Bonnaroo 2011

I’m sorry to say, I’m a bit underwhelmed at the latest Bonnaroo lineup:

Celebrating the festival’s 10th anniversary, Bonnaroo has recruited Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, The Black Keys and Buffalo Springfield (feat. Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Rick Rosas and Joe Vitale) to headline this year’s event.

Bonnaroo—which will take place in Manchester, Tenn. on Jun. 9-12—will feature performances by My Morning Jacket, Lil Wayne, String Cheese Incident, Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Mumford & Sons, The Strokes, The Decemberists, Ray Lamontagne, Bassnectar, Iron & Wine, Girl Talk, Primus, Dr. John and The Original Meters performing Desitively Bonnaroo, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Pretty Lights, Florence + the Machine, Explosions in the Sky, STS9, Gogol Bordello, Beirut, Big Boi, Scissor Sisters, Gregg Allman, Ratatat, Robyn, Warren Haynes Band and Deerhunter.

Further down the billing, 2011 lineup will also include Opeth, Atmosphere, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bootsy Collins & the Funk University, Wiz Khalifa, Matt & Kim, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mavis Staples, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Chiddy Bang, Javanotti, Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Loretta Lynn, Cold War Kids, The Walkmen, Devotchka, Wanda Jackson, Neon Trees, Portugal. The Man, Sleigh Bells, Amos Lee, Best Coast, Dãm-Funk, The Sword, The Drums, The Black Angels, School of Seven Bells, J. Cole, Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea, Wavves, !!!, Junip, Freelance Whales, Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Bingham, Deer Tick, Band of Skulls, Sharon Van Etten, Abigail Washburn, Omar Souleyman, Twin Shadow, Kylesa, Man Man, The Low Anthem, Alberta Cross, Railroad Earth, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Smith Westerns, The Head and the Heart, Karen Elson, Beats Antique, 22-20s, Phosphorescent, Clare MaGuire, Hayes Carll and more to be announced.

Don’t get me wrong, overall the lineup is solid.  But the headliners? Eminem? Meh. I’m so-so on both the Arcade Fire and the Black Keys (I know, hearsay) and I’ve seen Panic at Bonnaroo… 3 times? 4? One of Twitter followers/friends @MikeyTuna said: Bonnaroo’s lineup might as well have been Pitchfork or Lollapalooza in TN. I concur.

Part of my apathy definitely due to a friend of mine feeding my ‘Roo rumors like “Daft Punk, Radiohead, Phish and the Dead. Also, possibly U2.” Hoping for that (well, not U2) and then receiving Buffalo Springfield (I don’t know if I can name three of their songs) is a bit of a letdown.

I won’t deny however, that there’s some good depth here. Pretty Lights, Grace Potter, My Morning Jacket, Cold War Kids, the Strokes, the Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Gogol Bordello, Explosions in the Sky, ST9, Scissor Sisters, Sleigh Bells, Atmosphere, Ray Lamontagne and Béla Fleck & the Flecktones are all artists I’ve listened to in the past.

Odds are, I’ll still end up going. I missed last year and regretted it for the whole summer. And hey, at least this year I won’t have to worry about the Cavs playing in the Finals during the show.  So um, thanks LeBron!

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3 Responses to Bonnaroo 2011

  1. Some Jerk says:

    Hey, don’t blame me for passing on such good rumors. Daft Punk tour rumors (Does the Tron soundtrack count as a new album?); a new Radiohead album coming out this week; I can even understand how they started. I actually meant to ask you today, would you rather it be Will Smith and U2 or Eminem and Buffalo Springfield? This has everything I would want in an initial Bonnaroo lineup: Bands I haven’t taken the opportunity to see in too long (Flecktones-remember that Sunday morning?) New Acts that sell out hard in the size of venues that exploding new bands play (Mumford- please tell me they didn’t actually win that grammy the other night), bands-musicians-I-don’t-even-know-if-it’s-one-person-or-a-bunch that I’ve been meaning to give a listen for quite some time (Explosions in the Sky), a couple of filthy danceparties (sts9, pretty lights), a few solid legends that I wouldn’t otherwise seek out (Bootsy f’n Collins, man!), and a publicly recovering addict who probably shouldn’t be around us in a headlining slot unlike the places he’s accustomed to playing.

    Plus, you and I both know that Arcade Fire and the Black Keys aren’t headliner material. So who do you think the third real headliner is? Panic headlines Bonnaroo. I mean, it’s pretty much their party. So there’s still an open night.

  2. Some Jerk says:

    Stupid inherent editing: Hey Ben, if you’re really moderating these, use this one!

    Hey, don’t blame me for passing on such good rumors. Daft Punk tour rumors (Does the Tron soundtrack count as a new album?); a new Radiohead album coming out this week; I can even understand how they started. I actually meant to ask you today, would you rather it be Will Smith and U2 or Eminem and Buffalo Springfield? This has everything I would want in an initial Bonnaroo lineup: Bands I haven’t taken the opportunity to see in too long (Flecktones-remember that Sunday morning?) New Acts that sell out hard in the size of venues that exploding new bands play (Mumford- please tell me they didn’t actually win that grammy the other night), bands-musicians-I-don’t-even-know-if-it’s-one-person-or-a-bunch that I’ve been meaning to give a more in depth listen for quite some time (Explosions in the Sky), a couple of filthy danceparties (sts9), a few solid legends that I wouldn’t otherwise seek out (Bootsy f’n Collins, man!), and a publicly recovering addict who probably shouldn’t be around us, in a venue not quite like he usually plays, in a headlining slot.

    Plus, you and I both know that Arcade Fire and the Black Keys aren’t headliner size. So who do you think the third real headliner is? Panic headlines Bonnaroo. I mean, it’s pretty much their party. But there’s still an open night.

  3. Ben says:

    I could see them trying to shoehorn Buffalo Springfield into a headliner spot. LEGENDS!! Arcade Fire too, they just won Best Album at the Grammys and they’re practically indie rock royalty.

    But ya, I tend to concur, I do think there’s another headliner out there. Plus, we still haven’t heard about any of the comedians.

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