If Friday’s ‘Roo music trolling left something to be desired, Saturday’s lineup was more than just compensation. Of course it was all about the Police, but seeing the Lips’ laser-pointered psych carnival and a triumphant, hippie-conquering blowout from the Hold Steady were just a few more of the sets that made the day unforgettable. But let’s back up…
Saturday morning (OK, afternoon — but we’re on ‘Roo time) found Dr. Dog drawing a sizeable crowd to This Tent. Two years ago, the Philly psych-poppers played to an empty field; apparently a little blogosphere love goes a long way. Jim James-endorsed indie jam-rockers The Slip tore up That Tent, then Hot Tuna/Annuals/Gogol Bordello vied for affections on the side stages. We managed to catch bits of all three, though Gogol’s gypsy punk madness was one of the day’s highlights, featuring cabaret girls with “Eugene Is A Hottie” posters and lots of spasmodic Balkan good times.
The day’s special press-tent set found Stereobeloved guitar guys Elvis Perkins, Cold War Kids, and lead Yeahsayer Alec Ounsworth performing each others tunes acoustically for a bunch of jaded, unappreciative photogs. We don’t fall in that category (smiley emoticon). Everyone’s favorite kids’ show Pancake Mountain was on hand in the press pit, too — the Flaming Lips dropped by Saturday, the White Stripes scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Keep an eye on YouTube. Later that afternoon, it was Fountains Of Wayne with a setlist that spanned the band’s decade of guitar-pop savvy; “Denise” (as always) was our highlight. The guys cut quite the power-pop figure: Adam in shades, Chris’s perxoided ‘do under a fantastic hat; and axe-slinger Jody, per usual, looking like he was a last-minute stringer from some other, unironically hip band.
From there we walked passed some hippies giving out free high-fives (we took none) on our way to the Other Tent for the select Budweiser-fueled rock of the Hold Steady. Franz, Tad, Galen, and brother Finn may be a year into their support of Boys & Girls — hell, we even see these guys in the East Village every other week — but we were as psyched as ever for their Nu-Springsteen barroom anthems. It’s been awhile. And from note one of the black-gold rocker “Stuck Between Stations,” Craig was at his clap-happy, infectious best. This wasn’t just any Hold Steady show; the overflowing tent was full of kids that knew “Chips Ahoy” just as well as Separation Sunday‘s “Hornets! Hornets!” And Finn was taken by the crowd’s sky-punching frenzy: “I just want to say that, from where I’m standing, fist pumping is a lot cooler than that dance the hippies do.” (If you’re keeping score, he’s talking about the same dance David Cross said looked like “a field full of people getting tasered.”) Hours later and off-stage, Craig said, “This show was special. We did Langerado and our stuff just didn’t go over. I wasn’t sure what to expect — but when you see kids in the way back jumping on cue, it’s just awesome.” After the Hold Steady rocking the Other Tent it was all about Spoon on the same stage (check the pic of Britt waiting in the wings, below). Daniel peppered a hits-heavy set with lots of new stuff — that is, if you consider Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga “new.” AND if you do, head to Spoon’s site to indulge in the fresh sound of Ga.
The Brothers Ween drew more photogs and sweaty bodies than any other Tent set we’ve seen so far; maybe time to bump ‘em up to a stage, Bonnaroo? Gene and Dean offered their ever-touching heart-tugger “Baby Bitch,” a giant yellow inflatable pillow bouncing off the crowd as they united to coo “Fuck you, you stinkin’ ass ho.”
From there it was Franz Ferdinand testing the limits of their Scottish skin and offering a sun-stricken disco set under the blazing heat of the Which Stage. The archduke opened with “Jaqueline,” before going into old-time faves “Come On Home,” “Walk Away,” “The Dark Of The Matinee,” “Shopping For Blood,” “Michael,” and of course “The Fallen” and “Take Me Out.” The heat admittedly got to ‘em (“We were gonna play new stuff now but the sun is God saying ‘Play more rock!’”) and pulled down their dance pulse a few BPM, but when the shade began growing, the jump kicks, running man, and arched eyebrows came with certain Franzy fury.
If you missed our Police schpeil, click.
Riding that high, we headed to Which Stage for the best Flaming Lips show we’ve ever seen. On our walk back from the Police, we heard “War Pigs” — an hour early! After running over to catch the last notes, Wayne said, “So, that was just our soundcheck. We just want to make sure this is best show ever for you guys.” Wasn’t far off, Wayne. We’ve seen the Lips more than enough times now, but somehow that “Race For The Prize” opener never gets old. Wayne’s crowd-walking bubble bit and his copious confetti tosses probably have something to do with it (on that note, check in soon for the best vid of Wayne-walking you’ve ever seen — promise). But this show started with something we’d never seen: a fucking spaceship! The circular, mirror-bulbed roof to the stage descended, mimicing an alien ship landing on Bonnaroovia; a ladder lowered, and the Lips took the stage. Insane. Later, the Coyne company conducted directed-exercises with laser pointers (handed out pre-show, like last time), and the insanity continued ’til sometime after 3AM, by which point all remaining minds were sufficiently melted.
Girl Talk also happened at some point Saturday night, but you’ll excuse us if we’re already out of breath. Needless to say … Gregg got it sweaty, and lots of people ended up on stage.
As always, clicking here will take you to a magical site that streams today’s rock ‘n’ roll to your personal computer, some of it actually in real time. All times EST: Flaming Lips (3 PM), Bob Weir & Ratdog (4 PM), Wolfmother (5:30 PM), Wilco (6:30 PM), White Stripes (8:15 PM), and Widespread Panic (9 PM). It’s all about Jack an Meg; look for us in the audience with our “Icky” and “Thump” shirts.
GRIZZLY BEAR + ANNUALS FAMILY PORTRAIT
ELVIS PERKINS/COLD WAR KIDS/ALEC OUNSWORTH SURPRISE JAM
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE
PRESS CONFERENCE WITH WAYNE COYNE, BRITT DANIEL, BOB WEIR, AND PETE YORN
THE HOLD STEADY ROCKS…
FRANZ FERDINAND (INTRODUCED BY THE UBIQUITOUS BEATLE BOB)
THE FLAMING LIPS