Monday, May 11, 2009

A Daily Guide to Bonnaroo: Friday, June 12

The Itals (Post-Rock/Punk Rock/Reggae)
1:30-2:45 pm

Keith Porter, Ronnie Davis and Lloyd Ricketts worked together in the late '60s as The Westmorelites and formed The Itals in 1976. Davis and Ricketts had previously worked together as The Tennors. The Itals recorded several albums through the '70s and '80s, with their debut single, "In A Disya Time" topping the Jamaican charts. They were nominated for Best Reggae album at the Grammy's, for 1987's Rasta Philosohpy. Over the years The Itals lineup has changed, with David Isaacs joining in 1987 after Ricketts was sentenced to a prison term. Ronnie Davis left the group in 1994, being replaced by his daughter Kada. They're touring in 2009 in support of a newly released compilation of early works, as well as a brand new album, Let Them Talk, coming later this year.

Watch the Itals at the 2008 Richmond Folk Festival

Galactic (Electronic/Funk/Hip-Hop/Jam/Jazz/Rock/World)
3:45-5:00 pm

Galactic began as an instrumental sextet in New Orleans, after guitarist Jeff Raines and bassist Robert Mercurio moved from D.C. to attend both Tulane and Loyola Universities, respectively. They became enamored in the local funk scene, particularly with legendary acts like The Meters and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They teamed up with renowned New Orleans drummer Stanton Moore, saxophonist/harmonica player and producer Ben Ellman and organist Rich Vogel. They later added vocalist Theryl DeClouet, who left in 2004 due to health problems. They continued on as an instrumental jamband, fusing together sounds of blues, electronic, funk, jazz, rock and world. They later added elements of hip-hop, when a number of underground MCs joined them on their album, From the Corner to the Block, also adding vocals.

Watch Galactic perform at Bonnaroo 2007

Critic's Pick
Al Green (Gospel/R&B/Soul)
6:00-7:30 pm

The legendary Reverend Al Green's rise to fame came in the '70s, with hit singles like "Let's Stay Together", "I'm Still in Love With You" and "Take Me to the River." One of the best-selling musician's of all-time, Green has put out twenty-seven studio albums, the most recent being 2008's Lay It Down, which reached #9 on the U.S. charts and #3 on the U.S. R&B charts. He's had fourteen hit singles, was named #65 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artist of All Time list, was inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame in 2004, and honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 BET Awards.

Watch Al Green on Jools Holland in 2008

Beastie Boys (Hip-Hop/Punk Rock/Rap Rock)
8:30-10:00 pm

Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock formed the Beasties in New York in 1979, with Mix Master Mike joining in the late '90s. Although they started out strictly as a hardcore punk act, they later switched to hip-hop, but still incorporate elements of punk in their sound. Recent inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Beastie Boys are one of the longest-live hip-hop acts. 2009 celebrates the release of their eighth studio album, entitled Tadlock's Glasses. Though they've only put out seven albums previously, the Beastie Boys are one of the major pioneer's of rap-rock.

Watch the Beastie Boys at Langerado 2008

Critic's Pick
Phish (Alternative Rock/Jam/Jazz Fusion/Progressive Rock)
11:00-2:00 am

What started out at the University of Vermont in the early '80s, Phish would go on to become one of the most successful touring bands of all-time, only next to the Grateful Dead. After twenty years together, they took a break in 2004, with each of the member's concentrating on various solo projects. 2009 marks the end of the five-year hiatus, and a new beginning or second coming, for those that may have been too young to experience Phish the first time around. They've proved that they can still sell tickets like hotcakes, with everyone of their shows this year selling out in a matter of minutes. They'll be performing on two seperate days at this year's Bonnaroo Music Festival, which is probably the best way for this band to mark their return.

Watch Phish perform "David Bowie" on the first night of their reunion tour

Gomez (Folk/Indie Rock)
12:30-1:45 pm

These indie rockers come from Southport, England, where they formed in 1996. Two years later, they won the Mercury Music Prize for their debut album, Bring It On, although it's their only effort which did not recieve critical acclaim in the United States. For the most part, the band was put together while the members attended college together, however, vocalist/guitarist Ian Ball and drummer Olly Peacock had known each other since a young age, as well as having played in a number of bands before forming Gomez. First signed to Virgin Records, they were later dropped, only to be picked up by Dave Matthews' ATO Records in 2005. The band has toured extensively in the U.S. over the years in hopes of building their name, playing festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza, as well as sharing tours with John Mayer and Cake. They've played Bonnaroo a couple times, the last being in 2006. They'll be adding some new material to this year's Bonnaroo performance, as they're currently on the road in support of their newest disc, A New Tide, seen as their most experimental work to date.

Watch some video of Gomez

Critic's Pick
Animal Collective (Experimental/Freak Folk/Indie Rock/Neo-Psychedelia/Noise Pop)
2:45-4:00 pm

Not one genre can honestly define the sound that this Baltimore group of friends create. Highly experimental and often times psychedelic, the members known as Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deakin, have released nine albums since 2000. With Animal Collective, you'll find everything from the acoustic guitar and piano, as well as loops and samples, to whatever instruments or objects that were lying around, and everything in between. They're on the road this year, in support of Merriweather Post Pavilion, which was named after the popular Maryland music venue.

Animal Collective performing in Amsterdam

Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Alternative Rock/Art Punk/Dance Punk/Indie Rock)
4:45-6:00 pm

After transferring to New York University, Karen O came into contact with Nick Zinner, and the two formed an acoustic duo called Unitard. Before she transferred though, she had met a jazz student at Oberlin College, named Brian Chase. Unitard went electric after being inspired by the avant-punk scene, and Chase later joined, in which the three then created a trashy, punky, grimy art rock band. They began to write songs as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and quickly earned spots touring for bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes. They've rather quickly become one of the hottest electronica-indie acts of today, gaining popularity all around the world, especially Europe and Japan. They're touring the road this year, in support of their greatest effort to date, It's Blitz!

Watch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Coachella 2009

Critic's Pick
TV on the Radio (Electronic/Experimental Rock/Hip-Hop/Indie Rock/Jazz/Post-Rock)
6:45-8:00 pm

TVotR began as an electronic/hip-hop group from Brooklyn in 2001, with founding members Tunde Adebimpe (vocals/loops) and David Andrew Sitek (guitars/keyboards/loops). Just the two of them put out their debut album, OK Calculator, a reference to Radiohead's OK Computer. Later joining the group, was Kyp Malone (vocals/guitars/loops), Jaleel Bunton (drums) and Gerard Smith (bass/keyboards). The three members joined just in time, leading the band to great success. They've since put out three albums, all of which have received mass critical acclaim. Those albums also feature a number of guest appearances including David Bowie, Katrina Ford of Celebration, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Martin Perna of Antibalas and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They have also performed live Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. They'll be marking their debut at this year's Bonnaroo, opening for the legendary David Byrne of the Talking Heads, and maybe we'll even see some guest appearances with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Nine Inch Nails.

Watch TV on the Radio performing one of their hits on Letterman

Critic's Pick
David Byrne (Alternative Rock/Experimental Pop/New Wave/Worldbeat)
8:45-10:45 pm

You probably know of David Byrne through his work with one of the most important new wave acts of all-time, the Talking Heads. What you may not know about him, is the work he's done outside of the Talking Heads. Byrne has also lent his talents to film, photography and opera, as an actor, director and producer. Aside from all of this, he's also well known through various collaborations, most notably Brian Eno, as well as bands like Dinosaur, Robert Fripp, the Staple Singers, the Tom Tom Club, Bernie Worrell, Selena, Cafe Tacuba, 10,000 Maniacs, Thievery Corporation, Paul Van Dyk and the Brazilian Girls. Byrne's latest release sees him again joining Brian Eno on Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Aside from performing his own set at this year's festival, opposite the Beastie Boys, David Byrne will host the first ever artist curated stage, playing host to bands like Ani DiFranco, Santigold, St. Vincent, the Dirty Projectors and Katzenjammer. Keep your eyes open on Bonnaroo Friday, as Byrne could pop up anywhere at anytime.

Watch a newer track from Byrne at ACL 2008

Tift Merritt (AltCountry/Country/Pop)
12:15-1:15 pm

Although she began her music career as a teen in Chapel Hill (which was about twenty years ago), country-pop artist Tift Merritt has recorded just three albums in that time span. Having released six singles from those albums, only one hit the charts, "Good Hearted Man", reaching #60 on the U.S. country singles charts. At the same time, however, she has accomplished some amazing feats, winning a Grammy Award for her 2005 album, Tambourine, which featured guest appearance's from members of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Emmylou Harris's band.

Watch the video for Tift's "Broken"

Kaki King (Experimental Rock/Instrumental Rock/Post-Rock)
1:45-2:45 pm

She's the first female to ever be named a "Guitar God" by Rolling Stone Magazine. Her father encouraged her interest in music since an early age, starting her with the guitar, but the drums were actually her first serious instrument. She would later go back to the guitar while at New York University, where she occasionally played gigs in the subway. The drumming may have had some influence on her, as her signature style would come to include fret-tapping with a slap bass technique. She has released several albums, as well as having worked with artists like the Foo Fighters and Tegan & Sara. Dave Grohl had this to say about her..."There are some guitar players that are good and there are some guitar players that are really fucking good. And then there's Kaki King." But her hopes are to be known more for her music, not just that she's good for a girl. She is currently on the road in support of her latest, the Mexican Teenagers EP.

See a bit of what Ms. King does live at Tower Records

Critic's Pick
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (Blues/Jam/Pop/Rock)
3:15-4:30 pm

Was she named after Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane? I'm not sure, but she certainly is much like a Grace Slick of the 21st Century, or maybe a Janis Joplin. Potter and her band the Nocturnals, blend funky blues, soul and rock, reminiscent to that of the '60s and '70s. If you've heard them, than you can certainly understand why I come to that comparison. They've had a couple songs hit the pop side of things, appearing on shows like One Tree Hill, Brothers & Sisters and Grey's Anatomy, but for the most part, they seem to be earning their success through festivals like Bonnaroo and Jam Cruise, and as well as tours with bands like Gov't Mule, the Black Crowes and the Dave Matthews Band. They've also won a Jammy Award and have been nominated at the Boston Music Awards, where Grace was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Watch their hit single, "Apologies"

Critic's Pick
Grizzly Bear (Acid Folk/Baroque Pop/Experimental Rock/Indie Rock/Lo-fi/Neo-Psychedelia)
5:00-6:15 pm

Call it freak folk, call it anti-folk, call it whatever you want. Grizzly Bear's sound is mostly dominant of acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies, however, they create hypnotizing, atmospheric landscapes of sounds, using electronic instruments and laptop's. Their debut, Horn of Plenty, was largely a solo effort of songwriter Ed Droste, where the material actually predates the band itself. Their first release as a quartet, Yellow House, received mass critical acclaim from both the New York Times and Pitchfork Media. They joined Radiohead on tour last summer, with Radiohead guitarist citing Grizzly Bear as his favorite band. They've also collaborated with the Dirty Projectors and Beirut, and have even performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. They'll be out on the road in support of their third studio album, Veckatimest, which comes out at the end of May on Warp Records.

Check out Grizzly Bear here

Lucinda Williams (AltCountry/Country/Folk/Rock)
6:45-8:15 pm

Lucinda Williams has been making music since the late '70s, although she is known for working very slowly, taking her sweet time with her work, generally only releasing one album many years at a time. She began writing at a startling age of only six, and began playing guitar at age twelve. By her early 20s, she had found her country-folk rock sound, and was playing publicly all over Texas. After moving to Mississippi, she put out a couple albums, which garnered little attention, but it may have been the interest that Tom Petty took in her, which really shot up her career. Although she's only put out nine studio albums over an almost thirty-year career, Lucinda is a multiple Grammy Award winner, and has worked with artists like Bob Dylan, David Crosby, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Vic Chesnutt and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Her latest release was 2008's Little Honey. Don't expect any new material for a few more years.

A live performance of Lucinda Williams

Public Enemy (Hip-Hop)
12:30-1:45 am

Yeah boy!!! The Long Island hip-hop group featuring MCs such as Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, DJ Lord and the S1W, has been one of the most influentially, politically charged of its kind since the early '80s. Rolling Stone listed them #44 on their list of the Greatest Artists of All Time. Their rise to fame came about through people like Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre, as well as Def Jam Records. They've released a number of albums, the latest coming in 2007 with How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? They've been very popular on the festival scene over the past several years, and they'll be making their Bonnaroo debut this year, with a special late-night spot.

Public Enemy peforming at SXSW 2007

Critic's Pick
Paul Oakenfold (Progressive Trance/Techno/Trance)
2:15-4:00 am

Beginning his music career in the late '70s, Paul Oakenfold actually first set out to be professional chef. As a DJ, he started out spinning soul music and bands like Earth, Wind and Fire, later moving to hip-hop while in Harlem. At 21 years old, he used to sneak into the famed Studio 54 club, pretending to be a journalist for NME and Melody Maker, thus getting interviews with stars like Bob Marley, Brooke Shields, Cher, Donald Trump, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali. His break into the mainstream came when he was working as an A&R man for Champion Records, where he signed DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, as well as Salt-n-Pepa. He later went on to become the promoter for both the Beastie Boys and Run DMC. He was also the first DJ to play the mainstage at Glastonbury, where he performed in front of 90,000 people. He's worked with and alongside a tremendous list of artists and celebrities, and mixing them too, including Perry Farrell, Hunter S. Thompson, Ice Cube, Nelly Furtado, Depeche Mode, Paul Van Dyk, U2 and Fatboy Slim. He's also lent his musical skills to a number of movie soundtracks including Swordfish, the Matrix Series and The Bourne Identity. It's a wonder that it's been so long to get DJ Oakenfold to the Bonnaroo farm, and his late-night dance party this year is sure to be one for the books.

Watch a performance from the Ultra Music Festival

Katzenjammer (Country/Folk/Pop/Rock)
12:00-1:00 pm

The all-female group from Norway formed in 2005, and later appeared on NRK's Urort project and Kjempesjansen - basically talent shows for up-and-coming bands to gain national exposure. The multi-instrumentalist women cover a variety of musical styles, using a number of instruments such as the accordion, mandolin, guitar, piano, balalaika bass, glockenspiel, trumpet, kazoo, melodica, drums and banjo. In 2007 they scored a hit with the song "A Bar in Amsterdam", also making it to the finals as Artist of the Year on Urort.

The Dirty Projectors (Experimental/Folk/Indie)
1:30-2:30 pm

Known for their distinctive sound of electronic experimentation, Brooklyn's Dirty Projectors are lead by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dave Longstreth. Their recordings range from one-man recordings to arranged orchestrations to basic voice-over nylon string guitars. At one time the band featured musicians such as Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) and Adam Forkner (White Rainbow). They collobrated with Bjork during a concert benefiting Housing Works, and more recently they collaborated with David Byrne on the track "Knotty Pine" from Dark Was the Night.

St. Vincent (Indie/Pop)
3:00-4:15 pm

Having previously worked with bands like the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, the artist also known as Annie Clark, released her debut in 2007, but didn't see wide recognition until 2008, when she won Female Artist of the Year at the PLUG Independent Music Awards. She's been touring this year in support of her latest, Actor, and performed a buzzing set at South by Southwest.

Santigold (Alternative/Dub/Electronic/Indie/New Wave/Post Punk/Rock)
4:45-6:00 pm

A former A&R rep for Epic Records, Santigold broke out on her own when she was offered a solo contract by Martin Heath of Lizard King Records, while she was performing with Philly punk/ska band, Stiffed. Her debut album, 2008's Santogold (also the former spelling of her name), finished at #6 on Rolling Stone's Albums of the Year list, and also producing two hit singles in "Creator" and "L.E.S. Artistes", with the latter landing at #2, only behind Beyonce. She's had a ton of commercial success, having appeared along with her music in ads for Bud Light Lime, VO5 hair products, Ford Flex, and video games like FIFA 08, NHL 08 and NBA 08. She's toured with Coldplay, M.I.A., Bjork and Architecture in Helsinki, and has collaborated with GZA, Mark Ronson, N.E.R.D. and The Strokes. She's written hit songs for both Lily Allen and Ashlee Simpson. In the near future she'll be working with two bands also playing Bonnaroo this year - the Beastie Boys and David Byrne.

Ani DiFranco (Folk Rock)
6:30-8:00 pm

At the age of nine, Ani began playing Beatles covers in bars around Buffalo with her guitar teacher Michael Meldrum. At just nineteen years old, she started her own record company, Righteous Records, now known as Righteous Babe Records. She's recorded over twenty albums and is a Grammy Award winner. She is also a well-known female activist, and has won the Woman of Courage Award in 2006, one of the first musicians to win the award. She has a distinct guitar style, known as staccato, which is rapid and rhythmic fingerpicking based in a number of tunings. In her lyrics, she often includes alliteration and metaphors, covering topics like racism, sexism, sexual abuse, homophobia, poverty and war.

Crystal Castles (Electronic/Experimental)
12:30-1:30 am

The Canadian electronic duo started first with Ethan Kath in late 2003, and would later add vocalist Alice Glass, who added vocals to five tracks in 2005. They are known for both their chaotic live shows as well as the video game-like sounds they create. They recorded their first single, "Alice Practice", accidentally, as it was just a microphone test, but they were soon offered record deals after record companies had heard the song on MySpace. They've played some of the biggest festivals already in the world, including Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury, and have toured with Friendly Fires, Team Waterpolo and White Lies. Their current live drummer is Christopher Robin.

Critic's Pick
Girl Talk (Dance/Electronic/Experimental/Mashup/Pop)
2:00-3:30 am

Greg Gillis began making music as a biomedical engineering student while at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, but dropped out in 2007 to focus solely on music, and I can't say I blame him. His latest album, Feed the Animals, finished the year at #4 on Time Magazine's Top 10 Albums of 2008, #24 on Rolling Stone's Top 50, and #2 in Blender Magazine. Though what he creates would appear to be a lawsuit waiting to happen, Gillis cites fair use as a legal backbone for his sampling practices. He produces mashup-style remixes, in which he often uses a dozen or more unauthorized samples from different songs to create a new song. He's also done remixes for Beck, Peter Bjorn & John, Grizzly Bear, Tokyo Police Club, of Montreal and Simian Mobile Disco.

Toubab Krewe
12:30-1:30 pm

Although they are an American band, the instrumental Asheville group was influenced by the sounds of world music, particularly Mali, the seventh largest country in Africa. Using the instruments standard in rock and roll, what us Americans would come to know as guitar, drums and bass, Toubab Krewe also adds Malian instruments, completing and rounding out their West African influenced sound. These Malian instruments include the kora (a 21-string harp-lute), the kamelengoni (a 12-string harp-lute), the soku (a Malian horsehair fiddle), as well as African percussion.

Vieux Farka Toure
2:00-3:00 pm

The son of one of Africa's most renowned musicians, Ali Farka Toure, Vieux Farka Toure was deeply inspired by the music of his father. From a young age, he proved to live up to the Toure name, however, his father insisted he become a soldier, rather than be a musician and face similar hardships his father had experienced. Eventually Vieux decided to place his destiny into his own hands, and enrolled in the National Arts Institute in Bamako. There, he discovered the guitar and began to compose his own music. By the time he left the institute, he was sought as a guitar virtuoso. From there, African kora master, Toumani Diabate, took him under his wing. When the time came for Vieux to record his debut album, his father, who was growing ill with cancer, would join in on what would become his final recordings.

Critic's Pick
Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate
3:30-4:45 pm

First inspired by the banjo playing in the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, Bela Fleck would later pick up the instrument at fifteen, and eventually go on to become a virtuoso at the instrument, a legend, one of the best in the world at his instrument. In 1981, Fleck was asked by Sam Bush to join New Grass Revival, of whom which he performed with for nine years. After New Grass, he hooked up with Victor and his brother Roy, or Futureman, and Howard Levy to become Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Saxophonist/flutist, Jeff Coffin, would later join the group. A Grammy winner, Bela has been nominated in more categories than any other musician.

Toumani Diabate is perhaps the world's finest kora player. The Malian is very versatile, at home with traditional music, as well as cross-cultural collaborations in flamenco, blues and jazz. His father, Sidiki Diabate recorded the first ever kora album in 1970.

The pairing of these two fine gentlemen, seems only natural. The two best at their respected instruments, by coming together, they are clearly making history with something remarkable. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

King Sunny Ade & the African Beats
5:15-6:30 pm

Amadou & Mariam (African Blues/Jazz/World)
7:00-8:30 pm

Critic's Pick
Femi Kuti & the Positive Force (Afrobeat/Jazz/World)
12:00-1:30 am

Pretty Lights
2:00-3:15 am

The Comedy Carnivale
2:00-3:15 pm, 3:45-5:00 pm

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog presents Bonnapoo 2009
5:30-6:45 pm

The Belleville Outfit (Folk/Gypsy/Jazz/Swing)
2:45-3:45 pm

Critic's Pick
Ben Sollee (Bluegrass/Folk/Jazz/R&B)
5:00-6:00 pm

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
7:30-8:30 pm

Phoenix (Alternative Rock/Indie Rock)
10:00-11:00 pm

Moonalice (Blues/Pop/Psychedelic Rock/Roots/Rock)
12:00-12:50 pm

Critic's Pick
1:20-2:10 pm

Evan Watson
2:40-3:30 pm

Dirty Sweet
4:00-4:50 pm

Tangiers Blues Band
6:40-7:30 pm

Jets Overhead (Indie Rock/Trance Rock)
8:30-9:30 pm

Critic's Pick
Justin Townes Earle
10:00-11:00 pm

Ki: Theory
1:00-2:00 am

Portugal. the Man
12:00-12:30 pm

Alberta Cross
12:45-1:15 pm

The Low Anthem
1:30-2:00 pm

Patterson Hood & Screwtopia
2:15-2:45 pm

3:15-3:45 pm

4:00-4:30 pm

Kaki King
5:00-5:30 pm

Galactic (interview only)
5:45-6:15 pm

Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate
6:30-7:00 pm

Toubab Krewe
7:15-7:45 pm

Gypsy Hands Tribal Dance
12:15-1:00 pm, 12:00-1:00 am

Panel: Social Change Through Music
1:00-2:30 pm

Rock the Earth Interview and Performance - TBA
3:00-3:45 pm, 4:00-4:45 pm

4:45-5:30 pm, 7:30-8:00 pm

Hunab Kru Breakdancing
5:15-6:15 pm

Justin Townes Earle
6:30-7:30 pm

Cotton Jones
8:00-9:00 pm

African Drum and Dance by Mawre Company
9:00-10:00 pm

Guided Meditation
10:00-10:45 pm

Bonnaroo Buskers
1:00-2:00 am

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