Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fresh Wave of Additions For Bonnaroo

Well, the lineup for Bonnaroo 2008 just gets more and more amazing as time goes on. Indie songstress Cat Power (Chan Marshall), Dweezil Zappa's tribute to father Frank, billed as "Zappa Plays Zappa," the Disco Biscuits, dance punkers MSTRKRFT and electro funkers Chromeo have been added to the bill. In addition, as if Chris Rock wasn't enough, the comedy contingent gets another big boost from the addition of Lewis Black to the lineup. More info on the lineup can be found here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Types of Rock Can Be Heard at Bonnaroo 2008; Tickets On Sale Today

Yes, the headline is more than a tad cheesy. And yes, you are correct-- the blockbuster comedian pictured above, Chris Rock, is set to perform for the crowd at this year's Bonnaroo.

While it's unclear whether or not he'll be performing the biggest (quasi-musical) hit of his audio forays, "No Sex In The Champagne Room," it is clear that Bonnaroo isn't fooling around when it comes to its comedy component; indeed, this could have been argued before the announcement for Rock's appearance, as the lineup already included tried-and-trues David Cross and Janeane Garofalo. It's also clear, even this early, that no festival will really have a chance at standing shoulder to shoulder with Bonnaroo this year in terms of sheer star power.

The date that Rock will perform hasn't been announced, but he's currently scheduled to do a one-hour set on Bonnaroo's What (main) stage one of the festival's four days.

In other Bonnaroo news, tickets for the impossibly good-looking festival will go on sale today at noon EST. General admission passes will be sold first in a $209.50 batch, then a $229.50 batch, and finally a $244.50 batch. Camping and parking (not including RVs) are free, but there's a service charge of $22.95 per ticket. 

On the other hand, VIP passes go for $1,169.50 per pair (no individual passes will be sold), which gets buyers "special" shower and restroom facilities, access to a VIP lounge and pre-event party, a buffet, exclusive viewing bleachers and preferred parking, among other features. Buyers for the VIP and $244.50 batch of regular passes can also opt for a two-installment payment plan instead of paying all at once.

You can find out more about the ticket situation here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weir & RatDog top second round of High Sierra lineup announcements

In his first ever appearance at California's leading jam rock festival, prototypical jammer Bob Weir will headline with his band RatDog at the 18th High Sierra Music Festival July 3-6 in Quincy CA.

The festival beefed up its 2008 lineup with a second wave of artist announcements today. In addition to RatDog, the new adds are James Hunter, New Monsoon, The Mother HIps, The Lee Boys, Gandalf Murphy and The Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Joe Craven and more.

These join previously announced performers including Railroad Earth, The Sparrow Quartet, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Charlie Hunter Trio and lots more. With lineup slots available for more than 75 artists, expect more headliner names to be announced in the weeks ahead.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lots to discover in Coachella '08 lineup

By Samantha Spector

For the 2008 incarnation of the Coachella Music Festival, promoters are going back to their roots. Last year’s lineup came streaking out of the booth and didn’t let up until the final notes resonated throughout the desert. This year, Goldenvoice (the producers of the festival) is throwing us back.

Coachella ’08 isn’t about packed headliners (Rage Against the Machine, Willie Nelson in ’07) or reunions (the Pixies in ’06). This year is a chance for the fans of music to discover the bands that will be huge this year. My very first festival was Bonnaroo in ’04, where Dave Matthews and Trey Anastasio rubbed shoulders with The Dead, Ani DiFranco and moe.

Coachella 2008 promises to have that same feeling. Take that Kanye and Metallica.

Let’s start with the headliners. I’m ecstatic to see Portishead and Kraftwerk in bold letters right next to The Raconteurs, The Verve (is it 1998 again?) and alt-favorites Death Cab for Cutie. Jack Johnson is gearing up to promote his newest album, “Sleep Through the Static.” French electro-house superstars Justice will try to light the desert on fire with some of the freshest sounds in music today.

And then there is Roger. Waters, to us mere mortals. Like his world tour of 2007, Rogers will once again play through the entirety of “Dark Side of the Moon.” I caught the show in New York but it’s hard to put into words how excited I am to hear “Money” and “Eclipse” in a place I can actually see the stars.

But that’s the night. During the day, we’ll sizzle in the sun to some of the artists that have cause for excitement amongst critics and fans alike. We’ll get down to the beats brought by Chromeo, M.I.A. and Hot Chip. I’m especially excited to see Jenny Lewis live for the first time with Rilo Kiley. Slightly Stoopid is set to rock to their home state crowd while the National will bring their emotionally austere instrumentals.

I’ve found that every festival has an idea of what they want each individual event to feel like. Langerado is all about melding every genre, All Good continues to be jam-oriented. Coachella has built a reputation as one of the best festivals to discover new music.

I’m sitting in snowy New York right now but until April, I’ll be California dreamin’.

Another new mega fest set for Michigan in July

Add another entrant in the race to launch major new rock festivals in 2008. Madison House Presents and AEG Live announced the new event, called Rothbury after the town in western Michigan where it will be held this coming Fourth of July weekend.

Proclaiming itself as "the next evolution in U.S. music festivals" and "a party with a purpose," Rothbury will grab attention for its eye-popping lineup, including Dave Matthews Band, Widespread Panic. John Mayer, 311, Phil Lesh and Friends, Primus, Snoop Dogg, Modest Mouse, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Gov’t Mule, STS9 and many more.

While many festivals emphasize eco-awareness, Rothbury has embraced sustainability as its purpose. In addition to the music stages, the festival offers the Rothbury Think Tank as an event within the event. The conference will feature roundtable discussions with scientists, scholars, writers, progressive political and corporate leaders, youth leaders, and entertainers. The festival will also feature an Energy Fair, where attendees get exposure to sustainable technology and products.

The festival site is the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan, a well known Michigan resort location with on-site lodging and restaurants in addition to a beautiful natural environment including trails, forests, fields, lakes and beach front.

Tickets go on sale February 27 at Various packages are offered.

The new festival adds to the spate of festival launches this year. Last week, AEG confirmed that its Mile HIgh Music & Arts Festival is on for July 19-20 in the Denver area. Coachella producer Goldenvoice is launching All Points West in Jersey City NJ in August, who forced another festival alliance involving LIve Nation and C3 Presents to postpone its previously announced Vineland festival.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bonnaroo Lineup Announced

Well, the official lineup for Bonnaroo 2008 has been released, and though the very pop-friendly Lollapalooza is yet to be accounted for in this respect, it might actually not be too early to say that it's the best rock festival of the year. Headliners Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jack Johnson and Kanye West are really just the tip of the iceberg.

In addition, a huge positive that can be found already, before the gates to the Manchester farm even swing open, is that Bonnaroo hasn't lost it's stylistic depth. It's still a rock festival at the core, but one that isn't afraid of absorbing artists such as B.B. King, Talib Kweli, Ladytron and Gogol Bordello into its ranks.

Here's the lineup as it stands right now (there are apparently even more performers, TBA):

Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Phil Lesh & Friends, My Morning Jacket, The Allman Brothers Band, The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, Death Cab for Cutie, B.B. King, Sigur Ros, Levon Helm and the Ramble on the Road, Ben Folds, O.A.R.
The Bluegrass Allstars Feat. Luke Bulla, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Bryan Sutton, M.I.A., Umphrey's McGee, Iron & Wine, Yonder Mountain String Band, Swell Season, Talib Kweli, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi's Soul Stew Revival, Gogol Bordello, Broken Social Scene, Robert Randolph's Revival, Rilo Kiley, Mastodon, Lupe Fiasco, Against Me!, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Pat Green, Ozomatli, Tegan & Sara, Solomon Burke, Drive-By Truckers, !!!, The Avett Brothers, Israel Vibration, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck, Phil Lesh / Larry Campbell /, Jackie Greene, Aimee Mann, Ladytron, The Fiery Furnaces, Orchestra Baobab, Ghostland, Observatory, José Gonzalez, Dark Star Orchestra, Minus the Bear, Donavon Frankenreiter, Lez Zeppelin, State Radio, Battles, Jakob Dylan, Two Gallants, The Sword, Vampire Weekend, Little Feat, Nicole Atkins, The Felice Brothers, Mason Jennings, MGMT, The Lee Boys, Black Kids, Serena Ryder, Steel Train, Grupo Fantasma, Back Door Slam

Bonnaroo Comedy: Bonnaroo Late Night Chat About with David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Zach Galifianakis, Jim Norton, Brian Posehn, Mike Birbiglia, John Mulaney, Michelle Buteau

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Umphrey's Cinninger looks ahead to Langerado

By Samantha Spector

When Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee gets onstage and shreds into his guitar, everyone listens. From the audience, his talent manifests itself as a manic, high-energy persona. Offstage, however, Cinninger is humble, eloquent, passionate — just a good ol' Midwestern boy after his dreams.

Recently I had the opportunity to chat by phone with Jake from his home in Indiana, which was then under ten feet of snow. We bonded over a love of old-school recording, talked about the emotion emitted from his instrument and discussed the merits of naming their next studio album "Man-tits." Cinninger and Umphrey's McGee will help kick off the American festival season at Langerado in Florida in March.

You have the best job in the world. Do you go home and think about how far Umphrey's McGee has come or does it just not sink in?

It's easy to get wrapped up in the negatives of this business. Ego, bad habits, you know, being drained from the road… there's all these, like, bad things that come with being on the road that can sort of break down the body some of the time. We can thankfully cut down to 105 shows, but that's after years of doing many more. I just focus on all the positives. We're [the band] thankful for what we are- that's why we're all holding on as a group while we keep [a] positive, skeptical and reluctant look to the future. I think that is what makes the future happen. [Photo: Brett Saul © 2004]

I'm a big fan of your band and have to say that I am astounded by the growth you guys have had musically in the past two years. Can you guys feel everything coming together from the stage?

Yeah, I mean a lot of that is all in personal ponying or crafting our skills for what we do. If each year passes by and if we don't improve or weed out bad habits musically then what's the point? We had definitely picked up different styles along the way, and now I think we've found ourselves going back, sight-reading music again, almost about revisiting so we can re-vamp our style. If everyone has that same ideology, it just multiplies in talent. If everyone [in the band] was comfortable with the way we played, than we really wouldn't progress.

So I just got an email from a friend of mine and she would like me to inform you that your version of "Comfortably Numb" [at this year's Holidaze in Jamaica] made her cry. What happens in your head during moments like that?

I think what makes those performances happen for us is there is a nervous energy and excitement and this, like, Super Bowl energy that you have. Tell [your friend] thank you and that I can't wait to make her cry again.

Ok, I'm looking at the Langerado lineup once again — tell me your thoughts on what might go down in Florida this year.

[Langerado] is rivaling the Bonnaroos and the other "big" festivals with this intense lineup. It's also a great time of year to head south. I kind of feel like a vampire right now [because of the cold].

I'm just totally intimidated and in awe and humbled and all that. It's just so weird to be from a little town in Michigan and have these big rock star dreams happening. We'll be playing after the Beasties. Basically, the Beastie Boys are going to come off the stage and we're doing to get up there — it's just insane. Just thinking about Phil Lesh coming out and playing with us…it's that feeling of "He likes us! He really really likes us!"

Any chance the Brain Dead Eggman (a "supergroup" composed of members of Umphrey's McGee and the Disco Biscuits) will reunite soon?

Its kind of all scheduling [but] I could totally see that happening again. I think we were already planning doing another [Caribbean] Holidaze thing, under the same circumstances. I think the Eggman thing is kind of a legit thing and it's so much fun. With that music (the band does entire sets of cover songs), it's so encoded in everyone's DNA and the least we can do is try to get it close to the original just because it means so much to us and everyone else that's there.

Okay, final thought. Sum up Umphrey's McGee in one sentence.

If we can get Jerry Garcia and Slayer to maybe have a love child, that would be what we're aiming for.