If prepared my heart and said my prayers: tomorrow is the start of a four-day run at Bonnaroo. I'll be reporting from the grounds and the photo pit, and have assembled a podcast of lesser-known artists I'm looking forward to hearing below.
The Manchester, Tenn. fest is historically known as a hippie/jam event, but obviously has flung the door wide open with the addition of a substantial comedy lineup, a dance stage and headliners that aren't exactly "rock" guys.
This year will mark the first time that I've seen a full set live from Eminem, who -- like everybody who's from the suburbs -- I grew up on, in a way. And while I've seen Arcade Fire something like 2.3 million times, I am very interested in catching up with their warm-up My Morning Jacket for a third. Dan Auerbach and Ben Sollee sound like they'll be showing up to jam at everybody else's set, like the Black Keys' singer's sit with Dr. John and Sollee's with MMJ and Abigail Washburn.
I'll certainly be watching who will guest with Lil Wayne, and what kind of inclinations he's giving his forthcoming "Carter IV" material. Same can be said of Florence + the Machine, who have been churning out their material in private for a sophomore set. And naturally I will be as close as possible Robyn, on the off-chance she's shaking hands and magically transmits the happiness that surrounds her charmed life. I'll be reduced to a pile of glitter. Loretta Lynn will show me how to shake it off.
[Podcast and more after the jump...]
As for comedians, check out these uber-dorky videos from music nerd Bill Bailey, a premiere mp3 "Good One" from Secretly Canadian-signed Tig Notaro and the ever-funny Hannibal Buress, who killed it at All Tomorrow's Parties last year.
As for these selected artists below, I let Coachella take all the dance out and I kept all the roots- and blues-oriented tunes in for this lineup.
+ Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, "Booty City" -- I can think of fewer singers who have better timing than Joe, and few bands that have better song titles.
+ J. Roddy Walston and the Business, "Brave Man's Death" -- Preach.
+ Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, "I Swear" -- I swear I've told you about this firecracker before.
+ The Head and the Heart, "Down in the Valley" -- This Sub Pop band has the potential of cranking out slow-burning success like Josh Ritter or astounding folk-popularity like Mumford & Sons.
+ Man Man, "Knuckle Down" -- Seriously, don't skip this show. Majestic live sets.
+ Matthew and the Atlas, "Come Out of the Woods" -- Heartbreaker.