TVD Recommends: Bonnaroo 2013

When flagship festivals as big as Bonnaroo come along, they’re always overloaded with so many acts that plotting out a schedule seems almost too easy, but heed this warning! If you only see the big names, you’re liable to miss some good shows.

Past the acts everyone knows to see like Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, R. Kelly, Bjork, The National, festival staples like Mumford and SonsWilco, Pretty Lights, and breaking acts like Lumineers and Action Bronson, there are names that seem to blend in with the overwhelming list of notables. So here are some obvious don’t-miss picks and a little bit of a peak-under-the-radar to see what can be good show you’re glad you got to see.

Though there are plenty B+ list bands to catch, there are a few especially worth being available for. The xx are a name you’ve probably heard for a few years now. Lead member and producer Jamie xx has built a sound that mixes American indie rock with English dance sentiments. The xx has properly defined the aesthetic with their sophomore effort, last year’s Coexist. In the same fashion as the recorded material, their live show works off of equal helpings of raw performance and expert production well worth checking out.

You can be sure to catch me at Four Tet‘s electronic set, and I’ll be around as Grizzly Bear run through lots of material from their latest Shields, the progressive rap of Death Grips, and the rebirth of the return of the Wu-Tang Clan, but there’s one show I definitely won’t miss. Animal Collective has one hell of a choice set, playing Friday night from 2am-4am. Their stage design and performance antics alone make them a must-see, and combined with the 2012 reinstatement of 4th member Deakin (Josh Dibb) on the record Centipede Hz, this has the potential to be one of Bonnaroo’s most satiating showcases.

Past the glitz and glamor of headliners and indie darlings, there are the names that are buzzed about but yet to solidify, the most obvious of which is Earl Sweatshirt. Don’t get me wrong—Earl gets plenty of blogwork on his own and is not unpopular by any means, but as of recent, weight has been given to his artistic credo with mass collaborations and associative work with the king of LA influence, Flying Lotus. With Doris on the way, possibly bringing an epic age of artistic rap to the main stage, Earl Sweatshirt is an act you need to see in person well before the hype hits the fan.

Other than the Local Natives performing many tracks from their outstanding effort Hummingbird and the extended musical talents of Dirty Projectors, there’s one act that I’m looking forward to based on muted sentiments and subtle touches. Patrick Watson is an artist that tends to relish in keeping things under control. With his emotions so in check, he creates beautiful aural textures and soundscapes defined by their mature take on the human condition.

Bonnaroo bolsters a much weightier line-up than these suggestions alone, so check out the full line-up and get your personal preferences and schedule organized correctly at the Bonnaroo website, where tickets are still on sale (while supplies last.)

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