There has been a fair bit of talk about the role of female musicians in the festival scene and while there is still a ways to go at the headliner level the ladies arrived on Saturday to rock Bonnaroo. Lucy Dacus kicked things off with a rollicking early afternoon set. Dacus released my favorite record of last year and here it was great to see her pushing forward with a couple of excellent new tunes. Dacus' earnestness is infectious. She creates a wonderfully engaged vibe that sweeps the audience into her music. If these new track are any indication we are in for a great follow up record. We ended up seeing the sisters of Americana group Joseph at least three times over the course of the day. In addition to their own set they also played as part of the Soul Superjam. Joseph have the nature of female vocal harmonies down to a science. There is a wonderful symmetry to their music, a precision that comforts and inspires at the same time. Unfortunately Joseph and fellow sister act Tegan and Sara were on at the same time, so after a bit of the former we had to book it over to the latter. Tegan and Sara were their usual affable selves. Their banter and the upbeat hooks from Love You To Death are just about the perfect combination for a festival evening. Finally, I want to talk about Warpaint. Wow. Last year's Heads Up was a revelation and Saturday night at Bonnaroo they tore the This Tent down. With a minimalist light show that cast stark shadows across the white canvas to the tent ceiling Emily Kokal and company set immediately to work with a moody atmospheric set of sludgy dream pop. As they were on against Chance the Rapper, the crowd was decidedly light but that only served to amplify the experience akin to the similarly attended night Nick Cave went up against Jack White and Skillrex. There is something wonderful about these moments at Roo when forces conspire to pull the crowds away from one of your favorite performers and what could have been a standard gig turns into something truly memorable.
Saturday at Bonnaroo contains an absolutely staggering amount of music. There is clearly a fair bit more to talk about here. Keep an eye out next week for my review of some of the hottest things from The Who Stage and The New Music on Tap Stage.