Bonnaroo 2017 Day 2 | Review & Photos

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Monday, July 3, 2017

Even without the historic first headline set at an American music festival by the iconic Irish rock group U2, the second day of Bonnaroo 2017 would have been an incredible success.

beautiful day dawned under cool partly cloudy skies, while young EDM enthusiasts were still straggling back to their campsites from the silent disco and Snake and Jakes Christmas Club dance barn. Temperatures eventually warmed to near 80F, but large fluffy clouds were moving through the area kept a lid on the hot summer sun. By midafternoon all the stages including the two major outdoor, the What and Which stages were in full operation. The alt-country rockers from Canada, The Strumbellas had a large crowd dancing in front of the Which stage early on. At about the same time an even bigger crowd had gathered in front of the biggest What stage for the California pop vocalist Frances and The Lights. His energetic show featured slick dance and acrobatic moves that thrilled the sweaty crowd in the hot afternoon sun. The crowd was particularly thrilled when arguably the most popular single artist at Bonnaroo 2017, Chance the Rapper made a surprise appearance alongside a beaming Frances. The duo played a recently remixed version of Frances tune “May I Have This Dance," featuring Chance and the crowd went wild. Dance has been a de facto fixture at Bonnaroo since his first appearance several years ago and popped up randomly all over the festival grounds. California rockers Cold War Kids also turned in a well-received afternoon set featuring straight forward rock tunes that the band has honed over the years.

As afternoon slowly faded towards sunset the Icelandic Indie rock band Kaleo brought their folksy brand of rock to the main stage. Young girls in tight bikinis techno shorts seemed to swoon at the front of the crowd as lead singer and guitarist Jökull Júlíusson appeared on stage. The band has the same Icelandic feel as the music of Bjork but with a more rock-oriented edge.

Swedish pop sensation Tove Lo has come a long way since her first late night appearance at Bonnaroo inside one of the tent stages the first night of 2015. The young singer has become a bonafide sex symbol with steamy nightclub hits and made her way to the Which stage in front of a huge crowd, just as the setting sun bathed her in golden light. The 29-year-old singer has become a sexy veteran performer with and an endless array of steamy dance moves and antics. Her grungy electropop band creates a rich dark sound that helps set the singer apart from most other pop singers. The set seemed to be a huge hit with young fans at this year's Bonnaroo.

As twilight fell and stars began to appear in the sky, the EDM crowd began to roll out of their tent cities in all manner of festival garb. From astronauts to leprechauns the audience became a living visual feast. The synth-heavy dream pop of The xx from London attracted an EDM following although the band sound is more in the moody rock category. Most of the same crowd migrated to the Which stage for an early evening set by Glass Animals, another English Indie band. Their music takes a more psychedelic look at hard rock music, but the sound seemed to please the young EDM crowd as well. Most all the other stages shut down for the next two hours as U2 played their historic set.

Following the massive main stage spectacle of U2 in concert, the crowded mass migrated to the other side of Centeroo for simultaneous sets of mostly EDM and Jam band music. A huge crowd formed for the visual smorgasbord presented by the EDM sensation Major Lazer. The group is an American electronic music trio composed of record producer Diplo from Jack U fame, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire. The group mixes multiple genres into a dance-crazed EDM sound that has captured the imagination of the nightclub crowd across the globe. Their show featuring a stage full of rappers, singers, dancers, and musicians includes well-choreographed special effects. Diplo even steals a page from Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne's antics of crowd surfing in a giant plastic bubble. At the same time as this late-night set that stretched until nearly 3 in the morning, Portugal The Man was playing a jam-laden set of pure jam band rock. The group was joined in a surprise appearance by the charismatic lead singer of Cage The Elephant, Matthew Shultz. Shultz has also been a fixture at Bonnaroo appearing not only with his band over the last several years but also popping up unexpectedly. In 2014 rejoined the Skrillex super jam. Shultz joined Robby Krieger of The Doors for “Break on Through (To the Other Side)”, with Skrillex running around playing guitar. Shultz channeled Jim Morrison during the spellbinding performance. Should sing “Feel It Still” with Portugal The Man and then a cover of the Oasis tune “Don’t Look Back In Anger."  Cage The Elephants guitar master Nice Boczkrath also joined in and helped play a drenched guitar jam of a cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall."

EDM and Jam band fans alike were excited by the final live music set of the night which began shortly before 2.30 in the morning. EDM duo Big Gigantic took advantage of the massive new lithe show on the Other stage to wow a crowd of EDM fans. Later members of Trey Anastasio’s Band, Jen Hartswick, and Natalie Cressman brought another layer to the Big Gigantic sound.