@shiftywhiteguy Hi Festival Crashers, I’m here to crash your blog. Since Zack and Shore have inexplicably forgotten their festival hierarchy, I will be providing your coverage of Bonnaroo, along with another one of our crasher pals, Mix-Master Laura.* Now I know what you’re thinking …”Bryn, you seem kind of shifty. We’re used to Zack and Shore’s gentle festival sensibilities. How do we know you’ll give us the same nurturing, loving touch?” Well, chances are I won’t.
I’m glad Andy and Teibs broke you in nice and gently, but I’m here to skip the festival foreplay and give it to you a little rough. Ok, let’s ditch that metaphor. But, in all seriousness, our coverage will be a little raw this year. Without a press pass, covering a festival like Bonnaroo is a logistical nightmare.
Hell, hygeine is a logistical nightmare at Bonnaroo. So, the only way we’ll be able to get you guys live news from the festival is by doing it in 140-character increments via twitter. Follow me at @shiftywhiteguy for short updates, and expect a whole slew of stuff to come right after I have a chance to get back to electricity and internet access.
Now, without further ado, a guest Festival Crasher’s guide to Bonnaroo:
LISTEN TO OUR PODCRASH W/ @SHIFTYWHITEGUY AS YOU READ <–Click here, festival lovers.
Sir Not Appearing in this Film:**
Bonnaroo is a marathon. You simply can’t catch everything you want to, and sacrifices must be made. On the flip side, Bonnaroo did a good job this year of scheduling relatively mediocre headliners, so you can go grab a quick nap while the action is limited. Kings of Leon, I’m looking at you. I saw Kings of Leon at Bonnaroo 2007, and remember everyone raving about how they’re the next big thing in pop music, and the next festival juggernaut. I didn’t even like them then, and now, only three years later, I think it goes without saying that we’re all sick of them.
At the end of the weekend this year, in the Widespread Panic spot, we have a similar “must-skip” in Dave Matthews Band. Yes, I know Shore is a sucker for DMB, and has even gone on record as saying they are a “Festival headliner can’t-miss,” but at the end of four days of Bonnaroo, the following thought will go through your head: “I can stay and watch Dave, or I can get to a shower at least three hours sooner.” After 96 non-stop hours of ‘Roo, that is the easiest decision ever. Furthermore, I put Dave in the same category as Jimmy Buffett: atrocious music that for whatever reason has an insanely dedicated live tour following. I don’t get it.
In this year’s lineup, I see several acts that I think could be the wildcard jaw-droppers. Every year you have a few of these. Bands that you go in to without much familiarity, and come out so blown away you’re a lifetime fan.
First and most notable of these is Deadmau5. I am not a fan of electronic music, to say the least, but thanks to Ghostland Observatory in 2008 (the ultimate example of a wildcard B-roo band), I have an immense respect for an act that can get a really good Bonnaroo dance party going. Deadmau5 has all the opportunity in the world to blow your socks off.
He’s got the late Saturday night set (2:15-3:45 am), which is a blessing to anyone who comes to Bonnaroo with the intention of getting people moving. I foresee myself sweating intensely for that hour and a half, as Deadmau5 constructs really epic trance songs with extremely catchy beats. Just try to keep your dancing shoes off, I dare you.
Also on the wildcard list is a band that I think deserves honorable mention for the must-see list. A doctor*** friend of mine first brought my attention to Swedish electro pop band, Miike Snow. For the last two months, I have hardly gone a day without having at least one of their songs stuck in my head. They are fun, danceable, talented, and from what I hear, a blast live. However, I think their awful time slot could kill them. Thursday is the only day without a headliner, and there’s a reason for that.
With Miike Snow playing early Thursday evening before the sun goes down, I think the crowd will be less than receptive to a surprise barnburner. Furthermore, they’re overlapping with another great up-and-coming band, Local Natives, that I’m sure will draw a significant crowd. Keep your eyes on these Snow boys, though. They’ve got something special brewing.
Tori Amos. Nah, just joking. Tori, what are you doing playing at an outdoor festival? 14-year-old girls with low self-esteem aren’t really present in large numbers at Bonnaroo. You’re out of your element.
I love good standup comedy. Absolutely love it. But, I hate the comedy tent at Bonnaroo. For those of you that have never been part of the pilgrimage to Manchester, the comedy tent at Bonnaroo is the most poorly conceived concept possible. They bring in these phenomenal comedy acts that normally sell out amphitheaters.
But they stuff them into a little air-conditioned tent with a capacity of less than a thousand. So, everyone does multiple sets, but you have to wait in line for usually over an hour to get in, with no guarantee that you’ll catch the set of the comedian you wanted to see when you get to the front.
This year, the one, the only, Coco, Conan O’Brien, will be headlining the comedy lineup. I have to believe they’ve rethought the comedy tent concept, but if they haven’t, the massive rush of people trying to get in to see Coco may potentially cause a riot. Long story short, sorry Aziz and Coco, I love ‘ya, but I can’t sacrifice a half-day of festivaling for you.
The Must-See List
I can’t help the standard top-five format:
4. Phoenix- As far as I’m concerned, the night-cap of the festival. Zack referred to Phoenix’s show at La Zona Rosa as the best Austin show of 2009. (See successful crash #25). Zack is prone to hyperbole, but I trust his judgment on this one. They’ve been killing the festival circuit, and a lot of people whose opinion I respect greatly called “Wolfgang Amadaeus Phoenix” the best album of 2009. What a great way to end the weekend.
3. The Black Keys- As I mentioned in the podcrash, I went from liking the Black Keys to loving the Black Keys after their fantastic set at Bonnaroo 2007. This is a guaranteed bad ass rock show. An hour and a half of Dan Auerbach’s stage presence is devalued only by the other notable sets going on during Their Friday night time slot (Daryl Hall/Chromeo, Bassnectar, and the Flaming Lips)
2. Ween- I can’t even begin to tell you how many fantastic memories of mine are linked directly to Ween shows. After moving to Florida, I once drove all the way back to Bloomington, Indiana, just to see them play at the Bluebird. I don’t have a single regret about it. Ween makes you laugh, makes you dance, makes you rock out, and makes you feel lucky to be present in that juncture of time and space. It’s a guaranteed 9+ show.
1. Jay Z- Ah, the Jigga Man. For someone who is not a hip hop fan, I am ecstatic for my first chance to catch Hova. He’s not exactly headlining, but his late Saturday night set doesn’t go up against anything you’re upset about missing. This should be a nonstop two-hour crowd-pleaser. I’d also like to bring your attention to this picture. Jack White will be on the same stage with the Dead Weather just a few hours prior. I’m just saying.
Well kids, enjoy the shows. If you’re not going, that’s a bummer, but we’ll do our best to make you feel like you didn’t even miss it. Follow the tweets for “the live feed” and stay posted to Festival Crashers for a whirlwind of Bonnaroo reviews to come right after weekend. Festival Crashers, you are in good hands, even with Shore and Teibs phoning this one in. Viva Manchester!
* Not just a nickname. Seriously, the girl is the master of mix cd’s. She’s also dripping with wit. You’ll be enchanted with us, I promise.
** Please tell me there are still a few people out there who get this reference. No?