Thoughts from the press tent on Friday afternoon, where the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Maps" is audible even over the drone of the air conditioners. It's one of the intrinsic unfair parts of Bonnaroo that sometimes you have to be in the press tent while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are doing "Maps," but on the other hand, they have air conditioners in here:
• The weather is screwing with us. Tennessee experienced a one-day monsoon season last night; today has been nothing but hot. Earlier parts of my blackened mahi burst spontaneously into flame (Bonnaroo travel tip: Seriously, try the blackened mahi).
• If you need a band to open a gorgeous afternoon of your big rock festival, you could do a lot worse than Gomez, who breezed through a wonderful 90-minute set to open the Which stage at noon. Highlights: the always lovely "See The World" and a nicely groovy "Airstream Driver," which floated over the crowd like part of the breeze.
• Grace Potter, seriously, if you have not heard this girl's voice, take the opportunity of her recently revamped Nocturnals (now with backup singers) to check out how she soars on tracks like "Ah Mary" and "Joey." Potter's big on the festival circuit but should be big on all national circuits that don't involve NASCAR. She's got a new record coming out this fall, produced by T-Bone Burnett. Expect rock. (And no, her new image, featuring red dress, is not helping our scorching crush on her, thanks for asking.)
• The live debut by Patterson Hood's new band, the Screwtopians, brought the Sonic Stage more to a simmer than DBT's trademark scorch; lovely moments both from the ultra-sweet "I Understand Now" and the adorable lullaby "Grandaddy," a love song to his four-year-old daughter. The Screwtopians feature DBT drummer Brad Morgan and pedal steel maestro John Neff, as well as producer David Barbe.
• Word from the press conference: crowd estimated at about 75K, "just shy" of a sellout, say organizers. The superjam, a Bonnaroo tradition, is of course "still coming together." And reports are that both Max and Jay Weinberg will be on drums tomorrow night with Springsteen.
• Tonight: A scheduling nightmare involving the first night of Phish, Public Enemy, Girl Talk, Beastie Boys and David Byrne. Two words: energy drinks. --Jeff Vrabel