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
I HAD NO IDEA THESE BANDS WERE EVEN STILL AROUND AND ASSUMED THEY BROKE UP LIKE EIGHT YEARS AGO…GOOD FOR THEM I GUESS: Gomez * Galactic * moe.
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
FRIDAY APRIL 17
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 *
I HAD NO IDEA THESE BANDS WERE EVEN STILL AROUND AND ASSUMED THEY BROKE UP LIKE EIGHT YEARS AGO…GOOD FOR THEM I GUESS: The Crystal Method
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.
SATURDAY, APRIL 18
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
I HAD NO IDEA THESE BANDS WERE EVEN STILL AROUND AND ASSUMED THEY BROKE UP LIKE EIGHT YEARS AGO…GOOD FOR THEM I GUESS: Turbonegro * Liars
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. 😦
SUNDAY, APRIL 19
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
I HAD NO IDEA THESE BANDS WERE EVEN STILL AROUND AND ASSUMED THEY BROKE UP LIKE EIGHT YEARS AGO…GOOD FOR THEM I GUESS: X * My Bloody Valentine
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.