The festival on ‘The Farm’ down in Tennessee still ranks as one of the top music and arts festivals here in the U.S. While I think that America has become oversaturated with music festivals, I can still honestly say that each major festival still has it’s own unique personality and experience that still makes each event so special. Coachella is out in the desert, GovBall is in the shadows of the NYC skyline, but Bonnaroo still has that special organic feel out on the farm that really makes for an organic festival experience. Like all the festivals I’ll be dancing at this summer, I’ve taken the time to pick out which artists who’s sets you just cannot miss. If you do, at least 1,000 kittens and puppies will die really fucked up deaths, so try not to miss the following artists when they take the Bonnaroo stage this June-
Florence & The Machine
Because she might be the closest our generation will have to a Stevie Nicks or Debbie Harry. Hopefully you’ve been able to give the first single off her upcoming June album, “What Kind of Man” a listen since it’s video release earlier this week. One of music’s most talented female-fronted bands, these guys always make their amazing music come alive with every unique performance and of course when you have Florence’s hypnotic vocals helping to take you places you never thought you’d go, it only makes for an amazing festival experience as the sun begins to go down.
Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters
One of the top greatest rock and roll front men of all time has been open about his non-willingness to re-group with his old Zeppelin bandmates in the past few years, and I’ve gotta tip my cap to him for it. As a performer who could’ve retired back in 1970, Robert’s been making some of his best music in recent years putting his banshee vocals aside and working more on folky/bluegrass/Americana style writing and it’s really been paying off. His Grammy winning album with Alison Krauss a few years back and another acclaimed album back in September in Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar. The rock God has been able to expand his creative palette and showcase new styles of songwriting to new generations of fans. I did always say that Zeppelin’s best songs were their acoustic ones…
Still somewhat new to the scene, the indie-folk Irishman brings powerful and real lyrical stories to his fresh musical style. If you haven’t really given him a listen yet, he’s one of the new artists that are really helping to bring indie-style artists to the forefront of pop. His debut full-length album that came out in 2014 ranges from calm to powerful soul and gospel-esque rooted rock.
The War on Drugs
I’ve been raving out this band for a while now, and why shouldn’t I? Their 2014 album Lost In The Dream was one of the best of the year from the neo-psychedelic rock band from Philly. Their ambient style of indie rock really sets them aside, as I’ve always described them as listening to Bob Dylan on drugs. While the lineup has seen some changes since their inception, Adam Granduciel’s powerful songwriting and fresh guitar playing give these guys a head up on the other similar genre bands fading into that oversaturated sound of indie/hipster rock. The War on Drugs are a band that defines how indie rock is supposed to sound in 2015.
I caught these guys at Brooklyn Bowl last spring as was really taken back how tight they sounded. They’ve got that Kentucky/Tennessee feel to them but sound nothing like a southern band should, which is great because we’re not hillbillies. They do however have a really fresh jam rock kind of vibe that really captures how modern rock music should sound in 2015 with a hind of pop and southern spirit.
If you’ve never heard of Guster, it’s really not the end of the world. Their experimental, alternative rock sound has set them apart from similar acts throughout the 90s and gained popularity amongst the college circuit throughout the 2000s. They can range from a more pop-side of the alternative spectrum with singles like “Satellite,” “One Man Wrecking Machine,” or “Barrel Of A Gun” to their deeper explorations in songwriting. Either way, the Boston band has build a dedicated following over the years because of the time they put into making their music as unique and creative as possible.
This emerging indie-rock singer/guitarist has been steadily making a name for herself especially in the smaller discovery-based festival circuit like the SXSWs and CMJs of the world. Her guitar-based jams make for simple yet friendly and easily listening in songs like “David” and “Scotty Says” off her 2014 album A Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas.
Hopefully you’ve given the new music video for “Out of the Black” a watch, as it’ll make you think twice when you see the Nesquik bunny again. These two fellas are a badass blend of The Arctic Monkeys, Wolfmother, and the White Stripes with their meat and potatoes style of rock. Their new style of garage rock meets hard rock makes it hard to believe that such power and energy comes from just two members. They’re definitely be one of the top rock acts at the festival, and aside from Slayer, possibly the best. SLAYYEERRRRR
Article by: Tommy Shackleford