With festival goers still recovering from a late night of dancing to Skrillex, rapping along with Chance The Rapper and head-banging to Meshuggah, Bonnaroo brought the heat early Saturday (June 14) with artists like Cake, First Aid Kit, Seasick Steve and HAERTS performing while the temperature approached the upper 80s.
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Cake was reliably quirky during its Saturday set, with John McCrea sporting a scraggly beard, trucker cap and his bone-dry humor for an hour on the Which Stage. "This is just entertainment -- it'll get bleak when we go home," he intoned at one point; later, after a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," he tied the rendition to the situation in Iraq, which he described as "hopeless." But the Sacramento group wasn't all doom and gloom: McCrea got a big laugh when he dedicated "Mustache Man (Wasted)" to "anyone here who has a mustache, and not an ironic mustache or a nostalgic mustache." McCrea wanted to celebrate a "full-on, balls-out mustache," and the video screen quickly panned to a young man in the crowd with approving facial hair.
As the heat kept beating down on the audience, Cake conjured an extended sing-along of "Sick of You," from their most recent album, 2011's "Showroom of Compassion." And although they saved all of their best-known hits until the end, the finale of "Never There," "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" and "The Distance" was a perfect summation of the veteran group's appeal: witty lyrics, trumpet flourishes and choruses that deserve to be presented to massive festivals.
An hour before Cake started running, Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit received some of the most overwhelming ovations of the weekend during their set at This Tent. Mixing new songs like "My Silver Lining" and "Waitress Song," cuts from their 2012 release "The Lion's Roar" and a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "America," Johanna and Klara Soderberg enchanted the bulging audience in between quiet thank-you's.
Elsewhere, HAERTS continued its run of major U.S. festivals by spreading out their epic single "Wings" to an appreciative response. And Seasick Steve opened the main stage on Saturday with a little help of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, who put down the bass and picked up the mandolin for a solo on "It's A Long Long Way."
Bonnaroo continues Saturday with a stacked lineup that includes Jack White, Frank Ocean, Lionel Richie, Zedd, the Flaming Lips and a Skrillex Superjam.