Umphrey’s McGee have added eight new dates to their Spring Tour. The 15th anniversary of the band, the boys will roll through the south of the US in these newly added dates, with three nights in Flordia, a Georgia pit stop before two night stints in Arkansas and Texas-ending on National “Smoke ’em If Ya Got ’em” day also known as 4/20. Check out the dates below.
Umphrey’s McGee Newly Added Spring Tour Dates:
04/11 (Freebird Live) Jacksonville Beach, FL
04/12 (Plaza Live) Orlando, FL
04/13 (Jannus Landing) St. Petersburg, FL
04/14 (Trustees Theatre) Savannah, GA
04/17 (George’s Majestic) Fayetteville, AR
04/18 (George’s Majestic) Fayetteville, AR
04/19 (House Of Blues) Dallas, TX
04/20 (Stubb’s) Austin, TX
For previously announced UM dates and links for tickets and stuff courtesy of JamBase, click here
Umphrey’s McGee Announce A Plethora Of Tour Dates For 2012
By now you probably know we have some serious hardcore Umphrey’s Mcgee fans writing for Concert Confessions. We have covered the band everywhere from New Year’s runs to Bonnaroo. For those looking to catch these hard working road warriors live through the end of the year. Stops include an appearance at the sold out 2012 Austin City Limits Festival, performances in Mexico as part of the Mayan Holidaze Festival and a multi-night run for New Year’s in Atlanta, GA. As always check with the official UMsite for all the latest dates and updated information.
Umphrey’s McGee 2012 Tour Dates:
06/28/12 – Richmond, VA /Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
06/29/12 – Philadelphia, PA/Outside the Factory
06/30/12 – Boston, MA/Bank of America Pavilion
07/01/12 – Asbury Park, NJ/Stone Pony Summer Stage
07/03/12 – Interlochen, MI/Kresge Auditorium
07/04/12 – Cincinnati, OH/Moonlite Gardens
07/05/12 – Peoria, IL/CEFCU Center Stage at the Landing
07/06/12 – Geneva, MN/Weekend at Harmony
07/07/12 – Indianapolis, IN/White River Lawn
07/28/12 – New York, NY/Catalpa Music Festival
08/06-10/12 – Big Indian NY/sUMmer school at Full Moon Resort
08/10/12 – Burlington, VT/Higher Ground
08/11/12 – Bridgeport, CT/The Klein
08/12/12 – Turin, NY/moe.down
08/24-26/12 – Somerset, WI/Summerset Music Festival
08/30/12 – Kansas City, MO/ The Crossroads
08/31/12 – Eldridge, MO/Green Mountain Eco Fest
09/01-02/12 – Chicago, IL/North Coast Music Festival
09/05/12 – Charlottesville, VA /Jefferson Theater
09/06/12 – Norfolk, VA/The Norva
09/07/12 – Wilmington, NC/Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
09/08/12 – Black Mountain, NC/Pisgah Brewery
09/12/12 – Des Moines, IA/Simon Estes Amphitheater
09/13/12 – Omaha, NE/Sumtur Amphitheater
09/14/12 – Morrison, CO/Red Rocks Amphitheatre
09/15/12 – Boulder Theater/Boulder, CO
09/19/12 – Birmingham, AL/Workplay Soundstage
09/20/12 – Memphis, TN/Minglewood Hall
09/21/12 – Nashville, TN/Ryman Auditorium
09/22/12 – Louisville, KY/Iroquois Amphitheater
10/12/12 – Austin, TX/ACL Music Festival
10/26/12 – Milwaukee, WI/The Riverside Theater
10/27/12 – Milwaukee, WI/ The Riverside Theater
11/08-11/12 – Live Oak, FL/Bear Creek Music Festival
12/17-21/12 – Tulum, MEX/Mayan Holidaze
12/28/12 – Atlanta, GA/The Tabernacle
12/29/12 – Atlanta, GA/The Tabernacle
12/30/12 – Atlanta, GA/The Tabernacle
12/31/12 – Atlanta, GA/The Tabernacle
12.29/12.30/12.31 – Umphreys McGee at The Pageant – St. Louis, MO Words and Pictures By: Bradley Darby
I sure as hell hope The Pageant’s insurance is up to date….. because following the three night-seven set weekend to close out 2011 and ring in 2012, there is no doubt that Umphreys McGee blew the roof off the place! If you have never seen Umphreys McGee, you should do yourself a favor and make it a point to catch a show. The band can’t be contained in one genre, and attempts to place them will always come up short when during one song you may get elements of funk, metal, progressive rock, electronic and a hint of hip hop thrown in at the same time. Umphreys McGee is one of those bands you need to see once in your life, so you can honestly say you gave them a shot to blow your mind and explode your visual senses all at the same time. The extended weekend featured quite a bit of the improv side of Umphreys, but that is when you can see them in their raw form just having fun and doing what they love for a short residency at one of the premiere concert venues in the Midwest.
New Years Eve was surely one of the greatest weekends of music I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing, and the visual stimulation added by one of the best light men out there Jefferson Waful (@JeffersonWaful) only helped add the perfect ambiance. Here’s a brief recap and setlist from each night, as well as some photos from the weekend.
Night One – Thursday 12/29
Quite possibly my favorite show of the weekend, it seemed as though Umphreys wanted to get some straight in your face rocking out of the way before bringing horns in for the rest of the weekend. The theme for Night 1 seemed to be shredding guitar riffs. Doing their best to melt faces off on “Cemetery Walk”, it was after the funky “August” before vocalist Brendan Bayliss stopped to acknowledge the crowd and congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals on their World Series victory, and then admitting how hard it was to say that. Set one was heavy on instrumentals, including “Resolution” and an Umphreys led journey on a heavy metal emotional roller coaster with “Wizard Burial Ground” to close out the set.
“Bright Lights”, in my opinion the unofficial UM Party Anthem, kicked off the second set. Always one to get the crowd moving, it makes it a lot easier when it clocks in at over 15 minutes. The medley of “1348” into “Dr Feelgood” into “Cemetery Walk II” was followed by the debut of a new cover song, “Second Song” by TV on the Radio. “Pay the Snucka” was also pretty great, and a first in my limited Umphrey’s history. After going back into “1348” to close out the set, I was pretty psyched that “Hajimemashite” was chosen as the encore, and it seemed like an absolutely amazing way to end the first night and set the bar high as Bayliss told the crowd “Lets do this again tomorrow people.”
I: Intro (debut) > Cemetery Walk, August, Resolution > Anchor Drops, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft, Wizard Burial Ground II: Bright Lights > 1348 > Dr.Feelgood (Motley Crue) > Cemetery Walk II, Second Song (TV on the Radio), Pay the Snuck (Pts 1&2), Sociable Jimmy > 1348 E: Hajimemashite
Night Two – Friday 12/30
Definitely a larger crowd for night two. The show certainly didn’t disappoint, and the first set featured Brendan and Jake on acoustic guitars for a few songs including “Nemo.” I was holding out for “In The Kitchen”, but the set certainly didn’t disappoint. During the second set, after “40’s Theme”, sax man Jeff Coffin was introduced and they went into classic 80s tune “Maneater” by Hall & Oates. Coffin left after just a few songs, but Umphreys continued to rock faces off and ended the night with “Nothing Too Fancy” that was on steroids, nearly hitting the 20 minute mark.
I: Intro > Conduit, #5, The Bottom Half, Uncle Wally@, Nemo@, All Things Ninja, Slacker > Dear Lord > Slacker II: 40’s Theme, The Triple Wide, Maneater^(Hall & Oates), Night Nurse^, Plunger, Fussy Dutchman, Nopener, Rocker part II E: Nothing Too Fancy
Night Three – Saturday 12/31
This show sold out earlier in the day, and I am pretty sure everyone that had a ticket was in the door by 8:30 when the band started. There wasn’t room to breath, little or less dance but somehow the 2300+ in attendance found a way. “Domino Theory” and “The Floor” were first set highlights, and first night encore “Hajimemashite” was even teased during “Divisions”, giving me a brief glimmer of hope that they would bring it back.
The second set featuring Mad Dogs Filthy Little Secret as the horn section, and the return of Jeff Coffin. Highlights of set two were “Ocean Billy”, “Miami Virtue” into a cover of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” that left many wondering not only what they had just heard, but why they hadn’t heard it more.
Set three started just before midnight with a nasty “Nipple Trix” into the always sexy “Booth Love” that included the New Years countdown and balloon drop as the band transition into the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” before taking a moment to thank the crowd for letting them do this tonight and each other. (Writers Note: I would like to send a congratulations to Tiffany and John who got engaged at midnight as the balloon drop was going on, good luck you two!) Next up was David Bowie’s “Lets Dance” as the entire crowd erupted into a dance party fueled by various spirits. The night ended with “Jimmy Stewart”, with vocals (not always the case for you non-Umphreaks) as well as a memorable “Puppet Strings” to start the encore. The last song of the 7 set, just over 9 hours of Umphreys we would enjoy was Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening” featuring the horn section. It was a perfect end to an epic weekend, and one I will never forget.
I: Jazz Odyssey > Domino Theory, The Linear > The Floor, Kabump > Divisions II: Catshot^ > Dump City^, Don’t Do It^, Ocean Billy, 2×2, Miami Virtue^ > 25 or 6 to 4^(Chicago) III: Nipple Trix^ > Booth Love^ > Auld Lang Syne^, Let’s Dance^(David Bowie), JaJunk > “Jimmy Stewart” > JaJunk, FF > Hangover, Ringo^ E: Puppet Strings^, Late In the Evening (Paul Simon)^ ^ with Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret horns, including Jeff Coffin
When the Heritage Hunter tour was announced, I knew I had to go. Opeth was the band on the tour that I was the least familiar with, and upon fully immersing myself in their challenging brand of progressive metal, I knew I’d be in for a fantastic show. Combining light, almost beautiful song structures with the louder, heavier sounds of common heavy metal (and a touch of dry, awkward humor from frontman Mikael Akerfeldt in between songs) the Swedes managed to put on a show that was set right in front of an amazing Atlanta sunset.
9. Umphrey’s McGee
With great jamming comes some great responsibility. Umphrey’s McGee are a jam band known for ridiculous song covers, odd stage presence, great lights, and insane guitar playing. Keep in mind, all this comes from six dudes who look like they could be working at a Best Buy or Target, and call themselves “Umphrey’s McGee.” They’re a cult act, no doubt, and this 2 AM – 6 AM concert at Bonnaroo showed that their fans will go where they go. I only stuck around for the first half of the show (I left right around the time Big Gigantic played their guest spot) but I got what I wanted. I got a “Bulls on Parade” tease, a “Stranglehold” tease, and some of the most intense jamming I’ve heard from any band. It was a rock and roll set, without a doubt, and it was one of the best rock and roll sets I’m sure Bonnaroo has ever seen.
The headlining act of the aforementioned Heritage Hunter tour is a force to be reckoned with. Mastodon is a band that is exactly what the name implies: A big hairy beast that could crush a thousand men with the stomp of its foot. They played mostly new material from their stellar 2011 album “The Hunter” during the hometown gig and barely addressed the audience, but the concert was full of the sheer force that the Atlanta boys are known for. The facial hair on these guys alone should be enough to make the average man cower in fear. I would’ve liked to hear more from “Crack the Skye,” but it’s hard to complain when you’re witnessing one of the most brutal sludge/doom/weird metal bands of the past decade play songs in front of you.
Dispatch make catchy summer music and Bonnaroo is a festival built for specifically that. After nearly a decade long break from touring and releasing new material, the jam/roots rock band with a massive cult following has returned to rock the faces off frat boys who graduated from Dave Matthews Band University. The trio are phenomenal instrumentalists and write a great catchy tune. Although I couldn’t see the whole show, I saw enough to know that Dispatch’s music translates very very well to a live setting, especially when you’ve got a bigger crowd then one would expect from a band with literally no mainstream help.
6. Flogging Molly
Celtic punk isn’t for the critics, and neither is Flogging Molly. Nothing about Flogging Molly is very original, but it is a lot of fun. The sand that lined the floor was in the air and in my lungs by the time these guys finished their high-energy set. This set included their most well-known song “Seven Deadly Sins” as well as a Bob Dylan cover. Flogging Molly didn’t show up to promote any new music, but they did have a blast, as did I and the many other people who witnessed them perform.
5. St. Vincent
Anyone who knows me knows about my year-long crush on Annie Clark, the brains behind St. Vincent. And when I finally got to witness her perform music live in front of my eyes, I was not at all disappointed. Everything about this performance was everything I could’ve wanted from a St. Vincent show and more. She played mostly songs from her amazing 3rd album Strange Mercy, but threw in a couple songs from her first two albums. The set was full of energy, as well as beauty and intensity. And the way she plays that guitar… I could go on forever about how great of a musician this woman is. Bottom line is, you need to see her live if you want a great show.
4. Childish Gambino
Anyone who knows me knows about my man crush on Donald Glover, a standup comedian, writer, actor on the greatest comedy on television “Community,” and rapper. The rapper part of this complicated equation, Childish Gambino, put on a monster of a set at Bonnaroo. He walked on stage with what I can only refer to as “swagger,” wearing a black tanktop that was purposely a bit too big. He led the audience through energetic versions of “Bonfire,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Heartbeat,” “You See Me,” and plenty more that just turned into sing-a-longs, for lack of a better word. It’s the only real hip hop show I’ve ever been to, and it was a fantastic experience. Gambino isn’t the world’s greatest rapper, but he certainly knows how to handle himself on stage.
Radiohead release some of the most beloved music of the past 15 years. Almost every other album they put out is hailed as a classic: OK Computer, Kid A, In Rainbows, etc.; and if they aren’t hailed as a classic they’re almost always lauded by critics and fans alike. The reception for their most recent release, 2011’s The King of Limbs, wasn’t as positive as it was for some of their other albums, but it still gets better with each listen. Radiohead’s 2006 Bonnaroo performance is often hailed as one of their best, and they without a doubt topped that performance with their 2012 Bonnaroo performance. Although half the set was songs from In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, the 25-song set was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. They ended the first encore with Everything In Its Right Place and the second encore with Paranoid Android, two of their most incredible and ambitious works. And not only did they play with energy and emotion, but the lights and the screen display was one of the best of all time. Up there with Phish and Pink Floyd. Speaking of Phish…
I saw Phish twice this year. And from the very first song at Bonnaroo (Down With Disease) I knew that I was witnessing what might be the best touring band in America. The jamming is top-notch and the lights display is astonishing, especially since a good portion of the show is improvised. At Bonnaroo they brought out country music legend Kenny Rogers and performed his hit “The Gambler” with him, which proved to me that Phish can do a great cover. I also got to hear them perform their cover of TV On the Radio’s “Golden Age” the first time (I heard it again in Atlanta). Also in Atlanta I heard their cover of Ween’s “Roses Are Free” which was perhaps a tribute to the newly split group and they encored with a cover of The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life,” which would have made John Lennon proud. They’re not a band you’d expect to put on a great live performance since they hardly move from their spots while they play, but somehow they are able to reach these incredible crescendos that create this cloud of energy. Both shows I saw were amazing, and they’re a band you must see live at some point.
1. Flaming Lips
Has anyone ever seen Flaming Lips and been disappointed? Even if you’re not a big fan of their music the way they perform and the amount of effort they put into making the live experience perfect should earn them some respect. Lights, balloons, streamers, strings, explosions; all of this and more were a part of Flaming Lips’ Saturday night performance in Atlanta. They played some of their stranger songs like “See the Leaves” and “Pompeii am Götterdämmerung” as well as their more accessible hits like “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1” and “the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.” They ended their beautiful and powerful live show with the all-out emotion-fest that is “Do You Realize??” which is probably their best song. It’s full of thought-provoking lyrics and is so powerful when performed live that it almost brought happy tears to my eyes. If you’ve lived this long without seeing Flaming Lips live, then I feel a bit of pity for you. But Flaming Lips tour very very often when they’re not busy paying tribute to King Crimson or Pink Floyd on record. So go out and see them. I did, and I have no complaints whatsoever. They’re the best band I saw this year, and probably the best band I’ve ever seen.
Wakarusa was back in full force for the 9th straight year bringing music and nature together in Northwest Arkansas. This was their 4th straight year at Mulberry Mountain and for the 4th straight year the crowd seemed to get even bigger… the camping has been expanded to include three different offsite auxiliary campgrounds due to demand. I made the trek down to the Wakarusa Festival for the 5th straight year and made it my mission to see some new music, even if it meant missing some of my favorites such as Split Lip Rayfield, Mountain Sprout (mostly), Railroad Earth and the March Fourth Marching Band (I did manage to sneak in all 3 Dirtfoot shows though) The weather was absolutely amazing for the most part, but we experienced a few small storms late Saturday and early Sunday causing some problems with the schedule (and causing me to miss the Infamous Stringdusters!) and stages being shut down for a short time. I took lots of pictures and quite a bit of video to bring back to the real world, and it has taken me over a month to sort through all of it and recollect some parts of the weekend, but here you have it… my 2012 Wakarusa Recap!
Start making your plans now for the 10th installment of Waka next June…. there has to be some big things in store for Waka10
New Monsoon –Revival Tent
This was not a set we intended on watching but decided to check out early Thursday afternoon. Due to a family emergency, the regular guitarist of veteran jam rock group New Monsoon, Jeff Miller, was unable to make the show but in the spirit of music festivals, Dan Lebowitz from ALO stepped in to fill the void. No time was wasted getting to our first Grateful Dead cover of the weekend in “Eyes of the World”, definitely a highlight. We also had the first of many Doc Watson tributes of the weekend, in honor of the recently decreased bluegrass legend, in the form of the traditional “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor.” Their set also featured covers of Tom Waits and Neil Young songs. I was a big fan of New Monsoon and look forward to more opportunities to see them in the future.
Bungalouski – Kum & Go Outpost Stage
Another pleasant surprise, we stopped by the Outpost to kill a few minutes while waiting for The Big Wu to begin. We were quite happy with this decision, as Norman, Oklahoma prog-rock youngsters Bungalouski rocked the smaller of the tent covered stages. Bungalouski got real funky during their rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Very Superstitious.”
The Big Wu – Main Stage
Minnesota jam band The Big Wu played a short but sweet set on the Main Stage. The iconic band, founded in 1992, has only played a handful of shows since 2006, but are now touring with the original lineup. This was my first Wu experience, and I was instantly a fan. They, like many other acts throughout the weekend, played a song in honor of the recently deceased bluegrass legend Doc Watson, who had passed away days prior to Wakarusa. Want to watch it?
ALO – Main Stage
The first of my Must See acts of the weekend, and one of the highlights of the 2010 Wakarusa, Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) had their first Waka Main Stage show and it was much deserved. The California funk rockers were a great way to get your feet going in the late afternoon with favorites such as “Girl I Wanna Lay You Down.” They even featured a cameo by Jackie Greene on the harmonica during “Lady Loop.”
Bob Weir – Chris Robinson – Jackie Greene Acoustic Trio – Main Stage
Thursday nights headliner featured the fantastic guitar trio of Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes and singer/songwriter Jackie Greene. Together the three played a 90 minute set featuring songs from all over the place, including Dead tunes “Uncle Johns Band”, “Loser” (below) and “New Speedway Boogie”. A highlight of the set was their rendition of “Dear Prudence” led by Weir.
Perpetual Groove – Revival Tent
Perpetual Groove late night shows are always a thing of beauty, and they certainly didn’t disappoint the packed Revival Tent crowd at yet another Wakarusa. This as the first of two sets for P-Groove and even though we were in route to a Dirtfoot show we found our way by the Revival Tent for a few songs including a favorite of mine “Three Weeks.” Their second set conflicted with The Avett Brothers, so I was sadly unable to attend. See you soon P Groove!
Dirtfoot – Kum & Go Outpost Stage
The only gypsy, punk, country, grumble boogie band in the land, took the stage just after midnight for their first of three shows throughout the weekend. As Waka regulars, Dirtfoot always brings a crowd and throws a party… this set was no exception. The Dirtfoot boys had 90 minutes to either keep your night going into the Sunrise sets or send your ass back to your camp to call it a night as they wrapped up just after 2AM. Dirtfoot also featured the hoop skills of a young fan named Mya throughout the weekend, and she quickly became a crowd favorite displaying her craft like a veteran hooper.
Mountain Sprout – Revival Tent Arkansas’ natives Mountain Sprout kicked off my Friday with their brand of hillbilly bluegrass. The boys of Mountain Sprout have quite a following around these parts and it’s quite obvious why with their witty lyrics and rockabilly bluegrass. We only stopped by for a few songs but were able to catch “Turkey Buzzard” and “Dry County.”
Monophonics – Outpost Stage
As we left Mountain Sprout we were on our way to see Snarky Puppy play in the Outpost Tent. Our first schedule change of the weekend led us to the San Francisco based soul funksters, the Monophonics. The six piece consisting of guitar, bass, drum, horns and keyboards channel the best of the 60’s and 70’s era pioneers such as George Clinton, Sly Stone and Shuggie Otis. This set was certainly in my top 5 for the weekend. I expect big things from the Monophonics, who just released their newest album “In Your Brain.”
Royal Family Ball feat Soulive & Lettuce – Main Stage
The Royal Family Ball is composed of two different bands that each had an hour set and are both on Royal Family Records. First up was NY based jazz/funk trio Soulive (pictured). Two members of Soulive just so happen to be in Lettuce, the 2nd half of the Royal Family Ball, who have been funking up the circuit since the early 90s. This was a great set, and another unexpected surprise. I will definitely be seeing another Royal Family Ball if given the chance.
The Devil Makes Three – Revival Tent
I ducked away from the Royal Family Ball for a few moments to check out The Devil Makes Three, a band suggested to me by quite a few folks prior to the festival. I ended up staying for the last half of their set, and missing most of Lettuce. The three piece have elements of rockabilly, ragtime and Americana folk with a punk and blues background. I wasn’t familiar with any of their songs, but really enjoyed their set. Lots of songs about booze will get you far with a Friday afternoon music festival crowd.
Blitzen Trapper – Revival Tent
Blitzen Trapper has recently become one of my favorite new bands. This was my first opportunity to see them, and it certainly helped solidify their spot on that list. The alt-country rockers had an afternoon 90 minute set that gave way to nearly 20 songs. Highlights included “Black Snake River” and a cover of Jimi Hendrix “Hey Joe.” This is another of the Top 5 shows of the weekend and I have to give props to our founding father Reverend Justito for persistantly reminding me that I was missing something good with this band… it finally stuck.
The Avett Brothers – Main Stage
Another Top 5 set of the weekend, The Avett Brothers, featuring Scott and Seth Avett as well as Joe Kwon and Bob Crawford headlined the Main Stage on Friday night. Their set clocked in at just over 2 hours and featured “I Wonder How The Old Folks Are At Home”, a tribute to Doc Watson as well as many of the Avett’s fan favorites including “Colorshow”, “Shame”, “January Wedding”, “Kick Drum Heart” and “I Killed Sally’s Lover.”
Umphrey’s McGee – Revival Tent
We had no hope of getting anywhere near the front for the late night Revival Tent dance party featuring Chicago prog-rockers Umphrey’s McGee. We have expressed our love for Umphrey’s on Concert Confessions on multiple occasions. The Revival Tent was packed to the brim and then some while Umphrey’s rocked through their set that clocked in just under two hours. Highlights included a funkified “In The Kitchen”, and a cover of McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” into “Miss Tinkles Overture” to end the set around 2AM. For some it was off to Girl Talk, while others waited around for Ghostland Observatory.
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Backwoods Stage
Former Drive By Trucker guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell teamed up with his backing band the 400 Unit for what may have been the hottest show of the weekend. It was mid afternoon Saturday and the Backwoods Stage doesn’t offer much in the way of shade that time of day so a medium sized crowd filed in as strong odor of sunscreen filled the air. I had the chance to briefly see Isbell open for Ryan Adams this past January, but this was my first time seeing him with his band. Their set lasted just over and hour and featured songs from Isbell’s solo albums as well as a ridiculously good cover of “Never Gonna Change”, a song Isbell wrote and performed with the Drive By Truckers that appeared on The Dirty South. He brought out the Secret Sisters for the last few songs including “Codeine” and “Alabama Pines.” This one didn’t sneak in the Top 5, but its certainly in the Top 10.
Gary Clark Jr – Revival Tent
This was my #1 show that I had to see going into the weekend, and it certainly lived up to the hype. Gary Clark Jr. is an absolutely amazing blues and rock guitarist and the dude is on his way to some major success. You need to see this guy while you have a chance to see him playing smaller clubs, because it won’t last. Clark ripped his way through a 90 minute set under the Revival Tent to a large crowd and this set hit on the blues rock you expected, and some soulful r&b grooves laid out by Gary Clark Jr. “Bright Lights” was definitely a highlight, as most would expect it clocked in around 10 minutes.
Travelin’ McCourys feat. Keller Williams – Outpost Stage
This was another set that I was not going to miss, and another set that certainly delivered as expected. Saturday brought the all day bluegrass schedule on the Outpost Stage, and with that came the Travelin’ McCourys featuring Keller Williams. Together they just released Pick, a bluegrass album featuring original tunes and cover songs by both the McCoury’s and Keller, and they had 90 minutes to showcase that album and other surprises. Covers included “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summers, “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers, “Tennessee Stud”, dedicated to Doc Watson, and even Jessie J’s “Price Tag” a song that surprisingly sounds like it was written to be performed by a hippie like Keller. After about an hour Keller said it was time to get this thing going and invited out Drew Emmitt and Billy Nershi for a mini bluegrass ball. We even had a brief cameo by the final bluegrass pioneer to grace the world in Del McCoury during “Bumper Sticker.” This was probably my favorite set of the weekend, and you should probably pick up their new album.
There was music on Sunday, as well as a few shows that I wasn’t able to cover for various reasons (camera battery, scheduling conflicts, lack of energy, fear of taking the camera out to late nights, too fucking hot, etc.) These included Umphrey’s McGee and Primus back to back on the Main Stage Saturday night, followed by your choice of late night SOJA, Big Gigantic or SOJA. Other late nights included Papadosio, MiMOSA, Girl Talk, Quixotic, and The Floozies. There was an entire day of reggae on Sunday at the Revival Tent featuring Iration, Slightly Stoopid and Matisyahu and others. Sunday also led to some power issues on the Backwoods Stage which gave way to intimate unplugged sets in front of the stage by Dumptruck Butterlips and Emmitt-Nershi Band.
Girl Talk and STS9 have been confirmed (via Consequence of Sound) for the 2012 North Coast Music Festival. The North Coast Music Festival is August 30 – September 2, 2012 at Union Park in Chicago, Illinois. The event features the world’s electronic, indie, hip hop, jam and rock and roll artists. Here is the complete lineup so far:
On the morning of my final day at Bonnaroo, I was prepared for what would certainly be our most relaxing day. With only four acts to check out (and the first one not going on until 1:00), I was ready to chill and maybe have a beer with BeeZnutz.
It had rained the whole night and well into the morning, but by the time we left our tent at about 9 or so, the rain had died down to a light drizzle as the clouds above threatened similar weather in our near future. Which of course is a whole lot better than heat and sun. Reminds me of Washington. *sniff*
After a big breakfast that consisted of pop tarts, eggs, and bacon (seriously, THANK YOU Tony) we hung out a little more and talked about Phish with our neighbors, asking questions such as “If you see Phish two nights in a row at the same place, does that count as seeing them twice?” The answer, obviously, is yes.
Eventually, it was that time of morning where we would have to walk on the wet grass over to the What Stage to catch bluesy newcomer Gary Clark Jr.
Chapter 2: The Savior of Blues
If you’ve paid attention to festival lineups lately, then you’ve probably noticed many common names. But one that you’re gonna want to remember is Gary Clark Jr. This 28-year old guitar virtuoso may come off as intimidating at first (I compare him to 1994 Samuel L. Jackson sans afro) he is actually an astoundingly skilled musician and seemingly vulnerable person. For example, when he breaks into falsetto for a song like Please Come Home, your heart immediately melts. Gary has what most guitar players lack (I also noticed this with Annie Clark): EMOTION. He actually feels the notes and chords of the guitar buzzing through his entire body, and lets his emotions affect how he plays and what he plays. It worked with Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King (who I’d compare Gary to without hesitation) and it will work for literally every guitar player with a heart.
Gary played an hour-long set full of songs both rockin’ and beautiful, sometimes both. He uses a fuzzy type of distortion that gives it an old school sound while also giving it a garage-revival sound. Something not exactly unique, but it is definitely put to good use.
And the dude, like I said, plays guitar extremely well. Whether it’s the crazy finger-picking riff on Don’t Owe You a Thang to, well pretty much any guitar solo he played. He played tastefully, not trying to draw the attention away from his fantastic band. That is another important part of being a blues musician. Your name may be the one on the CDs, posters, and t-shirts, but the band onstage is what’s making it happen. It’s easy to see now why they call Gary Clark Jr. the savior of blues.
Chapter 3: the Adult Swim Carnival
If you’re the kind of person that watches Adult Swim, then you’re also probably the kind of person who eats corn flakes at 2 in the morning and makes jokes about unicorns.
But seriously, Adult Swim is one of the strangest channels on television, and when they’re sponsoring a festival known specifically for its weirdness… well, you never know what could happen.
This year, they opened up an Adult Swim sponsored section of Bonnaroo right by the entrance that runs sort of like a carnival, but if the carnival was invented by Syd Barrett and Jim Morrison. There were classic carnival games like Balloonicorn, Smack Up My Uvula, and everyones favorite: Babies vs. Old People!
During Balloonicorn, you had to put on a comically oversized unicorn head with an extra-sharp horn tip and jump up repeatedly to try and pop the balloons that were above. Pop enough of them, you win a prize. Because of the long line and promise of a headache, I decided to skip that one.
During Smack Up My Uvula, you had to climb a horizontal ladder that is VERY unsteady and try to reach the uvula at the end. And then you smack it. And then you win a prize. I tried (and failed) but my dad won!
And during Babies vs. Old People (On Segwags) you stood on a mounted Segway with a sling shot between the two handles and fire small babies at the cardboard old people that are moving across. Again, I lost and so did my dad. Slingshots are hard.
After failed attempts to complete these games (thank goodness it was all free) we headed out towards the Which Stage to catch the second Ben Folds Five performance in over 10 years. Unfortunately to do this, we had to do the unthinkable: sit through Mac Miller.
Chapter 4: The Unthinkable and Ben Folds Five
While we waited in line to get into the pit for Ben Folds Five, we had nothing to do but listen to Mac Miller’s performance. And since I don’t have many kind words to say about Mac Miller, reviewing him wouldn’t exactly be fair. So I’ll just skip to the part where we were in the pit waiting for Ben Folds Five.
Ben Folds Five (who are actually a trio, HOW IRONIC!) parted ways in 2000, leaving Ben Folds with a successful solo career, but nothing that would ever match the greatness that is BF5. They were known for their pleasant nerdiness, jazz influences, and for being all-around happy people.
“This is our first concert as Ben Folds Five in over… seven days,” said lead singer/pianist Ben Folds, referring to the Mountain Jam Festival. “But before that it was over 10 years.” I guess he means as an actual working band, because they performed a one-off concert in 2008. But that doesn’t matter, it worked on a humor level.
The band kicked off the set with the first song off their debut album, Jackson Cannery. And afterwards they just let the hits flow through, not playing any of their new material (if there was any) but did invite us to check it out online. But hey that’s fine with me. Soundgarden did the same thing last year and I had a great time with them.
At one point Ben Folds stopped the show and said “Uh, this is a tradition at a Ben Folds Five show where I take a picture from atop my piano. So, if you could all very kindly flip me off…” and got on his piano. Everyone in the crowd very kindly put their middle fingers up to Ben Folds as he took a picture.
One of the coolest parts of the show was when they broke into Song for the Dumped, one of the most musically insane Ben Folds Five songs. It includes a solo where Ben Folds holds his mic up to the strings of the piano and just rubs on them, while bassist Robert Sledge holds his amp chord up to his hand producing rhythmic feedback with the buzz of the amp. It really is hard to explain, but it’s something to see.
Ben Folds Five are quite impressive to watch, even if you don’t know many of their songs. Their musicianship alone is enough to make you a lifetime fan. And Ben Folds’ smile is as contagious as wook flu at Bonnaroo.
Setlist: Jackson Cannery, Theme From Dr. Pyser, Fair, Selfless Cold and Compose, Uncle Walter, Where’s Summer B?, Battle of Who Could Care Less, Brick, Emaline, Philosophy, Army, Kate, Alice Childress, Song For the Dumped, Narcolepsy, Underground ENCORE: One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
Chapter 5: The Civil Wars
Of the many power duos to come about in the last few years, the one that has captivated me more than I ever would have imagined is The Civil Wars. With just two voices and a guitar, The Civil Wars churn out very interesting folk songs with haunting melodies.
At 6:25 PM in an over-capacity The Other Tent, singers John Paul White and (a very pregnant) Joy Williams appeared with smiles pervading their faces. Everything about the Civil Wars is just happy! Even the sad songs. And these two very talented vocalists almost make country music interesting, it seems.
I only got to catch the first half of their set due to a scheduling conflict with Phish, but was still mesmerized, and found it difficult to look away. John and Joy have sort of a lovers’ chemistry going through the performance, but they are both married to different people. It could be just what sells their songs. For some reason I think of the scene from Step Brothers where Will Ferrell is singing to his therapist in the woods whenever I see John and Joy interact on stage.
And when they cover songs (I only got to see one) it is a sight to see. Because they don’t cover easy guitar/vocals songs. Before I left I got to see them cover Sour by Portishead, but according to www.setlist.fm, they also threw in covers of I Want You Back by Jackson 5, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, and Dance Me To The End of Love by Leonard Cohen.
The Civil Wars are a great band to see live. They’re so fun to watch that you almost forget that you’re standing there doing nothing for 90 minutes (or sitting there, depending on the venue.)
But at 7:00, we left and headed to catch the band that I really wanted to see. More than any other band at Bonnaroo. I was ready for one of the greatest live experiences in the history of ever.
Setlist: Tip of My Tongue, Forget Me Not, From This Valley, 20 Years, I’ve Got This Friend, Sour (Portishead cover), Barton Hollow, Falling, Birds of a Feather, I Want You Back (Jackson 5 cover), Oh Henry, My Father’s Father, Poison and Wine ENCORE: Kingdom Come, To Whom It May Concern, Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover), Dance Me To the End of Love (Leonard Cohen cover)
Chapter 6: A Tasty Phish Philet
One thing Bonnaroo was known for pre-2006 was its impressive lineup of jam bands. They’ve hosted Umphrey’s McGee 7 times, as well as bands like Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, The String Cheese Incident, and members of the Grateful Dead. But no jam band (that currently tours) is as highly regarded as the legendary and almighty Phish!
If you’ve visited this website at all, then you probably know that the majority of its contributors are huge Phish fans. I mean, just look at how big the word “Phish” is on the tag cloud at the right of this post!
Anyway, I was anxious to finally see Phish. To finally see what Reverend Justito and thenaturalstoner have been talking about all these years. To see what guest they bring out and what covers they do and just… everything! I was prepared. Come at me, Phish!
At around 8:05 or so the lights went down and out from Stage Right appear the mighty phoursome: Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Jon Fishman. As Mike started to hit his bass (which was set to phaser) I thought it would be too good to be true: They would kick things off with Down With Disease? Nah! Can’t be! And then Mike slaps the bass riff and I knew from that moment that this would be the greatest thing I see at Bonnaroo. And I was not disappointed.
After Down With Disease they played Funky Bitch, a Son Seals cover, during which Mike Gordon took over singing duties. Afterwards they went right on into The Moma Dance during which Jon handled most of the singing. After a very funky performance of Moma I heard the chord progression to Sample In a Jar and once again had that feeling of “Nah! It can’t be!” But lo and behold, another shining moment from the Hoist album played within the first half of Set 1. And at this moment the rain that was looming over us started pouring a little bit harder and the glowsticks started going up and down at a faster rate. Seriously, I saw more glowsticks being thrown around during Phish than I did during Skrillex.
It really did seem like Phish brought their A-Game, and with two of my favorite songs already making an appearance, what could happen next I could not even begin to imagine. They followed Sample with Axilla I which I don’t think is on any of their studio albums. I know Axilla Part 2 is on Hoist, but I know nothing of a part 1.
Anyway, after Axilla, Trey invited up the special guest that everyone was so anxious to see. “It seems like every time we come here we get to play with people who we really admire, and, um, and we’re going to bring up someone we’re absolutely thrilled to play with right now. Please give a warm welcome to Kenny Rogers.” This was totally unexpected in my opinion. Kenny, who played a set earlier that day, seemed happy to play to a crowd bigger than his usual turnout of 300, while Trey could barely contain his excitement to be performing with the country-music legend. And with that, they broke into The Gambler, the one Kenny Rogers song that I didn’t even know I knew.
As much as I would love to go into each individual song and tell you how much I loved it, I just don’t want to write a review THAT long. But I will leave you with a setlist, and on a note that explains how much fun I had.
Bonnaroo was just nonstop fun. Sure, I only got like 3 hours of sleep each night. Sure I felt disgusting most of the time. And sure it was crowded and hot and expensive and there were long lines for things. Either way, I can’t for the life of me think of a time where I had so much fun at a place ever. If you get the chance, hit your local festival. Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Fire Fly, Wakarusa, Dave Matthews Band Caravan; whatever it is, it’ll be worth going to. Trust me.
Setlist: SET 1 Down with Disease, Funky Bitch (Son Seals c0ver), The Moma Dance, Sample In A Jar, Axilla I, The Gambler (with Kenny Rogers), Possum>Wilson>Tweezer, Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Cavern SET 2 Golden Age (TV On the Radio cover), 2001 (Richard Strauss cover), Chalkdust Torture, Carini>Shafty>Rock and Roll (Velvet Underground cover), Alaska, Harry Hood>Light, Character Zero, Rocky Top (Lynn Anderson cover) ENCORE Show of Life>Julius>Tweezer Reprise
Of all the shows I caught, I’d say the best was Phish. Without a doubt. Childish Gambino and Radiohead get 2nd and 3rd. After that, it’s pretty much up for grabs. I wasn’t disappointed at all by anyone I saw. Bad Brains were a little sloppy and Red Hot Chili Peppers had issues connecting with the audience, but overall everything I saw was nigh perfect. And with that, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
‘Twas mid-November 2011. I had finally come to terms with the morbid fact that I, Jakob Ross, would be forced to move to Grovetown, Georgia, which (unless you’ve not read my more recent articles) you probably know by now. Around this time I had made the decision to do the one thing that would make the move worth it. I’m not talking about humidity, rednecks, or seeing more back sweaters than real sweaters. I’m talking about the legendary Bonnaroo festival which takes place annually in Manchester, Tennessee.
At first, it was sort of a joke. Then came the lineup announcement, and both my dad and I knew this would be maybe our only chance to hit a world-famous music festival before I’m off to college and he’s off to his 40s. With Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Phish handling head-lining duties, I knew that missing this festival would be the biggest mistake of my life. Come February, our wristbands were purchased and the official countdown could begin.
Fast-forward to the beginning days of June 2012. My dad made the decision to pick up a carpooler outside of Atlanta and the countdown was in the single digits. Finally, on Thursday June 7 and after my dad got home from work, we were off. We set sail on the mighty Oceanus Interstatus and were starving for delicious servings (17 to be exact) of amazing bands. They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. Or something.
Chapter 1: Thursday Night
We parked at around 9:30 PM started setting up our tents. Unfortunately there was not enough room to fit both our tent and our guest’s tent. And our car didn’t have enough power for us to blow up our air mattress. So, we set up our tent a bit farther away, decided to sleep on a deflated mattress, and pushed on. At about 11 PM we went into Centeroo (where all the stages are) in hopes of catching Alabama Shakes at This Tent. Unfortunately, the crowd was so big that there was no way we could’ve seen anything. Same goes for Big Gigantic at That Tent and MiMosa at The Other Tent.
Downtrodden and after a slice of pizza, we made our way back to camp to get the best night’s sleep we could hope to get at a festival with no curfews and with bands going all night long. I knew I would feel it the enthusiasm the next morning. Just needed some well-deserved and well-needed R&R.
Chapter 2: Friday Morning
Although we had our alarm set for 10 AM, we quickly learned that sleeping in past 8 is nigh impossible. So, with a good three hours or so to kill until our first act of the festival, The Kooks, we hung out. Got to talk to our neighbors and I even got to meet BeezNutz, a member of the St. Louis chapter of the CC Family.
After a major family-related setback that jeopardized our stay at Bonnaroo, we sorted through it and prepared to make another journey into Centeroo. We explored our general area (thankfully we were close to the port-a-potties) and made good use of the free wash area, which was great for teeth-brushing, shaving, hand-washing, etc. At 10:30 AM (our car was still adjusted to Eastern Time so I thought it was 11:30) we made our way second voyage to Centeroo to catch 2nd wave Britpop band The Kooks at Which Stage.
Chapter 3: The Kooks and the Comedy Theatre
After an hour and 45 minutes of waiting (again, blaming the car here) The Kooks graced the stage to bring their contagiously catchy brand of happiness and smiles to the crowd that was gathered to watch. They played what I’m pretty sure were quite a few of their hits: Is It Me?, She Moves Her Own Way, Ooh La, Junk of the Heart (Happy), and Naive. Their set was pretty fun to watch, actually. I’m not the biggest Kooks fan in the world, but they are great when it comes to summertime music, especially a sunny Friday afternoon at Bonnaroo. In terms of Britpop I’d most likely compare them to Pulp more than I would to Oasis or Blur, mostly because of the cheeriness among the band and the feel of the music.
After their set ended and we grabbed some lunch, we headed over to the comedy tent to try and grab some tickets to catch Aziz Ansari. To get into a comedy show you have to grab tickets which they hand out 2 hours in advance. And for some reason I didn’t expect the line to stretch out to 2000 people. After deciding that it’s not worth it, we walked around to see what else was going on (there’s ALWAYS something going on.)
Chapter 4: SOJA
Celebrating a successful Thursday night set, Virginia-based reggae band SOJA, who have some of the nattiest dreads I’ve ever seen on white people, hit the Solar Stage, a solar-powered mini-stage that hosts environmentally conscious bands and artists that play some songs and do a Q&A session.
At about 2:05 the eight-piece came out and put on a very four-song set, interspersed with questions curated by…. some dude. I was sorta hoping it would be an audience participation sort of thing where we could ask the questions. I really wanted to ask Jacob Hemphill how high he was at that moment, on a scale of 1 to Snoop Dogg.
Either way, it was great to see them break into acoustic version of songs such as Strength to Survive and Nothing Ever Changes. Based on the interview they seem like legitimately cool dudes and I’m glad we got to check out their set. And with that we made our way to see a last-minute addition to the Ross Duo’s Official Bonnaroo schedule: Fitz and the Tantrums.
Chapter 5: Fitz and the Tantrums & St. Vincent
Sometimes fate can be great. Fitz and the Tantrums just so happened to be playing That Tent, which would be followed in the same tent by St. Vincent, one of my must-see artists of Bonnaroo.
This was my first time in one of the tents, so discovering that the ground was sand was quite the surprise. This would mean that if the crowd got crazy, a huge sand cloud would form and make its way into the lungs of the hundreds of people gathered to see whichever band. It’s already pretty dusty at the farm, so whoever thought it was a good idea to put sand on the ground was a moron. But that’s just my opinion.
At about 5, neo-soul group Fitz and the Tantrums appeared on stage to many adoring fans. And despite what Reverend Justito might say, they put on a fantastic show. The music is simple enough for most people to get and fun enough for most people to dance to. They even through in their covers of Steady As She Goes and Sweet Dreams Are Made of This, making both songs way cheerier than they actually are.
Singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs have a great chemistry and seem to play characters during their songs which reflect their attitude. Sometimes they’ll get up in each others faces West Side Story style and other times they’ll smile at each other and dance. That is only a part of what makes them so great live. Add in the insane amount of audience participation (my hands were sore from clapping along) and you’ve got a Fitz and the Tantrums show. They ended their set with their career-starting hit MoneyGrabber and even pulled a Slipknot by having the ground crouch to the ground and jump up at the song’s climax.
Setlist: Don’t Gotta Work It Out, Winds of Change, Pickin’ Up The Pieces, Wake Up, Breakin’ the Chains of Love, Rich Girls, The End, Steady As She Goes, Tighter, 6 AM, L.O.V., New Song, Dear Mr. President, News 4 U, Sweet Dreams, MoneyGrabber
After Fitz ended, we grabbed some food and took a quick bathroom break before preparing to have our faces melted off by St. Vincent. I made my way into the crowd because I knew this would be a show I wouldn’t want to miss.
Annie Clark is to women what Dave Grohl is to men. She is an astoundingly talented musician, singer, songwriter, and just all-around cool person. Her 17-song 75-minute no-holds-barred set at Bonnaroo showcased her talents, both on her axe and on her vocal chords. She played mostly songs from her stellar 2011 record Stranger Mercy, but broke out a couple songs from her other records Actor and Marry Me.
One thing you notice about Annie Clark is her guitar playing. The guitar is almost an extra appendage for her; to see her perform without it would be like seeing the drummer of Def Leppard lose his other arm. And she is full of emotion, too. At times she is ominous and borderline scary, kind of like Winona Rider in Beetlejuice; other times she is happy and cute, kind of like Winona Rider in Heathers. (Those will be the only Winona Rider comparisons because those are the only movies with her I’ve seen.) Couple that with the “How did she make her guitar sound like that?” effect that benefited Jimi Hendrix, Kevin Shields, and Tom Morello, and you’ve got a face-melting show from an insanely talented person. Long live Annie Clark.
Setlist: Marrow, Cheerleader, Chloe in the Afternoon, Save Me From What I Want, Actor Out of Work, Dilettante, Black Rainbow, Cruel, Surgeon, Champagne Year, Neutered Fruit, Year of the Tiger, Northern Lights, She Is Beyond Good And Evil, The Party, Your Lips Are Red, Krokodil
Chapter 6: Radiohead and Major Lazer
After St. Vincent’s glorious set, we headed over to the What Stage to catch the first headliner of the festival, Radiohead. Earlier this year, I didn’t care much at all about Radiohead, but I’ve slowly been turned onto them after listening to more of their music and watching their more recent live performances. And what can I say? Radiohead absolutely delivered, and then some.
The set was devoted songs from 2011’s The King of Limbs and 2007’s In Rainbows without any doubt. Almost half the set, actually, was from those two albums. Other bits and pieces from Hail to the Thief, Amnesiac, Kid A, and OK Computer were scattered throughout, as well as the new tracks Identikit and Daily Mail.
The lights display for Radiohead is really what makes their show so fantastic. As the drum-and-bass rhythms reach an epic climax, the screen lights up brighter and brighter. There were even eight or so little screens that moved around above Thom and Co.
Say what you will about their music, especially their more recent music, but Radiohead are a phenomenal live band, and I’m glad I got to see them once.
Setlist: Bloom, 15 Step, Kid A, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Staircase, The Daily Mail, I Might Be Wrong, The Gloaming, Separator, Nude, Morning Mr. Magpie, Identikit, Lotus Flower, There There, Karma Police, Feral, Idioteque ENCORE 1: You and Whose Army?, House of Cards, Supercollider (dedicated to Jack White), Bodysnatchers, Everything In Its Right Place ENCORE 2: Give Up the Ghost, Reckoner (dedicated to Red Hot Chili Peppers), Paranoid Android
After the longest Radiohead show of the year ended (this is a fact), we headed over to This Tent to catch dubstep/electronic/reggae duo Major Lazer and then make our way into the crowd for Umphrey’s McGee’s late night set.
Electronica and reggae were two things I never thought would go together, but Major Lazer makes it work so perfectly well. DJs Diplo and Scratch played music for everybody to dance to, from the fat men to the topless women they were begging to see.
Audience participation is a big part of their show, they even brought a guy on stage and had their dancers give him the Major Lazer treatment, whatever that is. Their set was a lot of fun, but whoever the hype man is, he is wicked obnoxious. Just saying.
Chapter 7: Umphreaks’ Delight
Umphrey’s McGee are a band that, to be honest, I hadn’t heard much of. But per the recommendation of CC family members, we made the decision to stick around until 4 in the morning to catch a super-special late night Umphrey’s McGee set. And you know what, we had a lot of fun!
20 minutes had passed since they were supposed to take the stage, and nothing had happened. The stage was set up and everything was tuned. Then, the lights went down and Umphrey’s came out and blew the roof off This Tent.
Umphrey’s opened up with Gurgle which led right into 40’s Theme, the latter of which featured a tease One Nation Under A Groove by Funkadelic. Then they went into Plunger which led right into The Floor. Afterwards they played Pay the Snucka with a Stranglehold tease, which jammed on into the Triple Wide which eventually led back into Pay the Snucka, this time with a Bulls on Parade tease.
Umphrey’s played like absolute maniacs. The two guitarists are amazing at what they do, and watching them do the overhand finger-tapping was insane. If I passed these people on the street, I would NEVER in a million years think “That guy must be an insane guitar player.”
At around 4, Umphrey’s invited up the special guest that everyone was speculating about: Big Gigantic. The saxophone player did a sax solo as the members of UM left the stage. Big Gigantic did a jam before Umphrey’s came back on and did a second set that lasted til 6 in the morning!
As cool as it would have been to say that I was there, I just couldn’t stay up that long. So we left after Big Gigantic came on got 3 hours of sleep.
Setlist: Gurgle > 40’s Theme*, Plunger – > The Floor, Pay the Snucka** > The Triple Wide > Pay the Snucka$, Puppet String, JaJunk > Breathe$$ (Pink Floyd cover) > Plunger, Ringo^ > All In Time&, Bright Lights Big City, 1348 > Hajimemashite, Miss Tinkle’s Overture > Thunderstruck (AC/DC cover) > Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Booth Love, Wizard Burial Ground ENCORE: In the Kitchen&& > JaJunk
* with One Nation Under a Groove (Funkadelic) tease
** with Stranglehold (Ted Nugent) jam
$ with Bulls On Parade (Rage Against the Machine)
^ full band switch with Big Gigantic
& with Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Michael Jackson) jam
Chapter 8: Day Complete
Quite a successful day if I do say so myself. I wasn’t disappointed at all by any band I saw. And I could say that I got 3 hours of sleep at Bonnaroo! Because seriously, you’re not gonna sleep in after 8 in the morning. Trust me.
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 Festivalin 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.
We here at Concert Confessions love Donald GloverTroy BarnesChildish 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.
This week marks the 9th installment of the Wakarusa Music Festival in Ozark, Arkansas…. well, the 4th installment in Arkansas, but the 9th Wakarusa overall. This will also mark my fifth straight visit to Waka, and along the way I have learned many valuable things. One of the most important things I have realized is that your schedule very well may not be followed as you planned, and you will certainly find yourself at stages for bands you didn’t plan to catch. This is why I find it necessary to make a list of 10 bands that I will see, no matter what. This time around, I had a problem eliminating one more artist, so we are going to stick with the Top 11.
Here are my 11 Must See Artists at the 2012 Wakarusa Festival… make sure to check back in a few weeks for our full recap!
11. ALO / Thurs 4:30pm – 6:00pm Animal Liberation Orchestra makes their triumphant return to Mulberry Mountain, where they last visited for Wakarusa 2010. I was able to catch a few minutes of that set, and it was quite enjoyable. I ended up purchasing the DVD of that show and I think its been watched approximately 100 times since then. Their style of mellow California jam music will be a perfect way to kick off the first ‘official’ night on the Mountain! Too bad I will have to miss The Floozies first set of the weekend…. but wait!
10. The Floozies / Sun 12:30am – 2:00am
Lawrence, KS two-piece consisting of brothers Matt Hill, guitar/producer, and drummer Mark Hill. The Floozies do the funky electronic party rock, and they do it quite well. They are on their way up the ladder and their set to finish out the entire festival on Sunday night (technically Monday morning) is going to be a great way to catapult them in that direction. If you can’t make it to the late night show, they also play Thursday afternoon at 4:30pm
9. Umphrey’s McGee / Fri 12:15am – 2:00am Umphrey’s McGee is one of those bands that no matter how often you’ve seen them, you still can’t afford to miss a show because who knows what they will be breaking out on that particular evening. I made the mistake of missing their legendary Wakarusa 2010 late night that featured their mash-up Nine Inch Nails and The Beatles titled “Come Closer” and I won’t take that chance again. I will, however, be missing part of their Main Stage set on Saturday due to our 8th must-see act….
8. The Del McCoury Band / Sat 8:00pm – 9:30pm
You know what is awesome? By the end of the year I will have seen the legendary Del McCoury three times! You know what’s even better? The fact that this set not only falls during the bluegrass extravaganza on Saturday in the Outpost Tent, but it also immediately follows the Travelin’ McCourys, who just so happen to be Del’s sons and Del’s backing band. I expect things to get really wacky during the 12 hour bluegrass block on Saturday, and the legendary Del McCoury will certainly have a thing or two to say about it.
7. Perpetual Groove / Thurs 10:30pm – 12:00am
I knew nothing about Perpetual Groove going into the 2009 Wakarusa, and they are now one of those bands that I will never forget. I stumbled into their late night set that year in the Revival Tent with a friend and the two of us stood there for the next hour without moving or acknowledging anything around us, sucked in by the sweet, sweet sounds coming from this Georgia four piece. Oh yeah, last year some jerk off dove head first through the drum kit and messed up the end of their late night set, so there is always a chance of that happening again. Check out the album ‘Sweet Oblivious Antidote’ if you aren’t familiar with P-Groove
6. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit / Sat 2:40pm – 3:50pm
Former Drive-By Trucker guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Jason Isbell hits Wakarusa with his band for an afternoon set on Saturday at the Backwoods Stage. Isbell has released three solo albums since his departure from the Truckers. He is a very gifted songwriter and surrounds himself with a group of talented musicians featuring including former Son Volt keyboardist Derry deBorja. I had a chance to catch a few songs in January when he toured the country with Ryan Adams and have been looking forward to my next visit with Jason Isbell ever since.
WAKA MAIN STAGE
5. Blitzen Trapper / Fri 8:00pm – 9:30pm
Critically acclaimed experimental alt-country act out of the Pac Northwest, Blitzen Trapper has been around for more than ten years, and their last three albums have all been highly praised. I never gave them a chance until recently, when I was instantly hooked in by 2008’s Furr. We have a few Concert Confessions Minions that are big, big fans of Blitzen Trapper, like our founding father Rev, and hopefully following their Friday night performance at Waka I will be as well. I will have to miss Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, but this is a risk I am willing to take for my first experience with the Portland quintet.
4. The Travelin’ McCourys feat. Keller Williams / Sat 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Not a lot that needs to be said about this one. The legendary Keller Williams teams up with Ronnie and Robbie McCoury, who just so happened to be sons of the legendary Del McCoury, for 90 minutes of pure pleasure. The Travelin McCourys are actually the backing band for father Del, which you already know if you read our #8 Must-See Waka act, and this set leads in to Del McCoury… so there could be some treats in store for sure. Keller and the McCourys are releasing their debut collaborative effort next month called Pick, so expect tunes from that album as well who knows what else. I am keeping my fingers crossed for their rendition of Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” Keep an eye on fiddle player Jason Carter, that dude can wail. (Click Here For Bonus Video)
3. The Avett Brothers / Fri 10:15pm – 12:15am
Is it punkgrass or folk rock or indie bluegrass?? Classify them how you wish, but Seth and Scott Avett will have 2 full hours to get the crowd into a frenzy on Friday night. The sounds that these two brothers produce along with Bob Crawford on the bass and Joe Kwon on the cello are just what the doctor ordered for the pre late night warm up for a Friday night. Whether its machine gun fast songs featuring banjo and electric bass with a kick drum and accordion, or down tempo heart-felt tunes with just guitar and cello, the Avett Brothers know how to do it. These guys will have their own festival one day.
2. Weir, Robinson, & Greene Acoustic Trio / Thurs 8:30pm – 10:00pm
Holy guitarist overload Batman! Bob Weir, who you may have heard of from his prior stints with Furthur, RatDog and the relatively unknown The Grateful Dead, teams up with Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes and Jackie Greene who is doing his best to seal his legacy among the top jam guitarists in the game for 90 minutes of balls to the walls acoustic guitar. This set promises to be a great time as Thursdays Main Stage headliner. Can’t think of a more appropriate way to kick off Wakarusa than a guitar trio followed by P-Groove and the option of a Dirtfoot or Split Lip Rayfield late night.
1. Gary Clark Jr. / Sat 4:45pm – 6:00pm
Twenty-Eight year old Gary Clark Jr. has been called by some the savior of the blues. That seems like an awfully big statement and weight to place on one mans shoulders, but Clark does his best to carry the load. Straight out of Austin, Texas, he shreds the guitar with blues rock, but there is definitely some soul and R&B influence. He started out on the stage that launched Stevie Ray Vaughn, he has shared the stage with the likes of Eric Clapton and Sheryl Crowe at the 2010 Crossroads Festival, not to mention playing at the White House with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, and Buddy Guy at Red, White and Blues. This dude can play a guitar, that is no lie… and I will be spending an hour and 15 minutes with him this Saturday night!
But we here at Concert Confessions don’t just give you the highlights, we give you the whole enchilada. So below, you can view the endless list of acts that will be taking the stage in Austin at Zilker Park October 12-14. Check out the festival’s website here, for on sale dates and prices and all that jibber jabber.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Neil Young and Crazy Horse
The Black Keys
Jack White(I hear some folks are into this guy)
Florence + The Machine
The Avett Brothers
Iggy & The Stooges
Gotye (is it pronounced ‘Goat-Tee’ or ‘Got-Ya”???)
The Civil Wars
Tegan and Sara
Two Door Cinema Club
The Afghan Whigs
Gary Clark Jr.
Band of Skulls
Randy Rogers Band
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
The War On Drugs
Bombay Bicycle Club
Trampled by Turtles
The Devil Makes Three
Asleep at the Wheel
First Aid Kit
Lee Fields & The Expressions
Father John Misty
Dry the River
The Boxer Rebellion
Soul Rebels Brass Band
Thundercat(Really!! There’s a band named Thundercat?! That’s awesome!)
The fine folks behind the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival have once again done something that is totally bad ass. They have launched a new YouTube channel called Bonnaroo 365. We will spare you the painfully unfunny ribbon cutting ceremony from Flight of the Concords star Rhys Darby. Instead we will just feature some great past performances from some of our favorite artists. But before we do, remember that the 2012 edition of Bonnaroo is about a month away. Click here to see who will be rocking Manchester this summer.
Oh and one thing to ponder. I wonder if this channel gets those annoying “Third Party Content” warnings like the rest of us?
Updated: 5/9/12 Final Price Increase Information Added
Wakarusa 2012 is only a few weeks away and Full Event Passes are moving quickly! Get your Full Event Passes today before the final price increase to Gate Price occurs on Saturday, May 19th at 11:59PM! Save yourself some $$ to buy that extra Boulavard beverage or two… I suggest the Single Wide IPA
4/26 UPDATED: As we are just about a month way from Wakarusa, the bittersweet day of SCHEDULE RELEASE has come. Jubilation for some who can now confirm that arriving Friday won’t force you to miss Umphrey’s McGee’s late night or Primus and the Avett Brothers. Yet it brings disappointment for others, who now have to wonder do I REALLY want to miss Perpetual Groove to see Pretty Lights? What about Dirtfoot in the small tent or Split Lip Rayfield on the ever so cool Backwoods Stage? DOH! Lucky for you, the stages are all close enough in proximity that you are able to split sets and catch a little bit of both acts, if that is what you have to do.
Some highlights and challenges for me will include:
Weir, Robinson, & Greene Acoustic Trio Thursday on Main Stage followed by Perpetual Groove in the Revival Tent is a must…. but then you have the choice of Split Lip Rayfield, Dirtfoot or Tea Leaf Green late nights!!
Friday brings Blitzen Trapper, followed by some of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, then off to The Avett Brothers and finish it off the Umphrey’s McGee‘s late night set in the Revival Tent, one of the only DO NOT MISS sets of the festival.
Saturday will offer a great chance to relax throughout the day with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and The Lumineers, but that interferes with one of my other DO NOT MISS sets, Gary Clark Jr. Good thing you can get from one stage to any other in less than 15 minutes, even faster if you catch a FestiCab! Saturday also features the 12 hour bluegrass takeover of the Kum & Go Outpost stage with Head for the Hills, Mountain Sprout, Hot Buttered Rum, Emmitt-Nershi Band, Travelin’ McCourys feat. Keller Williams, Del McCoury Band, and the Infamous Stringdusters all playing back to back… and you can certainly expect a few sit-ins that day! Hell, it may even just turn into a bluegrass ball! If banjo isn’t your thing, Umphrey’s McGee will play their Main Stage set prior to the great Primus taking the mountain by storm.
Sunday Funday usually involves lots of rum, drank by way of pineapple, and lots of lounging. Luckily the lineup helps with this area and we are given a reggae stacked Main Stage including Ugly Lion,Toubab Krewe, SOJA, Slightly Stoopid, and Matisyahu. Sunday also features second sets from Emmitt-Nershi, Infamous Stringdusters, Dumptruck Butterlips, Mountain Sprout, and a Keller Williams solo set.
Start making your schedules now, and dispute with your friends in the weeks to come. But you’re on the clock in just 34 days when it all kicks off with War Chief on the Backwoods Stage.
Only 2 / 3 of the Wakarusa Festival lineup has been released so far, and you should make it a priority to snag your tickets and premium camping passes now because they won’t last!
This year the Waka gods have decided to release the lineup in “3 equally weighted parts.” The first announcement was made last week and featured eletronic producer Pretty Lights, a once in a lifetime chance to see the Bob Weir, Chris Robinson, and Jackie Greene Acoustic Trio, Railroad Earth, Keller Williams, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and ALO as well as many more great acts.
Lineup 2 was just released moments ago and its easy to see that Waka is bringing the heat for their 4th trip to Mulberry Mountain located just outside of Ozark, Arkansas. The additions of Les Claypool and the boys in Primus, Umphreys McGee, Blitzen Trapper, Del McCoury, Tea Leaf Green, Gary Clark Jr, the grumble boogie boys Dirtfoot, and Quixotic have certainly elevated the interest for many people on the fence after seeing the first 1/3 of the lineup.
UPDATED: The final third of the lineup has now been released and the fine folks at Wakarusa aren’t messing around for the 9th installment of the festival. Todays announcement included the additions of The Avett Brothers, hebrew hip hopster Matisyahu, Ghostland Observatory, EOTO, as well as multiple sets from the likes of Slightly Stoopid, Perpetual Groove, Split Lip Rayfield, the Travelin McCourys (including 1 set feat. Keller Williams), and the March Fourth Marching Band, a band that is pretty much a festival in their own right and a MUST SEE.
Why: Hangout 2011 featured a diverse lineup including Paul Simon, The Foo Fighters, Primus, The Black Keys, Girl Talk, Avett Brothers, Widespread Panic, and The Flaming Lips.
Well the folks planning the only festival featuring white sandy beaches and palm trees out there have done it again with a fantastic early 2012 lineup coming out in waves via Facebook this evening.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dave Matthews Band •Jack White
String Cheese Incident (performing two sets)
Wilco •Skrillex •The Flaming Lips perform Dark Side of the Moon
Dispatch •Steve Winwood •CHRIS CORNELL •STS9
Gogol Bordello •Michael Franti & Spearhead •Mac Miller •Flogging Molly
Coheed & Cambria •Paul Oakenfold •G. Love and Special Sauce
Randy Newman •Dr. Dog •Young The Giant •Cage the Elephant •Dawes •Alabama Shakes
M. Ward •YelaWolf •Switchfoot •Julian Marley •Zeds Dead •Mavis Staples •Shpongle •Gary Clark JR •Rebelution Allen Stone •Big Freedia •The Devil Makes Three •Paper Diamond •Futurebirds •Hey Rosetta! •Sleeper Agent THE LUMINEERS •ARCHNEMESIS •Tribal Seeds •Rich Aucoin •Jamie Bergeron & the Kickin’ Cajuns