The Daily Pulse:

Roo Report #2: A Dusty Start

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First day of Bonnaroo was hot as expected, and dusty, too. It might have rained in Knoxville on Thursday, but the most it did in Manchester was get a little gusty--which, combined with the parched soil, created a haze of particulate matter that put some of us in mind of the bone-dry Bonnaroo of '07, when a prolonged drought turned the entire event into a sort of debauched dust bowl. There's sand this year, too -- presumably in an attempt to curtail the mud pits that (with a little precipitation) can be a central feature of the 'Roo landscape, the festival gods have scattered what I'm guessing to be several tons of sand around heavily trafficked areas.

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Musicwise, Thursday was a slow start for me. During an afternoon scouting foray, I heard bits and pieces of Futurebirds and Hayes Carll, but not enough to make an impression. An evening jaunt picked up the latter half of sets by School of Seven Bells (whose pulsing indie-rock built to some very nice grooves) and Best Coast (who in concert sound much like they do on record: pleasant but indistinct). The surprise of the night was the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, a fiery blues-rock trio from Indiana powered by bottleneck slide playing and capable of creating a very engaging ruckus. There was more to see after that -- I wanted to check out Sleigh Bells, in particular -- but if the spirit was willing, the flesh was exhausted. Having hit the road in Knoxville around 5 a.m., I needed to sleep. So back to the camp it was, while the Bonnarooing continued late into the night. 

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On today's agenda: some afternoon metal (Kylesa), some primetime rock (Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire), and some late-night hip-hop (Big Boi, Lil Wayne). And who knows what else...

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