Blogaroo 2012: My 15 most anticipated acts

15 May

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, folks! Bonnaroo is less than a month away, and to celebrate I’m officially kicking off Blogaroo 2012 — highlighting the can’t miss acts of this festi season.

To begin this year’s countdown — I present to you the 15 acts I am most excited to see this summer.

But music is meant to be shared! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or voting in the poll at the end of this post.

15. Childish Gambino


I don’t know what to say about Childish Gambino besides that he seems like a really good time. As Donald Glover, Gambino has starred in a number of television shows and movies — including Community and The Amazing Spiderman. I haven’t seen him act, but I’ve heard him rap, and based on his lyrics alone I respect him. He’s funny and lends a refreshing air to hip hop. I get the impression that he doesn’t take himself incredibly seriously, and I like that. Let’s face it — the music industry can only handle one Kanye.

The song You See Me initially attracted me, so take a listen and let me know what you think.

14. The Shins


Just call me Zach Braff, because I am really excited to see The Shins. Even though I was much more into them a few years back (who wasn’t when Garden State came out?), I’m still looking forward to finally seeing them live. They may be slightly trendy, but they remind me of a mix of Simon and Garfunkel and Portugal. The Man. Definitely a good sound on a late night. (I haven’t seen the schedule yet, but here’s to hoping they play later as opposed to earlier.)

Since I don’t know too much about their new stuff, check out an oldie but a goodie — New Slang — to hear the band. I’m sure you’ll recognize it.

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.


I know, I know — you immediately thought of the race car driver. So did I at first.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is an  indie-pop band from Detroit, and the duo is known for placing harmonic vocals over electronic and organic instruments. I know them for covering The Beach BoysGod Only Knows. I’m not a big Beach Boys fan, but I’d love to see the groups team up for the song.

It won’t happen, but I plan on seeing both versions in living color. I don’t know much about the band as of yet, but I plan on finding out a lot more at Roo.

12. Major Lazer


Addam and I have known about Major Lazer — aka Diplo and Switch — since they began working with M.I.A. in 2009, but we’ve been listening to much more of them since they were added to the Roo lineup. I’d describe them as dancehall meets reggae, so you can only imagine how excited we are about their set.

Bruk Out is the best I’ve heard by them, so take a listen and let me know what you think.

11. Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A.


I have to thank one of my favorite former neighbors, Rick Kokonas, for introducing me to Rodrigo y Gabriela, because I remember grilling out to them on many a Chicago night. Rod and Gab are known for quick pickin’ and heavy rhythm, so it’s sure to be an entertaining set. I don’t know if they’ll play in the afternoon or at night, but I think either one could be a good fit.

Here’s Hanuman. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

10. Skrillex


Skrillex is pretty much the biggest thing on the electronic music scene right now, so Addam and I are definitely planning to check him out. Although I’m not going to lie and say that I wouldn’t rather see Deadmau5 on the lineup, I’m always excited to experience a new show. And there’s NO ONE else like Skrillex.

I’m anticipating a late night set, and if he’s as crazy as I’ve heard he is, it’s sure to be a high-energy performance. Check out Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites if you haven’t already done so.

9. The Devil Makes Three


Addam and I saw The Devil Makes Three at Bonnaroo in 2010, but I can’t wait to see them again. Categorized as “folk punk,” the group’s unique sound encompasses a blend of bluegrass, folk, blues and rock. In a nutshell — they’re a fun band who plays feel good music. Maybe it’s the Virginian in me, but I don’t think it’s possible to feel down while they’re playing. Not that anyone will at Bonnaroo.

I’m including a link to my favorite song, Old Number 7, for your listening enjoyment. I love the song because it always takes me back to Tennessee, which is a very good mindset to be in when you’re preparing for a trip to Manchester. I’m no vocalist, but I can’t help but sing along every time I hear it.

8. Black Star


“One, two, three — Mos Def and Talib Kweli! We came to rock it on to the tip top — best alliance in hip hop, yi-ooooo.” Ok, ok — so I’m a little excited. I’ve seen them before, and even landed a photo and autograph with Talib, but who wouldn’t be pumped to see hip hop’s finest?

The duo has only released one album so far — the eponymous Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star (1998) — but another album hits stores this year. I haven’t heard much about Black Star Aretha, but if it’s anything like the last, the much-anticipated release is sure to turn heads. I hope to hear some new tracks at Bonnaroo.

Since I don’t have any new songs to post, here’s 2011’s You Already Knew.

7. Dispatch


I didn’t really know much about Dispatch until Addam started listening to them after the Bonnaroo lineup was announced, but we both dove into their music headfirst once we started following them. They describe themselves as a “funk and reggae-packed rock band,” so I’m sure you understand the appeal — especially to a couple of new-age hippies like my husband and I.

The General is probably their most popular song, so click the link and appreciate the sound.

6. SOJA


I love me some SOJA (Soldiers Of Jah Army), and it’s been far too long since I’ve seen them live. The group is based in Arlington, VA, so although they are just starting to come into the limelight and make a name for themselves, they’ve always been hometown heros.

Even though I may be partial because Addam resembles the group’s lead — Jacob Hemphill — their music hits hard. The group is a welcome breath of fresh air in today’s reggae market, and it takes about 2.5 seconds to realize that they’ve learned from legends.

Take a minute to listen to Sorry and let me know what you think.

5. fun.


I hadn’t heard of this band until the Bonnaroo lineup was released, but oh, dear God, am I happy that I know them now. Fun. is an indie pop band based in New York, and you can definitely hear the city’s influence on the band’s sound. As I’m young and (relatively) rebellious, I relate to their lyrics, which I find to be both inspiring and a little haunting. At the very least, I’ve found meaning behind what I have heard. And they can really pump me up for a long bike ride home from work.

Check out the group’s biggest hits, We Are Young and Some Nights (my personal fave).

4. Phish


Phish is a hippie stronghold. So much, in fact, that I don’t know that you can go to Bonnaroo if you’re not a fan. (No, it actually is that serious.) While I can’t boast 23 shows like most long-time Phish fans, I’ve seen them play about four or five times on the festi-circuit, and can’t wait to see them again this year.

They’re headlining and are supposed to play two shows — one of which will surely be a late-night set — so Addam and I should get to see a lot of them over the weekend.

I don’t know if anyone on the planet hasn’t heard of Phish, but check out Runaway Jim and let me know if you like what you hear.

3. The Avett Brothers


I almost don’t even feel the need to write about this band, because who does not already know and love The Avett Brothers? No one I’d like to hang out with, that’s for sure.

That being said — their set is destined to be a good time. Addam has always been extremely impressed by the group’s complex melodies and symbolic songwriting, so it’s a show that we’re both looking forward to attending. While there are probably hundreds of songs I could pick to feature on this blog, check out January Wedding. I’ve had it on repeat as of late.

2. Radiohead


I’ve never seen Radiohead live, but they just played at the AmericanAirlines Arena a couple of months ago. A few of my friends went, and from what I’ve heard the show was remarkable. Since then I’ve been even more excited about checking them out for myself.

As they’re headlining, the brits won’t play a late-night set, but I’m anticipating a 8 or 9 p.m. show. Let’s face it — Radiohead just doesn’t play at 3 in the afternoon. As their music is an adrenaline rush, I don’t think I’ll have any problem storing up energy for the night’s later acts.

Check out Paranoid Android to hear the band at its best.

1. Jack White/The Alabama Shakes


Ok, ok, ok. So Jack White is not technically on the Bonnaroo lineup. But, hear me out, because he is going to be there.

Right now Mr. White is touring with Alabama Shakes, an incredible southern rock band that got its start in Athens, Georgia just three years ago. Jack is promoting his first solo album and has a break through the beginning of June, during which the Shakes will be playing Roo. So — he has to be there. Right?

If he is, I’m sure the performance will change my life. If not, well — then I can’t wait to see the Alabama Shakes. The group’s female lead, Brittany Howard, has some strong pipes, and I love the group’s gritty, southern rock sound. Check out the official video for their song Hold On to see what I mean.

That’s it guys! Make sure to let me know by leaving a comment or voting in the poll below!


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“If music be the food of love, play on.” — William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright (1564-1616).

3 Responses to “Blogaroo 2012: My 15 most anticipated acts”

  1. addam May 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    i cant wait to see all of them!

    • Moma May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      Alabama Shakes is FANTASTIC!!!! I love her. Her voice is awesome.

      • Moma May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        Also, The Devil Makes, with Ole Number 7. Awesome too.

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