“We came here to f-ck this place up!” bellowed Lamb of God lead singer Randy Blythe at Bonnaroo, before launching into yet another assault-on-the-senses metal beatdown. This was it: Festival attendees who had grown weary of the friendly smiles and welcoming high-fives from their concert comrades this weekend had finally found an explosive outlet at the metal outfit’s Saturday night pummeling.

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Day three of New York City’s Governors Ball festival may have been canceled due to inclement weather, but the rabid fans who showed up to witness Rage Against the Machine/Public Enemy/Cypress Hill supergroup Prophets of Rage at Brooklyn’s Warsaw on Sunday night ended up leaving the humid venue completely soaked anyway.

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A HEALTH-y Weekend: Two Nights with the Electro-Industrial Powerhouse


There’s something delightfully masochist about spending consecutive days getting audibly pummeled by the industrial-electro-noise-pop assault of HEALTH. With a light show that seems designed to induce epilepsy, the grinding crunch of guitars that would be well-suited for a cyborg rave, and the kind of relentless drumming attack that bounces around your throbbing skull for hours afterwards, the live HEALTH experience leaves no room for half-measures. You’ll either love it or leave the venue under the impression the devil himself had taken the stage.

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Chrvches Throw Indie Dance Party at Rough Trade to Celebrate ‘Every Open Eye’


Two years after Scottish electropop trio Chrvches released their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, the group has returned with their second collection of synthy jams. To celebrate the arrival of Every Open Eye, the outfit performed a private show (hosted for a SiriusXM audience) at Williamsburg’s Rough Trade and quickly got the crowd of industry insiders, musicians, and lucky fans shaking to the tunes.

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Brooklyn’s Afropunk Rocks with the Tolerant and the Fashion-Forward

letlive. at Afropunk Festival 2015 Day 1

No offense to the lovers of hippie-chic – the seemingly required attire of summer concert attendees from coast to coast – but the gals and guys who grooved to the tunes at Brooklyn’s 11th annual Afropunk festival just took the season’s fashion crown. Brilliantly colored dashikis, exquisitely painted hands and legs and faces (whether from one of the onsite spray-paint artistes or the steady fingers of a trusted friend), golden septum piercings glittering alongside jangling ear adornments, and innumerable messages of righteous empowerment brought together 60,000 music lovers over the course of the scorching weekend.

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Jarryd James Delivers Soulful Electro-R&B in First NYC Show


Shaking off the stickiness of yet another blisteringly hot August night, the crowd poured into the Bowery Ballroom on the 10th, eager to see if rising Aussie singer-songwriter Jarryd James was worth the blogosphere-hype. With just two songs currently available on Spotify, and only a single show in North America to his credit, no one would have blamed the crowd for failing to fully dive into James’ (mostly unknown) collection of soulful, electronic-tinged R&B tunes.

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Bonnaroo’s Top 10 Performances: Could Anyone Top Florence + the Machine?

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 14:  Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine performs during the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 14, 2015 in Manchester, Tennessee.  (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

The 14th Bonnaroo is in the books, as tens of thousands of attendees are sent back to their normal lives, left with the memories of the weekend that was. So when they’re inevitably asked for the highlights, what names will pop up? From Unlocking the Future opening the fest Thursday to Billy Joel closing it out Sunday night, a multitude of acts brought their A-game, but it takes an awful lot to crack the upper ranks of Bonnaroo.

From all that Billboard’s Chris Payne and Dominick Grillo witnessed in Manchester, Tenn., this weekend, here are their picks for the top 10 sets:

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Bonnaroo 2015’s Least Attended Acts

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 12: Musician Joel Woods performs onstage at The Who Stage during Day 2 of the 2015 Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival on June 12, 2015 in Manchester, Tennessee.  (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival)

Most Bonnaroovians came to this year’s fest for the big name acts — Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, etc. But if they only stuck to the main stages, they would’ve missed out on a ton of great music — and perhaps even an act or two who stood on the cusp of widespread recognition, only needing a stellar performance to push them over the top into the mainstream (in other words, Bleachers).

Last year we sent Billboard’s Dominick Grillo around the fest to check out the five acts that had received the least number of “check-ins” on the official Bonnaroo app. This completely unscientific approach (the numbers tend to fluctuate by day, time and inclination of attendees to pay attention to their phones) brought us into the audience for James Bay’s 2014 show at Bonnaroo, a stunning performance that heralded the English singer-songwriter as an artist on the rise. That promise was fulfilled over the past year, with “Hold Back the River” hitting No. 2 on Adult Alternative Songs and “Let It Go” popping up on radio stations around the country.

Would ‘Roo 2015 help launch another talented act into the mainstream? After picking the least-checked-in artists (as of Thursday afternoon), Dominick headed back to the small stages to find out.

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Bonnaroo Superjam!: Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis Join Pretty Lights, Bleachers & More for Retro Bash

Where else but the Bonnaroo Superjam! would you be able to find superstars, rising up-and-comers, and A-list actors coming together to make music that will never be replicated? 2015’s Superjam! took things back with a collection of (mostly) ’80s dance-ready tunes curated by electronic artist Pretty Lights.

Like last year when Skrillex reigned over the sprawling affair, the 2015 party featured the guiding presence of an electronic artist – manning the boards, offering remixes and thunderous bass as needed, and playing the backbone of the just-formed group — as well as a “house band” and a stream of guests playing the lead.

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An Interview With Dark Waves

Valentine’s Day has passed us by, but if you still find yourself pining for your former lover, perhaps it is time to light a couple of candles, grab a big bottle of wine, and put on the moody, atmospheric indie pop of Dark Waves.

The well-crafted songs may not necessarily cheer you up, but that isn’t what you really need anyway when you are trying to get over a broken heart. Sometimes the only medicine is time and the knowledge that others have been where you have been and have clawed their way out of the abyss and back up into the light. That has to be a comfort, right?

More at Punchland.