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Bonnaroo: Day One brings on the new (artists)

Bonnaroo Rainbow
Bonnaroo Rainbow
Maureen Lauer-Gatta

The 13th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, once again, brought together veteran artists, established acts and buzz bands June 12-15 on the Farm in Manchester, Tennessee.

Typical of past opening days, there’s a focus on newer artists performing and expanding their audience.

White Denim made a major impression when the Austin-based quartet played ‘roo in 2012. This year the members bridged the gap between the fest’s early jamband roots and rock elements that have spread into subsequent lineups as they played another spectacular set.

ZZ Ward effortlessly held the crowd with her mix of blues and touches of hip-hop.

The Wild Feathers held off on playing the band’s catchy single, “The Ceiling,” ‘til later in their set. Prior to that, the members wowed the crowd with a knockout brand of hard-drivin’ country.

Jonathan Wilson offered another nod to ‘roo’s jamband history with a set that blended soul, rock and sharp solos.

J Roddy Walston & the Business proved to be a highly-energetic band not be missed on this night. During a performance the next day on the Sonic Stage Roddy got photographer John Davisson to carry him on his shoulders so he could get closer to the audience and then crowdsurf.

Real Estate had a more mellow approach to rockin’ the night away but it was just as successful.

Syrian artist Omar Souleyman brought the overflowing crowd at That Tent towards ecstatic levels with his combination of Middle East rhythms with Western Electronic Dance Music.

It was a hometown gig of sorts for Nashville-based Cherub. The duo immediately initiated the party atmosphere when Jordan Kelley sprayed the front rows with champagne before playing a set of electro-pop tunes that included their hit, “Doses and Mimosas.”.

The night also featured Cloud Nothings, Cass McCombs, MS MR, Polica, Pusha T and Break Science.

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