stole the show on day 2 and all headliners to follow have a lot to live up to.

            After Kanye I planned on seeing Chance the Rapper, so I headed over the tent he was performing at later and caught the end of a superjam that included guests like Ben Folds and Chaka Khan. Sadly, I literally couldn’t stand or stay awake long enough to see Chance, who I’d been looking forward to all week.

            Regardless, Friday was without a doubt the best day of my musical life and I can’t wait to see what day three brings, including Kevin Devine, Cake, Grouplove, Cage the Elephant, Lionel Richie, Jack White and Frank Ocean. Look out for more from Joe and I today and tomorrow and check the WSBU twitter for updates throughout the day!

Bonnaroo Day 2
:: June 14, 2014 :: by Joseph Phelan Jr.

I knew day two would be insane. Some of my favorite bands were scheduled that day, and they did not disappoint. Kirk and I split up more than once on Friday to check out different acts. He, also, had a photo pass which gave him sweet access to the pit level for Sam Smith and The Naked and Famous. We had steak and rice for lunch, and it was delicious. They definitely give you enough food for the price that you pay.

We ate at a table about 250 yards from the main stage called “What Stage,” it is where Elton John, Jack White, Vampire Weekend Lionel Richie and all of the other big names played or will play this weekend. After that we walked around a little bit before Sam Smith. Sam Smith played a great set. I didn’t know a whole lot about Sam Smith before this weekend since I only knew one or two of his songs, but he gave a fantastic performance. We stuck around after Sam Smith, and waited in “The Other Tent” for Danny Brown to go on at 4. We planned to only see Danny Brown for a few songs because Ben Howard was scheduled for 4:30. The crowd for Danny Brown was absolutely nuts. You couldn’t more an inch as they played Eminem and Dr. Dre before Danny Brown got on. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s conversations. We met a guy from Cleveland who was experiencing his second Roo. The place erupted when Danny Brown began his set. Girls and guys tried crowd surfing, but I saw at least two girls get thrown to the ground. People were reckless, and on all kinds of drugs. Kirk and I didn’t get to Ben Howard until 4:35. Ben Howard’s very soft spoken, and he just an amazing guitarist. I’m sure Kirk will discuss how great his guitar performance was in his recap. Howard played one of my favorite songs “The Fear,” which turned out to be my favorite of his set. After Ben Howard finished, I stuck around. The Head and the Heart played about an hour after Howard, so I grabbed some food while Kirk saw The Naked and Famous. I actually got in line to enter the pit for The Head and the Heart. It was the closest I got to a stage all day--about 15 feet. The Head and the Heart played a very memorable set, including "Let’s Be Still", "Down in the Valley", "Lost in My Mind", "Cruel", "Another Story", "Shake" and others. Kirk missed the first few songs or so, but he said they had sounded the best out of everyone he heard. "Another Story" sounded phenomenal live. It’s a song about school shootings, and The Head and the Heart did a masterful performance during that one particular. It’s one thing hearing a live song in the comfort of your home, but hearing it in front of the band with a number of passionate, drunken fans is a whole new, fantastic experience.

I had to bolt The Head and the Heart 10 minutes early to check out CHVRCHES, while Kirk saw Vampire Weekend. I would have loved to see Vampire Weekend since I’ve never seen them in concert, but CHVRCHES is a newer band, and their debut album The Bones of What You Believe is one of the most played albums on my iTunes. Lauren Mayberry, their lead vocalist, is wonderful. She talked a little bit between songs, just saying how it was their first Roo experience, and how they are not American. Some people bring flags during performances. One guy had an Uncle Jessie from Full House one, while others had characters from South Park. This one person at the CHVRCHES show had a blue sword on a flag, or at least it was thought to be a blue sword. Lauren Mayberry asked if it was a giant blue penis on stage. CHVRCHES played mostly every song off of their album; they might have played their whole album but I missed at least the first two songs. They even played a song I never heard before, which I think is called “Strength”. Their best performance had to be either "Night Sky" or "Recover", which are two simply phenomenal songs. I was at CHVRCHES alone, and I sat towards a fence to the right of the stage. I just wanted to sit down, and enjoy the music.

I noticed lots of basketball and football jerseys while walking around at Roo. Of course you saw the obvious ones like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, but then you saw some random ones like Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal Orlando jersey, some members of the Bad Boy Pistons, and my favorite random jersey a Jimmer Chicago Bulls jersey. Jimmer played about five games for the Bulls last season after the Kings released him in February. The runner up for most random jersey was a Jay Williams No. 22 Chicago Bulls jersey. After CHVRCHES, I met Kirk by the stage where Phoenix was playing. We only heard a few Phoenix songs, but they were loud and sounded great.

We headed over to Kanye West about 50 minutes early. We ended up scoring some decent grass. You can check out Kirk's Facebook for a video of "New Slaves." Kanye and Bonnaroo have an interesting history. He preformed their back in 2008, but stirred up controversy with his remarks about Bonnaroo’s producers. Many music critics blasted Kanye West for his lack of commitment and care. I had a feeling Kanye would address his critics during the 90-minute show. I’ve seen some great shows in my life, but I’m not sure anything tops Kanye West’s 2014 Bonnaroo Show. He was simply fantastic. He played all of his hits, including "All Falls Down", "Touch the Sky", "Heartless", "Run This Town", "Bound 2", "New Slaves", "Blood on the Leaves", "Jesus Walks", "Diamonds", "Good Life", "Runaway", "POWER", "All of the Lights" and "Black Skinhead." I’m sure I’m missing a song or two, but seriously Kanye West played all of his jams. He also had some interesting things to say. He talked about the press a few times. He talked about how lots of people traveled just to see him. He talked about how 100,000 people were going crazy as shit during his set. Man, it was absolutely wild. You see hundreds and hundreds people in front you with their hands waving up and down, and then you turn around and you see thousands of people doing the same. Ye would start a song, rap the first few lines, and then say, “Stop that shit.” He then would say some more remarks about the press, give the crowd some inspiration and then would re start the song. Some of the crowd grew tired of his antics, some even leaved, but I loved it. He gave it his all in during his set, and he really delivered, and gave the people what the songs they wanted. He spoke about how so many people traveled to Tennessee to see him humbles him. I never saw Kanye West before in person, so I’m not sure how he is in front of crowds, but I think he opened up more than normal last night. He told the audience that, “if you are a fan of me, you are a fan of your m**her******* self.”  In between his banter, Kanye West just played great music. "Runaway" and "New Slaves" had a great vibe, and before New Slaves he claimed that this next song is the realest shit he has ever written. I felt the most energy during "Touch the Sky", "Bound 2" and "Jesus Walks." The production of the show was something I’ve never seen before. The lights were bright, and the screen behind Kanye West had to be 100 or so feet with a silhouette of Kanye West’s movements during the show. The screen also gave some fascinating graphics of the sun. Ye didn’t disappoint, and I’m sure Kirk will go in greater detail.

I was totally dead after Kanye West even though it was midnight. I got a Gatorade and then headed back to the tent to fall asleep. Saturday brings Jamestown Revival, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Kevin Devin, Cherub, Cake, Cage the Elephant, James Blake, Frank Ocean and artists who I will soon discover. 

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