Posted: 9:05 pm Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
There’s something exciting at looking at the lineup of a massive destination music festival such as Bonnaroo and thinking, “Look at all these acts I’ll get to see!”
That anticipation can sometimes turn daunting when the schedule comes out and you begin to wonder, “How am I gonna see everything I want to see!?”
Most music festivals have a “custom schedule” feature on their website now. It’s either helpful or hurtful, depending on how many conflicts you have. My lone trip to The Farm back in 2014 featured, if I remember correctly, Vampire Weekend, Chvrches, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Phoenix all performing at the same time.
Now, I invite you to join me in looking at my custom schedule for 2016. If I’m overlooking any must-see artists, definitely let me know!
Hopefully I’ll get to Roo in time for Katie Crutchfield’s acclaimed indie project Waxahatchee. I caught her twin sister Allison’s band Swearin’ opening for Japandroids a few years ago and heard good things. The London Souls are a blistering duo that I caught two songs from at Okeechobee Music Festival a few months back and wished I could have heard more. Bully is a much-buzzed-about Nashville band with a fearless frontwoman and a grunge vibe. They pretty much have my name all over them. Next Big Thing alumnus B0RNS and jazzy lounge duo Marian Hill overlap almost completely, and I tend to veer towards bands I haven’t seen before. And Tampa Bay’s own Polyenso have a small stage slot just prior.
Friday’s our first full day on The Farm. I’ll spend until 5 PM CT broadcasting. Hopefully I’ll have time to catch both Shamir’s genre- and gender-bending pop and FIDLAR’s So-Cal garage-punk. Lucius and Chvrches provide the first true scheduling dilemma. I caught both at Bonnaroo in 2014; but Lucius have since pulled a sonic 180º eschewing alt-folk for synth pop, and I might be privy to a possible surprise during Chvrches’ set. I wasn’t impressed by Halsey when she opened for Imagine Dragons last year, but I’m open to giving her another shot. My boss has raved about Leon Bridges’ retro soul. And M83 and the reunited LCD Soundsystem are no-brainers at a festival of this magnitude. I’ve never seen either. But mostly I’m looking forward to the electro-psych rock of Australia’s Tame Impala. I listed Purity Ring because I’ve heard they’re good and I’ve liked a few songs, but the chance of me making it over to see them between LCD and Tame Impala is pretty small. On the smaller stages, we’ve got some current Saturday Night Live standouts doing some comedy and a couple of up and coming rock bands – in case I need a break from the bigger crowds. On to Saturday…
Saturday’s schedule is just as massive as Friday’s but the acts are just a little bit bigger. I’ve never seen Band Of Horses, Clutch, or Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Hopefully I can catch some of each with a little Two Door Cinema Club on the side. 2DCC put on a killer show at The Ritz Ybor a few years back. Ideally, I’ll catch a bit of Lamb Of God – Bonnaroo’s lone extreme metal offering this year (The Farm is usually good for a few of these bands… I saw Mastodon in ’14) before the folks in the Radio Roo compound make a caravan over to prime Pearl Jam viewing areas. Pearl Jam was my number one draw for the Bonnaroo 2016 – at least prior to the April 11 show in Tampa which I wasn’t sure I would originally be able to attend. But a second Pearl Jam set in two months? I won’t turn down that opportunity. Afterwards, there’s the Tennessee-focused Superjam and multiple acts that I just saw at Okeechobee back in March like Big Grams, RL Grime, and Miguel.
On the final day, hopefully I’ll get to see Givers. I was broadcasting at Okeechobee when they played that festival. I’ve been reading music blog buzz about Kurt Vile for years. And if I don’t dig him, Next Big Thing alumni Saint Motel will be mere footsteps away. Hipsters will probably think I’m crazy for choosing X Ambassadors over Father John Misty, but I just can’t get into FJM. I’ve tried. And I’ve never seen a complete X Ambassadors set. Just bits and pieces of them 3 times. And finally, Death Cab For Cutie. Definitely my be-all, end-all for Sunday since I’ve never seen them before. After that I imagine we’ll hit the road and make our way back home.