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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Daily Cardinal presents: Bonnaroo 2014

Going to Bonnaroo is a bit like going to a museum filled with lots of stuff to see in a short period of time—except hotter, dustier, and less judgmental. Everyone is trying to get a glimpse of as much as they can, but most know they’ll have a more intimate experience at their hometown venue when the new act comes to town. Trying to see as many performances as possible at Bonnaroo is surely a valid quest, but be prepared to make tough choices. There is too much going on to see it all, but that is also the beauty of Bonnaroo. It is complete sensory overload and you will be pissed at yourself that you had to pee twice during James Blake and that you had to choose between seeing The Flaming Lips, Frank Ocean and the Skrillex Superjam. Still, the four-day fest is completely exhilarating. And the moment you get on the freeway heading home tired and dirty in the middle of the night, you’ll immediately wish you were back on The Farm.

Three Word Show Reviews

Vampire Weekend: Over Too Soon

Vampire Weekend are charmers. I streamed their 2013 Coachella set and could hardly contain myself in the middle of Memorial Library. I still watch it. The view wasn’t as great in the crowd at Bonnaroo, but they were perfect nonetheless. It was hot and Ezra Koenig was wearing cargo shorts. Nobody knows what the future holds and it’s bad enough just getting old, so see Vampire Weekend before you die. -MJ

We recommend: “Walcott”

Pusha T: Up All Night

Despite his first solo album receiving rave reviews, Pusha had always just been the featured artist on a few of my favorite tracks. But after experiencing the adrenaline rush of his live show, I’m borderline obsessed. As one of the only big names Thursday night, this show was so packed I didn’t touch the ground for long periods of time. Add in Pusha’s atrocious energy level and refreshingly raw type of rap and you get an unexpected favorite. -CL

We recommend: “Nosetalgia”

The Head and the Heart: Let's Be Still

One of the best benefits of attending a festival like Bonnaroo is that act you were oblivious to upon arrival, but in love with upon departure. While I know The Head and the Heart aren’t new to the scene and their best album was arguably their self-titled debut in 2010, this band shines on stage. Their impressive blend of talented vocals and instruments hits straight at the heart and they have plenty of catchy songs to sing along to. -CL

We recommend: “Rivers and Roads”

James Blake: Dropped the Beat

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He dropped the beat during many his songs, and the whole audience was groovin’. My only disappointment was that Chance the Rapper, who was also at ‘Roo, didn’t show up to perform “Life Round Here” with him. -MJ

We recommend: “Life Round Here”

Frank Ocean: Crying by Myself

I said from the start that I wasn’t going to miss any part of Frank Ocean, but then Jack White played over his set time and in the moment, I wasn’t leaving. When I finally made it to Frank’s tent at 1 a.m., I was an emotional mess. His sound did not stray too far from his album, but in his voice you could hear the heartache and raw feelings a little more acutely. -MJ

We recommend: “Bad Religion”

Damon Albarn: Dancing by Myself

The decision to seeing former Blur frontman and Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn was made on a whim but ended up incredibly satisfying. Though we missed the start of his show, he put on a flawless second half with the clear marks of a seasoned performer. He rightly drew on the wide variety of projects he’s worked on during his time in the spotlight, paying equal homage to groovy tracks like “Clint Eastwood” as well as the more tender “Heavy Seas of Love.” -CL

We recommend: “Mr. Tembo”

Jeremy Messersmith: One True Love

As a longtime fan of Jeremy Messersmith, I was excited to see that he’d be performing twice at Bonnaroo. But with such a busy Bonnaroo schedule, I only saw about 20 minutes of one of his sets. Still, what I did see of him made my heart sing and my soul cry, and I mean that in the cheesiest and most cliche way possible. -MJ

We recommend: “A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard”

Jake Bugg: Afternoon Guitar Jam

For a young artist new to the scene, Jake Bugg already has a pretty solid record with two top-notch albums out in two consecutive years. Though his stage presence and interaction were lacking, his sound matched perfectly with the quick paced, twang-infused guitar rock he’s becoming known for. The perfect soundtrack for an early afternoon dance in the dust, even from the last row. -CL

We recommend: “Slumville Sunrise”

Disclosure: Losing My Mind

This British DJ duo absolutely killed it on their freshman record Settle—it’s the sole reason I chose to give electronic music a chance. Nearly every track sounds like a club hit, with more emphasis on subtle, bare-bones production than big acts like Diplo. It’s music begging to be danced to and what better place to do so than at a crowded tent in the early hours of the morning? The special appearance by Sam Smith for encore hit “Latch” took this show over the top. -CL

We recommend: “You & Me”

CHVRCHES: Sweet Synth Dreams

Friday’s early evening slots represented the most challenging decision of the festival, with Vampire Weekend, Neutral Milk Hotel and Chvrches all butting heads. Knowing my affinity for their debut album The Bones of What You Believe and that I would likely get a chance to see VW and NMH in the future, I took a chance and it anything but a disappointment. The electronic swag on all their tracks and sharp vocals of frontwoman Lauren Mayberry only become more intense live—a reminder that sometimes bigger isn’t better when it comes to live shows. -CL

We recommend: “Lies”

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