@ZackTeibloom The 2010 Bonnaroo line-up unveiling was an exhausting mess, but we’re finally looking at a legit line-up. It’s a bit of a cross between Coachella and Jazz Fest with a few strong additions late in the night, it went from a big disappointment to a must-attend even if you hit Coachella and Jazz Fest. It’s amazing what adding a couple Jack’s (White and Black), Stevie, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Cliff will do. I’ve gone from a whiny “I’m not going” to “I must be there” and all it took was a nap. Let’s see what changed my mind and give this line-up the full attention it needs.
Festivals can’t seem to get the headliners right these days. Not since Lollapalooza ’08 rolled out Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Wilco, NIN, and Kanye has there been a full-on great stack of headliners.* Jay-Z is the man, but here’s the thing about Kings of Leon and Dave Matthews Band: at least one of them were at practically every major festival last year, which meant we saw each at least three times and we even left their shows a few times for Earth Wind and Fire and to set up for our Lolla after-party. To quote Magnolia, “we may be through with the past, but the past aint through with us.” Is this a bad thing?
Jay-Z: (assumed 9.5 range)
We’ve got Jay-Z as the premier headliner that appeals to most crowds. Personally, he’s my #1 at the festival. My all-time favorite rapper and I hear nothing but raves about his live show. Just play “U Don’t Know” for me and I’ll be ecstatic. “Put something on it.”
Dave Matthews Band: 9.2
Oh, Dave. So many mixed emotions. Here are the facts: Dave Matthews has one of the tightest, most talented bands in rock. Trust me on this. Tim Reynolds on his own is world-class as a guitarist/frontman and he takes second fiddle to Dave. Speaking of second fiddle, Boyd Tinsley is a master on the violin, Carter Beauford is a force on the skins and Jeff Coffin makes his sax soar over the mix. The new album didn’t do for me like it did for Andy, but you really can’t go wrong at a Dave show. He’s a charmer. The band will always be strong and even if you aren’t a fan, come with an open mind. That said, I still hoped for someone else solely because I’ve seen them half a dozen times in the last year.
Stevie Wonder: 9.0
Aside from a disastrous duo with The Jonas Brothers last year at the Grammys, Stevie is still a a peak performer. His show at Taste of Chicago was a tastier treat than anything I ate that day. He croons, he’s got the catalogue, he’s got a nice band behind him. He’s Stevie. What do you need to know?
Kings of Leon: 8.7
Kings of Leon was one of the better shows I saw the first few times I saw them. The nation has collectively decided we’re over them. The overexposure on the radio and at festivals, the band members incessant stupid “whoa, we’re drunk” comments at award shows and, again, their overexposure on the radio and in bars. It’s that bad. That said, they still have the catalogue and the chops, but I pray there’s someone else playing at the same time.
Best of the Rest:
2009’s break-out stars will be back at Bonnaroo and lets just hope they’re not playing the same time as someone like Phish this time. I am a Phoenix addict. They were my #2 album of ’09 and trailed only Phish as band I’d love to see multiple times, which made their conflict at Bonnaroo last year especially cruel. If you want more, I’ve written a ton on them already:
The Dead Weather (9.5)
Oh, hi Jack White. My #1 man crush with my third favorite band of his and they’re still a solid A in my book. They’ll be armed with a whole new album of material and seasoned from having their first tour under their belt, though they were a sultry blues explosion at ACL:
“The piece de resistance from TDW is “Will There Be Enough Water.” I wish every song was like this. Jack and Alison share a mic and have their lips a tongue flicker away from making out. I’ve always thought this song was sexual innuendo and keep thinking Jack and Alison are going to just go at it.
Jack walked around the kit and I yelled “Give that man a guitar!” and the crowd cheered ecstatically as he picked up a white guitar to contrast his man in black look. He starts with a slow, subtle bluesy riff, builds layer after layer until he has a full-on shred going.
His stuttered, nuanced solos are simply jaw dropping. He gets wild, squealing sounds that no one else evokes from the guitar. Even though I had an incredibly sore jaw because of my Saturday night adventures, I noticed my mouth hanging completely open in awe. It was (by light years) the best solo of the weekend.”
Tenacious D (I can only dream)
Jack White and Jack Black at the same festival? Someone pinch me. The D being on this list made me beg Andy to come to Bonnaroo more than anything. I like to pretend I’m the Jack White/Bill Simmons of music blogging, but Andy and I are so The Tenacious D of music blogging. A duo who talks themselves up with a false bravado and a “we can take on the world with a laugh and a sandwich” attitude. We’ve been die-hard D fans** forever and I found myself having the time of my life with Rage Cage backstage at Rothbury (RIP):
“Cause if you think it’s time to fucking rock, he is going to kick your fucking ass. And you know his name is Kyle Gass. Rocking and fucking rolling and fucking rocking and fucking rolling and fucking rip-rip-pip-pip-piddle-pff-pff…”
LCD Soundsystem 9.6 is playing at my festival, my festival! My favorite album of 2007 is their Sounds of Silver masterpiece and let me tell you, these guys straight bring it live. For you Austinites who were at The Beauty Bar when the host said “I’ve seen LCD Soundsystem and “All my Friends” are even better,” I hope you laughed. I did. They’re fine and all, but LCD is a revelation. Whether opening for Arcade Fire at The Hollywood Bowl a few years ago or playing right before Daft Punk (in the most appropriate set-up ever) at Lolla ’07, these boys know how to upstage their “headliners.” Expect to dance. Expect James Murphy to make you laugh. Expect amazing.
The Flaming Lips 9.5: This will not be my first time seeing The Flips at midnight at Bonnaroo. Last time was in 2007 when Wayne Coyne and his army of dancers gave the crowd thousands of laser pointers and directed a laser show while putting on his always riveting come out in a bubble, sing through a megaphone, giant balloons, confetti, come out to encore’s to the same videos, schtick. If it sounds like I’m over it, I’m really not. It never gets old for me. This time will be different though, because they’ll be there playing Dark Side of The Moon. Admittedly, I think the album of it is atrocious. And I can get down with Dark Side covers like Dub Side. As much as I dislike it, this show should be pretty incredible.
Weezer (9.3) will be hopefully playing more old stuff than new stuff. Weezer’s Blue album is the #1 most played album of my entire life. I can’t even tell you what number two is. Pinkerton is in my all-time top-20. The Green album is quite strong for the most part. Maladriot has its moments, but they’ve really fallen apart since then. Make Believe is trash, The Red album has a great side A, but I never flip the red vinyl to side two for good reason and Raditude only got two listens from me. My first arena-rock show was the Green album tour in high school and it’s an all-time highlight for me. My first time crowd surfing during “Hash Pipe,” my first “mosh pit.***” Their catalogue is deep enough and the singles still continue to do it for me, so I’ll be flashing that W with my hands and remembering why they were my favorite band ever in high school.
Chromeo is a dance party waiting to happen. I couldn’t even piece enough coherent thought together to review the New Years Eve show. That’s how much fun I was having. Many of their songs involve interaction from the crowd and all of them demand that you are foot loose and fancy free. Zack dismissed them as cheesy during their day set at Lollapalooza 2008, but this is a band built for a late night slot. Their Rothbury 2009 late night show kept me on my feet, despite having the cast on my foot removed only days before. -@AndyShore
Damian Marley and Nas are a blend of genres not to be missed. I almost skipped Soulive at Rothbury 2009, because their set was such fire. Anybody that knows me, knows that’s a big deal. Both are masterful performers that command the stage, taking turns setting off the crowd. This will be a set not to be missed in the hot Tennessee sun. -AndyShore
OK, those are all the A’s. There’s a ton more music to write about, but it’s only January. For now, have dreams of late-night parties with these fools and get your hype on.
Late Night predictions: Disco Biscuits, Chromeo, Flaming Lips (Dark Side) at midnight, Bassnectar
The Full list:
- The Avett Brothers
- Baaba Maal
- The Black Keys
- Carolina Chocolate Drops
- Chromeo w/ Daryl Hall
- Clutch and the Bakerton Group
- The Constellations
- Cross Canadian Ragweed
- Damien Marley and Nas
- Dave Matthews Band
- Dave Rawlings
- The Dead Weather
- Disco Biscuits
- Dr. Dog
- Dropkick Murphy’s
- The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of The Moon
- Ingrid Michaelson
- Jay Electronica
- Jeff Beck
- Jimmy Cliff
- John Fogerty
- John Prine
- Kid Cudi
- Kings of Leon
- Local Natives
- Manchester Orchestra
- Mayer Hawthorne and The County
- Medeski Martin and Wood
- Michael Franti
- Miike Snow
- Monte Montgomery
- The National
- Neon Indian
- Norah Jones
- OK Go
- The Postelles
- Punch Brothers
- Regina Spektor
- Rise Against
- She and Him
- Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
- Stevie Wonder
- Tenacious D
- The xx
- Thievery Corporation
- Tokyo Police Club
- Zac Brown Band
*Though Bonnaroo ’09 was close with a double dose of Phish, The Boss.
**Insert gay joke here.
***You’ve never met such a soft crowd as a Weezer mosh pit.