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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bonnaroo 2k12: Which Stage?

After a surprisingly smooth entry into the gates of the third world country that is Bonnarro in Manchester, Tenn. we set up camp and set out to explore the farmland that will be our home for the next four days.

We got lost. Bonnaroo is essentially set up to completely disorient all of the mushroomed-out hippie kids and those new to the ‘Roo—like us (the latter circumstance). Each stage sports an unconventionally questionable name that makes it nearly impossible to communicate with the rest of your group. There’s What, Which, That, This, The Other and 2nd Stage. Needless to say, most of our first conversations were something like:

“They’re at which stage?”

“Which Stage.”

“No, what stage?”

“Not What Stage, Which Stage.”

“What is going on?”

However, a lengthy walk around Centeroo—the hub of all musical, food and entertainment activity—helped us orient ourselves and by evening we were stage hopping like pros.

Although shows didn’t get started until later for the first day, we were able to catch a few great sets to start off our musical journey.

White Denim kicked off the night at The Other Stage with a soul-infused set replete with long jams perfect for dancing eyes closed, hands aloft in typical hippie fashion. They rarely took breaks throughout the show and transitions kept the energy level high for the entirety of the hour. If you’re into quick, jamming riffs with a chill twist this band is certainly worth checking out.

Oh, Phantogram, how we love thee. New Yorkers Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter took Bonnaroo’s opening night by storm as they totally animated their paradoxically chill songs for a good third of ‘Roo patrons. The crowd was packed shoulder to shoulder, but still managed to dance it out to the duo’s surprisingly bass-heavy beats. A live touring drummer added a captivating edge to their classic, haunting sound and Barthel’s whispery vocals. When the opening notes of one of their most popular songs, “Mouthful of Diamonds” reached the crowd, it sent a fresh wave of positive vibes to all, your editors included.

If there’s ever a band that lived up to its namesake, it might be Big Gigantic. Frantically dashing to That Tent, we could barely squeeze our way into the crowd by the time we arrived, but it had no effect on everyone’s willingness to get down to this band’s gigantic, dominating stage presence. (As a self-proclaimed bass head, I found myself in a state of euphoria as the whole world shook with their artful drops. ^jb) A delightfully blinding lightshow turned a solid acre of land into one huge dance party, since only about half of the crowd could fit into the designated tent while the rest spilled out in every direction.

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Suffice it to say, the first three bands to grace our eardrums satisfied all angles of our indie needs and we’re ready to battle the elements once again on our quest for the ultimate ‘Roo experience. Check back for more updates throughout the weekend, and follow us on Twitter @DCArtsDesk to hear who’s got us hyped.

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