Oh Bonnaroo, how I love thee. Besides all the usual festival activities, add the element of camping and a giant all day/night party and that's what you got in Manchester, TN. The first night kicked off amazingly after a personally very rocky trek to actually get to the festival itself. After setting up a pretty legit camp site it was time to let all the days troubles and stresses go and listen to some great new bands. My main goal of the night was to figure out if all the recent buzz about Alabama Shakes was deserved, but their set wasn't until 11:30, so what else to do but check out some other bands by Centeroo. (For those not familiar with the layout of Bonnaroo there are camping areas and then Centeroo is where all the stages are located.)
A brief walk through of the crowd during the Yelawolf set was of course a polar opposite. Only to wait finally to see Alabama Shakes, and to be brutally honest this band deserves every ounce of the rave reviews they are getting and then some. With a female lead vocalist that is as commanding as Brittany Howard it is hard to take your eyes off the stage. As far as my eye could see every person in the audience was captivated and engrossed with every note this band played and Howard sang. Playing their hit "Hold On," the crowd say along grinning ear to ear. This band is the real deal and I would encourage everyone to take a listen and try and catch a live set if you can. The crowd varied in age, which I feel largely is in part due to the timeless quality of the songs that this band creates.
After my soul was lifted it was time to watch some people dance. I headed over to Mimosa's set, and while I will fully admit I am not one that loves electronic music, djs or dub-step, Mimosa was captivating. With not only great visuals thanks to lights and monitors projecting an array of colors but musically he was spot on. The crowd was loving it and did not want the set to end. I was pleasantly surprised while in between spinning there was a live saxophone break. While the dance party continued under the tent during a very welcomed encore people flocked to the already packed crowd to see what all the crazy lights and great spinning was coming from.
All in all I would say a very eclectic night but also quite enjoyable. Check back during the rest of the weekend to see what other enticing bands catch my ear through out the days.
Night one done!
All Photos (c) Daniela Montelongo