Bonnaroo 2014: Skrillex Superjam Features Lauryn Hill, Mystikal, A$AP Ferg & More
Warpaint, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Robbie Krieger, Janelle Monae & more teamed up with the EDM star in Tennessee.
Skrillex may have performed a two-hour set on Friday night (June 13) at Bonnaroo, but his standard spaceship-set extravaganza was apparently just a prelude to the Superjam that he cooked up for the following night. A mind-blowing array for artists joined the dubstep prince for the rollicking, three-hour jamboree, which ended with the biggest surprise guest of the night: Lauryn Hill.
A Bonnaroo "Superjam" usually goes one of two ways: the curator can form a singular collective and jam out with no moving parts (as Questlove did at Bonnaroo in 2012), or the artist can shuffle through cameos with a backing band in place for the various guests (which was seen at last year's hip-hop Superjam). Skrillex opted for the latter, concocting a lineup of musicians that included Big Gigantic, Thundercat and Zedd occasionally playing drums, and letting guest after guest -- some announced, some unannounced -- touch down for three-to-four songs. At times, Skrillex would inflect the songs with his standard bass drops and screeching electronics, but the producer was often giddily manning the table or a guitar, and letting his friends do their thing.
The best guests during the jam session were open to experimentation: Warpaint, for instance, ditched its own material and reached for a double-scoop sundae of Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam" and David Bowie's "Let's Dance." A$AP Ferg bravely tested out Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" before rattling through his own "Work" and "Shabba," and ending with "Wild For The Night," Skrillex's hit collaboration with fellow A$AP Mob member A$AP Rocky. Janelle Monae was an announced performer at the Superjam, but witnessing the R&B dynamo perform Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and then James Brown's "I Feel Good" was wholly unexpected, and a undeniable treat. Minutes earlier, Mystikal popped onstage for a well-received surprise, and the New Orleans MC sounded reinvigorated performing hits like "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against The Wall)" and "Shake Ya Ass."
The enormous audience at This Tent gave Robby Krieger of the Doors a nice ovation when the guitarist stepped onstage for some pinpoint noodling, but when Cage The Elephant's Matt Shultz appeared onstage and the pair led a rendition of "Break On Through (To The Other Side)," the energy in the crowd reached a fever pitch. The performance found Skrillex looking like he was living out a childhood fantasy: glasses off, hair whipping, the DJ gripped his guitar and leapt around the stage without abandon. "It's been years since I actually played with a live band," Skrillex breathlessly told the audience after the song. "I wouldn't even call this a live band. It's like… some alien race of music."
Finally, Lauryn Hill strode onstage hours after performing herself in The Other Tent, ending the long night with a four-song set as Skrillex effectively played the role of a hype man. "Lost Ones" was delivered at rapid speed, and she covered Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Jamming" minutes after Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley had departed the stage. "Ready or Not" closed the Superjam on a sky-high note, and Skrillex seemed overwhelmed at the number of people who had stuck around to see the conclusion at 3:30 AM. Skrillex has played Bonnaroo before this year and will likely play again, but his sprawling Superjam was truly one-of-a-kind.