Billboard Hot 100 Fest
Bonnaroo 2013: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves, The National Close It Out
Rain rushed in and then disappeared just as quickly on the final day of the 2013 Bonnaroo festival, intermittently cooling off music fans as they soldiered on through a hot Sunday in Manchester, Tennessee. Following the late-night theatrics of R. Kelly, Empire of the Sun, Billy Idol and "Weird Al" Yankovic on Saturday, the last day of the festival contained a fair share of mellowness, between the National's majestic tales of adulthood, Kacey Musgraves' thoughtful country anthems, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' inspiring "Same Love" and, of course, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers's solo-laden headlining set to close things out (click here to read all about Petty's night).
On the other hand, A$AP Rocky inspired toplessness, Baroness slayed and Action Bronson was unrelentingly amped-up. For a full breakdown of Bonnaroo's final day, check out Billboard's 10 things seen and heard at the festival on Sunday:
- Kacey Musgraves started Sunday off on a sunny note, keeping a packed crowd at the Which Stage enthralled with a set that spanned her well-received debut album "Same Trailer, Different Park" and a couple surprises. She played a rocking version of "Mama's Broken Heart," the Miranda Lambert single that Musgraves penned for the singer's 2011 album "Four The Record" and became Lambert's highest-charting single earlier this year. Musgraves' breezy "Step Off" was given the reggae treatment, transitioning into a cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." Other covers included Buck Owens' "Act Naturally" and Weezer's "Island In The Sun," before closing her set with her two show-stopping singles "Merry Go Round" and "Follow Your Arrow," the latter of which she dedicated to anyone in the crowd who grew up in a small town like she did in East Texas. Based on her stellar performance and the crowd's warm reception, Musgraves won't be playing the noon slot at a festival like Bonnaroo much longer.
Bonnaroo 2013 Video
- Want to grab Macklemore's attention at a live show? Just be completely sweltering, but willing to provide the ideal prop for his No. 1 "Thrift Shop." "It's 88 degrees," the rapper told the crowd during his main stage set with Ryan Lewis, "and this guy in the front is wearing a fur fucking coat!" After snagging the "bobcat" attire via crowdsurfing, Macklemore rocked the coat while unfurling "Thrift Shop," alongside on-hand hook man Wanz, surprisingly early in the hour-long set. And while "Can't Hold Us" was the performance's most hyped number, "Same Love" came packaged with a moving introductory monologue about civil rights -- an agreeably weighty subject in the midst of the 'Roo ruckus.
- "We're Lannisters!" the National's Matt Berninger joked when asked about "The Rains of Castamere," a song the indie rock band contributed to the "Game of Thrones" soundtrack, during an interview with Billboard ahead of their Sunday afternoon main stage performance. Berninger and Bryce Dessner said that the group does get requests to play the song live, but that its arrangement is too tricky for festivals; Berninger also pleaded to avoid "Game of Thrones" spoilers, since he's DVR'ed the third season and is waiting for some downtime to catch up. In the meantime, the National showcased new album "Trouble Will Find Me" to a massive Bonnaroo audience, and ended with the formidable trio of "Fake Empire," "Mr. November" (in which Berninger leapt into the crowd, as he often does for the track) and "Terrible Love."
- A$AP Rocky shows are always thrilling, but the rapper's Sunday night Bonnaroo set was particularly unhinged: joined by the A$AP Mob onstage in the Other Tent, Rocky crowd-surfed, scaled scaffolding and corralled a handful of topless women onstage for "F--kin' Problems." He also let A$AP Ferg present his new single "Work" on two separate occasions during the performance; before the set, Ferg told Billboard that his debut album "Trap Lord" is definitely coming on Aug. 20, and that "Work" is not a great preview of the multi-faceted sonic display within the upcoming album.
- Sunday at Bonnaroo was filled with artists intermingling with their onlookers, such as when Action Bronson and A$AP Rocky made their ways toward their adoring fans. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros took that tactic to a new level: following a performance highlighted by sunshowers, the indie-folk group began performing in the crowd and playing "When The Saints Go Marching In" with full instrumentation. Fans holding umbrellas and pirate flags faithfully followed the troupe and its fearless leader, Alex Ebert, into the festival's great unknown.
- David Byrne & St. Vincent brought their joint tour to Tennessee for an early-evening set on the Which Stage that included a few epic twists. With a set that comprised equal parts of St. Vincent and Byrne's catalog as well as selections from their 2012 album "Love This Giant," an unexpected highlight arrived mid-way through when Byrne announced that they were going to play a song "we all learned about five days ago." The song was "Wild, Wild Life," and it was one of four Talking Heads classics that Byrne, St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) and their eight-piece band whipped out throughout the set ("This Must Be The Place," "Burning Down The House" and an encore version of "Road To Nowhere" also made the cut.) All 10 musicians sharing the stage took turns singing each line of the second verse, lending the song as much of a classic party vibe onstage as it did off. Byrne, clad in all white, looked positively joyous throughout while a bottle blonde Clark tried to mask her own smiles while she played the role of a robotic Stepford Wife during most of her songs. The whole set and its choreography was just as much of a performance piece as it was a pop concert, and raised a high bar for Tom Petty to follow around the corner.
- Action Bronson -- the Queens-based rapper/gourmet chef known for handing out weed and steak dinners during live performances -- fit the Bonnaroo vibe like an extra large glove. He passed blunts to the soundboard operator, asked the audience to toss drugs onstage (they obliged), and routinely ventured not only into the crowd but outside of the performance tent itself. With just an announcement of "the show's out here now," Bronson left most of the crowd dumbstruck as he disappeared from view, circled the stage, and finally returned to a hero's welcome. Once his hour-long, freestyle-heavy set ended (after a performance of his debauchery-heavy "Hookers at the Point"), the crowd was left chanting his name, understandably thirsty for even more.
- During a press conference prior to his two comedy tent performances on Sunday, Bob Saget talked in typically X-rated fashion about feeling right at home as a comedian at a festival dominated by music fans. "I'm like an airport shop!" Saget joked. "The audience is kind of a rock-and-roll audience. I'm comfortable here... because I live in a giant field with trailers everywhere, with people flashing their tits and tripping on ecstasy. That's just how I roll."
- Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala swung by the Billboard press tent to talk life on the road in support of 2012's "Lonerism" and their new member, Cameron Avery, who joined the band in May after bassist Nick Allbrook left the band to pursue other ventures. Avery had played with the band in various junctures over the years, and seemed to be settling into his new full-time gig nicely. The group was looking forward to some downtime at home in Perth later this summer before they start planning their third album.
- Last August, Baroness' tour bus plunged from a bridge in southern England and miraculously claimed no lives. However, the members of the Georgia-based metal quartet understandably had to put aside plans for touring behind their acclaimed new double album, "Yellow and Green." Their Bonnaroo performance came during their first full-band American tour since the chilling incident, and although it took frontman John Baizley over 40 minutes into their late afternoon set to address the crowd, when he finally did, he said exactly what he needed to: "This is fucking awesome… from Baroness to you, it's great to be fucking back." Their set took heavily from "Yellow and Green," and lyrics like "I can't forget the taste of own blood" and "Take my bones away!" -- written prior to the accident -- carried compounded meaning. Through it all, the barrier-busting metal band rocked the 'Roo crowd in a much deserved moment of triumph.