Last year was my first trip to the Manchester, TN farm and I had a blast. Day one found me checking out such hot new bands as Hockey and White Rabbits. Day two I saw Animal Collective play in bright daylight, TV on the Radio rock out, watched the Penguins win the Stanley Cup with 30 strangers on a 13-inch screen while David Byrne and Jets Overhead rocked for my attention in the background, and then saw Phish for the first time in 5 years. Day Three kicked off with a hot set by Turbine, a surprise set from Jimmy Buffett, Comedy from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Jimmy Fallon broken up by big time favorite Dan Dyer, a taste of Elvis Costello and Wilco before the main course being in the pit of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The final day rounded out with Lebowski Fest, Okkervil River, Merle Haggard, Coheed & Cambria, and Phish with special guest Bruce Springsteen, a collaboration that truly blew my mind.
With all that excitement, the attention now turns to what surprises are in store for 2010. As noticed by the earlier list, I didn't get out to many late nights last year. This year seems all about the late nights. Here's a rundown of what I hope to catch.
The Temper Trap
Mayer Hawthorne and the County
Thursday is traditionally set for up and coming bands and this year is no different. Heavy hitters not to overlook include The Temper Trap and Local Natives which is why you'll find me at That Tent mostly on Thursday. Local Natives' killer Gorilla Manor and The Temper Trap's great Conditions lead the way but you'd be hard pressed to be let down on the festival's first day.
The Young Veins
The Gaslight Anthem
She & Him
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Kings of Leon
Daryl Hall and Chromeo
Friday is action-packed from the get-go. Starting with Panic! at the Disco ex-pats The Young Veins' retro sound is a good lead-in for The Gaslight Anthem's Springsteen-tinged Jersey punk. Then it's ladies day at This Tent as Beth Ditto's Gossip will have a mid-day dance party and then indie goddess Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward rock out as She & Him. I'll probably leave She & Him early to catch a bit of the National as High Violet and their back catalogue has me excited for the band. Then from the National, we go into the awesome power that is Tenacious D. I've seen the D before at Madison Square Garden but as D appearances are rare and Conan O'Brien is on hand, I feel this set is a don't miss. Probably, debut some new tracks as well. Michael Franti and Spearhead, a festival staple, will bring some much needed vibes to the day before seeing local boys Kings of Leon rock the main stage.
Friday late night is just as insane as the day. Making a decision on the three-way logjam that is the Flaming Lips, The Black Keys, and Daryl Hall & Chromeo, watching one clip from Live from Daryl's House on YouTube made the decision easy. Daryl Hall & Chromeo will be one not to miss. The Flaming Lips will be around and The Black Keys, I'll catch at Lollapalooza. It all leads to probably the biggest set of the day (sorry Kings of Leon), LCD Soundsystem from 2-4 AM. I don't even need to say anymore. It's gonna be on fire.
The Avett Brothers
After the clusterbang that is Friday, the Bonnaroo scheduling gets much easier. Saturday is really about one thing for me: Conan. I will do whatever it takes to be in the Comedy Tent for Coco. Probably the artist I'm most looking to see at the 'Roo this year. Never was able to catch a taping of Late Night so this'll be as close to that as I can get. Nice breather after Coco, either watching USA/England in the World Cup or making my way to the What Stage for Jimmy Cliff. A reggae legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, it will be amazing to be in the sunshine (hopefully) enjoying Cliff's mellow grooves. The folk rock stylings of the Avett Brothers will follow that only to ramp it up for an amazing 1-2-3 combo with the pop-rock of Weezer, the legendary funk/R&B of Stevie Wonder, and then a special late night set by one of the greatest MCs ever, Jay-Z. It's gonna be a crazy evening. Another cool down with Thievery Corporation and then back up with DeadMau5 and The Disco Biscuits raving into the early morning.
They Might Be Giants
Zac Brown Band
Dave Matthews Band
After raging all day, what better way to ease into the last day of Bonnaroo than the great pop of Ingrid Michaelson? It really will be a perfect Sunday kickoff. Then some comedy with the very hot Aziz Ansari. It'll be interesting to see what he has now that he had a bit about Bonnaroo and the Sonic Forest on his last record. Stalwart jamband Blues Traveler will bring their signature sound to the Other Tent following by legendary geek rockers They Might Be Giants. Dropkick Murphys will be a nice way to break the mellowness of the day with their Irish punk before winding down with country-fried Zac Brown Band, indie darlings Phoenix, and Dave Matthews Band, who will bring the heat but who's mellow vibes are only succeeded by Jack Johnson. A very mellow but musically great Sunday.
That's what's on my schedule for Bonnaroo. I'm sure there will be deviations and surprises. I'll hopefully post some photos and stories from the event when I get back next week. For updates during the event, follow me on Twitter: @MusicGroz