06. Mad Cool Festival
MVP Headliner: Three rock titans take over each day at Mad Cool, but there’s absolutely no missing the Foo Fighters. Even when he’s broken, frontman Dave Grohl is a total beast on stage, and this time he’ll be sans crutches, which means he’ll be back to his old self, hopping around like Bugs Bunny on meth. Here’s hoping their new album is more Saint Cecilia EP and less Sonic Highways.
Best Gets: Considering North American festivals have all but given up on rock, it’s nice to see veterans like Dinosaur Jr. and Rancid on lineups again. Unlike their peers, J Mascis and co. translate very well to the festival setting, namely because the band’s amps are traditionally set to “Bludgeon.” And with Green Day nearby, perhaps there will be two Armstrongs around during Rancid’s set.
Added Value: Because it’s such an assuredly lean lineup, there really isn’t too much fat to skim off, which means every act has to count, and they kind of do. Diamonds like Ryan Adams, Wilco, and Spoon are all supporting new material and will undoubtedly put on some can’t-miss sets that will likely rival the three headliners. And hey, you can always dance off the riffs with Röyksopp.
Can’t-Miss Rookies: CoSign rockers Wolf Alice were already worth seeing two years ago, but now that their hit, “Silk”, has been soundtracking the T2: Trainspotting trailers, there’s an added oomph to their sets. Don’t miss Deap Vally do their thing, either.
Final Thoughts: One common misconception among festivalgoers is that lineups need to be bigger and broader. Not always; after all, you can only be at so many places at once and conflicts suck. What many forget is that experience is key, which is why there’s something so alluring about Mad Cool Festival’s bite-size lineup. This is a very focused and well-curated weekend, one that speaks to a certain kind of listener and one that should warrant a friendly, like-minded crowd. That’s pretty great.