Jun 13, 2015 · 3 minutes

Following a Day One that neatly brought together all the ways the Internet has made it harder than ever to be a "hipster" and keep a straight face, Day Two of Bonnaroo scorched into existence with one of the best single-day lineups the festival's seen in recent years. The blistering, heart-exploding hip-hop duo Run the Jewels unsurprisingly stole the show, but rapper Kendrick Lamar's main stage performance was clearly the fan favorite. Kendrick's delivery and swagger were flawless, and appropriately the crowd loved every moment.

Contrast this with last year's Day Two hip-hop headliner Kanye West, whose bitter and sputtering set was more performance art than anything else. Like the Kanye apologist I am, I loved it. But for all of Bonnaroo's Midwestern charms -- and contrary to the claims I made last night about the festival's acceptance of all comers -- this young slice of middle America has a comfort zone, and it doesn't include Kanye's incendiary sense of irony nor his twisted, celebrity-damaged interpretation of Black Power. Perhaps sensing this, Kendrick's set leaned heavily on his breakout album Good Kid M.A.A.D City as opposed to his far less accessible, beat poetry-infused, batshit experimental 2015 release, To Pimp a Butterfly. That's the flip-side to the day-glo positivity and friendly stoner vibes of Bonnaroo and its New Sincerity constituents: Performers who get weird do so at their own risk.

With so many mainstream and middle-of-the-road artists scheduled this weekend, I figured if anyone was both talented and likable enough to get away with going avant-garde it was Kendrick. Instead, he played it safe -- which was probably the smart move. But while I welcome the widening of the middle-ground between coed-approved pop and shaggy, adventurous artistry that Bonnaroo and post-digital popular culture allow for, this leaves little room for the truly bizarre and surprising. I had hoped, perhaps, that the schedulers had given the early day slots over to the weirdos, but as I eavesdropped on the thin indie gruel served up by bands like Priory and Catfish & the Bottlemen, I realized that sadly was not the case.

Incidentally, the drug of choice for Bonnaroo attendees -- other than weed of course -- is Adderall. Considering the audience's eager acceptance of all things ordinary, maybe they should cut back on the focus-boosting medication. The drug is designed to make you interested in things that would normally bore you, like Algebra or antebellum American History. It turns out that an unexpected if not entirely surprising consequence of popping this mild amphetamine is that it's made the youth of today interested in boring music, too.

We're still taking it all in and figuring out what a sweaty four-day music and drug festival in the middle of the country means in 2015. And with War on Drugs, a band as beloved and boring as Wonder Bread, taking the stage shortly, and the duke-earl of EDM obtuseness Bassnectar kicking off a night of embarrassing faux-raver follies, we're ready to join the Bonnaroo rabble in bringing shame upon our generation. In the meantime, here's a taste of what we overheard on Day Two of Bonnaroo.

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  • Man #1: "I would've loved the 80s."

Man #2: "To be born in the 80s or to be our age in the 80s?"

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  • "Ugh, why is there so much EDM this year?" - A journalist, obviously.

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  • Some variation of "I'm glad Kanye's not here this year"  - at least a dozen attendees.

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  • "I'm not going to put up with this." - Male shown in the illustration above

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  • "Dear diary: I got all of Bonnaroo to scream the dumbest fucking chorus ever written." - Jaime Meline of Run the Jewels, after performing "Love Again"

 

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  • "Does anyone have any Adderall?"

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  • "Matt will be here soon. He has the Adderall."

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  • "I just took an Adderall for the first time."

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  • "That will be $23." - Cigarette vendor.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]