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.”
Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. This feature will include three things –sometimes related, sometimes not!– that Jim is obsessing over this week. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT tomorrow morning; this week’s special guests are none other than Death Cab For Cutie and Nick Jonas!
Even though I?m out of school?sadly, for many years now?every year at this time I like to put myself in the mindset and sneakers of jubilant kids who are celebrating the end of another year of education.
If today was indeed my last day of school?after doing a few donuts in the high school parking lot?here are the first three songs I?d play at maximum volume in my powder-blue station wagon:
?School?s Out? by Alice Cooper
There is no better song to celebrate the end of a school year. This song was specifically written for mid-June, which Cooper claims?along with Christmas?is the best time of the year. Just think, before this song was released kids had to gather in a kumbaya-circle and sing along to the ?No More Pencils, No More Books? nursery rhyme, which is also conveniently referenced in this rock classic. (Ed. Note – This performance of “School’s Out” from the Muppet Show is my personal fave of this song.)
Have you ever thought of a question for a celebrity that you would love to ask if you ever got the chance? Well, here’s the perfect opportunity. VH1′s morning show, Big Morning Buzz Live, hosts a ton of amazing celebrities each week, and now we’re giving viewers the chance to submit a question online to them.
We’ve partnered with a new company called VYou to give viewers a chance to ask our guests anything you want. Just submit a question for either our lovely host Carrie Keagan or any of our upcoming guests through the widget above or by visiting our Big Morning Buzz Live page on VYou.com and wait for them to respond to you via our in-studio webcam.
In part two of our interview with international chart-topper Natasha Bedingfield (see part one here), we spoke to her about how her collaboration with Nicki Minaj, “Last Chance,” came about. Unbeknownst to us, it turns out that if it weren’t for her relationship with Eminem, the track might never have happened! Check out her video interview above –one in which she also charmingly chides Simon Cowell for not picking her to be a judge on X-Factor– for all this and more.
And below, we’ve got Natasha’s humdinger of a performance of her new potential summer jam, “Weightless,” live on the set of Big Morning Buzz Live!
Imagine you’re a successful musician, returning home after being on tour for months. Groggy and wiped, you walk in your bedroom to find your most prized possession destroyed, and the blade of a 12-inch carving knife stuck, standing up, in the middle of your bed. Creepytown, right? For Ray LaMontagne, this was actually a reality, and on Wednesday morning, our friends at Rolling Stone?debuted a sneak from tonight’s episode of VH1 Storytellers wherein the talented singer explains how and why it all happened. After the deeply personal account that was a favorite of ours from the show’s taping, LaMontagne then performs new single “Repo Man,” giving us a taste of what’s to come on tonight’s incredible episode.
In case that’s not enough Ray for you to chew on before this evening’s show, we can now proudly present you with an online-only exclusive from the show, brought to you by the good folks at Bing. A bit less intense, “For The Summer” is the perfect, tender compliment to Wednesday’s “Repo Man”?sneak, whose lyrics perhaps offer a healing solution to the dramatic knife story he discussed. If you’re already a fan, you’ll get it, and if you’re not, it’s compelling enough to turn you into one.
To get the full scoop on Ray’s bedroom fiasco, watch both clips now, and don’t forget to set your DVRs for Storytellers: Ray LaMontagne, premiering tonight at 11 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.
We try to cover all the music stories that matter here on the VH1 blog. Sometimes, though, we find too many stories to cover, stories that don’t exactly “matter” but are worth sharing, or even just good stuff from our peers. Here’s your Thursday roundup:
Flo Rida Arrested for DUI in Miami TMZ reports that Flo Rida attempted to decline a walk-a-straight-line test: “Officer, I can?t do this. I don?t feel I can?t walk a straight line. I had a few drinks. Let?s try another test.” [Rap Radar] Read more…
On Sunday the New York Timesreviewed a Kathleen Hanna tribute concert that took place six months ago, as an entry into a discussion of how the 1990s feminist movement of riot grrrl (which included, but was not limited to, music) has, and has not, been remembered. The article’s timing coincided with the DVD release of the documentary Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour, which follows one of Hanna’s bands, Le Tigre, on their farewell tour in 2004 and 2005. The film is distributed by Oscilloscope, a company owned by Adam Yauch, whose fellow Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz is Hanna’s husband, and is one of several recent examples of riot grrrl veterans writing their own histories. The Times article also mentions Sara Marcus‘s recent book Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Movement, as well as NYU’s Riot Grrrl Archive.? Read more…
Festival season continues this weekend with Bonnaroo‘s 10th anniversary in Manchester, Tennessee, so we’re here again to help guide the 80,000 wristband holders through the tough choices of the weekend’s lineup. (Don’t have a ticket? You’re in luck! Some of the big-tent performances will be webcast at VEVO.) As always, we recommend checking out at least one band you haven?t heard before; might we recommend country-rocker Hayes Carll, (who plays one set each today and tomorrow)?
Jam-band and bluegrass aficionados have a plethora of options all weekend?perhaps too many tough choices. For the more pop-minded among us, here are five big intersection points to break down for you:
FRIDAY AFTERNOON Choices:Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (3:15 p.m., What Stage) and Matt & Kim (3:15 p.m., This Tent) Decision: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Both groups are embarking on summer tours in midsize venues with reasonable ticket prices, but Matt & Kim, though they showed at the OMAs that they can play bigger, do have a certain energy that’s amplified when it’s contained in a club full of kids that are ridiculously hyped up. You Oughta Know artists Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, on the other hand, don’t lose any of their power from midday open-air big-tent staging. Read more…
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.