Well, the second installment of the festival season’s Big Four unveiled its lineup yesterday. Like rabid eight-year-olds on Christmas Eve, we waited impatiently for it Monday night, tapping our feet and gritting our teeth much to the chagrin of our loved ones, who only wanted to watch The Bachelor and enjoy Valentine’s Day. Questions crawled across our minds, stinging us with anticipatory venom: Did they actually get Radiohead? How is Jack White going to be involved? What was Ashley Capps tweeting about on Saturday night? Did they actually get Radiohead? Nothing could ease the tension; not whiskey, not sex, not drugs, not re-runs of Seinfeld. But then, alas, Tuesday came… and so our worries came to a halt.
Or did they?
Depending on the type of music fanatic you may be (there are really only two: insane or slightly insane), you’ve either come to the conclusion that you love the lineup, or you just “like” it. Regardless, you’re going to attend, so don’t fool yourself; however, disappointment can still sour the soul. Impressions change, though, and usually colossal lineups such as these need some time to sink in. We did it for Coachella, and although we initially pegged it as a rehash of 2010’s Lollapalooza, we came to believe the folks at Goldenvoice put together a pretty, pretty…pretty good lineup. You did, too–that’s why it sold out.
So, what about Bonnaroo? Well, it’s 24 hours later, and we’re pretty convinced. Here’s what we concluded…
The 5 Biggest Highlights
It goes without saying that this exclusive grab is the festival’s genuine breadwinner. After reuniting last year for Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, and Richie Furay proved this band has some power to behold, creating a buzz on the net that hasn’t let up since. Exclusivity aside, this band just belongs at Bonnaroo. Their supercharged folk sound is perfectly suited for the sunny confines of Manchester, TN, and you can’t deny that we’ve all been itching to see Neil Young at the ‘Roo.
Dr. John and The Original Meters
Most of you are probably scratching your heads, but Dr. John’s addition might be the sharpest get the festival’s had in years. Hailing from New Orleans, LA, this legendary multi-genre, multi-instrumentalist just oozes talent. He also stinks to the high heavens of “festival funk”, which is not a bad thing in the slightest. Oh, he’ll also be performing his 1974 classic, Destively Bonnaroo, but that’s not a big deal, right?
Robert Plant & the Band of Joy
Okay, so it’s not Led Zeppelin. So what? It’s Robert Plant. Fun fact: Did you know Band of Joy was Plant’s original group before LZ? Truth. Okay, so his latest album comprises itself of mainly covers, but it’s not like he won’t be scratching that tender, juicy back catalogue of his. Recent setlists have included past classics like “Gallows Pole”, “Misty Mountain Hop”, and “Rock N’ Roll”. Dare we say more?
Superjam featuring Dan Auerbach & Dr. John
After a two-year hiatus, Bonnaroo chose to resurrect its iconic Superjam with two rock titans and promises of special guests. Dare we say…. Jack White? Please?
String Cheese Incident
It’s Bonnaroo’s 10th anniversary, so it makes sense that they’d pull out some familiar faces. Fans should no doubt be pleased at the addition of the raucous cult-favorite String Cheese Incident. Some will argue there isn’t a better festival for them… we’ll see come June.
The 5 Biggest Surprises
Seriously, we can’t say this enough. We’ll just say it now… this performance alone sells the festival.
There had been whispers of the Louisiana rapper here and there, but then again, there were rumors for everyone this year. Although his appearance at this year’s Bamboozle somewhat diminishes his “get” value, Lil Wayne should make things, well, interesting, to say the least. It’s hard to predict what will happen with his set, or if there’s even an audience for him at the festival, but that makes things exciting, right?
If there’s one trend we’ve seen so far this year, it’s that all the same indie-oriented acts flesh out the mid to bottom tier. Beirut certainly caught our eye. Although set for a variety of festivals overseas, they haven’t appeared on any lineups for North American festivals yet, which makes their addition here rather unique. Bonnaroo should suit them well, too. Not only do they put on a hell of a show, but again, the setting should fit their sound remarkably.
The Swedish death metal gods may not be as surprising as GWAR’s inclusion in the Bonnaroo 2k10 lineup, but it definitely caught us off guard. Hell, of the 462 people who sent us their predictions, only 10 picked Opeth.
Bruce Hornsy actually self-confirmed himself a few weeks back, so his appearance on yesterday’s reveal wasn’t a shock. What remains surprising, however, is that Bruce fucking Hornsby got booked in the first place. That’s the way it is, I guess.
The 5 Biggest Omissions
With Monday morning’s new album announcement, coupled with a tweet from Mr. Ashley Capps himself over the weekend, it made sense to speculate on the UK’s fab quintet. Also, it logically made sense given the anniversary. Most fans believe the band’s 2006 performance was one of the group’s best to date, and festivalgoers peg it as one of the top moments in Bonnaroo history. Simply put: They should’ve been there.
They’re playing Sasquatch! and touring the southeast in May. So why not the ‘Roo? Definitely a head-scratcher, for sure.
Seeing as this appears to be one of the final opportunities to see Conor Oberst under the Bright Eyes moniker, we pegged a Bonnaroo appearance as likely. Once the band extended their U.S. tour dates through the end of May, we considered it a given. Thus, this is perhaps the most mysterious omission of ’em all.
He is playing the nearby Hangout Music Festival, so admittedly, it makes sense that he’s not double dipping. Still, Simon has a new record to push, and you can’t deny that he would have polished up that lineup card some.
Yo, Talib, wtf happened?
The 5 Names You Should Know
The Head and the Heart
Sub Pop’s latest signing appears destined for a huge 2011. In fact, by the time June rolls around, they could prove to be Thursday night’s biggest draw.
The “Ambassador of Boogie Funk” has been steadily growing buzz since debuting in the L.A. a few years back. His ’80s-influenced electro-funk would make for an excellent late-night set, so let’s hope they give him one of the coveted slots.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
With stunningly good looks and a collection of hooks, Grace Potter is the perfect cure for three days of nonstop sun and a lack of sleep.
There are a lot of hip-hop heavyweights on this year’s bill, but if you’re looking to catch a duo right on the cusp of stardom, then give Chiddy Bang a try.
The 26-year-old MC is Jay-Z’s protégé. Enough said.