You Ain’t No Picasso’s guide to Bonnaroo 2012
June 4th, 2012 by Matt
Alabama Shakes will be closing down the first day of Bonnaroo — don’t miss them
Every year I’m hit up for some scheduling suggestions by friends who are going to Bonnaroo. This year I decided to type it up in advance and share it with everyone. See you guys on the farm!
Thursday Must-See Acts: Doug Benson Interruption of Crank 2, Yelawolf, White Denim, Alabama Shakes
Even if the weather holds up like they expect it to (80s and no rain!), this’ll still be a rough week. Start it off easy with either the Doug Benson Movie Interruption of Crank: High Voltage (4:20pm) or the Comedy Central Standup (5pm) taping featuring Key and Peele — that’ll air June 23. Not into comedy first thing? Go catch EMA (4:15pm) and Mariachi El Bronx (5:30pm) for a fun Bonnaroo kick-off.
The post-dinner time of Thursday is all about hip hop. If you’re dedicated you can put yourself up close for Danny Brown (7pm) and Yelawolf (8:30pm). If you’re not there for rap, you’ve got a great night slated as well; you can catch Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr (7:30pm), Texas psych-garage rockers White Denim (8:45pm) and Alabama Shakes (11:30pm) in one can’t-miss evening.
4:15 – EMA
4:20 – The Doug Benson Movie Interruption of Crank: High Voltage
5:30 – Mariachi El Bronx
6 – the Lonely Forest
7pm – Danny Brown
7:30 – Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr
8:45 White Denim
11:30 – Alabama Shakes
2am – Chris Gethard Show
In addition to playing a regular set, tUnE-yArDs will be scoring Buster Keaton silent shorts in the cinema tent
Friday Must-See Acts: tUnE-yArDs, Sharon Jones, Aziz Ansari, Ludacris, St Vincent, Radiohead, Major Lazer
Here’s where things get hard. Friday’s lineup is incredible; no matter what incredible shows you see, you’ll be missing several more. Here’s my suggestion for the ideal Friday schedule.
Much like Thursday, this seems like a great day to start off with a dip into the air-conditioned comedy tent for Colin Hay and Garfunkel & Oates (noon). You’ll be so happy you cooled down mid-day that you might be able to go all through tUnE-yArDs’ (1:45pm) set without seeking shade.
If you missed Marc Maron and Judah Friedlander on Thursday, you get another chance to see them today at 2:30. Otherwise I’d highly suggest sitting in the shade with a bottle of water and watching Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (3pm). They’re on the main stage, so you’ll be able to be way in the back and still see them on the huge television screen.
Afterward you’ll get your first chance to catch YANP-fav Aziz Ansari (4:30pm) in the comedy tent. He’s doing even newer material than Dangerously Delicious. You can also catch another Doug Benson Movie Interruption (4:20pm) — this time of the 2008 version of Rambo — as a comedy alternative. But if you’re there strictly for the music, go sit down and enjoy some Laura Marling (4pm) before making your way to the Avett Brothers (5pm). Now, I’ve never seen the Avetts play the main stage of a huge festival like this, so it if sounds a little weird to be that disconnected from their intimate, stomping folk, head over to Little Dragon (5pm).
Friday night is a great way to knock some musicians off your “To See In My Lifetime” list. We’ve got Feist (6:15pm), Ludacris (6:45pm) and St Vincent (7:45pm) that it’s possible to catch in some combination. I plan on catching a little bit of Feist and Luda, then all of St. Vincent. Rodrigo y Gabriella (7:30pm) are also an amazing live act if you’ve never seen them.
This chunk of time also affords you one of the rarest opportunities of the festival: a never-before-performed tUnE-yArDs soundtracking Buster Keaton shorts show (6:45pm). That’s in the cinema tent, so no idea how easy it’ll be to get into.
And while some of you will disagree, I suggest you use the 9pm-10pm block to eat, use the bathroom and find a comfortable spot to watch Radiohead (10pm). Last time they played Bonnaroo (2006), they put on the longest Radiohead set to date. Here’s hoping they break that record this year.
After Radiohead we hit Bonnaroo’s first real nighttime shows. Major Lazer (12:30am) will be pulling out all the stops with their late-night set, but you can also catch Black Star with an equally strong set. Flying Lotus (2am) will be ringing in the late-late night with a set that could maybe possibly almost bring on a guest appearance from Thom Yorke. Hey, if anything at the fest will pull him onstage it’ll be this show.
12pm – Colin Hay, Garfunkel & Oates
1:45 – tUnE-yArDs
2:30 – Marc Maron / Judah Friedlander
3 – Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
4 – Laura Marling
4:20 – Doug Benson Movie Interruption of Rambo (2008 version)
4:30 – Aziz Ansari & Rory Scovel
5 – Avett Brothers
6:15 – Feist
6:45 – Ludacris
6:45 – Buster Keaton Shorts – live score by tUnE-yArDs and Ava Mendoza
7:45 – St. Vincent
10 – Radiohead
12:30 – Major Lazer
2 – Flying Lotus
The Roots: skip them and we are not friends
Saturday Must-See Acts Das Racist, Battles, Childish Gambino, the Roots, Alice Cooper, Superjam w/ ?uestlove
At this point suggesting that you get to the festival grounds before noon is pretty insane… but I’m sure the Q&A with Judah Friedlander will be equally as nuts. You can also catch Colin Hay and Garfunkel & Oates if you missed them earlier.
The musical day starts off with a mixed bag of genres, all solid acts. Dawes (1:30pm) starts off on the smaller Sonic Stage — always a great area for performances. If you’re in more of a rocking mood, you’ll get a somewhat rare chance to catch the classic DC punk group Bad Brains (1:45pm) mid-day.
Next up I’d say you should catch at least a snippet of Das Racist (2pm) before heading over to catch the entirety of Battles (3:30pm).
The 5pm slot is going to really come down to what kind of music you enjoy. Santigold (5pm) will put on a fun, M.I.A-lite show that sounds great but is perhaps a little more low energy than you’d expect. Gary Clark Jr (5pm) will be surprisingly solid for being such a straight-ahead blues/rock hybrid. Puscifer (5pm), well if you’re lucky they’ll do something like this.
Childish Gambino (6:15pm) makes his triumphant return to Bonnaroo this year. His performance last year was madness, so try to get up close if you’re more than a casual Gambino fan. If you’re in it for the comedy, Bonnaroo gives you great access to Steven Wright (6:30pm), the original king of the deadpan one-liner. Next up is another hard choice: Danzig (6:45pm) or Mogwai (7pm). You could catch a bit of both — and with Danzig’s notorious unreliability and Mogwai’s notorious loudness, that might be all you want.
The evening is a pretty easy no-brainer. The Roots (7:45pm) put on one of the best live shows you’ll ever see. Even if you’re a Dispatch (8:30pm) fan, you can miss the first few minutes of their set to see the Roots finish out their show. After that you can find a good spot and a better drink to enjoy Red Hot Chili Peppers (10pm) for as long as you like. Rest up, though, because you’ll want to stay up tonight.
At midnight we get the first of many treats: Alice Cooper (12am) doing a sweet night show. Even if you’re not a fan, you’ll want to catch a little bit of the spectacle. Superjam (12:45am) looks to be promising his year, teasing that it’ll include ?uestlove and Very Special Guests. Count on a solid band and some impressive guest performances. Then, if you’re still feeling awake, go take in GZA (2:30am) performing Liquid Swords. His shows can be spotty, but I’m confident he’ll rise to the occasion.
11:15 – Judah Friedlander Q&A
12:30 – Colin Hay, Garfunkel & Oates
1:30 – Dawes @ Sonic Stage
1:45 – Bad Brains
2:30 – Das Racist
3:30 – Battles
5 – Santigold
5 – Puscifer
5:30 – Gary Clark Jr @ Sonic Stage
6:15 – Childish Gambino
6:30 – Steven Wright
6:45 – 8:40 – Danzig
7:30 – 9 Roots
9 – Dispatch
10 – RHCP
12 – Alice Cooper
12:45 – Superjam
2:30 – GZA doing Liquid Swords
Don’t let their jam band history keep you from checking out Phish. These days they actually sound like noodling classic rock more often than not.
Sunday Must-See Acts: Here We Go Magic, Beach Boys, Ben Folds Five, Civil Wars, The Shins
And just like that we’re at the last day. I tend to take Sunday very easy (like, leave at 4pm easy), but you might want to stick it out for the full day.
Unless Saturday night knocked you out, you’ll want to take in the one-two punch of Delta Spirit (12:30pm) and Gary Clark Jr (1pm). Next up on the must-see list is Here We Go Magic (2pm); if you think you can catch The Black Lips (1:45pm) or GROUPLOVE (2pm), more power to you. Finish off the early afternoon by joining what is sure to be a huge sing-along at The Beach Boys (3pm) — just make sure you aren’t drowning out their perfect harmonies.
The Ben Folds Five (4:30pm) are a definite must for me. I’ve never seen Ben Folds, so what better way to get my first taste of his live show? Being around the old crew will no doubt bring out his piano-pounding ways. After a bit of that, you can make your way to The Joy Formidible (5pm) or perhaps catch a bit of Kenny Rogers (4:30pm) — five bucks says he brings out a special guest to do “Islands in the Stream.”
After that is another easy straight shot through the night: Bon Iver (5:30pm), Civil Wars (6:15pm) — don’t skip that one, The Shins (6:30pm), and finish it all out with Phish (8pm).
12:30 – Delta Spirit
1 – Gary Clark Jr
2 – Here We Go Magic
3 – the Beach Boys
4:30 – Ben Folds Five
4:30-5:45 – Kenny Rogers
5 – Joy Formidible
5:30 – Bon Iver
6:15 – Civil Wars
6:30 – the Shins
8 – Phish