When we say the word “Bonnaroo,” it may call to mind confusing stage names and unwashed hippies, but you should also associate the Tennessee festival with an always great and diverse lineup of artists, from the well-established to the just breaking out. This year, the festival’s eleventh, is no different – with more than five stages and a crazy amount of acts, choosing what to do can seem pretty daunting. That’s where we come in: here’s what we’d check out this weekend in Manchester. (Click on the blue arrows to navigate through our Bonnaroo Guide.)
Also Check Out: Our Bonnaroo 2012 Playlist
Thursday, June 7
4:15-5:15pm: EMA @ the Other Tent
Bonnaroo’s main stages don’t even start hosting acts until tomorrow, so now’s a good time to check out what the smaller tents have to offer. We love EMA’s heavy, dark, demon-summoning anthems; just take care that her massive riffage doesn’t deafen you first thing.
MP3: EMA – “Milkman”
5:30-6:30pm: The Lonely Forest @ This Tent
The Washington State quartet Lonely Forest are from Kurt Cobain’s hometown, but they draw their influence more from anthemic, wistful folk-pop in the vein of Death Cab for Cutie, whose Chris Walla produced some of their released music. If this sounds up your alley, drop by the This Tent to check them out. If not, fellow Washingtonians Cave Singers will put on a rollicking set over at the Other Tent.
MP3: The Lonely Forest – “Coyote”
7:00-8:00pm: Danny Brown @ This Tent
Danny Brown’s one of the most buzzed-about new rappers out there, and we’ve been hearing a lot about his live show, so we highly recommend checking his set out.
MP3: Danny Brown – “Grown Up”
8:45-9:45pm: White Denim @ The Other Tent
We’ve got mad love for this endlessly inventive, insanely prolific Austin quartet, and they’re bound to jam the living daylights out of the straight-up jams on their handful of 2011 releases. Cross your fingers for some deep cuts off their 2009 breakout Fits.
MP3: White Denim – “Get Back To Love”
10:15-11:15pm: Phantogram @ The Other Tent
Live, the upstate New York duo Phantogram’s eerily beautiful electro jams take on a heavy, almost trance-inducing but still rave-y quality that makes their performances one-of-a-kind. Helps that longtime friends and collaborators Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter have amazing onstage chemistry. Hope for some of the cosmic jams from their excellent 2011 EP, Nightlife.
MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”
11:30-12:30pm: Alabama Shakes @ This Tent
Alabama Shakes have a lot going for them as tonight: a late-night, festival-kickoff set on the biggest open stage, anthemic, fist-pumping jams that are some of the best Southern rock has to offer right now, and not much competition.
MP3: Alabama Shakes – “You Ain’t Alone”