June 7, 2012:
This was the morning that I took my first ever Bonnaroo shower. Damn, my cheap ass should have paid the five bucks for that in years past, because talk about your game changer. My crotch region already sent me a thank-you note for not raining an avalanche of Goldbond down upon it this summer. Lesson learned.
From there we went to do a little more set up at the van. Arranged our bean bag chairs, figured out how to pull our awning out, tried to rustle up as much power as possible from the over-worked Bonnaroo power-box. So that when the time came we were ready.
I don’t remember the exact hour during which we filmed our first band, truthfully I’m surprised I remember the bits and pieces that I do. Yet even with my best efforts at memory prevention, the colors and vibes at the Roo are so brilliant that it would be impossible not to retain a great montage of experiences.
The Jam Van’s first Bonnaroo experience, in fact, Jam Van 2.0’s very first Jam Van experience anywhere, was the band Tauk. Their keyboardist showed up in a Knicks shirt so I knew they’d be legit. They were. It was a great first session. One in which our new crew, Beez and Dove Yeaman, worked out their rookie jitters. Sidenote: Dove Yeaman has requested to go back to his original nickname, “Kings of Leon.” Sidenote: I’m still deciding if I’m going to honor that request.
We only shot one session on Thursday. Then in the evening we trounced around the backstage area. Checking out artists like Danny Brown, Yelawolf, and the Alabama Shakes hanging and enjoying the Tennessee heat.
There are no prototypical headliners on Thursday night at the Roo, but the festival does a good job every year of filling the first night with quality acts. The sets that left a mark on me that evening were the Shakes, whom I’d seen before on a smaller stage, but whose set was greatly enhanced by the Bonnaroo setting. Chick’s got a big voice, chick should play to big crowds, and she did.
My other good-hit on the evening was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. That’s just good tunes. I don’t know what genre you could put them in. I’m sure they’ve been categorized by publications as something, but I’d just put them down as good tunes and leave it at that.
Other acts that could be taken in that first night were the Dirty Gov’nahs, The Cave Singers, Danny Brown, Moon Taxi, Yelawolf, White Denim, Kendrick Lamar, Phantogram, Big Gigantic, and Cherub, and it was just day one. Security guards were still over-zealously sifting through bags with the zeal of someone who hadn’t just sifted through five thousand other bags. I know this because some fella gave me an insanely hard time and all I had was Crayola Glow Sand (see below). I’m sure he cooled out as the weekend went on, and if he didn’t, well, whatever, there’s always gonna be a dude looking to harsh a mellow. That’s why they make stuff like glow sand, so you can worry about more important things than mellow-harshers…