The Bonnaroo music and camping festival in Tennessee has announced its 2010 lineup. With more than 100 bands playing over four days, it’s impossible to see everyone.
The Bonnaroo 2010 lineup will feature a number of acclaimed performers, but which bands are the best? If you’re headed to the festival and you’re wondering, “Which bands should I see at Bonnaroo?,” this list should be a good starting point.
Here are ten bands you’ll want to check out at Bonnaroo 2010, presented in random order.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #1: The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon
The Flaming Lips have long been considered one of the best live bands in the world. Their unforgettable shows make use of giant inflatable balls, confetti cannons and strange costumes, and you never know what songs they’re going to perform. Except at Bonnaroo 2010 – they’ve committed to playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, in addition to a regular Lips set.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #2: Daryl Hall & Chromeo
The cheeky Canadian duo Chromeo has always reminded me of the SNL skit “D*ck in a Box,” with slightly less explicit lyrics and more of an electrofunk vibe. Throw in the fact that renowned vocalist Daryl Hall will be joining them for Bonnaroo 2010, and you have what is sure to be a memorable genre-crossing performance. The two acts have performed together successfully in the past, with several video clips available on Hall’s website.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #3: Kid Cudi
Cleveland’s Kid Cudi was easily my favorite new rapper of 2009. What makes Cudi great is the incredible range of his music. His debut album includes everything from a collaboration with Kanye West and Common that samples an acoustic version of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” to the captivating R&B tune “Day ‘N’ Nite,” to a left-field collaboration with indie rockers MGMT and Ratatat on “Pursuit of Happiness.”
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #4: The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers are simply an incredible live act. They bring the energy of punk rock to their appealing combination of bluegrass, folk, and rock. Beloved by critics, and with TV appearances on Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson under their belts, the Avett Brothers are one of the best bands in America that hasn’t yet exploded into the mainstream.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #5: Stevie Wonder
Every year the Bonnaroo lineup manages to showcase a number of all-time legends who’ve been performing live for decades. Past such performers have included B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Solomon Burke. It doesn’t get any bigger than the great Stevie Wonder. The 22-time Grammy Award winner doesn’t tour much these days, so if you’re going to Bonnaroo 2010 don’t miss this performance.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #6: The xx
The buzz band of the moment is the xx, a British group that burst onto the scene last year and immediately made appearances on all the year-end lists for their debut album xx, a record that manages to be consistent, nuanced, and impressive at the same time. Chances are this performance will be packed so you’d better get to the stage early for a good spot.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #7: LCD Soundsystem
Bonnaroo began as a jam band festival but has evolved over the years to include a number of electronic/dance acts, particularly in its late-night performance slots. MSTRKRFT, Girl Talk, and Sasha have all delivered memorable post-midnight performances over the years. This year’s lineup features LCD Soundsystem, the musical project of James Murphy, whose 2007 album Sound of Silver ranks on many critics’ Best of the 2000s list.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #8: Steve Martin & the SteepCanyon Rangers
Yep, it’s Steve Martin the comedian, performing with his bluegrass band. Martin is an accomplished banjo player and recently won a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Just don’t yell out anything like “Hey, we are two wild and crazy guys!,” because Martin’s been known to be quite stuffy and humorless when it comes to his music. Chances are he won’t respond well to that sort of thing.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #9: The National
Last year the National delivered memorable sets at All Points West and the Pitchfork Music Festival. Their songs range from quiet and contemplative to explosive, which always makes for an entertaining live performance. This summer they’re expected to finally get around to releasing the much-anticipated follow-up to 2007’s acclaimed Boxer.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo #10: OK Go
You know them as the treadmill band. OK Go became YouTube sensations with that memorable video clip for “Here it Goes Again,” but their music needs no gimmicks. They’ve just released Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, their third-straight rock-solid album in a row. And they’ve been known to incorporate dance routines into their live show, even without treadmills.
Best bands to see at Bonnaroo 2010: Other bands worth seeing
The Bonnaroo 2010 lineup also includes a number of other outstanding bands, including Weezer, Jay-Z, the Black Keys, the Dave Matthews Band, Phoenix, Japandroids, the Zac Brown Band, They Might Be Giants, and Regina Spektor.
It’s always best to do your homework and research as any acts as possible, so you’ll know which bands to see at Bonnaroo 2010.