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.

Review: Jib Kidder – Teaspoon to the Ocean


Don’t try and place particular labels on multi-instrumentalist Jib Kidder and his music. He certainly doesn’t. On his bandcamp page, his concise profile reads, in its entirety, “No genre, no hometown, hard 2 pin down since Y2K.”

Over the years the artist, born as Sean Schuster-Craig but who performs as Jib Kidder, has seemed to change his style as easily as one may change their socks. His first big break came in 2009 when “Windowdipper,” a glitchy, hip-hop, MS-DOS sampling banger was used on So You Think You Can Dance, but his current batch of tunes veer in an almost entirely different direction.

More at Punchland.

An Interview With Weyes Blood


Natalie Mering, better known as the principal force behind indie-folk band Weyes Blood, creates music that would probably sound just as home in the ’60s as it does from a stage in 2014.

Earlier this month, Mering played Glasslands and her ethereal voice transported the crowd (or at least this writer) to a time when most likely had never even been born.

We had a chance to catch up with Mering, and she told us about how she came up with her stage name, her feelings about America in the age of the Michael Brown/Eric Garner non-indictments, how she first began playing with Jackie-O Motherfucker and Ariel Pink, and much more.

More at Punchland.

How To Dress Well at Glasslands


Tom Krell, better known by his stage name How to Dress Well, usually plays larger venues than Glasslands these days, but he took time out of his schedule to play one of the final shows at the soon-to-be-closed Williamsburg haunt. The Tuesday night (Dec. 16) concert brought Krell back to the place where he played one of his very first New York shows prior to the release of his debut album, Love Remains, in 2010.

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Confessions Of A Celeb Tattoo Artist


Celebrity tattoo artist Romeo Lacoste, 25, seems to be doing pretty well for himself. He parties with Justin Bieber, he goes backstage at the hottest concerts, and he’s got a phone filled with the contacts of the world’s biggest stars.

After growing up in Montreal and Florida, Lacoste headed to California in 2010 to further his career as a tattoo artist. By 2013, Lacoste landed a primetime spot on the third season of Oxygen’s Best Ink. And since then, he has experienced the kind of meteoric career rise that most attain only in their dreams.

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An Interview With Syvia


A few minutes after walking through the door of Greenwich Village’s The Bitter End, it became clear that Syvia would not be playing for one of its usual crowds. The members of the dark, Scandinavian-inspired electronic rock band stood to the side of the stage as a singer-songwriter finished his set with a string of covers.

If a Taylor Swift jam and Marc Cohen’s “Walking in Memphis” were the kind of tunes that got the crowd leaping out of their seats, throwing high-fives in every direction, and screaming with pleasure, what chance did Syvia have at capturing the attention of the room?

Fortunately, Ruthy Mirsky (vocals and keyboard), Frank Banisi (guitar), Sheldon Chow (bass and keyboard), and Richard Moyle Jr. (drums) came to play, and their brooding songs (including the just released new single “Soon“) soon won over the cover-loving crowd.

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An Interview With Typefighter


Throw together a bit of Weezer, a bit of Jimmy Eat World, a heap of Washington D.C. charm (of course, that’s a thing!), and four beards of varying lengths, and you’ve got Typefighter, purveyors of nostalgic ’90s garage-pop.

We caught up with Ryan McLaughlin (lead vocals and guitar), Thomas Orgren (vocals and guitar), Will Waikart (drums), and John Scoops (bass) before they jumped onstage at Mercury Lounge on November 7th and melted the faces off of just about everyone in the building.

It was their second-to-last performance on a mini-tour with Canadian rockers PUP and Brooklyn’s own Chumped, and in between some light stage banter they got the crowd moving on a cold November night. (Though, probably no one was jumping around as much as the extremely energetic Scoops!)

More at Punchland.

An Interview With Emily Wolfe


It’s a good thing this interview will be read and not heard, because after knocking back a few too many open bar whiskeys, our slurred questions to Austin-based rocker Emily Wolfe probably made us sound like a semi-conscious stroke victim.

Fortunately, Emily is a good sport, and we had a few minutes to chat before she jumped on-stage with her bandmates (keyboardist and singer Hannah Hagar, bassist Sam Pankey and drummer Jeffrey Olson) for a scorching CMJ day three set at The Delancey.

More at Punchland.