We're at the home stretch! Sunday was a bit of a quieter day for us, but by no means did the music disappoint. The plan was to make it a short day and get back to civilization that night, but due to some travel miscalculations we ended up sticking around till they kicked us out. Very glad we did.
The day started with Nashville teenage kids done good Be Your Own Pet at the That tent. They deviated from the Bonnaroo norm of long, pleasant sets with a loud, angsty performance that hit on most of their debut album in a scorching 25 minutes. It was quick, but was one of the genuine standout performances of the festival when it was all said and done. At the very least, it shook out some of our sleep deprived cobwebs and got the day off to a roaring start.
After wandering around the grounds for a bit still soaking it all up for one last time, we settled in at the This Tent for The Streets. We had seen them once before a long time ago, but had forgotten how enjoyable Mike Skinner is on stage. His laid back spoken word rap translates so well live, mixing in mock conversation with the crowd and a remarkably tight backing band. After a while, we wandered back over to the That tent, staying far, far away from Matisyahu's overcrowded performance for Stephen Malkmus. He was pretty good, but we were starting to lose the BYOP energy and retired back to lay on the grass and listen from afar.
After we had heard enough, it was back over to That for Atmosphere, who we have always considered our favorite live hip hop act. Slug had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand the entire set. He says wave your hands, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY waves their hands. It was just automatic. No excessive prodding necessary. He kept the flow of the show on point, mixing it up between rhyming in front of his DJ Ant and a full backing band. It was great, but we couldn't stick around long, cause Sonic Youth was about to go on back at This. They played mostly new songs, which despite how long they've been at it, is some pretty remarkable stuff. It was great to see that Kim and Thurston still look like they're 25 years old…from a distance at least. Though we regrettably missed it, we are told that Malkmus came out at the end of the encore to play along with the band (which now includes former Pavement Bassist Mark Ibold. Just saying...)
So, that was supposed to be the end of our trip. Except, it turns out, The shuttle busses weren't heading back to the airport till the next morning. Nothing like the total lack of forethought and planning when you're stuck in the middle of Tennessee without a car. Anyway, with suddenly lots of time to kill, we went over to the main stage, where Phil Lesh and Friends were about to come on. We had seen Phil once before and were bored out of our jaded little minds, but this time, rather than playing his own drippy jams, he jumps right into a rendition of Scarlet Begonias and continued to blast through two long sets of old Grateful Dead tunes. What a pleasant surprise! We danced around like idiots as the rain, which had politely held off all weekend, finally came pouring down to the cheers of the filthy masses. It was really the perfect way to finish off a perfect weekend in Manchester. We're already looking forward to doing it again next year.
You can check out some pictures from day 3 here. Also, be sure to check out fellow bloggers in attendance Stereogum and You Ain't No Picasso's ongoing reports, as well as Spin.com's excellent coverage. For set recordings, keep an eye on Largehearted Boy's constantly growing live downloads post.