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Bonnaroo 2013 Day 1 Recap: Japandroids Tease Metallica Cover, Deap Vally Win Converts + More

Japandroids Bonnaroo 2013
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Rolling southern gusts and flash showers peeling back into rainbows welcomed concertgoers Thursday (June 13) to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The winds of fate also blew as the news of Saturday headliner Mumford & Sons‘ completely understandable cancellation began making the rounds. Quick-acting festival organizers managed to snag Jack Johnson to fill the vacant spot. With that, the gates to the stages opened, and the portion of Thursday’s bill reserved for rising acts kicked into full gear. Here’s what happened.

Strange Times: The day suffered some schedule-related hiccups, as DIIV couldn’t make it to their 5PM endpoint. Then a chain reaction of pushed-back sets wreaked havoc on the Other Tent, as Araabmuzik struggled to get the intricacies of his show in place for his start time. This made it difficult to stick to a “see everything” pace as Walk the Moon and Purity Ring followed with highlight performances. It may truly be time for Bonnaroo to commit to an EDM-dedicated stage to turn out the best results in a timely manner.

Quote of the Day: Ariel Pink shook the uninitiated, travel weary audience during his This Tent freak-out, serving up heavy jams and Zappa-esqe constructions and delivery. As he went to start, he quickly took a moment to share his gratitude: “Thanks for coming to out to the only set worth seeing.”

Best Tease: Although the sound never got so loud you couldn’t hear the person standing next to you, duo Japandroids brought rollicking, intricate garage-punk to their late-night slot. As the band took a moment to cool off from the nostalgic ansgt of ‘Celebration Rock,’ they briefly segued into the first few measures of Metallica‘s ‘Enter Sandman.’ It’s too bad Japandroids didn’t run with it, as the crowd was set to explode like a powder keg.

Breakout Performance: Everybody’s fighting for attention and affections on opening day of Bonnaroo, and this year’s big win went to another hard-rocking duo, Deap Vally. Disciples of Jack White and Jimmy Page, these ladies brought the Hammer of the Gods to the This Tent as curious revelers turned to their neighbors and asked, “Who is this band?” More and more people filled the tent as Deap Vally’s infectious hard rock grooves lured them in.

Set of the Day: Although Purity Ring commanded and astonded with their live remixing and expansive light show, the best overall set of day one of Bonnaroo 2013 was delivered by the endlessly inventive Alt-J. Buoyed by pitch-perfect sound, the band was, at various times in their performance, a boys church choir and a bass-dropping behemoth. As they filled and enraptured the field in front of them, which stretched all the way back to the famous Mushroom Fountain, it was easy to understand their rising status.

See Our 2013 Music Festival Guide

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