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I assumed, incorrectly, that Thursday would be the hottest that I would experience down here in Manchester. The weather had other ideas, and Day 2 opened to another blisteringly hot June day. After our press conference (which can be read about in another article), I was fortunate enough to catch bits of sets by both Rayland Baxter and Andra Day, who both delivered very strong performances. My coverage however, began with Daughter who would begin at 3:45 that afternoon. Until yesterday, I had not had the pleasure of seeing them play a full set, having seen them only open for Death Cab for Cutie some years ago. After making my way into the press pit and organized myself, I looked around at the crowd behind me, a mass of anxious, mostly female faces, eager to see Elena come out on stage. It’s at this point in my article where I’d like to take a bit of time to examine Daughter, and what this set meant for so many people. It’s worth noting the impact that Daughter leaves behind on their fans- a very dedicated fan base, absolutely, but one that seems to be genuinely impacted by the music. The faces on the crowd weren’t “hyped” or overtly excited, rather, anxious. The anticipation and admiration was set into the eyes of the crowd, and it was only when I looked around at the crowd did I realize the impact of this show- these people weren’t crammed into a sweaty mass to mosh, they were their to catch a glimpse of their idols, a band so revered that tears dripped down the faces of front-row fans as they launched into hits like Youth and Candles. It was really a beautiful thing to witness behind the lens of a camera, and I’m fortunate to have caught Elena’s reaction, which I will be posting soon.
After heading out of Daughter, I made my way over to “Which Stage”, where St. Lucia was delivering a fast-paced, bass heavy set, momentarily distracting the crowd from the brutal afternoon heat. It was about an hour after that when we all gathered in the media area to be escorted to CHVRCHES, who would be delivering their set on the main Bonnaroo stage. I had the opportunity to see them 2 years ago at Lollapalooza, albeit from a distance- get a certain excitement got to me that I hadn’t felt at the festival before. A group of us, about 20 in total, headed up the hidden back ramp up to the stage, an absolutely massive structure, until we made our way into the pit. I had been quite close at many shows before, but nothing quite like this. Flanked by massive speakers on all sides, and in front of a crowd of thousands, we readied our cameras, and waited for the moment that Lauren and Co. would step on stage. They did so with gusto, the bass line from Never Ending Circles feeling like a punch in the stomach. I suppose it was the proximity to such a popular band that shocked me so much, as Lauren danced around, delivering We Sink and Keep You on My Side in fast succession, they were so close, it almost seemed as if the barrier was removed, and I could feel their energy in a very intimate way.
as well as:
After taking a significant break to cool off, I had the pleasure of shooting Kamasi Washington and had quite a lot of fun listening to the brass, drums, and keyboard, all seemlessly combined to create a cacophony of sound- one that invigorated the crowd in such a sweltering evening.
Although Kamasi’s set was quite a lot of fun (as was CHVRCHES and Daughter’s), nothing quite topped my experience at M83 that evening, Having avidly listened to him since my 8th grade year, I was excited to just see him in concert more than anything, the photo pit would just enhance that experience. Beginning his set with tracks from Junk, his somewhat controversial new album, Gonzales and his band-members delivered a truly beautiful set, going back to play favorites like Wait, Steve McQueen, Midnight City and others.
Bonnaroo Day 2 was certainly success, and I was thrilled to see some of my favorite artists perform live. No doubt, Day 3 will deliver just as well. Stay tuned!