5 Of My Most Anticipated Bonnaroo 2018 Sets
Festival season is in full swing which means it's time to finish up those totem poles, get in touch with our inner weirdness, and figure out which sets we'll be wiggling our limbs at. For me, the days leading up to the fest and the anticipation of the awesomeness that's about to ensue are almost as exciting as the festival itself. Only fourteen days from now I will be on my yearly spiritual retreat to The Farm for another magical Bonnaroo experience, and I imagine many of you will be too. After spending the past few months indulging the tunes of this years lineup, I've got my schedule pretty well worked out.
As I always tell others, when you're at Bonnaroo it's likely that at any given moment there is a show going on that will tickle your fancy. The volume and diversity of the Bonnaroo lineup is something I've always appreciated. There are always several big names and undercard acts that I know and love, but to be honest, my favorite shows end up being the ones I stumble across having no prior knowledge of them. Too many times though I've become obsessed with an artist only to realize that I missed their Roo set a year or two back. I hate kicking myself in the ass for those missed sets so this year I made sure to listen to at least one song from every artist, that way I don't let any of those low key sets slip under my radar. After many hours of listening, I've narrowed down a list of my top five most anticipated (mostly from the bottom of the lineup) sets for this year. In no particular order, here we go.
1. Oliver Hazard
When: Thursday (6/7) at 9:30 - 10:15
Where: Who Stage
If you've been following this blog for the short time that it's been around, then you may already know of my high regards for this folk-rooted trio. Their appearance at this year's Roo is impressive considering they were conceived only a year and some months ago. Their debut album 34 N. River which they wrote and recorded in literally a weeks time (maybe two, but still) is due out on June 15th, just days after Roo. With only three singles out, the set will be a revelation of the remaining tracks on the upcoming album. Their heartfelt stripped down folk-pop sound is sure to win over the ears and hearts of those who catch their set on the intimately sized Who Stage. In its early years, Bonnaroo was built around roots genres such as folk. Some refreshing folk tunes just after sunset might be the most appropriate way to kick off the weekend.
2. Manchester Orchestra
When: Friday (6/8) at 5:15 - 6:15
Where: Which Stage
Manchester Orchestra and their powerful concoction of indie rock have long been a favorite of mine. I first saw them open for Cage the Elephant in the Spring of 2011, and at the time I had no idea who they were. I was blown away by the sheer power of both their music and lyrical content. They're a band that is capable of dishing out massive sounding overdriven guitars and guttural vocals on one song, and leave you teary-eyed on the next song with their melodic guitars and softly spoken stories from the heart. I've seen them three times before, but they have a live performance worth seeing time and again.
3. The Blue Stones
When: Friday (6/8) at 7:45 - 8:30
Where: Who Stage
This blues-rock duo brings a massive sound that just doesn't add up considering it's only the two of them. A year or two back they had an EP and full-length album available on Spotify which have since vanished. It seems as if they are preparing to re-release their latest album, but this time with a more refined sound. Their two singles on Spotify sound like re-recorded versions of previous works and they both kick ass. Their bluesy angst and galactic sound are sure to make for a rowdy time.
4. Low Cut Connie
When: Friday (6/8) at 3:45 - 4:30
Where: Who Stage
This five-piece flood the airwaves with dance-worthy and boogie filled rock n roll akin to the tunes of J Roddy Walston and the Business (best comparison I can think of). If you dig classic sounding rock n roll and you're fixin to twist your hips, these guys can fulfill your desires. Some friends from our Croo caught their show in Columbus and assured me they're worth catching.
5. Parker Millsap
When: Sunday (6/10) at 2:15 - 3:15
Where: What Stage
I only discovered this guy last night and have since listened to his entire discography. At the young age of 24, he has already put out four full-length albums filled with Americana tracks that range from straight-up gritty to soulful and twangy. Last year he won the International Folk Music Awards' Artist of the Year if that tells you anything. He's an artist who appears to be gaining traction, and I'm willing to bet he'll make for a romping good time on the farm.
For all those heading down to The Farm this year, I wish you a safe and spectacular time!
Until then, stay groovy my friends.