It is that time of the year again. The sun is out, bands are out on the road, and crowds of all ages are tracking across the United States for the greatest concert acts in the world! Ah yes, it is festival season!
Coachella has come and gone with memorable shows by Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga but now, it is Bonnaroo’s turn to kick off the Summer and they have one of the greatest rock headliners in history. U2 will bring their 30th Anniversary tour of Joshua Tree to the farm in Manchester, TN and play the 16 year old festival for the very first time. Bonnaroo is the only festival U2 is playing this year and it’s first festival appearance of any kind since Glastonbury in 2011.
This year, Bonnaroo’s organisers went hard and heavy with the headliners providing a little bit of something for everyone in terms of pop music. At the top of the lineup you will find U2 joined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, who both will provide much nostalgia mixed with some of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time. The other two headliners are two of the biggest names in R&B and Hip-Hop, Chance the Rapper and The Weeknd. Both of these artists have ascended into the upper stratosphere with their latest albums which have established them as major superstars and worthy of their slots at the fest.
The rest of the big names are rounded out by Australia’s own Flume, New Zealand’s Lorde, Major Lazer, The xx and Travis Scott. The four day festival which takes place in Manchester. Tennessee is known for attracting a very positive oriented, hippie style community. But the lineup has changed steadily over the past few years and this year’s lineup has a very different feel to it. Gone are the jam bands that started this festival and gave it its own identity and instead is a heavy influx of new and international DJs. This is clearly a sign of how the times have changed and how Bonnaroo is choosing to evolve to stay alive and keep thriving.
There is no doubt that U2 will provide incredible moments Friday night that will last a lifetime for the crowd in attendance. The rest of the headliners should provide great shows, and Flume I am positive will continue his American dominance on the festival circuit and pull in one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. But I am going to focus on four acts I am most excited to see this weekend that are not headliners and you may not know about.
Four Non-Headliners You Can’t Miss at Bonnaroo
Portugal. The Man
This American Alt-Rock band from Alaska has been a personal favorite of mine for years, but this band is primed and ready to make a major move to headlining status. Their live shows have always been a can’t miss event, with the stunning vocals of lead singer John Gourley and their hypnotic, funky guitar riffs create a sound and aesthetic to their show that is addictive.
The fact they play a late night set that should last past two in the morning will create the greatest atmosphere they have ever had on their farm and thanks to their incredible new single “Feel It Still” they should have their biggest crowd yet. This will definitely be a can’t miss show.
Fatimah Warner is making quite the name of herself, it just happens to be that that name is Noname. This Chicago rapper floored me when I saw her earlier this year at SXSW and she has been riding a wave of critical and personal success since the release of her debut album Telefone.
Noname has some of the most clever and fastest rhymes you are going to be seeing at Bonnaroo plus her energy, positivity and overall enjoyment she exudes on stage makes her a joy to watch perform.
This Nashville pop-rock band won’t be too far from home when they hit the Bonnaroo stage, but they surely will be playing their biggest show they have ever played in their home state. The past year has seen this band release three singles that get stuck in your head and refuse to get out. “Run,” “I Don’t Want to Dance,” and “Talk Too Much,” are each as infectious and fun as the former.
The great vibes and sing along moments that each of these studio recordings possesses are sure to bring even more life and energy live and in person. I can’t wait to see them for the first time.
What is in the water in Iceland? For a country so small it has produced some of the greatest, innovative and enchanting artists and bands of the past decade and more. From Bjork, Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Ros and more I constantly find myself transfixed by whatever is coming out of Iceland. Kaleo is the countries latest artist gaining big time notoriety.
“Way Down We Go” has become a stadium anthem here in the United States and a huge radio hit, but their diversity in their sound is jarring when you listen to that in succession with Kaleo’s other singles “No Good” and “All the Pretty Girls.” I can’t wait to see what they have in store on the festival’s biggest stage Friday afternoon.
Come back this weekend to catch my daily recaps and highlights of this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.