Bonnaroo Preview: The Top 12 Must-See Acts to Catch at the Farm
If you know me in any way, then you probably know that I am attending this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. It is repeatedly called “Best Festival of the Summer” by many music-based magazines and websites,and tens of thousands head out to Manchester every year to catch acts big and small. So here are my Top 12 acts of this year’s installment of Bonnaroo!
Honorable mentions: Skrillex, Superjam (feat ?uestlove of the Roots), Ben Folds Five, the Civil Wars
12. St. Vincent
St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, has got to be one of the coolest women around these days. When she’s not making appearances in Top 100 Guitarists lists, she’s busy promoting her solid 2011 album Strange Mercy at festivals such as Coachella and Sasquatch. Her live show always gets rave reviews, therefore I am excited to catch her 7:45 set on Friday night.
Dispatch are among the many bands who have reunited within the past year. The indie/roots jam band with a devoted following released a couple albums throughout the 90s before breaking up in 2002, playing one-off gigs in 2004, 2007, and 2009. They officially reunited last year, releasing a 6-song EP of new material and co-headlined the Dave Matthews Band Caravan touring festival. Their songs may not be very complex, but they are notorious for fun shows full of adoring fans. What more could a fan ask for?
10. Alabama Shakes
If any band deserves the title “Breakout Band of 2012,” it’s blues outfit Alabama Shakes, led by the phenomenal Ms. Brittany Howard. Based on videos I have seen from their live shows, they give energetic performances and wow the crowds every time. They’ve even got the honor of opening for Mr. Jack White on his solo tour. Their solid bluesy throwback with a soulful singer is perfect for the 100-degree Tennessee weather.
9. Gary Clark Jr.
Speaking of blues, here is a man who some have called “The Savior of Blues.” While that is debatable, I do know that Gary Clark Jr. is well on his way to becoming this year’s recipient of the Guitar God award, if one does exist. He is a slaying guitar player and his brand of blues tinged classic rock is always a crowd pleaser.
8. Bad Brains
Out of all the punk bands that came out of D.C. in the early 80s, Bad Brains were certainly the ballsiest. Their dreads were natty, their songs had the fierceness of Minor Threat (or the chill of Bob Marley, depending on which song you listen to) and they are the very reason the Beastie Boys existed. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not (lead singer) HR has what it takes to keep the energy going in That Tent.
7. Flogging Molly
For those who think The Pogues are too Irish and the Dropkick Murphys not Irish enough, there is Flogging Molly. Their last album came out a year ago, so it doesn’t seem like they’re playing to support it. They’re just playing for the hell of it, and I can’t wait to witness these guys for the first time ever. Will I lose my mind during “Seven Deadly Sins”, you ask? Does the Pope poop in the woods? (Yes.)
6. Umphrey’s McGee
To be honest, I am not too familiar with this band. With Dispatch and Phish on the bill, jam experts Umphrey’s McGee are almost overshadowed, with a late-night set that conflicts that of IDM/freak-raver Flying Lotus. I have heard on countless occasions that UM’s late night sets are ones that should not ever be missed, so I am letting curiosity get the best of me for this 2 A.M. set.
I know, it’s just a bit too obvious to put the headliners in the list, but I’m doing it anyway. If you asked me at the beginning of the year, I would’ve told you that I couldn’t care less about Radiohead and I didn’t care to see them, but things have changed. Radiohead (whose 2006 Roo performance has been hailed as one of their best) have really upped the ante with their 2012 live show. After watching—and being amazed by—their Coachella performance, I know that I have to see them, if only just to cross them off the bucket list.
4. Major Lazer
If you were to ask thenaturalstoner who his favorite act of Sasquatch 2011 was, he’ll more likely than not say Major Lazer. The reggae-infused electronic act (dynamic duo Diplo and Scratch) are known for astounding live shows, which is way better than anything you’ll hear on their debut album “Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do.” So I am hoping that the dudes do not disappoint me when I catch them in This Tent after Radiohead.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Yes, I know. Another headliner. But bear with me. See I have been listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers since I was just a toddler. My parents tell me I even used to sing “Scar Tissue” as a young’n! I’m looking forward to catching these guys regardless of how Anthony sounds nowadays. I do know that Flea is one of the baddest bass players of all time, and the new guy, Josh Klinghoffer, ain’t half bad either. So whether I’m singing along to “Under the Bridge” or jamming out to “By the Way”, I am going to see Red Hot Chili Peppers and have a fantastic time.
2. Childish Gambino
We here at Concert Confessions love
Donald Glover Troy Barnes Childish Gambino, a semi-joking semi-serious rapper who has been hitting the festival and touring circuit since the beginning of the year to support his debut album Camp. He is a fantastic lyricist, an energetic performer, and an all-around cool guy. Whether you’ve seen his stand-up specials on Comedy Central or his role on NBC’s cult favorite Community, you know that Donald Glover is one cool dude. Gambino is a mastermind.
I have been wanting to see jam-band Phish since their reunion in 2009. My dad is a long time fan (he’s seen them twice already) and most writers for the site have seen them numerous times. Now I am not a religious follower of Phish’s live bootlegs; I don’t know what songs they play and which songs they don’t play and I don’t know which versions of their songs are good and which versions are bad. I do know that Phish are a great band who I am excited to see more than anyone else. From 8:00 to 12:00, I get to enjoy a delicious Phish Philet before heading home from my first ever camping festival. And that’s what’s up.