For a variety of reasons, I'm not making the trek to Southern Tennessee this year to Bonnaroo. While the headliners are not as enticing to me as last year's, there are a number of acts that I'm sorry that I'll miss.
Here, in order, are the Top Ten performers at Bonnaroo that I'm sorry I won't see (and a live performance from them as well):
1. Ben Folds Five. The group broke up in 2000; since then Ben Folds has gone on to a successful solo career and is one of my favorite artists. Now they're back together and will release a new album in August. Here's a live version of "Landed" one of my all-time favorites from any artist:
2. Radiohead. Always ones to do things their own way, Radiohead is perhaps the most iconic act in this year's line-up. I'd pay close to the price of admission to the whole festival just to see them. Here they are live in Prague playing "There There":
3. The Avett Brothers. The only artists on this list that I've seen before and one of the five best concerts I've ever been to. Southern poets, great musicians, and entertainers; The Avetts look like they're right off the set of "Deadwood" or "Young Guns". Don't miss 'em! Here they are doing Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise:
4. The Civil Wars. Great harmonies, although I object to their being categorized as "Country." John Paul White was born in Southern Tennessee and grew up in Muscle Shoals, Alabama a stone's throw (okay 125 miles) from Manchester, TN. Heck, I might pay close to the price of admission just to see/hear this song (you have to wait through a long intro to hear the song, but it's worth it):
5. Alabama Shakes. Damn that girl can sing! The rest of the band looks like they just rolled out of a frat house. Here's "Hold On":
6. Delta Spirit. Would be higher on the list, except that I'm not all that enamoured of their latest album. Still, there are some great songs on it and especially on their previous effort, History From Below, would make them a must-see in my book. Here's my favorite from the next-to-last cd, "Bushwick Blues":
7. Dispatch. How could I not go see a band spawned from Middlebury? Apparently they're back together (again) and have released a new EP. This is "Bang Bang" live:
8. The Shins. It seems that some bands are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The Shins' sound on their new album is a little more upbeat, a little more rocky, which seems to displease some critics but should make them even better live. Here they are doing "Bait and Switch" from their new cd, live at South by Southwest:
9. The Temper Trap. I can see these guys as 2012's Matt + Kim -- upbeat and great at connecting with the audience. Here's a live version of "Fader" from KEXP:
10. Alice Cooper. Hey, the second album (okay, it was an 8-track tape) I ever bought was "Killer". Don't know if Alice still has it or not, but I'd be willing to find out. Thanks to my long-time friend Kevin Potter for introducing me to Alice many, many years ago, and to my Republican Dad for not flinching when I brought Alice into his house. Here's a recent version of my favorite Alice song, "Under My Wheels", judging by which he does still have it (wait out the long band intro, it's the best live version I could find):
Truth be told, I won't miss the dust, the crush of humanity, and not showering for four days. But I'm sure I'll regret missing these acts, along with many more this year. Maybe Bonnaroo 2013 is in my future . . .