Bonnaroo 2013 Superlatives
    • WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013

    • Posted by: Don Saas

    Here's a good way to get across that the 2013 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has finally drawn to a close. I came home from work today and meant to take a nap and then work on my final Bonnaroo post. That nap turned into a full eight hours of sleep. I've said it before but it bears repeating; Bonnaroo is an amazing experience but it is also the most physically draining test of endurance a music fan can hope to endure. And with that said, let's look at some of our top 10 moments as senior superlative list from this year's festival.

    10. Most Unexpected Makeover: St. Vincent's Danaerys Targaryen Blond Locks

    When I think of Annie Clark's hair, aka St. Vincent, I immediately think of the black hair staring back at me from the Actor album cover or the "Cruel" music video. So, imagine my surprise Sunday night when she took the stage with hair blonder than a Lannister in a Cruella Deville bouffant. I think I prefer the black hair, but Annie can clearly rock whatever look she chooses.

    9. Best Use of Face Paint: The Tribal Warriors of Walk the Moon

    Walk the Moon set an early standard of high-octane fun for Bonnaroo that it still astounds me that any bands were able to consistently top them (though that happened). The cerebral part of me still wants to suspect that Walk the Moon are nothing more than very catchy pop music at their core, but after seeing an entire crowd of face-painted fans bounce along to all of their songs, I can think of few bands better suited to the festival environment.

    8. Best Roger Sterling Impersonation: Matt Berninger of the National

    Dear Matt Berninger; we know you clearly miss Mad Men already and drinking the bottle on stage was a fitting tribute to everybody's favorite TV silver fox, Roger Sterling, but if you're going to commit to the tribute, it's time to add a fashionable suit to the ensemble. Just saying. We all really know that "Fake Empire" is about Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.

    7. Best Cover of a 90s Boy Band Tune: Charli XCX Tackles the Backstreet Boys

    After Charli XCX brought The Other Tent down with her cover of "I Want it That Way" by the Backstreet Boys, I'm fairly certain I immediately wrote down in my notepad, "She's my fucking hero." Charli's all about dark, subversive pop music, and it took chutzpah and then some to pull that off. But, clearly she did.

    6. Best Costume Work: The Master of Disguise, "Weird" Al Yankovic"

    The number of costumes that "Weird" Al slipped in and out of during this year's Bonnaroo was outrageous. There were at least five or six costume changes during his 90-minute set. And, miraculously, I didn't even tire of the Al TV bits he would show during the costume interludes. Now, if only I could have seen him in a Flintstones outfit for the sadly not played "Bedrock Anthem."

    5. Filthiest Crowd Banter: Matt & Kim's Sailor Mouths

    This is a direct quote from Kim Schifino. After explaining that she loved Bonnaroo because it was known for being into "freaky shit," Kim then said, "If you feel like having sex while crowd surfing, fucking do it because you know I'm all about the freaky shit." After you smacked your ass with abandon and kept making crotch chops at the audience, I think we might have guessed that.

    4. Manliest Stage Gusto: Japandroids

    Is it weird that by the time I walked away from the Japandroids set my feelings towards Japandroids frontman Brian King turned into what George Costanza felt towards Elaine's "mimbo" boyfriend. Everybody I talked to who caught the Japandroids set was overwhelmed by the band's presence and pure rock force. And Brian King captured your attention like he was a young Robert Plant.

    3. Insanest Guitar Shredding: Mike Campbell from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

    There was a lot to be blown away by during the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers set. Much like Paul McCartney, here's a rock band decades past their beginning that still manages to control a stage like the day they burst on the scene, but it was Mike Campbell's consistently insane guitar solos that had me constantly turning to my friend and saying, "Holy shit!" Talk about a criminally under-appreciated guitarist.

    2. Biggest Improvement in a Year: The Rising Star of Kendrick Lamar

    I caught Kendrick last year and he wound up being my third favorite set of the festival. And he's only gotten better in the interim. If you've been with Kendrick Lamar since Section.80, you're watching the birth of a hip-hop megastar, and anyone who caught his main stage performance Sunday knows it to be fact.

    1. Man Most Deserving of a Place on Mt. Rushmore: Sir Paul McCartney


    Was he President of the United States? No. Is he American? No. Did his Friday performance convince me that he's one of the greatest rock gods that's ever lived? Yes. This more or less sums up my reaction to that set.

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