Bonnaroo day two didn’t have much room to improve over Bonnaroo day 1, but after day two performances from Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes and Run the Jewels, it was clear that day two is a worthy contender.
The third of the five major headliners playing on the largest “What Stage” was the Alabama Shakes who gave a soulful and heartfelt performance.
The Athens, AL band opened up their set with “Future People,” one of the more reserved songs from their most recent LP, “Sound & Color,” though “reserved” might not be the first adjective that comes to mind after hearing the song live. Brittany Howard belted out the lyrics to this song and played each guitar riff as if it were her last.
This trend continued throughout the rest of the band’s set and Howard showed no signs of slowing down.
This was the Alabama Shakes’ second appearance at Bonnaroo after their 2012 show.
The next headliner at the “What Stage” was the Compton, CA native and TDE affiliate, Kendrick Lamar.
This was Lamar’s third performance at Bonnaroo, following his 2011 and 2012 sets.
“We’ve got some catching up to do, Bonnaroo,” said Lamar, recalling his past experiences on the farm. “Last time we turned it up to about an 8, but this time we’re going to take it up to a 20.”
Lamar played a mix of songs both old and new, but it was his performance of “m.A.A.d city” from his sophomore album, “Good kid, m.A.A.d city” that stole the show.
Lamar played the song once. Then he played it again. And then again until he was satisfied that the crowd was hyped up enough for the rest of his set.
Lamar then went on to play through the somber “Sing about me/I’m dying of thirst,” and followed it with the more recent fast paced single, “i,” from the album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
Lamar then brought out Anna Wise who had contributed vocals to both of Lamar’s most notable releases, “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” and “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
Following Lamar’s inspiring performance was Run the Jewels at the smaller “This Tent.”
Run the Jewels have been one of the most critically lauded hip-hop groups of the last few years.
Consisting of producer/rapper El-P and rapper Killer Mike, the group has produced two projects, “Run the Jewels 1” and “Run the Jewels 2,” both of which are available for free on the official Run the Jewels website.
The group was only allotted an one hour performance, and they made the most of that time.
Playing tracks from both of their projects like “Oh my Darling (Don’t Cry),” and “Sea Legs,” Run the Jewels provided one of the most unforgettable performances thus far.
One of the more surprising aspects of their performance was Run the Jewels’ ability to rap every word of the fast-paced intense raps they are known for.
El-P ran around on stage and never missed a beat while a more subdued Killer Mike followed suit even though his arm was in a sling from an injury he got during an altercation with a fan at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX earlier this year.
Run the Jewels performance was a confirmation that they truly are the most dangerous duo in hip-hop.
The final show of the night at “The Other Tent,” was Los Angeles, CA native, Flying Lotus.
Otherwise known as Steven Ellison, Flying Lotus brought his own brand of experimental electronic music to Bonnaroo for the second time since 2012.
Ellison’s recently released LP, “You’re Dead,” provided him with the majority of the songs he would play.
Ellison made his way to the stage to much applause from his audience.
“We’re going to have a good time tonight,” said Ellison pausing dramatically as he walked back to his laptop. “It’s a shame though. Because ‘You’re Dead.'”
Ellison’s stage had white transparent sheets surrounding him where graphics that went along with his songs flashed by as he performed. He mixed songs on the fly and had his audience dancing along for his entire performance.
After all the intense performances from Bonnaroo day two, it wasn’t surprising the line for taxis ferrying people to and from campsites was exceptionally long.