Bonnaroo – The Midlevel Bands


And here is part deux of our three part Bonnaroo preview. Yes, it’s four months away but the lineup was just unveiled and we’re really excited about it. Yesterday, we did the headliners. Today, we’re all about those midlevel bands that will most likely be headliners in the next two to three years. Here we go: 

  • Beach House – Man talk about a beloved band. Beach House could sell out just about any venue. They are going to be one of the more watched bands of the weekend.
  • Cat Power – This is good as a band and an exclamation (Cat POWER!!!!!). Chan Marshall really should be a headliner by now, she’s been amazing for what seems like an awfully long time that I don’t get why some people know her yet. She’s a treat. Make sure you see her set.
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Since when has a white rapper been this popular? Eminem? He’s funny like Em and his rhymes are pretty sick. Yeah there are a ton of people that don’t dig what he’s bringing, but I’m a fan.
  • Jim James – If this were My Morning Jacket they’d be headlining, but since Jim has just released his solo debut he gets the midlevel exception (That’s a basketball joke – I enjoy sports too).
  • Tame Impala – They’re stock is rising fast. Last year they had what many people were calling one of the best albums of the year and played a phenomenal set at Outside Lands. This year they will set the night ablaze in Manchester.
  • The Gaslight Anthem – A few Jersey boys, Springsteen protégés and all around bad asses. I actually think they’ve lost a little momentum since they released their second album, The ’59 Sound. It was lightning in a bottle and now on album four I think they’re spreading themselves a bit too thin. They’re still dynamic performers though and I encourage you to check them out.
  • Portugal. The Man – I feel like they’re finally back on track after a year or so of band turbulence. Their next album will be produced by Danger Mouse and is said to be heavily influenced by Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
  • Billy Idol – This is a guy that once would’ve been a headliner, but is now relegated to mid-level. I don’t know how much gas the old Brit has in the tank, but he’d be one of the bands I marked off my bucket list were I to make the trip to Manchester. If Billy Idol is playing you have to go see him. If anything just to say you’ve seen Billy Idol play.
  • Dwight Yoakam – He is an amazing performer, a really good actor and has been playing for about 30 years. He is one of the few musicians to succeed still with that Bakersfield country sound that Buck Owens and Gram Parsons so beautifully perfected way back when. He’s in the same bucket list class as Billy Idol.
  • Trombone Shorty – I saw him play at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco a couple years back and is hands down one of the top ten performers I’ve ever seen. He’s engaging, stylish and moves around the stage like a snake slithering through the grass. All of that while playing a trombone. New Orleans Jazz is anything but dead.
  • Alt J – Had one of my top ten albums of the year last year and are better than a lot of the bands on this list. They aren’t known well enough to headline, but they will be soon. Alt J is the real deal.
  • Father John Misty – J. Tillman has man personas and this one is very similar to Jim Morrison. He’s another one I saw last year at Outside Lands and he is a hilarious performer and a great singer. If you haven’t seen his shtick check it out. 



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