One of my favorite things about this blog are the different voices and different musical tastes of each of our contributors. While there are times when we all roll our eyes while another carries on with a lengthy monologue about their current obsession, we all respect and admire each other’s passion. So, that being said, we’ve all embarked to highlight a few of our must sees at the farm this year. I (Matt) will get this started, and you can look forward to some other “must sees” from coming out soon.
While I am with everyone else in wanting to see a Beatle or probably the most under-appreciated American living legend in Tom Petty, I just don’t have the patience for those giant stages. I find myself squished into tents, hopelessly ADD, hopping to smaller and smaller stages in search of something that I haven’t seen a half a dozen times… With that being said, you can click through that jump to check out my top picks for this year’s Bonnaroo.
I know I’m not going to be able to stick it out to see Björk, but I know that she is one of the people that I am the most excited to see. I can’t say that I spend a lot of time spinning the latest hits of the somewhat elusive Icelandic experimental pop star, but I am terribly intrigued to see her perform live. I don’t know why, but when am I going to have the chance again? It’s Bonnaroo. I can pop in, spend a half an hour, get annoyed at the stoners next to me who won’t shut up, and move along… So, yeah, I’m crazy excited that Björk is going to be on the Farm this year, and will stop by the What Stage on Saturday at 7pm to catch a glimpse. You can check out the most fitting track that I can think of “Violently Happy” below.
Superjams abound at the Farm, and they are an absolute highlight. They’ve come a long way since I first visited the Farm in 2003 to see a jam band extravaganza through seeing Dan Auerbach lay the precursor to the 2012 record Locked Down with Dr. John, and last year seeing ?uestlove bring out a plethora of players before ecstatically announcing the return of D’Angelo. This year should be no different with two very different superjams featuring a hip-hop supershow with RZA, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Solange, Chad Hugo & Lettuce at That Tent at midnight on Friday. The other superjam happens on Saturday at midnight at The Other Tent, and features the likes of Jim James, John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and, rumor has it, some background vocals of one of our local faves Alanna Quinn Broadus.
Speaking of hip-hop, Death Grips and Action Bronson teamed up while they were in Austin to throw down some of the most amazing sets of the festival. I’m a fan of Bronson, and hope he shows up for a track or two, but Death Grips had me at first listen last summer with the release of their 2012 record The Money Store, and specifically the track “I’ve Seen Footage”. See it with me live on Saturday at The Other Tent at 2:15pm.
There is always bound to be some incredible rock and roll going on at the Farm, and this year is no different. I find the simultaneous internet-splosion of interest in Japandroids and Tame Impala to be confusing. I sometimes forget which is from Australia (Tame Impala) and which is from British Columbia (Japandroids). I missed the latter at their Exit/In set last year around Thanksgiving, but my family won’t cause that to happen this weekend. Tame Impala has wandered through these parts as their side project Pond, but this is my first chance to see the founding act. These bands are also the reason that I will be venturing south early on Thursday (Japandroids | This Tent, 10pm) and staying through Sunday (Tame Impala | The Other Tent, 6pm).
Sometimes Bonnaroo just takes you into the sublime like the sweet sounds of The Polyphonic Spree giving you their interpretation of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (yep, that is happening), and sometimes it gives you the brit pop band that should have made it. Django Django and Alt-J both burst out of the UK scene around the same time, but, after winning the Mercury Prize, the latter gained more acclaim. I mean, I was in Austin to see lines around blocks to see Alt-J, and I know they are playing the Ryman later this fall. I also saw them at Cannery Ballroom back in March, and found it to be a bit “meh”. I’m hoping that a pleasant surprise awaits with the Brit pop competitors Django Django on Thursday at 9pm at That Tent. If you need the comparison, Alt-J will play This Tent at 11:30 on Thursday.
Sometimes Bonnaroo brings you brand new bands that you discover with ear to ear toothiness. That experience has happened with every single venture for me. The biggest highlight to date was catching J. Roddy Walston & The Business at the tiny Cafe Where? two years ago. Perhaps this year, that serendipitous discovery will lie in Asian Teacher Factory when I swing by the Solar Stage at 3pm on Thursday to get this thing started right.
Of course, this year is chock full of Nashville musicians, huge headliners, lots of amazing vibes, and cold beers. There is no telling what I will come away loving and blabbing about, but you can count on the fact that I will indeed tell you about it. See you at the Farm, friends!!!!