Band/Musician Bonnaroo 2012 Reviewed + Ranked

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List Rules Ranked by how much I dug the set, basically.

Reviews, videos, and setlists of the Bonnaroo Festival 2012, all 25 artists that I saw. Ranking and reviewing all the music I caught live at the Bonnaroo Fest in Manchester, TN. Overall, a strong festival - not the best Bonnaroo I've been to (one of these days I will rank rock festivals themselves against each other), but a great time nonetheless.

Headliners this year are Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Phish - a pretty top-knotch set of headliners, but there are also great young bands like Alabama Shakes, Michael Kiwanuka, and Gary Clark Jr. making their Bonnaroo fest debuts earlier in the day. 2012 is a pretty solid Bonnaroo lineup, and has benefitted from some late additions including Danzig Legacy and Sharon Jones. Video footage of each band added when it can be found on Youtube. Consider this to be an overall Bonnaroo 2012 review.

I'd also like to add that thought I didn't actually watch Skrillex, we caught about 20mins of his set from a distance while stopping for some food and "regrouping" to head back to crash for the night, and I was pretty impressed. While it's not quite my style of electronica, seeing the live show I totally "get it". I didn't include Skrillex in the rankings because without actually being engaged in watching the band, it's not really fair to rank them.
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Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
Not the best Chili Peppers set I've seen (that would be Lollapalooza - I think in 06), but a pretty solid one. LOTS of jamming, seemed like much more instrumental groove improv than an average Chilis set - Flea especially was way into the Bonnaroo spirit and they were giving a lot of props to other bands of the weekend. Klinghoffer filled Frusciante's shoes admirably. And they played Higher Ground which was quite nice to hear.

Setlist:
Monarchy of Roses
Can't Stop
Dani California
Scar Tissue
Look Around
Throw Away Your Television
Charlie
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Right on Time
If You Have to Ask
Factory of Faith
Under the Bridge
Higher Ground
(Stevie Wonder cover)
Californication
By the Way

Encore:
Chad & Mauro Jam
Suck My Kiss
Ethiopia
Give It Away
Final Jam

Also Ranked

#66 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#70 on The Very Best Indie Pop Bands & Artists

#103 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

#672 on The Worst Bands of All Time

see more on Red Hot Chili Peppers

Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
Really wish I got to see more than just the first half hour but there two mega jams going on at exactly the same time as this midnight Saturday set.

Setlist:
Vincent Price intro
The Black Widow
Brutal Planet
I'm Eighteen
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Hey Stoopid
Is It My Body
Halo of Flies
I'll Bite Your Face Off
Muscle of Love
Only Women Bleed
Cold Ethyl
Feed My Frankenstein
Caffeine
Poison
Wicked Young Man
I Love the Dead
School's Out (with snippets of Another … more)

Encore:
Elected
Born This Way (Lady Gaga cover)

Also Ranked

#114 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#64 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#60 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

#873 on The Worst Bands of All Time

see more on Alice Cooper

Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
BIG crowd, fierce set - with the exception of HR's vocals either being buried in the mix or HR whispering too much (probably both). Lots of moshing. HR pimped out in a blonde wig and white suit . . . OK . . . Really enjoyable to see a band like Bad Brains killing it at Bonnaroo - reminded me of how great the Buzzcocks set at Coachella this year was.

Also Ranked

#866 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#276 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#456 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#289 on The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

see more on Bad Brains

Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
I walked up just as his crack band was kicking into "Tell Me A Tale", my favorite song of last year. The full-borne version pretty much killed.

The rest of the set was enjoyable but not amazing. Kiwanuka has a fantastic voice, but the songs were not of universally high quality, and many were also pretty downtempo. One highlight was a cover of Hendrix's "May This Be Love".

Also Ranked

#180 on The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

see more on Michael Kiwanuka

Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
Caught 40 minutes or so of Flying Lotus's 2AM set in That Tent. No light show or stage show, but some pretty great beats, and Flying Lotus is fun to watch. There were definitely similarities to his Coachella 2012 set, which I also saw the first half of.

Also Ranked

#1058 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#136 on The Best DJs in the World

#59 on The Best Electronica Artists

#370 on The Best Alternative Bands/Artists

see more on Flying Lotus
15

Battles


Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
Setlist:
Africastle
Sweetie & Shag
Dominican Fade
Atlas
Wall Street
Tonto
Ice Cream
Inchworm
My Machines
Futura

Also Ranked

#22 on The Best New Prog Bands

see more on Battles

Ranker Video v
Photo: YouTube
Sharon and the Dap-Kings played a very strong mid-afternoon main stage hourlong set. She's a hell of a frontwoman, and the Dap-Kings are as soulful as a band can get

Also Ranked

#105 on The Best Neo Soul Artists

#116 on The Best Soul Singers/Groups of All Time

see more on Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings