Jun 11, 2014


At any given point, my taste in music has tended to veer off in a number of different directions, be it off-kilter R&B, psychedelic world music, lo-fi garage scuzz, electronic dance music, industrial weirdness or folk and rock that falls somewhere left the mainstream. While I wouldn’t call any of these Bonnaroo artists “underground” (they’re playing Bonnaroo, for crying out loud), these are some of the more unconventional acts (at least by public radio standards) that I am particularly excited to catch at this year’s festival.

Those who are so inclined can listen to my “2014 Bonnaroo” playlist by clicking here!


Friday, June 13, 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

“That Tent”

Ukrainian experimental quartet DakhaBrakha is the only group on this list that I discovered solely through the Bonnaroo line-up -- I was immediately by their downtempo and avant garde take on eastern European folk/soul music. Distilling spoken word, harmonies and both electronic instrumentation and organic strings through a hazy, sexy filter, the group was created by avant garde theater director Vlasyslav Troitskyi and incorporates traditional Russian, Indian, Arabic and Ukranian instrumentation and vocals.


Sunday, June 15, 2:45-3:45 p.m.

“The Other Tent”

Some might think of Swedes as generally being shy, Aryan and fitting easily in a box. The band Goat (who claim Swedish heritage, although the mysterious tone of their self-publicity makes it difficult to discern what’s true and what’s not) turns those stereotypes on their head, and then proceeds to turn on a strobe light and stomp on them frenetically. With just one full length album to their name (2013’s generically titled “World Music”), the band creates a brilliant brand of experimental world fusion, performing in full tribal costume, with masks, face paint, and astonishingly frenetic dance moves. Glorious.

Die Antwoord

Friday, 1:45 a.m. - 3 a.m.

“The Other Tent”

The South African industrial “rave-rap” group Die Antwoord is the act I am probably most simultaneously terrified and excited to see at Bonnaroo. With a staggering 1:45 a.m. start time, the male-female duo and their cronies are sure to bring the late night weirdness for anyone still standing and brave enough to brave their set. With lyrics that blend English, Xhosa (the official language of South Africa) and the West Germanic Afrikaans dialects, they are known for their highly unique, stylized and no-holds-barred approach songwriting, music video production and general attitude.

King Kahn & the Shrines

Saturday, June 14, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

“That Tent”

Based out of Berlin (via Canada), King Khan and the Shrines incorporate elements of doo wop, garage pop and psychedelic soul, with a punk rock ethos. Fronted by (often scantily clad) lead singer Arish Khan (aka King Khan, aka Blacksnake), who made Kentucky headlines when he was arrested for possession of psilocybin mushrooms in Christian County in 2009, the band is known for their high energy, zany live performances.

A few other Bonnaroo highlights I’m anticipating:

* a sing along to R. Kelly’s epic “Trapped in the Closet”rap opera saga at the cinema tent at 2 a.m. Friday morning, presented by IFC

* Catching some acts like The Orwells, Diarrhea Planet, Speedy Ortiz, Wayne Coyne and Caveman at Bonnaroo’s more “intimate” (typically sparsely attended) side stages: Solar Stage, New Music on Tap stage, sonic stage, etc.

* Connecting with fellow Kentucky friends who will be representing Alltech / Kentucky Ale, Rolling Oven Pizza and Hippie Dips as food and drink vendors


Saraya Brewer
Editor-in-Chief, tadoo.com
Managing Editor, Chevy Chaser and Southsider Magazines

Crave Lexington food + music festival
September 13-14