As 80,000 people from all corners of the globe converged in the small town of Manchester, Tennessee, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival kicked off its 11th round of festivities today.
With a mid-afternoon start to the proceedings, an impressive array of acts took to the various stages scattered around ‘Centeroo’, the hub of the events main activities at The Great Stage Park.
Kicking off the traditional soft start day was The Dirty Guv’nahs, a six-piece Kentucky-based rock outfit (with infusions of country and pop sensibilities), while EMA, a moody quasi-electro/goth band served a dark and brooding set of neo-poetry at the Other Tent.
Mariachi El Bronx, a south-of-the-border incarnation of the regular identity The Bronx who are a seemingly regular festival staple, later followed with an impressive turnout, powering through a solid set that sent the bravest of their audience into a throng of throng of thrashing.
At Solar Stage, Bonnaroo staples The Flavour Savours, an overtly sexual and unabashedly kitsch outfit (think somewhere between Flight Of The Conchords and The Lonely Island with a tacky 80s wardrobe) delivered a high energy set that was well performed and endlessly entertaining.
However it was the new kids on the scene, Alabama Shakes, who closed the night out. An overwhelming crowd spilled far and wide to catch a glimpse of this genre-defying outfit who, with their soul-rock sensibilities, are generating a mass of buzz with their debut album ‘Boys and Girls’. It was a powerful and rapturously received set driven by supreme musicianship and the timeless, bottomless vocals of Brittany Howard.
In wrapping up their set, Alabama Shakes invited brass band The Soul Rebels on stage for a brief outro performance that quickly turned into a impromptu parade leading to a makeshift stage (including makeshift lighting) at the foot of Bonnaroo’s famed mushroom fountain.