And here it is: your Bonnaroo 2015 lineup! First things first: once again, no Prince. But don’t fret, as The Purple One continues to elude Middle Tennessee’s favorite music festival, some surprising headliners and a seriously diverse (and downright awesome) host of undercard artists are bound for Manchester in June.
On the headliner tip: Continuing the festival’s format of balancing heritage rockers, modern-day rock stars and hyper-relevant hip-hop stars (while eschewing the past tradition of having a big jam band on the bill), Billy Joel, Kendrick Lamar and Mumford & Sons are this year’s main stage marquee-toppers.
With a (likely) cumbersome Bonnaroo 2015 lineup announcement slated for next week, festival headliner and undercard predictions are getting more and more accurate on the chat boards .... maybe. Inforoo, the hangout for 'Roo lineup prognosticators, says Mumford and Sons, Billy Joel and Kendrick Lamar will top the bill at Great Stage Park this year. And par for the course, other users on the message board are posting mock-up posters.
Look at the fake lineup above (and three more after the jump) and discuss who you think/hope actually makes it to Manchester this year.
Well, good news! Bonnaroo will unleash its initial line-up on Tuesday, January 13 — a full month ahead of their usual schedule. But, as with anything Bonnaroo-y, it’s never actually that easy.
Well, if you followed along with Team Cream as we trudged through the 13th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (see all of our coverage here!), then you may recall that Californian rock 'n' roller Ty Segall had a rip-roaring opening-night set, complete with more stage-diving than I've ever seen at the 'Roo (and this year's fest was my seventh).
But in addition to inciting stage dives and crowd surfing while he was at Bonnaroo, Segall also apparently made it his mission to incite some LOLs. Above you can see the "special report" Ty filed for local punk blog-cum-label Nashville's Dead. It mainly consists of Segall screaming "FUCKING AWESOME," messing with fruit, and making faces and noises that are reminiscent of Tim and Eric's oeuvre. Enjoy!
Bonnaroo Sunday. The homestretch. Sun-scorched and having fully exhausted both the pleasure center and the make-wordsy-writings portion of our brain, The Spin had the finishing line — what would turn out to be a marathon performance from Sir Elton John — in our sights. All we needed to do was drag our sore, tender asses from tent to tent for 12 more hours. As it turns out, most of the day's sets would match our own mood — somewhat languid and largely laid-back, but generally feelin' groovy — even if there was a killer, high-octane set from hometown heroes Those Darlins thrown into the mix.
Sunday was the day of rescheduling, and it pains me to say it was disappointing. Broad City stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer came out to raucous roars and danced around and were instantly beloved, mostly because they are kind of famous people who are on television. But it felt like their bit was written on the plane ride over, either woman singing songs to highlight momentous occasions in each of their lives, from birth to boob touching to brunch. They were charming enough, but charm does not a comedy set make, and we were asked when we left if either even had a background in stand-up. Don’t get me wrong: Broad City is a fabulous show and we should all watch it forever, but fun personalities from TV shows don’t always translate well to this kind of festival environment. A friend mentioned that the dudes from The League had the same problem a few years earlier.
Craig Robinson’s deal started a half-hour late (at least in part due to sound check for his seven-piece band), which is frankly unacceptable, especially when there’s a line of a few thousand waiting outside on the hottest day of the weekend. His opener Seth Herzog was funny enough, playing to the festival crowd by wearing a Wonder Woman outfit and making jokes about Kanye. Robinson’s band played an extended funk intro, but if anyone was in the mood for some funky jams, they would have been out in the festival. Come on. “Dance with me,” he asked. Six bros obliged. He did “Take Yo Panties Off” and everyone seemed happy enough for that, and then, for me at least, that was the end.
About a third of the way through Elton John’s closing performance at Bonnaroo on Sunday night, The Spin was asked if EJ's set list was front-loaded with all of his best songs, or if he just had that many hits. The answer, of course, is that he’s just got that many hits. That’s the great thing about legacy acts: Their songs have permeated the lives of millions over decades, and audience members have the fun of not only sharing in a literally awesome communal experience wherein you become one of tens of thousands singing along to “Bennie and the Jets,” but also of making phenomenal memories. Like the bro we saw singing along to “Tiny Dancer” and holding back tears. Like the gay couple near us whose jaws dropped in druggy glee when Ben Folds was introduced to play along with “Grey Seal.” Like the guy on the giant screens who was filmed crowd-surfing at a damn Elton John concert. Even Elton himself said it was his “First ever festival in America.” Oh, Bonnaroo.
Whereas Bonnaroo Friday felt strangely dark — metal bands, mud puddles, skronking EDM and people chanting "Fuck Kanye!" turned it into a Freaky Friday of sorts — Saturday felt like ... well, it felt like Bonnaroo. Lionel Richie and Damon Albarn blessed the festival grounds with pop of both the Brit and American varieties, a Superjam winded through the night with myriad surprises, and (who else?!) The Flaming Lips showered attendees with confetti and psychedelic energy.
As far as headline-status main-stage performances are concerned, Kanye West set a surprisingly low bar on Friday night. So long as Saturday night headliner Jack White neither alienated his crowd nor provided a mediocre, lackluster performance — and those aren’t exactly things the Nashville resident and Third Man Records honcho is known for — it promised to be a bar White could likely skip over while blindfolded with his Telecaster-strumming hand tied behind his back. And as soon as White delivered his first words to the audience (“Come on, Tennessee! I know you!,” which he shouted in the middle of his second song) he had Bonnaroo eating from the palm of his hand.
With his band gathered around him in a tight semi-circle and bathed in powder-blue light, White would later tell his audience that, rather than using pyrotechnics or flashy gimmicks, he hoped to play like he and his friends were performing in some room together, with all of us looking in. He engaged the tens-of-thousands-strong crowd all throughout his set, “checking up on” everyone and noting that — just as he told us in our interview with him days ago — his “heart goes out to” anyone who loves music enough to suffer through lines and heat and mud just to watch their favorite artists perform. “Who makes music happen?” he demanded. “Does a tabloid like Rolling Stone make music happen? You and I make it exist.” Unlike Kanye, White wasn’t playing at his audience — he was playing to them.
Brad Williams performed again, and believe it or not, I had forgotten I had seen him do stand-up on a previous day. It’s weird that I had forgotten, because he is a little person. But his name is so inconspicuous, the memory had just faded away. He’s a very raunchy comic in the “here are sex things” mold, but he doesn’t present himself at all weird or hateful the way a lot of male comics who use that material do. He lambasted Kanye’s performance as well (“If he had a midget he would have played some songs!”), and it killed.
I decided to skip out real quick on Bridget Everett and the Tender Moments to pop over to the cinema and check out Drunk History Live. In my head, it was going to be stand-ups absolutely hammered at midday trying to tell a story, but it was in fact unseen clips from the show highlighting things like Nellie Bly and the Statue of Liberty. Oh, and SNL critic “Jebidiah Atkinson” (portrayed by Taran Killam) made an appearance to critique the festival. His most popular zinger? “Diarrhea Planet? So, Bonnaroo.”
On day three, yeah, pretty much.
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