Home > Uncategorized > Picking on the 2009 Bonnaroo & Coachella Lineups

Picking on the 2009 Bonnaroo & Coachella Lineups

You wouldn’t know it from the nationwide cold snaps we’ve been experiencing, but the outdoor music festival season is just around the corner.

Outdoor Music Time is a truly magical time of year when unlistenable critical darlings meet with overrated pop-dance acts who don’t sell enough records to be considered anything but indy and established stars who don’t want to be considered part of the establishment. They come together under the umbrella of unity and harmony, both musical and otherwise, to perform in a confused and muggy ambience made thicker by the scent of thousands upon thousands of fans who haven’t showered in two and a half days despite being one of the select few that can actually afford the extraordinary costs of a ticket and other expenses incurred in reaching their destination.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is 21st century Americana.

With Coachella’s lineup all but finalized (they’ve even decided who’s performing on what day for crying out loud) and Bonnaroo announcing their early tentative lineup, I figured it’d be a good opportunity for me to be really, really obnoxious about music and pick apart their lineups.



June 11th – 14th, 2009

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band * Phish (2 shows) * Beastie Boys * Nine Inch Nails * David Byrne * Wilco * Al Green *  Snoop Dogg * Elvis Costello Solo * Erykah Badu * Paul Oakenfold * Ben Harper and Relentless7 * The Mars Volta * TV on the Radio * Yeah Yeah Yeahs * Gov’t Mule * Andrew Bird * Band of Horses * Merle Haggard * MGMT * moe. * The Decemberists * Girl Talk * Bon Iver * Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate * Rodrigo y Gabriela * Galactic * The Del McCoury band * of Montreal * Allen Toussaint * Coheed & Cambria * Booker T & the DBTs * David Grisman Quintet * Lucinda Williams * Animal Collective * Gomez * Neko Case * Down * Jenny Lewis * Santogold * Robert Earl Keen * Citizen Cope * Femi Kuti and the Positive Force * The Ting Tings * Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 * Grace Potter and the Nocturnals * Kaki King * Grizzly Bear * King Sunny Ade * Okkervil River * St. Vincent * Zac Brown Band * Raphael Saadiq * Ted Leo and the Pharmacists * Crystal Castles * Tift Merritt * Brett Dennen * Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue * Toubab Krewe * People Under The Stairs * Alejandro Escovedo * Vieux Farka Toure * Elvis Perkins in Dearland * Cherryholmes * Yeasayer * Todd Snider * Chairlift * Portugal. The Man. * The SteelDrivers * Midnite * The Knux * The Low Anthem * Delta Spirit * A.A. Bondy * The Lovell Sisters * Alberta Cross



I’D BE SUPER PSYCHED TO SEE:  Wilco * Erykah Badu * Merle Haggard * The Decemberists * Bon Iver * Neko Case * Raphael Saadiq * The Knux


I WOULD GLADLY PAY MONEY TO SEE:  Al Green * Ben Harper and Relentless7 * The Mars Volta * TV on the Radio * Andrew Bird * David Byrne * Lucinda Williams




OH, FUCK YOU:  Yeah Yeah Yeahs * of Montreal * Paul Oakenfold * The Ting Tings 



Both of the festival’s headliners are acts that I could never get into despite the insistence of very near and dear friends whose tastes otherwise collude with mine on a happily consistent basis.  I’ve never harbored animosity towards either, mind you, it’s just that what they do never clicked with me in any meaningful way.  Although Springsteen, like Elvis Costello, I think I just need to give an honest chance. 


I’m giving Andrew Bird‘s latest LP "Noble Beast" another proper spin right now, and I think I’m finally starting to hear what everybody else heard that had them excited.  I’m falling in love with his song structure.


Okay, I take back what I said earlier regarding a lack of animosity towards Bruce Springsteen, because lately I’ve become really annoyed with how in love with his own face he is.  It’s like, okay, you’re a rock star in the latter years of his middle-age who doesn’t look like he’s 80 years old.  We fucking GET IT, handsome.  Now let’s have an album cover where you’re not in some pose that makes me want to punch you in the face.


I have a funny story about David Byrne that BPD needs to remind me to recount the next time we do a "Living Under Marshall Law" podcast.  And Hell, if it’s funny enough, you may even hear it in the podcast itself!

 Beastie Boys and Nine Inch Nails would be really exciting if it was 1996. Same with Snoop Dogg, who has always been a bit more than overrated musically, and people need to start behing honest about it. Let’s face it, he’s a pop culture punchline for people who have never really been tuned in to anything he’s ever supposed to have represented. He was a small part of a great album (Dr. Dre’s "The Chronic") and had a halfway decent debut album of his own, and almost everything he did after that musically was pretty poor.


I don’t get why moe. is booked.  You only book them when Phish is way out of your price range, right?

All in all, a fairly decent lineup.  Not everything sets my world on fire, but there’s more than enough there to warrant me spending the money if I had it.

Far sooner, and far more finalized, is… 






April 17th-19th, 2009



 Paul McCartney * Morrissey * Franz Ferdinand * Leonard Cohen * Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band * Beirut * The Black Keys * Girl Talk * Silversun Pickups * The Ting Tings * The Crystal Method * Ghostland Observatory * Crystal Castles * The Airborne Toxic Event * We Are Scientists * N.A.S.A. * Patton & Rahzel * M. Ward * The Presets * The Hold Steady * A Place to Bury Strangers * Felix da Housecat * Buraka Som Sistema * Ryan Bingham * Bajofondo * Peanut Butter Wolf * Noah & the Whale * White Lies * The Bug * Alberta Cross * Los Campesinos! * Craze & Klever * Molotov * Switch * Gui Boratto * Steve Aoki * The Aggrolites * People Under the Stairs * The Courteeners * Cage the Elephant * Dear and the Headlights


I’D BE SUPER PSYCHED TO SEE: Leonard Cohen * The Black Keys * Los Campesinos! * The Hold Steady


I WOULD GLADLY PAY MONEY TO SEE:  Paul McCartney * Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band *




OH, FUCK YOU:  Nobody on this day of the festival angers me!



Okay, that’s quite an opening day.  Particularly with the inclusion of Los Campesinos and The Hold Steady, whom I just discovered recently and have both become my new favorite bands.  The only complaint I have is the inclusion The Ting Tings, because I. fucking. HATE. the goddamn Ting Tings.


Do people really still listen to Franz Ferdinand?  Really?  Like, seriously?  Like, still buy their albums and get excited about their music and stuff?  Huh.  Okay.  No, no, it’s not a bad thing necessarily. 





 The Killers * Amy Winehouse * Thievery Corporation * TV on the Radio * Band of Horses * Fleet Foxes * MSTRKRFT * Michael Franti & Spearhead * Atmosphere * Mastodon * TRAV$DJ-AM * Henry Rollins * Crookers * Turbonegro * Hercules and Love Affair * Superchunk * Glasvegas * Dr. Dog * Drive-By Truckers * Booker T & the DBT’s * Amanda Palmer * The Bloody Beetroots * Surkin, Para One (Live) * Calexico * Liars * Bob Mould Band * Zane Lowe * Electric Touch * Blitzen Trapper * James Morrison * Drop the Lime * Glass Candy * Thenewno2 * Gang Gang Dance * Billy Talent * Ida Maria * Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti * Zizek * Cloud Cult * Tinariwen


I’D BE SUPER PSYCHED TO SEE: Calexico * Fleet Foxes * Superchunk


I WOULD GLADLY PAY MONEY TO SEE:  TV on the Radio * Bob Mould Band * Henry Rollins * Glasvegas




OH, FUCK YOU:   The Killers



Fleet Foxes and Calexico?  Awesome.  I’m not sure exactly in what capacity Rollins is performing.  Is he doing spoken-word a la his 90s work, or is it going to be more akin to the lectures/storytelling he’s been touring with the last few years? 

Interesting to see Liars popping up again. I saw them at Irving Plaza in Manhattan several years ago and wasn’t terribly impressed.  They didn’t appear to be having an off-night, either.  They were kind of typical of New York hipster darlings for their time.


I was just watching footage of Amy Winehouse performing from a UK festival last Summer.  They aired it on Palladium, which is the best kept secret on Digital Cable’s HD offerings.  Anyway, yeah, just looking at her fills me with a combination of sadness and fear.


I really tried to listen to that Hercules and Love Affair album and I just couldn’t do it.  Sorry guys, but there’s nothing about them that appeals to me.  😦




 The Cure * My Bloody Valentine * Yeah Yeah Yeahs * Throbbing Gristle * Lupe Fiasco * Paul Weller * Antony & the Johnsons * X * Roni Size * Public Enemy * Jenny Lewis * Groove Armada * Paolo Nutini * Christopher Lawrence * Lykke Li * The Kills * Okkervil River * M.A.N.D.Y. * Clipse * Sebastien Tellier * F … Up * Perry Farrell * The Horrors * Late of the Pier * K’naan * Junior Boys * Brian Jonestown Massacre * Supermayer * No Age * Vivian Girls * Shepard Fairey * Themselves * Gaslight Anthem * The Knux * Mexican Institute of Sound * The Night Marchers * Marshall Barnes


I’D BE SUPER PSYCHED TO SEE: Antony & the Johnsons * The Knux 

I WOULD GLADLY PAY MONEY TO SEE:  Lupe Fiasco * Paul Weller * Public Enemy * Gaslight Anthem




OH, FUCK YOU:  Yeah Yeah Yeahs



The weakest of the three days in terms of my personal interest.  It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the acts so much as indifferent.  The Cure I’ve always liked, but have never seen or heard anything to indicate that a live performance from them would bring anything to the table.  For me personally, I mean.  Perry Farrell solo?  Ehhhhhh, thanks but no thanks.  When it comes to No Age, see my earlier note about Hercules and Love Affair.  I heard the album and thought, okay, I can see why this would give some dude writing for Pitchfork a boner but nothing here has my blood flowing.


In fact, looking at the lineup here, I’d just pray that Antony & the Johnsons and The Knux went on early so I couldtry to beat the traffic.


Can I be cheap and say "the fans"? No? Well, too bad.

There’s a bit of overlap in the lineups, and there will probably be more as Bonnaroo fleshes up and completes its lineup in the coming months (The Raconteurs are conspicuous by their absence on the initial list but will be there – mark my words). as it stands now, the Coachella lineup has me a bit more interested. I attribute that less to who they have that I want to see and more to who Bonnaroo has that I actively don’t want or care to see live. 

So there you have it: the lineups for two shows that there’s no way in Hell I’ll be able to afford unless I hit it big in the lottery, which I keep meaning to play but keep forgetting.

More later…

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  1. February 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    The Cure is AMAZING in concert! I say this as a person who has probably 2 Cure songs in her all-time top 10 favorite song list, but still, they are SO much fun! I just saw them for the first time in the spring, and it was aaaaamazing.

    Also, PHISH RULES. Just had to throw that in there.

    And yeah, what is with all the Bruce Springsteen lately? As a nation, we need to collectively GET OVER him.

    • February 4, 2009 at 4:24 pm

      I’ll have to take your word on The Cure, and I’m sure others will pipe in.

      And yes, I agree. Though I don’t know whether to credit Springsteen for hitting the pavement as hard as he has in support of the new album, or blame the critics for giving every new release in the last few years five stars, putting him on the cover of a magazine, and saying it’s the pinnacle of his career.

  2. February 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Springsteen live is freaking awesome, even if you aren’t a huge fan of him.

    The Cure would be an interesting set at the end of a 3 day festival. I imagine everyone all drained and worn out just sort of silently swaying along as they do a 14-minute version of “Pictures of You”.

    OH, FUCK YOU: Yeah Yeah Yeahs * of Montreal * Paul Oakenfold * The Ting Tings

    For this, I love you like the brother I never had but wished I did.

    • February 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm

      Interesting in that you’re not the first person to say that to me about Springsteen.

      I’ve always been of the belief that nothing creates deep, lasting, and meaningful connections quite like hatred of Paul Oakenfold and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

  3. February 4, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    About Springsteen going to the mattresses for his new album: he’s ALWAYS been like that. He’ll forsake his fan favorites and just keep plugging in his new shit. I damn near crapped myself at the Superbowl when he was playing his old stuff, but had enough sense to change the channel when he switched to the new crap.

    I actually enjoy the Killers, they’re better than some of the mainstream bullshit out there. But you’re right, Yeah Yeah Yeahs can go fuck themselves

    • February 4, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      The thing with a Springsteen show though is that even if he plays a lot of stuff off his new album, he’s going to give you three hours of music, so all the old stuff will be represented. When I saw him in 2002 he played a lot of stuff of “The Rising”, but he played a ton of older music as well. Probably about 3 old for 1 new song.

  4. February 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    this springsteen hatred is making me angry! i mean, yeah, he’s not who he used to be, but he’s still better than any other rock star from the 70’s that might still be around. also, have you heard Born To Run, or really any of his first 7 albums (Greetings from Ashbury Park through Born in the USA, he’s hit and miss after that)? they’re all amazing and i think maybe only Tom Waits has a better track record. Springsteen at Bonnaroo is going to be great! You couldn’t book a better headliner for that festival. kudos to them.

    and maybe it’s my old age, but the only band at Coachella that warrants my longing to be there is My Bloody Valentine. i could die happy if only i could hear “Only Shallow” live.

    • Anonymous
      February 4, 2009 at 7:41 pm


      I’m going to Bonnaroo as long as I can find someone to go with; Coachella is just chock full of too many bands I can’t remember why I liked in High School. And the Chemical Brothers? Really? I’m into Techno and didn’t even know they were still together. I hope they play block-rockin-beats!

      Funny thing about Springsteen, I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to his music, but I gotta say, he’s great live. The songs are just rocking, in fact, even though I’ve only been to two of his shows, I’ve probably heard more of his songs live than I have off an album.

      I’m really just going for Phish even though they’ll probably only play for 30 minutes and have played only 2 songs- at least you get two shows out of them.

      Nine Inch Nails- I saw a recording of a recent concert and it was effin awesome. My last girlfriend saw them live in the summer at Mohegan Sun and said it was great, also.

      Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is, the movie Gran Turino is awesome.

      -T OBeirne

      • February 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm

        Re: Bonnaroo

        I have to say the last time I saw NIN perform it was great. Buuuuut…idunno. That was three years ago, and I’m not sure I’d have any impetus to pay to see them a second time, as good of a show as it was? Does that make any sense?

      • February 5, 2009 at 4:11 am

        Re: Bonnaroo

        I still covet time with Trent Reznor. I would still pay money to see him, especially if he was with the Bonnaro crew.

  5. February 5, 2009 at 3:15 am

    so I’m out of the loop with newer bands, and you’re out of the loop with older bands. you seriously didn’t know MBV were back together, or that TRBNGR were still around? TRBNGR may be far past their prime, but they’re still playing and putting out material, thanks in no small part to the efforts of a certain jackass named Bam Margera, who gave them a lot of Stateside exposure.

    As for your comments about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Liars, you couldn’t be more right.

    • February 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

      I never got into MBV, so their reunion flew under my radar.

      And I was aware of Bam Margera’s pimping of all things TRBNGR, in particular when Margera himself was at the peak of his (over?) exposure. But that was about six years ago.

  6. February 5, 2009 at 4:29 am

    O FUCK

    If I saw Leonard Cohen in concert, I could die happy!

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