[Bonnaroo starts today, and in case you are already there reading this one your smart phone, or already on another planet, or just wishful thinking, Baeble corespondant Reuben Meltzer has some advice for you FROM THE FIELD.]
This year's Bonnaroo seems more full of smaller burgeoning acts than last year. Of course there's still the heavy hitters (Jay Z, Stevie Wonder, Flaming Lips, Tenacious D, Dead Weather, et cetra) and some not so desirable headliners (Kings of Leon/Dave Mathews Band), but the festival seems heavily populated with these smaller newer bands. Each day features a smorgasbord of bands to choose from so much so that I find myself dolling out entire live sets to 2 to sometimes 3 different bands. I remember last year (with acts like Wilco, The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Okkervill River to name a few) feeling much more compelled to see their entire live sets rather than splitting up shows. This years I find myself more interested in checking out what these new bands have in store, and how, or if, they would use Bonnaroo and the festival circuit to spring board themselves into a slightly more popular status (ie The Dirty Projectors last summer). Each day, besides the obvious bands, I'm finding new acts that I've just started to get into right in time for the fest. I'll go through day-by-day listing the more obscure (well at least to my knowledge) bands.
The obvious bands Today for me to see are: Fanfarlo, Here We Go Magic, Local Natives, Neon Indian, Miike Snow , The Dodos, Blitzen Trapper, & The xx
The Postelles: (to be featured in this episode of The Moment.) are a band that hearken heavily back to The Strokes, but in a good way. I'll be opening the fest by seeing their act. They only have an ep out at the moment, but it's a fun little jam that seems like its got a lot of energy and could be a really fun show.
The obvious bands: Dr. Dog, She & Him, Flaming Lips, LCD Soundsystem, Les Claypool, The Black Keys, Tenacious D, The National, Tokyo Police Club
The not so obvious bands are:
Punch Brothers: I heard these guys listening to Garrison Kealer's A Prairie Home Companion on NPR back in the winter and I thought "geez these guys sound like they put on one hell of a show." What I heard was some really legit bluegrass with a more folksy and worldly hilt to it. I was excited to see that they were going to play Bonnaroo so I can have the opportunity to check them out.
Carolina Chocolate Drops: (A possible band featured in the new episode of the moment) staying in the same vein of bluegrass, but this time played by an extremely talented group of people which is really interesting to hear their mix of 1930's southern poverty folk mixed with an almost contemporary sound on some tracks that would make the White Stripes jealous of how authentic this band's country feel is.
Mighty Clouds of Joy: While listening to bands that were performing this year at Bonnaroo I stumbled across this lovely addition to bands I had to see. I found this video from 1986 featuring a group of men singing gospel music, and let me tell you this, they were singing their HEARTS out, I just hope they still have the same heart over 20 years later.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: A band that I have yet to pin down as a specific type, but they are certainly some kind of experimental folk with tons of instruments and vocal harmonization. With an ever expanding band size I think at a given time there can be like up to 16 or 17 playing on the same stage, now that's going be interesting to see.
Boy Crisis: There's a lot of electronic music prevailing through this years festival now, Boy Crisis is one of the many bands that had a couple of songs that I wouldn't mind cutting some rug to. These guys are kind of like a sophomoric (and I don't really mean that in a bad way) version of MGMT. Like imagine if instead of going psychedelic on their new album what MGMT went more poppy.
Obvious Bands: Langhorne Slim, Jimmy Cliff, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, The Dead Weather, Weezer, Jeff Beck, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Dan Deacon Ensemble, Deadmau5, GWAR, andThe Disco Biscuits
Not so obvious band:
Isis: Usually I'm not a big fan of metal especially when the singer screams half the lyrics, but hot damn there's something about Isis that just works. Its musical progression is brilliant and makes bands like Tool look like chumps. These guys are supposedly on their last tour and will be featured in the new episode.
Obvious Bands: Ingrid Michaelson, Japandroids, Calexico, Medeski Martin & Wood, Regina Spektor, John Fogerty, They Might be Giants, Dropkick Murphys (this was a decision based on fond times of listening to these guys when I was 14 or 15), Everest and finishing the festival out with Phoenix whom I regrettably missed last year.-reuben meltzer
[Ed Note: Don't miss them again! Thanks Reuben!]