Top Ten Thursday: Best Bonnaroo Acts of 2013

Bonnaroo, main stage, 2013, Paul McCartney

This one is pretty self explanatory. As our final recap of the event, here is our favorite acts of our favorite festival. I’ll give you a hint, Mumford and Sons didn’t make the list … or did they.


10. Tame Impala
Tame Impala, live, Bonnaroo, 2013

Tame Impala’s groovy Aussie vibes translate well to the stage. Especially for an afternoon festival setting. There is no doubt these guys will only be growing in fans as the years progress. I wouldn’t be surprised seeing them graduate to a stage soon enough.


9. Father John Misty

Father John Misty, live, bonnaroo, 2013

Father John Misty’s live show is something of a peculiar nature. He comes off as a drunken asshole with an extremely promiscuous demeanor. For all I know, he may be exactly that in his personal life. But as for his live show, it translates into an extremely entertaining stage presence. He also sounds incredible and plays with an incredible amount of energy. He pours himself into his performance in a unique way with a punk-ass twist. A perfect example of that is performance of “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” which made our number five spot on yesterday’s list.


8. Dirty Projectors 

dirty projectors, live, bonnaroo, 2013

If you are looking for a beautifully crisp, bright sound for an afternoon show at a festival, look no further than Dirty Projectors. If you think their album sounds pristine, wait until you see them live. Their voices sing angelically and their guitar tones are brighter than the studio recordings.


7. Jim James

Jim James, live, Bonnaroo, 2013

If there was to be an MVP of Bonnaroo 2013, it would undoubtedly be awarded to Jim James would. Curating one of the best Superjams the festival is partially known for, guest DJ’ing a late night Silent Disco set, contributing to the Preservation Jazz Hall Band set, and playing one of the best single sets of the festival. Jim James is no slouch when it comes to a live show, and that especially applies for a Bonnaroo performance.


6. Wu-Tang Clan

Wu Tang Clan, live, 2013, Bonnaroo

Wu-Tang clan ain’t nothin to f*ck with. Yes, I’ve used that before. In fact, I used it two days ago. But it still holds true not matter how many times it’s said. Sporting a near full lineup, their performance at Bonnaroo gave us eras of Wu-Tang, young and old, solo and not, and even songs from the dearly departed. And it was wonderful. As I also said two days ago, the MVP’s of the clan were Method Man and Ghostface Killah, both slaying the mic and controlling the set.


5. R. Kelly

R Kelly, bonnaroo, live, 2013

I feel that Aziz Ansari’s bit about R. Kelly has set everyone’s expectations of the man’s live show to a very high standard. Well this performance exploded any expectation that I had of R. Kelly into the wind like a thousand freeing  doves. The man’s voice is impeccable and his flow is smooth as silk.

R Kelly Bonnaroo, 2012, fly, crane
And yes, he literally came down from the heavens.


4. David Byrne and St. Vincent

David Byrne & St Vincent, live, Bonnaroo, 2013

Wes was able to catch this mythical beast live for the second time, and once again they did not disappoint. David Byrne still has the voice, the moves, and the choreography that made him  who he is today. While the newly blonde St. Vincent boasts her sexy voice and quirky demeanor as his spunky stage partner. An odd duo that makes for a helluva pair.


3. Animal Collective

Animal Collective "Brothersport" at Bonnaroo

Neither Wes nor I had ever heard great things about Animal Collective’s live sound. Stage energy and weirdness, yes, but not sound. So to put it quite literally, we were jolted to life when hearing the crisp clean sounds of Avey and his band of animal brothers. Me, because I was nearly passed out from a whiskey overdose, and Wes because he was a sweepy bear. But that didn’t stop us from jamming to one of the most energetic and best sounding show at the festival.


2. The Rock n’ Soul Superjam

Bonnaroo, 2013, Superjam Rock n Soul

Jim James’s beast unleashed! If a soul set of Prince’s “1999”, Bill Withers’ “Use Me” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up”  etc. led by Jim James and John Oates wasn’t already something to write home about, the rest of the set certainly was. After a shout out to a non-present Beatle with “Instant Karma”, the crowd was blessed with a slew of Sly and the Family Stones covers. Only to encore with R. Kelly leading Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and “Bring It On Home To Me”. Enter Billy Idol and Brittany Howard for some T. Rex’s “Get It On (Bang A Gong)”, Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and close the night with another Sly song, “I Want to Take You Higher” and then call it a night. It wasn’t just the selection of fan favorite tunes that made the show so special. I was the insane caliber of the musicians and singers and how well they meshed that really made it all work. And for that Jim James, we thank you.

Bonnaroo, 2013, Superjam
If Billy Idol shows up, you know it’s going to be a great time.


1. Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney, live, 2013, Bonnaroo

It cannot be expressed enough how great this man is at performing. He touched our hearts with songs we love, he regaled us with tales of himself and other past legends such as Clapton and Hendrix, and he even found a way to show some support for Pussy Riot during “Back in the USSR”. The man has the most endearing capabilities I have ever seen from a performer. He also still sounds and plays incredibly well for his age. He’s not just one of those old fogy legends that you want to see but almost feel bad for because their voice is shot and they have no energy. Or in Roger Daltrey’s case, have to hook themselves up to an oxygen tank in between songs. In conclusion, he is one of the best performers I have ever seen. And although “Hey Jude” stole the show as an 80,000+ strong sing-a-long, the display he put on during “Live and Let Die” was one of the more fantastic  things I’ve ever seen. Of all the shows my friend and concert compadre Wes and I have seen in our lives, this will go down as the most memorable.


The “Just Missed Our List” List:

Todd – Death Grips

death grips, live, bonnaroo, 2013

The above picture really explains everything that I could possibly say. The only thing it doesn’t adequately show is the insane mosh pit that I also partook in.


Wes – Bjork

Bjork, live, bonnaroo, 2013

Wes likes a women adorning the head piece of Hellraiser. Especially if she has the ability to pull off sounds like Bjork.


Austin – Totally Missed

Festival No Show

No show, no miss.


Author: Todd

I dig musics ...

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