A three person band with a female lead singer who can also shred on the bass guitar? A bunch of English folk rockers that are, “just blessed and happy by the success” blocking off half of Bonnaroo because of their sheer awesomeness? Yup, it must be my two favorite performances from Bonnaroo X (plus that whole sports comparison…thing). Enjoy:
1A. Band of Skulls (“Hollywood Bowl”) as the Boise State Broncos circa 2006
1B. Mumford and Sons (“Winter Winds”) as the San Francisco Giants circa 2010
Is this me punking out on choosing one band for the top spot?! It absolutely is. See I can do that because it’s my area of the blog and I already did enough awful prognosticating and analysis last month (see: every lacrosse article in May…and there were a lot). Now, I went into this Bonnaroo weekend with pretty high hopes for Band of Skulls. I’d listened to three songs substantially (“Hollywood Bowl”, “Light of the Morning” and “Death By Diamonds and Pearls”) and a few more off and on for about two months, and they immediately became one of my must sees. Let’s just say they didn’t disappoint. Actually, let’s just say how freakishly awesome they were. Seriously, they played each of the above songs masterfully but not before playing 4 new ones (one of which is on youtube already) and belting out “fires”, a song I didn’t know well but loved anyway. They were the surprise mega success of the day and contributed to what many said was one of the best Thursdays in the festival’s history. That’s why I’m going with the 2006 Boise State Broncos here. That group was a cute success story that went undefeated in the regular season and landed a BCS bowl berth, which is kind of like what Band of Skulls did with “Light of the Morning” being the main song on the Hangover II trailer. It helped earn Band of Skulls an invite to Bonnaroo, and an opportunity for some statue-of-liberty-esque University of Oklahoma ass-kicking that immediately put them on the map. People couldn’t stop talking about the band for the rest of the festival, just like they couldn’t stop talking about Boise for the rest of 2006. Like the Broncos, I think this group is headed for some sustained success.
Mumford and Sons came in far more hyped than Band of Skulls but still had something to prove after being put on the Which Stage, the main stage’s little brother (albeit for a nice Saturday sunset time slot). Despite having two smash radio hits in the last year and experience at the festival (they played last year) the Londoners were almost banished to sub-headliner status. This is like underestimating the 2010 Giants (after having two time Cy-Young award winning pitcher Tim Lincecum and a slew of other great young throwers) until well into the playoffs (where they exposed Philadelphia’s occasional offensive ineptitude). Mind you this was all perfectly fine with me. Like the Giants beating the Phils 4-2 (and the Rangers 4-1), Mumford blew the proverbial doors off of the Which Stage, playing relatively slow Sigh No More to get going before deciding that (and this is a rough quote), “if it’s gonna be hot and dusty, let’s have a dance.” All the while, my girlfriend and I were able to snag a great spot behind the VIP section that afforded us a fantastic view of the band. Not only did Mumford sound better live on songs like “Little Lion Man”, “The Cave” and “Winter’s Wind” but they broke out 3 or 4 new ones to prove that these guys won’t be one album wonders. Mumford (like San Fran) is here to stay.
That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for: “Federer just lost to a guy named Tsonga and Andy Murray just beat a guy his own mother hit on publically. Huh?,” “ESPN just did a special on BYU’s unfair application of its Mormon based bi-laws…amazingly the worldwide leader was the last to know…,” and “Jim Riggleman resigned right after the Nationals got over .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2005. That’s like Obama getting the unemployment rate below 5% right before the primaries and declaring ‘I’m done.'”