The 14 Best Sets We Saw At Bonnaroo 2013

In the center of Bonnaroo, the aptly-named Centeroo, lies a mushroom. Not an edible mushroom, though there was plenty of that going around, too, but rather, a fountain in the shape of a mushroom. It was where many thankful attendees cooled off during the sun-drenched four day festival, and where just as many showered, which isn’t nearly as gross as it sounds. It was also where, depending on where you were standing, you could see Beach House on one stage, hear Björk and the Lumineers on two others, and be surrounded by vendors hawking everything from beer to e-cigarettes, not to mention gaze at festival goers conversing, ferris wheeling, hula hooping, and, well, showering, if you were into that kind of thing. Centeroo was where so much of Bonnaroo’s action took place…

…except for the music part. And that’s kind of the point of a music festival. We weren’t able to see every band we wanted to (so mad about missing Wu-Tang Clan and the R. Kelly/Jim James jam), which is also kind of the point of a music festival, but we saw some amazing performances. Here are our 14 favorites, complete with photos by Nadia Chaudhury.


All those things we said about the band behind UPROXX’s Album of the Year for 2012? Yup, still true.

Passion Pit

When watching Passion Pit perform, it’s best not to ruminate on what you’re singing about. For instance, “Take a Walk,” an amazing, energetic song that got a boiling hot crowd to jump and down…to lyrics about the male members of singer Michael Angelakos’s family and their inability to handle their money responsibility. GIVE IT UP FOR DISAPPEARING PENSION FUNDS. So, yeah, don’t think that about — just concentrate on the bouncing synth-pop.

Paul McCartney

Sir Paul’s only two years younger than his buddy Bob Dylan, but he acts four times as youthful.


Solange is both just her sister’s sister, and so much more exciting than her sister.

Dirty Projectors

I could listen to seven hours of soulful songstresses Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle harmonizing, with an occasional David Longstreth guitar stab and Nat Baldwin bass plunk, and never get bored. Fact.


This outfit is actually subtle, when you consider all the blinding neon the EDM kids wore.

R. Kelly

Still bummed that we missed Kelly’s “Superjam” with Jim James and Billy Idol, but at least we got to hear “Ignition (Remix)” and a medley that included Kanye’s “All of the Lights” and “Sex in the Kitchen.” So many babies are going to be born nine months from Saturday.

Weird Al Yankovic

He wore the costumes. ALL OF THEM. The “Fat” fat suit. The “Smells Like Nirvana” Kurt Cobain outfit. The “Amish Paradise” all black everything (with matching beard). Few artists care as much as Al Yankovic, and by the end of his 90-minute performance, during which he showed clips from the brilliant UHF and TV shows that have referenced him over the years, including The Simpsons and 30 Rock, the man known as Weird walked off the stage with a smile on his face, clearly appreciative of the rapturous responded he received…from a midnight set. Doubt he’s done too many of those. OH AND DID I MENTION HE DID “LASAGNA,” TOO. HE DID LASAGNA, TOO.

Action Bronson

How the Queens native is able to rap as well as he does without losing his breathe, I’ll never know. Dude was totally winded after going into the crowd and stomping around for awhile, receiving pats and piggie-back riders along the way. Also, he came out on stage to “You Can Call Me Al,” which is awesome.

Kendrick Lamar

good kid, m.A.A.d city, now with more boasts and bravado. And better off for it. (Not the celebrity face in the crowd.)


Near the end of their blistering sludge-rock set, Baroness’ lead singer John Baizley, with a cast still on his arm from a bus crash the band was apart of last year, thanked everyone in the audience for all the support they’ve received. It was a heartwarming, and then my brain turned into mush when they cranked into “The Gnashing.”


My favorite moment of the festival: watching two drunk bros stampede their way to the front of the stage before Swans’ set, then leaving with their hands over their ears once Michael Gira & Co. launched into their apocalypse of noise. Every Swans’ song sounds like a normal song slowed down by 1,000%, and apparently, it’s not for bros.

The National

Like the tiny show they did in a Brooklyn bar last night, but not tiny, not in Brooklyn, and not in a bar. Got the wine, though. A National show without wine is like a Game of Thrones episode without bloodshed — it ain’t gonna happen.

David Byrne and St. Vincent

The last act we saw before leaving was the always welcome David Byrne and Annie Clarke, showing her new hairstyle.