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Tag: Bonnaroo (1-10 of 19)

PopWatch Planner: 'Game of Thrones' wraps up season 2. Plus: 'Prometheus,' E3, and Bonnaroo

Just when you thought Sunday night TV couldn’t cause more smoke to pour from your overtaxed DVR, tonight’s Game of Thrones season finale will run 10 minutes long, invading into the penultimate episode of Mad Men, all the while competing with the MTV Movie Awards. Next Sunday, the season premiere of True Blood and the season finale of Mad Men run up against the 66th Annual Tony Awards. It’s. Just. Too. Much!

Fortunately, there are six other days in the week, and plenty to occupy your time. There’s dark literary thrillers to devour, alt-y music festivals at the foot of the Smoky Mountains to enjoy, and the giant gaming confab known as E3 to overwhelm the senses. And then Friday, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus bursts into the multiplex, hugging the faces of filmgoers nationwide. Enjoy!


Game of Thrones season finale, HBO, 9 p.m. ET

How will Tyrion handle the return of his father, the true Hand of the King? What will Daenerys do to retrieve her dragons? How will Arya fare upon escaping Harrenhal? READ FULL STORY

Presenting the first-annual Festie Awards!

Radioheadthomyorke_lCoachella. Stagecoach. Sasquatch. Bonnaroo. Lollapalooza. Austin City Limits.

Those are the music festivals I attended this summer, PopWatchers, and believe me when I say, those were enough. Completists will notice that I missed Pemberton (during Comic-Con), All Points West (the weekend after Lollapalooza? I don’t think so), Outside Lands (went to Vegas instead), and my first Bumbershoot in three years (couldn’t afford the plane ticket). Nevertheless, I feel like I became something of an expert in the art of festival-living during the summer of 2008, in which I pushed my limits — and the limits of my editors — by enthusiastically throwing myself into a self-issued challenge: Could one girl, armed only with a Nikon and a notebook, singlehandedly revolutionize the art of concert coverage?

addCredit(“Whitney Pastorek”)

Well, no. But I did take a boatload of sweet pictures, meet some lovely new friends (with whom I will never again drive in a golf cart), and experience the full range of human emotions while standing at the feet of musical giants. It was then suggested by a co-worker that I should create my own awards ceremony, honoring the best — and worst — of what I reported here on PopWatch this year. I happily took him up on his genius idea and have thus put together the first-annual Festie Awards, now broadcasting live in gallery form on the front page of EW.com. It’s a good chance to click through some never-before-seen photos of Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Foo Fighters, Jenny Lewis, and more; plus, I was miraculously able to find video for nearly every single specific moment I wrote about, from the sparkling blanket of lighters stretched across the field during Pearl Jam’s set at Bonnaroo to Perry Farrell’s totally cracked-out introduction to "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door" in front of a pit full of small children at Kidzapalooza. (Tragically, I still can find no trace of Broken Social Scene’s glorious "Ibi…" from B’roo; will pay, like, a whole dollar for video of that if you’ve got it.)

So go check out the 2008 Festies, watch some video, relive the memories, and then c’mon back here to share with the group: Did you hit any of these festivals? Agree with my conferring of honors? And if you were to hand out trophies from your own personal summer concert season — doesn’t have to be festivals; could just be your local bar band — who would they go to and why?

UPDATE: Whoops. It’s just been brought to my attention that a website called MelodyTrip handed out some “Festies” themselves last year. My bad. Let’s call mine the “Festeez”!

Bonnaroo 08 wrapup: When the words fail, post video

All right, PopWatchers. It’s been two days since Bonnaroo, but I can’t bring myself to type any more adjectives. Still, I want to make sure you have the full pocket-pet experience, so I decided to embed a few things here to sum up my long weekend. Hope it’ll suffice — there’s lots of good video out there if you look. (And here’s a hot tip: Pearl Jam is now taking preorders for the official bootleg of their set, which is well worth owning.)

First up, this tidbit from the start of My Morning Jacket’s endless Friday night set. It doesn’t capture their luscious sound so well, but it will give you an idea of the amount of stuff (besides rain) that was flying through the sky and hitting me in the head. Yep, those are glowsticks.

Search "My Morning Jacket" on YouTube for more clips from the show (someone’s got the Kirk Hammett guest spot on there, complete with crowd shots that make me feel like I’m back in it; turn down your speakers, the sound is crushingly bad). Then check out my gallery of photos, all my shots on Flickr, and join me after the jump for good video from Broken Social Scene, Swell Season, and Metallica. Finding more clips you like? Post them in the comments!


Bonnaroo 08: Sunday buffet with all you can eat Broken Social Scene


For Bonnaroo’s final day, the sun was shining, the pace was glacial, and I spent most of the afternoon plotting my money-making scheme for next year (Purell/spray-on sunscreen stand, $1 a pump). I was also treated to a terrific set from Broken Social Scene, during which I did the unthinkable: I took my backpack off, found a hospitable patch of grass, rolled up a sweatshirt under my head and laid down. For like five songs. And closed my eyes. And sort of let it all wash over me. I suspect that had something to do with why I started crying.

Yes, regular readers of this blog’s music festival coverage will recall that I am prone to tears whenever I’m tired and I hear a real good song; this weekend’s big winner is Kevin Drew (pictured) and the rest of his Canadian crew, for getting the waterworks going during their climactic, clangy performance of “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day).” More on the BSS set, plus Rogue Wave, Aimee Mann, Solomon Burke, Pat Green, and a teensy bit of Death Cab after the jump. Note to Alison Krauss/Robert Plant fans: I have been informed that their set was terrific by people varying dramtically in age and musical taste. Thus, I suppose, it was terrific. I didn’t make it over there, because I was lying in the grass at Broken Social Scene. You’re just gonna have to forgive me.

addCredit(“Kevin Drew; Whitney Pastorek/EW.com”)


Bonnaroo 08 Saturday: Videotaping Pearl Jam, golf cart rides, and waiting for Kanye


Pop quiz, PopWatchers: Name two bands you would never expect to have beef with Kanye West.

If you just said “Pearl Jam and Rogue Wave,” congratulations! Treat yourself to a cocktail, because I think it may be, as they say, “on.”

The headliners, of course, pissed West off by playing an hour longer than scheduled last night, a well-deserved extension after a terrific set of favorites and rarities that included just a little neon-flavored taunting from Eddie Vedder (pictured). Rogue Wave, on the other hand, started things off on the second stage today (poor boys keep getting that nasty 1 p.m. slot) and, by way of introducing “Chicago x 12,” frontman Zach Rogue asked the crowd, “Did Kanye really come on at 4:30 last night?” “BOOOOOOOO!!!” the crowd responded by way of an answer. “I’ll tell you one thing,” said Zach. “I would never do that to you.” (He then hastily followed with, “But seriously, I kid Kanye all the time.” Nope. It’s still on.)

So here’s your answer to the most anticipated questions of the weekend: what time would Kanye start, and would I go? Well, Kanye went on at 4:29 a.m., and I stayed for about three songs. I found out when I got here this morning that he went on to play for a grand total of one hour. Total. A single hour. I do not want to know how much they paid him for that; it probably could have bought everyone in this crowd an Escalade and offset their carbon emissions for a year. The only word that comes to mind is “lame,” especially coming off Friday night’s Jacket marathon. From which, I have since learned, they may have actually cut five songs. (Note to Jackets: good call.)

Follow me through the jump to read all about Pearl Jam– plus B.B King, Levon Helm, Ghostland Observatory, some rappers who played on time, and the whirlwind that was my post-1 a.m. existence.

addCredit(“Eddie Vedder; Whitney Pastorek/EW.com”)


Bonnaroo 08: My Morning Friday (oh, and those Metallica dudes, too)


My Morning Jacket were supposed to play from midnight to 3 a.m. last night, PopWatchers. Instead, they played until 4. In the pouring rain. For four hours. It was something I will never forget as long as I live. How good was the four-hour long show in the pouring rain? Well, first, it was pouring rain, and I didn’t leave. My raincoat went from waterproof to water-indifferent, and I didn’t leave. I had no food or potable water, and I didn’t leave. And then the dude behind me whipped it out and PEED ON MY FOOT while trying to relieve himself into a bottle, and I DID NOT LEAVE. No, the My Morning Jacket four hour concert in the pouring rain was so good that a man peed on me, and neither one of us was willing to break the MMJ spell long enough to walk away from each other. We just stood there. Pee-er. Pee-ee. Together. Soaked in rain, pee, and wonder. THAT is how good last night’s My Morning Jacket show was.

So you’ve got Jim James (pictured) and the rest to blame for the massive tardiness of this blog post– and for the fact that I missed Sharon Jones, Against Me!, and Two Gallants today. I needed sleep, I needed to warm up, I needed to process what I saw last night. I came to the conclusion that, Jacket-wise, I cannot. Not in any concise, constructive fashion, anyway. So here’s what we’re doing instead, PopWatchers: Because it was pouring so hard, I had to take notes on my BlackBerry. Those notes, written between screen-clouding raindrops, are not eloquent, but they’ll give you a sense of my brain activity during the show. Maybe go buy Okonokos and have it playing in the background while you read or something. And then, on Monday, I will try and write something more lyrical in my wrapup. Deal?

Luckily, I was not waterlogged for most of the day, and so coherent, almost-interesting thoughts about everything else I saw exist after the jump: Drive-By Truckers, Rilo Kiley, Swell Season, Raconteurs, M.I.A., Minus the Bear, the comedy stylings of Janeane Garofalo and Chris Rock, and the colossal force of Metallica.

addCredit(“Jim James; Whitney Pastorek/EW.com”)


Bonnaroo '08: Thursday is just a warmup, people

I can honestly say that it’s a pleasure to be back in the hills of Manchester, PopWatchers, where the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is underway for its seventh year. Was talking with a friend tonight and we decided everything just sounds better on these stages, even certain overhyped Afropop bands comprised of preppies from the Eastern Seaboard; plus, I think being surrounded by so many people encouraging me to recycle and do yoga and wear/eat/smoke things made out of plants is good for my crabby little soul.

As I wound through the back roads of Tennessee on my drive in, I spent some time remembering last summer’s trip, and wondering if there’s any way the four days ahead can top my first Bonnaroo experience. Then I missed a turn and got horribly lost (something of an annual tradition, it seems), and snapped back to reality. Eyes on the road! There’s so much goodness to come! Metallica! Chris Rock! Pearl Jam! How on earth to pace myself? How to put it all into context? How to keep my tendencies to ramble under control? Frankly, I’m not sure I can, or should even bother trying. You’d think, coming into my fifth music festival of the year, I’d be sick to death of this stuff. No chance, pocket friends. Still, I saw nine bands today, which really is plenty– and Thursday’s sets don’t even start until 5:45 or so. Tomorrow I’ll be up and running by noon. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little worried about my sanity already. I’m gonna need more Diet Coke.

After the jump, Day One — featuring What Made Milwaukee Famous, Newton Faulkner, Grand Ole Party, Vampire Weekend, an all-female Led Zeppelin cover band (NOTE: NOT LED ZEPPELIN), and Nicole Atkins, who put on the kind of show that makes hauling my tired butt around field after field completely worth it.


Bonnaroo walkup

Kanye_lGreetings from Nashville, Tennessee, where I’m warming up for the biggest music festival of the summer. Hard to believe it’s been a year already, but Bonnaroo starts today — and I need your help! Seven stages/tents, plus comedy, plus movies… there’s no way one little girl and her camera can cover it alone. So if you’re not making it to the festival this year, let me know which acts you’d especially like to hear about (you can find the full schedule here); I’ll try to cover things that interest you guys, if they don’t interfere with the Drive By Truckers, Chris Rock, Willie Nelson, My Morning Jacket, Pearl Jam, Cat Power, etc. And if you’re stuck at home and bored, why not pitch in? You can hear/watch most things in the AT&T Blue Room — barring any unfortunate censorship scandals, that is, and did I mention Pearl Jam are on the bill this year? — so why not write up what you’re seeing in the comments? If we all work together, it’ll seem like there’s a lot more than one of me out in the fields of Manchester. Go team us!

And finally, I need your help with a prickly issue. Everyone’s favorite egomaniac-with-the-skills-to-back-it-up, Kanye West (pictured), is playing the ‘Roo in a Saturday slot that has recently been moved to (deep breath) 2:45-4:15 AM. That is AM, people, essentially a Sunday sunrise service. Now. I like Mr. West as much as the next person. I’m also a very highly functioning insomniac. But I find myself cringing at the thought of pushing through Phil Lesh, Sigur Ros, Ghostland Observatory, Lupe Fiasco, and like 15 minutes of Talib Kweli to get to this event, especially since every additional act I see has to be blogged about before Sunday morning dawns. So, PopWatchers: Given that Kanye has recently told my colleage Chris Willman to kill himself (and the rest of us on the EW staff to "f— off")… do I stick around or not?

addCredit(“Kanye West; Lester Cohen/WireImage.com”)

Bonnaroo 2007 wrap-up: Whitney's top 10

Bonnaroo_lSo after four days, six dozen bottles of water, nine applications of sunscreen, two major foot injuries, four excellent hot dogs, several lost hours pursuing wireless in a field, one wrecked Saturn Ion, and probably one free VIP beer too many, my 2007 Bonnaroo Music Festival has finally come to an end. And though it’s been a full day and a half since my flip-flops last touched Tennessee dirt, I can still hear the echoes of the best music this planet has to offer, ringing in my head. (Yes, Mom, I will buy those earplugs someday.)

It was my first trip to what I’d been calling "east-coast Coachella," but I had such a good time, I’m inclined to flip that around. Coachella should be this pleasant an experience, a magical wonderland where the kids are sweet, the food terrific, and my press pass gets me out the back gate and to my hotel in a little under half an hour– the length of time it generally takes to move 100 yards in the gen-pop crush of the Indio desert. I tip my hat to the organizers at AC Entertainment and Superfly, as well as the frighteningly cheerful Ken Weinstein and his crackerjack staff at Big Hassle, especially Kate and Chris. I wish my job was always this easy, and this fun.

During my layover in Chicago last night, I was sitting behind a kid in a ‘Roo t-shirt that listed this year’s lineup on the back. According to my calcutions, I saw 43 of the close to 150 acts on the schedule, which is not bad, considering. After the jump, I winnow that down into my top 10 whatevers. [I tried to put pictures directly into this post, but a text-wrapping nightmare occurred, and after spending an hour trying to fix it, I’ve given up. Click the links. I’m sorry.]

And hey, PopWatchers: Were you in Manchester? How about posting your own favorites (or links to pics/vid) in the comments?

addCredit(“Whitney Pastorek”)


Bonnaroo Q&A: The Hold Steady almost kill themselves, and they do it for you

Holdsteady_lComing up on the end of our Bonnaroo coverage here, PopWatchers, but first, the long-awaited Hold Steady post. Am I setting this band apart because they took 5 minutes out of their busy ‘Roo schedule to chat with me, or because they are, hands down, my favorite group of the moment? A little of both, frankly. But had you been at their Saturday afternoon show (pictured)– which kicked off with my current indie-rock boyfriend Craig Finn informing the crowd that “fist-pumping is always cooler than that dance the hippies do”– you might very well love them, too. As guitarist Tad Kubler laid into the classic opening chords to “Stuck Between Stations,” I could feel the dusty farm transforming into an east coast bar, the camera in my hand becoming a bottle of Bud, and the words to every song about the Mississippi River exploding out of my throat. I jumped, I screamed, I played air piano like a tool. (TOOL!) That’s the power of rock n’ roll, kids. And that’s the power of the Hold Steady.

I’m not the only one: Traveling through the last two days of the festival, more strangers told me the Hold Steady were their favorite new discovery of the weekend than any other band. Is it the group hug that lives in the “whoa-oh”s of songs like “Massive Nights”? The dramatic mustache of keyboardist Franz Nicolay? Craig’s adorably odd habit of pulling away from the mic between lines and mouthing nonsense into the front rows? The lyrics that create worlds in your imagination? Maybe it was all of the above, plus the fact that “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” is still the best song of the last 2 years (put that on your list and smoke it, Kirschling), and after a slew of preciously-constructed ‘Roo performances, the band’s utter lack of pretension was like an ice cube down the spine.

This was the last stop on the band’s American tour; they’re off to play European festivals now, so book those tickets. After the jump, our quick sit-down, in which I shall reveal the only thing capable of bringing the irrepressible Craig to his knees.

addCredit(“Hold Steady: Whitney Pastorek”)


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