Dancing with Girl Talk, Sasha and John Digweed
Scores of late night Bonnaroo fans boogie down 'til sunrise.
As expected, Saturday (June 16) night was the apex of Bonnaroo. Sitting backstage at the artist bar, bumming smokes off Jim Jarmusch, the festival grounds buzzed with an unprecedented dose of excitement as artists, industry types, and a fans traded stories and prepared for the coming evening — one packed with chatter-amassing performances and binding decisions. But my final choice of live consumption paid off with Bonnaroo’s most lively, ass shakin’ performance courtesy of mish-mash DJ Girl Talk, a.k.a. Pittsburgh’s Gregg Gillis. Dodging the massive crowd collecting for Flaming Lips’ midnight gig, I slowly made my way to the Other Tent with a few likeminded cronies. Upon arrival, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Imagine a giant mass of people, many collected on stage, moving in unison to the oddest mix — something like Biggie Smalls and Enya.
From there, the musical combos got even odder; Clipse, Kelly Clarkson, Hot Chip, DJ EZ Rock and Rob Base all blared while Gillis flailed on stage, sweated out what must have been 40 percent of his body weight, and stripped to his boxers. I got my freak on to the right of the stage, becoming increasingly impressed (and reacting with a barrage of shouts) with each new song selection and peering out into the crowd in pure awe of the swarm of boogying fans. After an hour set, and a beat box cover of Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice,” Gillis was raised on high by the on stage dancers while lights illuminated the colossal audience all responding with rapid shrieks to the closure of Gillis’ undeniably rockin’ concoction of nostalgic, contemporary, and plain weird mixes.
Next, after a brief stop through the Flaming Lips’ set, which resulted in a cover of gleaming canon confetti, I returned to the Other Tent to truly step outside of my musical comfort zone and experience the infamous, late night side of Bonnaroo with DJ tag team extraordinaire Sasha and John Digweed. To get in character, I snatched up a few glowsticks and spun my arms in a washing machine furry, laughing at the top of my lungs and twirling in circles. The crowd was livid, responding to the swells of the duo’s trance inducing thumps, fuzz outs, and transforming blips and bleeps. Only slated to perform through 3:30 A.M., Sasha and John Digweed’s set continued well into the morning, providing a sound track while I moseyed on back to the Spin compound as the sun rose, smiling and shaking my head in a blissful confusion, wondering what had happen to the past five hours. WILLIAM GOODMAN