Alright, so let’s talk some mother f’ing Bonnaroo. This has gotta be one of the hippiest/most ridiculous festivals out there. With a lineup boasting headliners this year of Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish, you can’t help but go… “wait, whoa, wha?” (and by no means is that a bad “wait, who, wha?”). Scrolling down the lineup you notice a plethora of bands and acts spanning across almost every nameable genre, and to be honest, the festival just screams one of the most diverse lineups of any festival every year. I’m here to talk about some of the most insane sets and awesome moments from this year’s Bonnaroo (plus I’ve included a full schedule of all shows attended by Funkadelphia members; all are definitely worth checking out!). We’ve included samples of a lot of different and just generally really awesome music, so GO NUTS, GO CRAZY, and as always, ENJOY!!!!!
Day I – Thursday
10:15-11:15PM — Phantogram @ The Other Tent
So I started off Bonnaroo 2012 in some really great company with Phantogram. The group is a New York electronica duo who sit on Ghostly International, one of the most unique and progressive electronic labels around. I’m a really huge fan of Phantogram’s music, and they absolutely rocked the house. This is easily a show I’d catch again if you came through Philly (and I really hope it does). If you enjoy this track, “Mouthful of Diamonds” be sure to also check out “When I’m Small”, “Dont Move” and “Running from the Cops”
Phantogram - “Mouthful of Diamonds” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
11:30PM-12:45AM — Big Gigantic @ That Tent
Next up was another duo who I’m quite fond of: Big Gigantic. I will continue to see these guys literally every opportunity I have, as long as they keep rocking the house as good as they do now. Dominic just gets so down on that saxaphone, it’s impossible to not get along and jammin’ with these guys. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s not enough to just listen to Big Gigantic on iTunes or Soundcloud (or whatever else you’re using); no, these guys are meant to be heard live. Live saxaphone and drum kit, I doubt there are many electronic acts out there that can beat that. Almost all the duo’s music is available for FREE on their website! Plus check out their newest remix of Adventure Club’s ”Do I See Color”.
Big Gigantic - Live @ Bonnaroo 2012
11:45PM-1:00AM — MiM0SA @ The Other Tent
Although I was not able to personally attend MiM0SA‘s set myself (his set overlapped with that of Big Gigantic), we sent out some Funkadelphians to be in attendance, and the reports also came back quite positive. I caught MiM0SA back here in Philly in October at The Theatre of the Living Arts and he melted speakers, so I don’t doubt it that he killed it down in Tennessee. Interestingly enough though, the word was that his set consisted of almost all trap (a genre that we’ve admittedly been somewhat lacking on). Anyway, check out some MiM0SA music, cause this dude knows how to put on one darn good show. I mean, that remix of “Hard in the Paint” by Crizzly is just filth (check it out below).
MiM0SA - Live @ Bonnaroo 2012
Day II – Friday
3:15-4:15PM — Two Door Cinema Club @ This Tent
Two Door Cinema Club was definitely an alternative rock band I was appreciative of, and I was excited to catch their live set, but these guys completely blew me away. First of all, they clearly have a new record in the works (seemingly almost finished) based on the amount of new material they played. So yes, all that new stuff sounded just as great as that first record. And that first record? Just stunning performed live. These guys like to get down and get a little jammy at the end of their songs, which is always something I look for in a good rock band. Not only would I drop money to catch these guys again, but I’m saying it right now… I want to.
Two Door Cinema Club - “Do You Want It All?”/”This Is the Life” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
10:00PM-12:00AM — Radiohead @ What Stage
Later that night we caught the mighty and psychedelic Radiohead, who headlined the first full night of the festival. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the experimental, electronic rock band from the UK (as I’m not a humongous fan myself), I would still highly recommend catching these guys on their tour. The band’s complex live setup has to be one of (if not THE MOST, and I really want to stress that) the most breath taking visual displays I have ever seen. We’ve got this totally insane video of their performance of “Paranoid Android” at the festival from this year, definitely be sure to check it out (just wait for the breakdown).
Radiohead - “Paranoid Android” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
12:00-1:30AM — Major Lazer @ This Tent
After Radiohead, it was time to make it from the main stage and into a much different atmosphere: the wonderful world of Diplo and Major Lazer. Major Lazer has always somewhat scared me off, just because it’s a very unique style of EDM music (if you’ve ever listened to Major Lazer, you know what I mean). But I’m sure as heck glad I went to check it out, because this had to be one of the most insane EDM shows I’ve ever seen (and of course because Diplo is a huge Philly name). Diplo dropped everything from Major Lazer classics- such as “Original Don” and “Pon De Floor”- as well as some just straight dirty Diplo tracks- namely “Express Yourself”- and on top of that, just some other grimy awesome stuff- including “Ruffneck (Full Flex)” by Skrillex and Andy C‘s remix of “Get Free” (originally by Major Lazer).
[See more photos from Major Lazer's Bonnaroo 2012 performance HERE]
Major Lazer - Live @ Bonnaroo 2012
2:00-3:30AM — Flying Lotus @ That Tent
It was now 2AM, but the night was far from winding down. It was time for Flying Lotus, one of my most anticipated sets of the entire festival. And I’m glad to honestly say, even with it being one of the most anticipated for me, this show still exceeded expectations. I don’t want to say you HAVE to go see Flying Lotus if he comes to your town… but… I don’t think I can forgive you if you miss him. This performance got me so stoked for the release of FlyLo’s new project which is to be titled “‘Til the Quiet Comes” and will be released sometime in Fall 2012. Stay on your toes and keep your eyes out, this was one hell of a performance.
Flying Lotus - “Live from Bonnaroo 2012 (Presented by Billboard)”
2:00-4:00AM — Umphrey’s McGee @ This Tent
Admittedly I missed the first hour and a half of this performance because I was at FlyLo, but boy am I glad I stumbled over to Umphrey’s McGee, who were still going strong at 3:30AM. The Indiana jam band was actually at Bonnaroo my first year (2010); although I missed their performance. Now, I’ve become much more familiar with the band since, and have become a big fan, so getting to see them at Bonnaroo was a real treat (and a good makeup for missing them before). Around 3:45AM is when the real fun got started though, as the band brought out Dominic from Big Gigantic to jam along with them for a couple songs.
Umphrey’s McGee – Untitled Jam (featuring Dominic of Big Gigantic) [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
3:50-7:00AM — SOME CRAZY, SECRET, SURPRISE, AWESOMENESS!!!!!
Now, as if that jam wasn’t enough, following the song, Dominic announced that Umphrey’s would be taking a short half hour break. During that time, Big Gigantic would be taking over on the turn tables again and giving us a bonus secret set. And on top of that, when Umphrey’s McGee returned, they would be playing until sunrise (which turned out to be about 7AM). This night just went from crazy to absolute and TOTAL INSANITY!!!
Umphrey’s McGee - “Bulls on Parade” (Taken from Secret Set – Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
Day III – Saturday
5:15-6:30PM — SBTRKT @ This Tent
If you’re familiar with SBTRKT then I give you a big thumbs up. But, if you’ve seen SBTRKT live, you really know what’s up and you get two huge thumbs up. You see, SBTRKT does live “on the fly” Ableton mixes during their show. They typically let one of their tracks play through, doing some live mixing; but then, when the track ends, they launch into some nice improv beat making and it always turns out incredibly dope. Seeing the duo at Bonnaroo this year marked my third time seeing them, and I think this was the best of the three shows I’ve seen to date. Just check out their performance of “Wildfire”; the live Ableton mixing starts happening around 3:30. CHECK IT OUT!!!!
SBTRKT - “Wildfire (Live Bonnaroo Mix)” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
7:30-9:00PM — The Roots @ What Stage
Here’s another humongous Philadelphia-based act (in addition to Major Lazer) that was holding it down for The City of Brotherly Love down in Tennessee: The Roots. The Roots are up to date with the heart and soul era of hip-hop (2Pac, Biggie, Diddy, Jay-Z, Dre, Snoop), but they’re still keeping it goin’ strong even today. For the fifth year in a row this year, they put on The Roots Picnic which is now one of the most popular annual festivals in Philadelphia (featuring performances this year by Diplo, Star Slinger, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer among others). If you haven’t seen these guys live, they’re a group I can’t endorse enough. The Roots are really one of the only remaining hip-hop groups that are more than just a dude rapping over some catchy beats. In fact, they’re an entire band that performs their own music, as well as a slew of other insane improv performances. Just as an example, check out this clip from their performance at Bonnaroo this year, which featured a cover of “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses.
The Roots - “You Got Me”/”Sweet Child of Mine” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
10:00PM-12:00AM — Red Hot Chili Peppers @ What Stage
Headlining the second full day of the festival were one of the biggest rock legends of all time: the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now, even if you’re not a huge Chili Peppers fan, you have to admit if you were at Bonnaroo, you’d probably be at this show. How could you not? It’s the f’ing Chili Peppers. To be honest, the band sounded pretty darn good too, and the setlist wasn’t half bad. For how old these guys are, they can still rock pretty darn good, and I give them a huge nod for coming back together for a tour just for the fans.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - “Look Around” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
12:15-2:00AM — Superjam featuring ?uestlove and Special Guests! @ This Tent
This was quite the mysterious event, but I was attracted because I love ?uestlove (of The Roots), and because I had faith in Bonnaroo to blow this up. Well, I was right. The Superjam featured (well, duh ?uestlove) members of Radiohead, Umphrey’s McGee, Phish, Big Gigantic as well as a super special performance by the one and only JACK WHITE!!!! This was truly a sight to behold, and because it was truly a once in a lifetime performance I can say I am so unbelievably happy to have been a part of this set.
Superjam – Live @ Bonnaroo 2012
Day IV – Sunday
5:00-6:15PM — The Joy Formidable @ This Tent
I’m including this one because The Joy Formidable was definitely the pleasant surprise of the festival for me. I had given some ear time to the UK alternative rock band, and sure, I was impressed, but the band never really stood out to me. Well, I wandered over to This Tent a half hour into Ben Folds Five’s set, and ended up just staying at The Joy Formidable the whole time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this band and don’t like slow music: stick with it for a couple minutes, it’s picks up to some really heavy rock and gets really jammy. It’s awesome, I swear!
The Joy Formidable - “Anemone”/”Whirring” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
6:30-8:00PM — The Shins @ Which Stage
I am including this one for a lot of the same reasons as the Chili Peppers: a lot of nostalgia is to be had with me and The Shins. This was basically like THE indie band back when I was in Middle School. Everyone knew The Shins, yet no one knew The Shins, and you only knew The Shins if you were cool, even though you were to cool to be cool. I have to say, The Shins performed a heck of a show, but seeing The Shins is just seeing The Shins. There wasn’t a whole lot of “UMPH!” to this performance, but I still just loved it and got into it so much just because it was… that’s right… THE SHINS! I’d still pay to see them again. If you love The Shins, then you’d love to see The Shins live.
Their performance of “Sleeping Lessons” was nothing short of spectacular though I must say. Bravo.
The Shins - “Sleeping Lessons” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
8:00PM-12:00AM — Phish @ What Stage
And of course, the legendary Phish playing two sets to close out the festival. I’m by no means a Phish head, but I do enjoy myself some nice jammy rock music. Although I will note I prefer STS9 to Umphrey’s (I hope no one quotes me on that), so Phish wouldn’t be my first choice in jam band shows. Nonetheless, four hours of Phish closing out the best year of Bonnaroo I’ve had thus far definitely seemed appropriate. This was truly an epic show, and even if you’re not a huge fan of Phish, I would still truly recommend you check these guys out sometime. If you’re unfamiliar with jam bands it’s difficult to really capture the essence of their live performance, but it’s truly worth it to see these jammin’ out together (actually… this video does a pretty good job).
Phish - “Possum”/”Wilson”/”Tweezer” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
Here’s a full look at everything we attended! We couldn’t write articles on everything; it would just be information overload. So, I picked out my favorites, but I don’t want to forget about a lot of other really awesome performances and just generally great music. Any performance that did not get a short feature/article has at least a song featured below their set time for you to check out! Let the music sharing continue!
10:15 – 11:15PM — Phantogram @ The Other Tent
11:30PM – 12:45AM — Big Gigantic @ That Tent
12:00 – 1:00PM — The Kooks @ Which Stage
The Kooks - “Naive”
1:45 – 2:45PM — Ben Howard @ That Tent
Ben Howard - “Old Pine”
3:15 – 4:15PM — Two Door Cinema Club @ This Tent
5:00 – 6:30PM — The Avett Brothers @ What Stage
The Avett Brothers - “I and Love and You”
10:00PM – 12:00AM — Radiohead @ What Stage
12:00 – 1:30AM — Major Lazer @ This Tent
2:00 – 3:30AM — Flying Lotus @ That Tent
2:00 – 4:00AM — Umphrey’s McGee @ That Tent
4:00 – 4:30AM — Big Gigantic Secret Set (Set #2)
4:30 – 7:00AM — Umphrey’s McGee Secret Set (Set #2)
2:00 – 3:00PM — Das Racist @ This Tent
Das Racist - “You Oughta Know”
2:00 – 3:15PM — Blind Pilot @ Which Stage
Blind Pilot – “We Are the Tide”
3:00 – 4:00PM — The Temper Trap @ What Stage
The Temper Trap - “Sweet Disposition”
5:15 – 6:30PM — SBTRKT @ This Tent
6:30 – 7:30PM — Jukebox the Ghost @ Cafe Where
*This is going to be my one exception! This Philadelphia/Washington DC band just released a new album, so I will be doing a full article on them and that new album (to be released very soon)!
7:30 – 9:00PM — The Roots @ What Stage
8:30 – 10:00PM — Dispatch @ Which Stage
*Dispatch announced that they are recording a NEW ALBUM, titled Circles Around the Sun which is due to be released LATER THIS YEAR!
Dispatch - “Flying Horses” (if you don’t know it, you should check out the ever, crowd-favorite “The General” as well)
10:00PM – 12:00AM — Red Hot Chili Peppers @ What Stage
12:15 – 2:00AM — Superjam feat. ?uestlove and Special Guests!
1:30 – 3:00AM — Skrillex @ Which Stage
Skrillex – “Summit (feat. Ellie Goulding)”
12:30 – 1:15PM — Delta Spirit @ Which Stage
Delta Spirit - “California”
12:30 – 1:30PM — Fruit Bats @ That Tent
Fruit Bats - “Tony the Tripper” [Live @KDHX, 9/20/2011]
2:00 – 3:00PM — Grouplove @ This Tent
Grouplove - “Tongue Tied”
3:00 – 4:00PM — City & Colour @ The Other Tent
City & Colour - “The Girl”
3:00 – 4:30PM — The Beach Boys @ What Stage
The Beach Boys - “Sloop John B”/”Wouldn’t It Be Nice” [Live @ Bonnaroo 2012]
4:30 – 6:00PM — Ben Folds Five @ Which Stage
*Ben Folds also announced that his band was back together and recording NEW MATERIAL!
Ben Folds Five - “Brick”
5:00 – 6:00PM — The Joy Formidable @ This Tent
6:30 – 8:00 PM — The Shins @ Which Stage
8:00PM – 12:00AM — Phish (2 Sets) @ What Stage
Other shows we missed but wish we had made (In Order by appearance)
K-Flay, Yelawolf, Alabama Shakes, tUnE-yArDs, Little Dragon, Fesit, Ludacris, Dawes, St. Vincent, Black Star, Bad Brains, Flogging Molly, Battles, Black Lips, Here We Go Magic, The Antlers, The War on Drugs, Mac Miller, Bon Iver, Young the Giant, fun., The Civil Wars