Sleigh Bells—which released its sophomore album, Reign Of Terror, back in February—has just released a new video for the song “Demons”; the band has also released a remix of the track by Diplo. The Brooklyn-based duo recently announced a series of tour dates in support of Reign Of Terror, which includes a performance at Making Time’s 12th Anniversary Hyper-Rager (with Dave P and Sammy Slice) on July 20th at Festival Pier At Penn’s Landing. You can watch the video and listen to the remix below.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of Bonnaroo, the massive, scorching, and extremely dusty music festival that takes places annually in early June. This year was particularly enormous with the fest being sold out, as 80,000 people made the trek to Manchester, Tennessee from June 9th-12th. Headliners such as Eminem, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Buffalo Springfield, My Morning Jacket, and The Strokes drew a varied crowd from all walks of life. Despite domineering heat and the fact that the farm essentially experienced a Dust Bowl, festival-goers remained in good spirits throughout the weekend as they turned out in hoards for their favorite artists’ shows. For a 10th anniversary, Bonnaroo didn’t book many artists unique to this summer’s festival circuit, but the lineup was sufficiently packed to make the 14+ hour trip worth it.
Sleigh Bells: Sleigh Bells’ recent sold-out show in Philly had the Trocadero pulsing with sound and dancing bodies, but that was nothing compared to Thursday’s Bonnaroo performance at the Other Tent. The booming bass from the opening night show could be heard throughout the entire farm, and people were packed in and around the tent. Alexis Krauss kept the crowd hyped up the entire time despite the fact that few could even see her as she shouted Bonnaroo’s praises and belted Sleigh Bells’ trademark cheerleader-pop-rock anthems. Guitarist Derek Miller provided support to the increasingly hard set, which culminated in Krauss diving into the delighted crowd.
Friday highlights: Givers, Florence And The Machine, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Pretty Lights, Ratatat
Chiddy Bang: Fresh off the release of their latest mixtape Peanut Butter and Swelly, Philadelphia natives Chiddy Bang took to the stage of This Tent on Saturday afternoon. The 15-track mixtape blew up the blogosphere, so it was no surprise to find a large, youthful crowd spilling out of the tent despite the sweltering 3:30pm heat. Composed of rapper Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and drummer/beatmaker Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, the hip-hop duo played a set that spanned their young yet eventful career. Most of the material came from 2009’s breakout mixtape The Swelly Express as well as PB&S, and the set also featured a preview performance of their new single “Manners.” The most ambitious aspect of the show came when Xaphoon took the mic to gather numerous freestyle topics from the crowd for Chiddy to rap about. Although the audience became antsy during the long collection process, they immediately reengaged when the Guinness World Record holder for longest freestyle began to adeptly rap about Bonnaroo, Pokemon, and a crowd-pleasing detestation for LeBron James. Peanut Butter and Swelly was released as a prequel to Chiddy Bang’s debut full-length effort Breakfast, which is expected later this year. Until then, check out this video that Bonnaroo released of the duo performing the new single. The quality is a little low, but the energy is there and you can still get the idea.
Man Man: Following Chiddy Bang, the Philadelphia music continued at This Tent with a performance by experimental rockers Man Man. Known for its wild live performances, the multi-instrumentalist quintet continued in this tradition wearing matching outfits and face paint, and playing an unpredictable and diverse set. While hard to see exactly what instruments the members were playing, everything from keyboards to harmonica to eccentric drums could be heard. The hour-plus show featured tracks primarily from the group’s first three albums, despite its recent May release of the LP Life Fantastic. Although people wandered in and out of the tent throughout the performance, there was always a decent-sized crowd grooving to the slightly spastic set. In the day or so following the show, many overheard conversations made it clear that Man Man had established numerous new fans for itself.
Beirut: Perhaps the most challenging scheduling conflict of this year’s Bonnaroo was on Sunday evening, when Beirut, The Strokes, and Explosions In The Sky were all slated to perform within an hour of one another. Beirut was the first to begin at 6:15 p.m. in the Other Tent, and a late start time had some attendees feeling anxious while other devoted fans waited patiently. However, as soon as the set began, the crowd that had stayed realized they had made the right choice. Zach Condon and Co. opened with “The Concubine” from 2009’s double EP March Of The Zapotec/Holland, and continued into a set that included older favorites as well as plenty of new material from their upcoming August release The Rip Tide. Rainbow-colored lights filled the tent as horns and strings soared and bellowed beneath Condon’s soulful Balkan vocals. Once, as Condon began the lyrics to “Elephant Gun,” he stopped to laugh, apparently overwhelmed by the positive atmosphere. The crowd joined him wholeheartedly, and then began to sing along with full force. Everyone happily bobbed and swayed as a breeze finally provided relief from the oppressive heat that had been present all weekend. The tranquil atmosphere at the show synced perfectly with Beirut’s exquisitely layered songs, making for one of the paramount experiences of the festival.
Other Sunday highlights: Iron & Wine, Robyn, Cold War Kids, The Strokes, Explosions In The Sky
FRIDAY, MAY 6
Right now, it’s cool for bands to dabble in basketball, but Nat Baldwin doesn’t dabble in it. He turned down a basketball scholarship to study music, and his last record, Most Valuable Player, featured a picture of his MVP trophy from a junior-high-school basketball tournament. Baldwin is most well-known as the bassist for The Dirty Projectors, but he’s been putting out solo work since before he worked with the band. The solo effort consists of Baldwin—often without any back-up—playing the upright bass and singing. His use of melisma (several notes sung over one textual syllable) and erratic falsetto makes him sound, on first listen, strikingly like Dirty Projectors front man Dave Longstreth. But It’s a weak comparison. One obvious difference is the stripped-down acoustic feel of Baldwin’s music; another is his use of drama. Baldwin recently released a new single, “Weights”, from his forthcoming album People Changes (which features a shirtless Baldwin holding a basketball on the cover). By itself, the song might seem too slow or lacking direction. But, in the accompanying video (shot on a Brooklyn basketball court), the slow strings have a deliberate tension, as if there was a competition in Baldwin and his bass. Nat Baldwin perform with Nick Millevoi and Bronze Float at 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are $10. —Dave Simpson
Also playing: Young Widows + My Disco, Gods And Queens at Johnny Brenda’s (8 p.m., 21+, $10); The Fiery Furnaces at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $20); Jukebox The Ghost + Wakey Wakey, Pretty & Nice at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $12-$13)
SATURDAY, MAY 7
Cage The Elephant + The Shackeltons at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., SOLD OUT); The Sisters 3 (record-release show) + Honey Watts, On The Water, DJ Slow Poke at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Denison Witmer + The Oxygen Ponies, Poison Tree at World Cafe Live (7 p.m., $20); D’Amore + Hot Bagels, Best Friends at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10)
SUNDAY, MAY 8
Jerry Blavat’s Mother’s Day Musical Spectacular featuring Frankie Avalon, Jay Black, Kenny Vance & The Planotones, The Tymes, The Orlons at The Kimmel Center (7:30 p.m., $41-$100); Sleigh Bells + CSS, Mr. Dream, Wet Witch at The Trocadero (8 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); The Growlers + Adam And Dave’s Bloodline, Uncle Bad Touch at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)