Scents of Subtle (Sonic) Sounds
Tucked away in small corner of Centeroo, the Sonic Village seems like an odd spot to hide Saturday's most well balanced stage. Nestled between a well-stocked CD store and an equally well-tarped row of media marketers, the Sonic Stage sits like an extra arm growing out of XM Radio's big-wheeled truck. Yet, if anything, Saturday's eight Sonic Stage performances proved that Bonnaroo's eighth performance space is more than an audio advertisement.
Streaming a mix of acoustic performances and intimate interviews right from the roo, the Sonic Stage possessed a quite charm throughout Friday, giving the likes of Yo Le Tengo, Chris Robinson, and Los Lonely Boys a chance to spar in front a casual crowd milling throughout the Centeroo marketplace. But, sometime during yesterday's sporadic afternoon Thunderstorms, the small stage blossomed into Bonnaroo's best-kept secret. Like any rock and roll show, Saturday's lineup mixed spontaneous sounds with potential, left-field collaboration (moe and Umphrey's were booked for back to back sets). During the day, Xavier Rudd dotted his set list some danceable didgeridoo, while Galactic's full-band interview revealed the funk collective, and Stanton Moore in particular, to be well equipped to pow-wow with the pop-culture press.
Below are recaps of two of Saturday's sunniest Sonic sets, which with any luck will foreshadow equally fun performances today.
Addison Groove Project:
Addison Groove Project had good reason to celebrate during their Centeroo interview. En route to the roo, AGP, who graduated into full-time touring project a year ago, hit 100,000 miles on their tour van, another reason to smile during their inaugural roo appearance. Treating fans to two a pair of performances and lengthy Q&A, AGP fielded questions about their Boston background and adjustment to post collegiate emancipation. Though billed as the quintet's first acoustic performance, drummer Andrew Keith points out: "It really was more AGP without drumswe had electric guitar and organ. But I stood on stage and clapped in-time with the band." Either way, the ripe Groove Project's stripped down set showed the strength of songs like "Nuggets the Shaker," away from their groovy jams. Clocking in 180 dates last year alone, AGP also revealed their deepest, darkest secret: their van suffers from seven-person body odor. Spotted frequenting throughout this weekend's smorgasbord of stages, the seven-year old groove band also tipped their hats to Ween, David Byrne, Primus, Wilco and Dave Matthews when asked about their favorite Bonnaroo bands.
Eclipsing Warren Haynes as this year's most ubiquitous performers, moe made the most of their forty-minute broadcast, offering a rare acoustic set to an increasing crowd of slightly muddy onlookers. Setting frequent set list staple "OK, All Right" to a honky-tonk tuning, the Buffalo-bred quintet revealed their Americana underbelly. Nodding to their stealth set Friday, moe. also tossed in delicate version of "Enter the Sandman," as in-the-know audience members responded with wide winks and nods. With headliners like Steve Winwood and Galactic delayed during the rain, moe. quickly morphed into the afternoon's sleeper show. Turning their radio-spot into a full-set, moe. closed their performance with a sparse, twangy segue between "Spine of a Dog" and "Buster," a quirky novelty that left everyone satisfied, if not a bit dryer. For those fans counting their Phantasy moe. Stats, this weekend will surely increase online standing.
Though this weekend's program scheduled them solely for an interview Umphrey's McGee surprised fans with what looked to be an acoustic set as they stepped on the Sonic Stage Saturday afternoon. But after a few gentle guitar strums, a bucket of water from above brought Umphrey's performance to a halt. Given the cartoonish energy of their late night performance, though, we'd wages that this weekend's acoustic set would be equally animated.