It’s that time again – festival season. Shelling out your hard-earned money to see a million bands in the same place, formulating a strategy for making sure to see your very favorites, while potentially missing out on other great acts. Not to mention the logistics of food, water, & restrooms; it’s enough to drive one crayzaay (see our festival essentials guide here). Here are our picks for live acts at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival we’ve personally experienced that are worth your time, as well as some names we would make sure to check out.
We had the opportunity to see The xx (with one of our favorite bands, Austra), & were super impressed with their live show. The slow jams were amped up thanks to Jamie’s house mixes, & the addition of booming beats accompanied by an incredible light show made for an amazing, enamoring performance. AND — Oliver Sim offers some babely British eye candy. Win win.
Tame Impala will heighten your senses. They adopt a vintage sound to produce an original take on prog-psych-rock. Their extremely well-crafted songs set them apart from other washy bands in this genre. We saw them at the beginning of their (sold-out) US tour & never wanted the Australian dreamscape to end. We bet that’s what seeing Pink Floyd felt like.
While being a college kid magnet due to their extensive tours through campuses, Purity Ring provides a fun show with their interactive cocoon-light fixtures that are integrated into the music. Their live performance is almost identical to the album recording, serving as a pleasant surprise. On a warm summer night, this is the show you want to be dancing with your girlfriends to (in jorts).
Never got to see Otis Redding live? Neither did we. But Lee Fields & The Expressions come a close second with their heavy hitting, wholehearted set. They have a rare sincerity amongst their Truth & Soul ensemble, & Field’s retro-funk powerhouse vocals, flashy get-ups, & solid dance moves never make for a dull moment. You might never see such a dapper, soulful group of white men (The Expressions) ever again. If Lady makes an appearance, then you are in for a real treat.
We don’t have the pleasure of seeing the boys in Local Natives until next month, but wouldn’t expect anything less than a rich & satisfying show. This band is probably not fully appreciated until seen live. If you’re looking to shake your butt, DO NOT miss A-trak‘s set. Bigger musical acts we would obviously wait 4 hours for: um, DUH Paul McCartney, Bjork, Tom Petty, David Byrne + St. Vincent, & R.Kelly, clearly. (See his thoughts on echoes here).
That being said, the Bonnaroo website has a feature where ‘Roo fans’ can create their own lineup, & when you roll over different acts, you can see how many people are planning on seeing a band. With additions into the fifteen-thousands for bigger acts, one can envision a veritable shit show, where you’ve got to get there early & sacrifice seeing other acts in order to secure a good spot. This is a good metric for what you need to block out time for waiting.
For comedy, we suggest Nikki Glaser. One half of the podcast You Had to Be There, Glaser seems like your funniest bestie. She recently filmed a special for Comedy Central (airing early May) so we are bound to hear more great things from her in the future. Check her out now, & brag to your friends that you knew all along. Then there’s Mike Birbiglia! (remember when he was in GIRLS?) BIRBIGS in the haaaus. You’ve probably seen Sleep Walk With Me, & if you haven’t, you basically have no excuse since it’s streaming instantly on Netflix. We love his additions to This American Life & his overall hilarious mining of an awkward adolescence.
Writing about Bonnaroo makes us wish we were going! We will wear our flower crowns in spirit :) Stay hydrated & sparkly! xo