At Bonnaroo‘s tenth anniversary, three things stood out: triple digit heat, a permeating dust, and an eclectic mix of music topped by hip-hop. If you wondered the 700-acre campground, you were bound to run into all kinds of music — even Mongolian folk. We saw, for instance, a pretty-as-expected set by Americana star Justin Townes Earles, hip-hop by Big Boi that unfortunately came off like it had Attention Deficit Disorder (why not play some full songs instead of 30-second samples of Outkast and Sir Luscious?),? a promising set by indie/country newcomers Futureheads, the metal of The Sword, and the reggae of Black Uhuru. See Bonnaroo photos and video, then continue reading after the jump.
Bonnaroo 2011 kicked off its tenth anniversary Thursday afternoon, and reached its first climax with three massive headliners Friday night, including My Morning Jacket (8pm) followed by Arcade Fire (11pm) on the stadium-sized main stage (known as the “What Stage”) and then Lil Wayne at 2am on a large side stage (the “Which Stage”). Sure, there were dozens of solid shows (and some comedians) leading up to this amazing musical trifecta. But with more than 80,000 people — mostly kids braving extreme heat and humidity without being able to shower — camping out on festival grounds that stretch out over a 700-acre expanse under a vast sky, Bonnaroo was made for big moments. Plus, the smaller tents, if you can squeeze in, don’t always provide enough room for the hippie–ish contingent to properly dance and twirl glow sticks.
My Morning Jacket opened its two-hour set with with an extended, trumpet and voice only intro of “Victory Dance,” the first song off their new album Circuital. Much has been made about MMJ’s so-called return to their roots by recording the new album direct to analog tape in a gym in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky as opposed to the NYC studio that served as headquarters for their last album (Evil Urges). By opening with the first track from Circuital, MMJ may have been announcing a homecoming of sorts to the mostly Southern audience. Regardless, “Victory Dance” was an apt choice to celebrate with the friendly Bonnaroo crowd how far the band has come. Having played the fest four times in the past, but never on the main stage, frontman Jim James noted, “it’s such an honor.”
Previously in our “Bonnaroo By the Numbers” series, we discovered that hip-hop acts dominate Bonnaroo’s lineup in terms of sheer volume of social media fans. Now, we’ve compiled data from Next Big Sound to create a list of the bands that are growing their fan base (Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MySpace, YouTube, etc.) the fastest. It’s based on month-over-month percentage change leading up to Bonnaroo. The list is topped with the always-animated, experimental band Man Man, presumably because their fourth album, Life Fantastic, was released last month. The Brooklyn-based, get-the-party-started band Matt & Kim are next on the list with a 209% increase in fans, including an enormous one-time spike of 35,000 fans on May 19 — the day after the duo announced their “Sidewalks” tour and the day they released their official video for “CAMERA” on their Facebook page.
Also on the list are some up-and-comers like Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, a Portland rock quartet that’s as comfortable playing jazz and blues as it is rock. The foursome, ranked #3 on the list, increased their social media fan base by 151%. They’ve been around since 2008, but released their debut album last month. After the jump, see all 10 bands on our list.
It may seem surprising that hip-hop would dominate anything at Bonnaroo, the giant music festival (and party) that began in Tennessee a decade ago with hippie-ish jam bands and roots rock. But this is what we discovered when using Next Big Sound to gather social media stats on all 150 or so acts on the lineup. For our inaugural “Bonnaroo By the Numbers” feature, we’ve compared the top 20 acts on the lineup versus their total number of social media fans (Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MySpace, YouTube, etc.).
While the top acts on the lineup are a solid mix of roots rock, hip-hop and indie rock, the hip-hop artists tear it up in the social space. Eminem, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa would be the top three acts if Bonnaroo were to order its lineup based on which artists have the most social media fans. While Eminem tops both the bill and social media (nearly 50 million followers!), Lil Wayne is #7 on the lineup and Wiz is down at #44. Atmosphere would also be #10 on the lineup, not #39.
After the top three hip-hop acts, the next three would be a trio of indie luminaries: The Strokes, Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. It’s not too surprising that the roots rock or jam band contingents don’t register very high. To be fair, we didn’t break out the individual musicians of the reunited Buffalo Springfield — and Neil Young has more than a million Facebook followers alone. Then again, we can’t really imagine him sharing his knack for poetry on Twitter.
Before the plane lifted off for a flight back to NYC from Austin’s South By Southwest Music Festival, the airline attendant joked via loudspeaker: “You all look so hip and cool.” Some passengers laughed, but probably no one disagreed. How could a flight with members of TV on the Radio be anything else? In fact,the packed plane felt like a microcosm of the festival itself, where thousands of bands, industry executives, celebrities and music fans worked and played for five days at parties in clubs, bars and makeshift venues like parking garages.
We have more details on Hanson’s SXSW benefit for Japan. There’s no live concert element to the show that fans can attend — it’s a live-streaming telethon only. Hanson has taken over a studio in downtown Austin at the SXSW music fest, inviting musicians to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami by either performing or stopping by for a chat from noon on Saturday (March 17) through noon on Sunday (March 18).
Among those participating are Michael Stipe of R.E.M., John “JoJo” Hermann of Widespread Panic, the North Mississippi Allstars, The Boxer Rebellion, AWOLNATION, Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr. and many others. Hanson will perform multiple times throughout the telethon. An album of performances from the telethon will be available for download at iTunes. Donate at SXSW4Japan.org, proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
We ran into two-thirds of Hanson at Rachael Ray’s SXSW party this afternoon, and brothers Isaac and Taylor were making a serious effort to get the word out about teaming up with the music fest for a last-minut, massive benefit concert for Japan. Details are scarce at the moment — there’s not even a press release out yet. But the concert will start tomorrow (Saturday, March 18) at noon and will run a whopping 12 hours. It will also stream live for the entire show. Isaac says an album of the concert will also be available for download from iTunes. There are more than 2,000 acts at SXSW this year, so it’s the perfect opportunity to pull off a “We Are the World”-style benefit.
Update: Hanson.net is reporting that Widespread Panic, the Boxer Rebellion, Ben Folds and the Courtyard Hounds were the first to sign on. The stream will include live and pre-recorded performances as well as messages from musicians. Watch and donate at SXSW4Japan.
Thanks to Chrysler and Samsung for sponsoring our SXSW coverage.
At SXSW, we’ve learned that The Strokes are back (10,000 went to their set last night), Dave Grohl is the nicest guy in rock (according to the VH1 crew who interviewed him) and people can’t stop talking about Kanye West, who’s allegedly doing a secret show tonight or tomorrow. We’ve also noticed there’s no lack of gorgeous performers and celebs flaunting eclectic, wild styles. We’re bummed we couldn’t get close enough to snap pics of country-garage threesome Those Darlins, who put on a raucous show last night that closed with their ode to sex and parties, “Nightjogger.” But with thousands of artists performing simultaneously, it’s impossible to capture more than a fraction of the action.
Oh Land interviews with VH1 News
(Photo: Matt Muro for VH1)
See more pics after the jump and check back here later for updates.
Most artists have a better chance of winning the lottery than selling out stadium-sized shows, a feat Hanson accomplished as young teens thanks to their single “MMMBop.” Despite the success, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac broke with their major label over creative differences and started their own (3CG Records) instead of signing with another. This makes HansonÂ a rare phenomenon — a boy band turned indie act, which puts them right at home at SXSW. Last month, Hanson released a video for “Give A Little” to support their most recent album,Â Shout It Out.
If you’re into witch house, whatever that is, then you may already know the new producer/DJ duo CREEP, which recently released Days, an EP featuring vocals by the xx‘s Romy Madley Croft. It seems no one knows quite how to label CREEP, but the Brooklyn-based duo, featuring Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard, say the genre that most closely represents their music is trip hop. Regardless, it’s clear the Laurens have listened to plenty of Goth and industrial in their day. The duo’s debut video is dark, sexy and sinister – just like their music.