So, the Friday report was mostly words. All words, in fact. Okay lots of words, a few pictures, and a gif. But, I can be a numbers person, too. I placed second for my school at an area math competition in eighth grade. I was an accounting temp for a month a few summers back. I’m totally a numbers person. So, we’re going to recap Bunbury’s Saturday experience with numbers.
Times I Almost Dislocated My Wrist Trying to Slacken My Death Trap of a “3 Day Pass” Bracelet: 187 (approx).
I expected this thing to be like a watch or something, where you eventually forget it’s there, but it kept chafing at my wrist like a damn shackle all weekend. I think I got it to loosen a little on Friday, but my failures to do so on Saturday made me think it was just a hallucination.
Bands I Saw With Prominent Banjo and/or a Dedicated Banjo Player: 4.
Mumford and Sons might have said “fuck the banjo”, but The Devil Makes Three, The Decemberists, Kacey Musgraves, and The Avett Brothers would reply “fuck Mumford & Sons”. If Friday was unofficial “Dudes with big guitars” Day, then Saturday was unofficial “Folk on Folk on Country” Day: a day full of bands subbing in banjos, double basses, harmonies, hats, vests, accents, and favorite distilleries in between song after song after song. And that’s just the bands I saw; you know there’s no way someone called Jamestown Revival wasn’t going to bring a banjo and a double bass.
Unprompted High Fives I Got for This Shirt: Seven.
Also the number of professors on it. And the number of horocruxes. It’s all numbers, people.
All-Male Bands Seen on Saturday: 0.
Okay, point of fairness, I did get a late start on Saturday (more in a minute), but given how stupendously sexist music festivals tend to be, being able to do this felt like a cool move for the ‘bury. Kacey Musgraves, Lindsey Stiriling, and Genevieve were all female-led main stage pulls, and there was a relative degree of gender egalitarianism for The Decemberists (3 women out of 7 members) and The Devil Makes Three (1 out of 3; she played double bass). The Avett Brothers had a female violinist among the eight or so people they had on stage, some of whom may or may not have been brothers.
Things You Need For Music, According to Genevieve: 2.
And they are chords and words. She announced this before leading into piano ballad “For You”, a far sparser song than the rest of her early day set. Genevieve was the only artist I saw on a lark for Saturday, and while she gets the coveted Bunbury Cults Memorial Indie Pop Award, she was as ebullient as she was loud. Solid start to the day.
Pirouettes Done By Lindsey Stirling While Playing a Violin (While I Was in Attendance): 11.
There’s some shit you just need to see with your own eyes. And if Lindsey Stirling playing some damn fine electric violin over post-dubstep electronica while dancing around stage like it’s her ballet performance final while wearing an astronaut-silver tutu isn’t up there, then I’m sorry you don’t believe in joy. Stirling’s set was as lively as she was, blending live percussion with massive synths and of course, her signature violin leading the charge. What could have been a gimmick (or, given other YouTube acts, a war crime) was an absurdly genius move that worked in all the right ways.
Entrances to the Festival on Saturday: 3.
I mean, I still used the main gate, because fake entrances are for fake people, but it was good the management changed things after Friday’s series of snafus.
Matching Purple Suits at Kacey Musgrave’s Set: 4.
She wasn’t wearing one–although her dress looked like a repurposed carousel with extra glimmer–but her four man backing band (with banjo and double bass, natch) were in their finest Nashville Show-suits on her neon cactus covered stage. It was precious, until you realize that Kacey Musgraves writes songs like someone who has either seen or been through some shit, but whatever, she’ll get over it. In keeping with numbers, four is also the number of Lindsey Stirling’s interpretive back up dancers.
Times Kacey Musgraves Called Her Upcoming Album “Country as Shit”: 2.
KM also gets the “Country you’ll love even if you don’t like country” award. And I’m pretty sure she could take Florida Georgia Line in a bar fight.
Surprise Mid-Set Covers (Weekend Total): 3 as of Saturday.
Musgraves broke out Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and Lee Hazelwood’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”. Those aren’t the surprise. The surprise was TLC’s “No Scrubs”, nestled surprisingly comfortably in her set for no other reason than why not?
Friday’s entries in the Bunbury Surprise Cover catalog were Matt and Kim reaching peak irony with thirty seconds of slow jammed out “Ignition (Remix)”, and a crowd karaoke version of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”, because you cannot deny that chorus.
Group Photos I Had a Friend of Mine Take: 2.
They turned out alright.
Selfies Same Friend Took While Taking Group Photos: 4.
Okay, sure, who doesn’t sneak that front-face camera selfie in while the squad gets in ideal Group Shot position? But four of them?! THAT’S LITERALLY TWICE THE NUMBER OF GROUP SHOTS. YOU HAD ONE JOB. Hang on, though. Two group shots of four people, and four selfies (ahem) of two people…it evens out. I can’t be mad. And beside, who could be mad at this face?
Answer: no one.
Times I Shouted “Alright!” in Approval for a Song About Filicide: 27.
Look, The Decemberists are persuasive. And, “The Rake’s Song” holds a special place in my heart as the first Decemberists’ song I ever heard.
Days Until Colin Meloy of The Decemberists Can in Good Conscious Remove “June Hymn” from the Setlist: 21.
“June Hymn” came midway through a set that was relied on the band’s last three albums, none of which are in their classic canon. A hearty number of cuts from What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World made the list, along with a surprising amount of The King Is Dead, and three of the heavier songs from The Hazards of Love. It actually worked in their favor; The Decemberists are a veteran group who can polish even their less popular material to luster, and there are surprising legs on the new stuff they picked. Gotta drum up those Spotify streams somehow.
Military Wives in The Decemberist’s Final Song: 16.
Classics are classics. And the fist shaking chant-off Meloy orchestrated between different parts of the crowd was as close to being cast in Les Miserables as I’m ever going to get.
Rounds of Sets Missed By Being Relatively Late: 2.
This goes against yesterday’s stated goal of “If it’s happening, I’m there”, but…
Dollars Saved by Drinking Where We Parked Instead of Buying More Beer Inside: $6 per beer times 2 beers per person times 4 people=$48, minus approximate store value of what was drank beforehand which was probably $20 for a rough savings of $28. And they say word problems are useless.
Second Thoughts I Had About Using Old Crow Medicine Show’s Set as a Sacrificial Lamb for a Spot at The Avett Brothers: null.
Trick question. OCMS is the band responsible for “Wagon Wheel”, and I have to care about what’s being sacrificed for it to count as a sacrificial lamb.
Songs by The Avett Brothers You Need to Know to Enjoy Their Set: 0.
The Avett Brothers are one of those bands that will rarely come up in conversation, and then suddenly you’ll have half a dozen friends who shout along to every word of an hour and a half long set of theirs. I get it, though. They seem like the Uberfolk; anyone that’s ever liked a band that would qualify as folk or Americana in the loosest sense would find something to like in them. Be it the varied and rollicking arrangements, the lyrics strong enough to not get lost coming out of arena-sized speakers, or the goshdarn heart and passion, the brothers Avett (and guests) bring something for someone. In fact, I’m a little cautious to approach their album material in case it’s too tame in comparison to their live bombast. To wit:
Acoustic Guitar Strings Broken by (probably) One of the Avett Brothers Due to Excessive Rocking Out: 1.
Said (probably) brother immediately got a replacement guitar, and played a hi-hat cymbal solo until the band looped back around to finish the song. Gives you the feeling this was one of those “once a show” events.
Songs in TAB’s Encore Set: 2, 1.5 after adjustment.
They were both great songs, especially the jaunty “Slight Figure of Speech”, but I have to dock them a half song penalty for a minute long drum solo. But, the ended with…
Words That Became Hard to Say: 3.
“I and love and you”. Bless your rustic hearts for ending in numbers, Avett Brothers. You were the Saturday headliner we needed.