This summer I am working as a counselor at my childhood summer camp, Camp Crosley YMCA. I will be missing my last summer at home before I leave for college, but it still has been very exciting. I have often found that summers, although very fun are not as exciting as you initially plan them to be. I have to go to lifeguard and many friends also have summer jobs. No matter what is planned, less ends up getting done.
Last night the Bonnaroo lineup was posted and I am now questioning my decision to be away this summer. I have never seen a festival as stellar as Bonnaroo 2012. First off, and most importantly, The Avett Brothers are there. Every headliner is a true mainstream star that does their own thing and has yet to sell out: Radiohead, Phish, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I thought I would go down the list and talk about all the bands I’m excited about.
The Devil Makes Three is getting A LOT of talk from Avett Nation. This fan base lifted three blue-collar boys to national stardom, and I believe this contemporary ragtime band has what it takes as well.
If Jack Johnson was in a jam band, it would be ALO. Signed to his label (Brushfire) they will definitely keep the mellow concertgoers entertained.
I was surprised to see Trampled by Turtles so low on the lineup. Paste Magazine has called them one of the best live acts of the year. They bring a punk atmosphere to a head banging bluegrass show with a flatpicked banjo. They are coming to the Taft Theater in April, a show I am not planning on missing.
I discovered Das Racist from Donald Glover’s (aka Childish Gambino) blog, iamdonald. They are a three part cuban hip hop outfit known for their witty lines and academic minded rhymes. Similar style to Childish Gambino himself.
The Alabama Shakes in my opinion the best band of 2011 is going to tear up the small stage they are placed on. For a band that only has an EP out, they are tearing up the music scene. Brittany Howard, bands singer has the voice of Wilson Pickett and has more soul in one finger than most people have in their entire body. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will be this time next year.
If you don’t believe girls can rock, then watch the Joy Formidable. At Lolla last year they played the first show we saw of the day. They played a set so powerful that they ended early and nobody seemed to even care. During their closer, “Whirring,” frontman Ritzy Bryan banged her guitar against a gong while inflatable cat heads shot up from the ground, it was very reminiscent of something you would see at a Who show.
Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires will take you back to when African-American Blues started becoming what we know today as Rock and Roll. His raspy voice tears apart the microphone as he belts out every word. He is one of those musicians where you know he means every word he says from looking at his almost tearful face.
If you were to take the greatest hits of The Supremes, you would have an album very similar to Fitz and the Tantrum’s Pickin Up the Pieces. This Motown/Modern sound will keep the crowd on their feet and dancing.
The Punch Brothers are the face of New-Grass right now. Chris Thile of Nickel Creek fame and the rest of the boys are as talented as can be. Each note shows their talent. Whether they are covering Bach, Radiohead, or playing an original, they will tear up the stage. When it comes down to pure musical talent, the Punch Brothers are the best band there.
The two-man band, The Civil Wars, create the sound of a full band with just a man, a woman, and a guitar. Their two voices blend together seamlessly. The audience will mostly hear beautiful ballads, but they also know how to get rowdy. My only worry is that half the band, Joy Williams, recently got pregnant and it will keep her from performing at the hot summer festival.
The tUnE-yArDs is possibly the strangest band you will ever hear (the crazy capitalized letters probably hinted at that). Frontwoman Merrill Garbus plays the ukulele and loops with her voice to create her sounds and beats. The result is something so obscure, but beautiful. She manages to put something together that could easily be dismissed as hipster bullshit into a work of art.
Donald Glover is the most diverse man in the industry. He acted in the sketch group Derrick Comedy, wrote for 30 Rock and SNL, acts for Community, models, and now raps. He got his name Childish Gambino through a Wu-Tang name simulator and has shown the fun side of the genre. For years he released his music for free, but now wants to be taken a little more seriously.Camp,his first real album dropped in 2011 and is taking over. Hip-hop isn’t just for thugs anymore.
Ben Folds Five is having a reunion. In the 90’s Ben Folds was playing what he called “punk rock for wimpy people” with this trio. The concept was simple, rock music with no guitars. When they broke up he went solo and created more orchestrated music. For reasons not known to me, they are back. Folds’ music was never as good since he left, I am excited for their return.
The Roots are the greatest hip-hop group of all time in my opinion. Drummers ?uestlove and Knuckles create the beats on drums and bongos while guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas, tuba player Tuba Gooding Jr., and keyboard player Kamal create the instrumentation. MC Black Thought sings about poverty and the problems with the world today. They are the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and like Childish Gambino, know how to have a lot of fun!
Lastly, you all know my love for the Avett Brothers and why I do so I don’t think I really need to talk too much about this, but I will add that my Nemo article will be posted next!