music festivals 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
Video: 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.

Monarchy of Roses
Can't Stop
Dani California
Scar Tissue
Look Around
Throw Away Your Television
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)
By the Way

Chad & Mauro Jam
Suck My Kiss
Give It Away
Final Jam

Also Ranked

#56 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#3 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

#23 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#83 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

see more on Red Hot Chili Peppers

Ranker Video v
Video: 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.

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
Wicked Young Man
I Love the Dead
School's Out (with snippets of Another … more)

Born This Way (Lady Gaga cover)

Also Ranked

#72 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#59 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

#73 on The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

#42 on Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

see more on Alice Cooper

Ranker Video v
Video: 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

#12 on The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

#9 on The Best Black Rock Bands

#12 on The Best Bands Named After Songs and Albums

#25 on The Best Bands Named After Body Parts

see more on Bad Brains

Ranker Video v
Video: 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". see more on Michael Kiwanuka

Ranker Video v
Video: 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. see more on Flying Lotus


Ranker Video v
Video: YouTube
Sweetie & Shag
Dominican Fade
Wall Street
Ice Cream
My Machines
Futura see more on Battles

Ranker Video v
Video: 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 see more on Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings