Maximum Performance

6 Cool Things Witnessed on Bonnaroo 2013 Friday

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

Friday was a landmark day for Manchester, Tennessee's Bonnaroo festival, because a little cult artist named Paul McCartney played. Perhaps you've heard of him? A full report on Macca's Beatlemaniacal extravaganza can be read here, but of course, many other fantastic acts — among them Grizzly Bear, the xx, Wu-Tang Clan, and Passion Pit — graced Bonnaroo's dozen stages on Friday.

Aside from Sir Paul, here are the other standout moments from day two of 'Roo:

ZZ Top Were Bonnaroo's Sharpest-Dressed Men
Let Jack Johnson wear cargo shorts and flippity-flops. That ain't Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill's style. When the ZZ Top legends played a blistering blues-rock set in This Tent, they came dressed to impress, in matching Nudie-suit blazers, bowler hats, and beards so long and lush, they'd make Bon Iver weep with envy. Every girl (and guy) in the tent was crazy 'bout these sharp-dressed men. And when Billy and Dusty brought out their white furry guitars for "Legs," they clearly knew how to use them. I am almost positive that they hopped in their Eliminator car with a trio of leather-miniskirted MTV bimbettes immediately after they closed their show with "Tush." Now, I just have one question: Did their cool stage outfits have…wait for it...Velcro flies?

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photo: Erika Goldring/WireImage

John Oates Dropped Some Mad Science
Daryl Hall's other half made his first of several scheduled Bonnaroo 2013 appearances on Friday afternoon, playing an intimate acoustic set and participating in a charmingly awkward "Actor's Studio"-style Q&A on the Solar Stage. "I'm going to play a bunch of new songs for you, if that's okay," he said — an announcement that was met with polite golf-claps, as spectators tried to hide their disappointment that they would not be hearing an unplugged version of "I Can't Go for That." (Apparently, John Oates no can do.) But then John offered a totally logical and highly scientific reason for not playing any Hall & Oates oldies. "I really do believe that the human brain has a capacity for how many times it can hear 'Maneater' before brain damage sets in," he explained. "You seem like nice people, so I don't want to do that to you." Fine, fair enough. John later announced that there'd be plenty of cool "surprises" at his allstar Superjam concert on Saturday night (booked the same time as conflicting sets by Weird Al Yankovic and Billy Idol…how cruel to '80s fans!). So maybe he'll dust off "Private Eyes" for that occasion. In the meantime, here's a new Oates tune:

DIIV Dove Into the Kurt Cobain Archives
Brooklyn's '90s-damaged shoegazers DIIV (pronounced "Dive") take their name from a Nirvana song, and frontman Zachary Cole Smith, with his grungy oversized clothes and peroxide-ravaged mop of hair, is somewhat Cobain-esque in appearance. So perhaps it was unsurprising that they chose to cover Kurt Cobain's old home demo, "Bambi Slaughter." What was surprising was how they managed to put their own psychedelic stamp on the track, as evidenced by the guitar-squalling yet still jangly version they played at Bonnaroo. In a nice touch, they dedicated the performance to music scribe Michael Azerrad, author of Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana.

"Wilexico" Made Their Bonnaroo Debut
Two Americana heavyweights, Wilco and Tucson's Calexico, recently teamed up at Ohio's Nelsonville Music Festival for a horns-and-accordion-laden version of the Woody Guthrie tribute single Wilco originally recorded with Billy Bragg, "California Stars." Friday afternoon during Wilco's main-stage set, Calexico rejoined Jeff Tweedy and company, and it was magical. Can Wilexico record a full album, please?

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photo: FilmMagic

Bonnaroo Fell Quickly For Glen Hansard
Of Monsters & Men drew a monster-sized mob to the Which Stage on Friday afternoon (although, amusingly, one audience member was overheard mistaking them for the Lumineers). But over in This Tent, an artist who helped paved the way for the likes of Of Monsters & Men, the Lumineers, and Mumford & Sons played to his own sizable crowd. Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard, of the Frames and Once fame, put on a stunning performance. And while I had to suppress my urge to shout out, "Free Bird!"-style, for "Falling Slowly," I fell quickly for Glen's cover of the Band/Marvin Gaye's "Baby Don't You Do It," performed as a tribute to late Band member Levon Helm (who recorded a song called "Lucia" with Glen shortly before his death in 2012). Oh, and then Glen covered Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks," and dedicated his set to "whoever in the crowd is smoking that big reefer; it smells so nice." Glen certainly knew how to please the Bonnaroo audience.

Foals' Yannis Philippakis Rocked, Multi-Tasked
Foals are pretty much the best band on the planet. At least that how it felt on Friday afternoon for about 75 minutes, when the British prog-poppers completely dominated the This Tent stage with aggressive anthems like "Total Life Forever," "Inhaler," and "My Number," all of which formed the perfect sonic bridge between indie-pop and chest-beating testosterock. And when Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis crowd-surfed while still wearing and playing his guitar? More proof that, like I said, Foals are The. Best. Band. On. The. Planet.

Watch Yahoo! Music's Bonnaroo livestream, from Friday 2pm to Sunday 10:15pm CT, in the player below:

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For more Bonnaroo reportage, check out Yahoo! Music's 2013 Summer Music Guide.

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