Festival Guide: Early To Rise
Mon, 13 Apr 2009 10:54:47
In Festival Planning 101, the first lesson to learn is that the size of the name on the flyer is not directly proportional to the quality of the performance. Sure, it's the Paul McCartneys and The Cures of the world that draw the big crowds, but, when you're so far away that you're squinting to make out their faces on the jumbo screens flanking the stage, even the mega stars lose their magic. With this in mind, the true joy of concertgoers-in-the-know is catching the best performances from the little font bands—the up-and-comers that inhabit the small stages in early time slots and inevitably become the main topic of every, "Did you catch so-and-so? Aww really? They were incredible!" conversation the next day.
To make sure you don't miss the biggest little performance at your festival of choice, we've compiled a list of lesser known bands that will undoubtedly be buzzed about this concert season. Wake up early to catch their intimate performances before they hit it big, and someday when a friend describes seeing their blurred image on a jumbotron from across a field, you can say,"Oh yeah, I was front row when they played in '09…"
Performing at: Bonaroo, Sasquatch, All Points West
After years of playing a key role in both Sufjan Stevens and Polyphonic Spree's backing bands, Annie Clark is certainly no stranger to the stage, but it's under her own St. Vincent moniker that her prowess as a performer truly came to fruition. As a frontwoman, she brandishes not only a porcelain voice and beguiling looks, but also the skill to pull off some stunning fretboard work with one of indie rock's most idiosyncratic guitar tones. With the impending May release of Actor, the follow-up to 2007's much lauded Marry Me, the festival circuit will offer most music enthusiasts their first chance to see the songstress performing her soon-to-be-raved-about new tunes.
"These Days" live
"Jesus Spends, I Save
Performing at: Bonarroo, Coachella, Sasquatch, All Points West
Hailing from New Orleans, The Knux have helped spearhead a revival of hip hop duos delivering lyrics on the true essentials: dope kicks, fine ladies and uncompromising party skills. With beloved club mover DJ Cobra in tow, Rah Al Millio and Kripsy Kream will be bestowing their tag-team rhymes and thunderous beats on virtually every marquee festival this year. Considering the spreading plague of plaid that the folk revival is wreaking upon the indie world, this could be one of your last chances to bust out your freshest threads and get down.
Performing at: Coachella, Pitchfork Festival
With the quirky mix of punk pace, indie fuzz and sing-along melodies on their eponymous debut, the Vivian Girls charmed their way into the blogsphere's heart in 2008. Live, the girls more than deliver on their monumental buzz by offering enough ruckus energy to conjure comparisons to the Ramones decked out in sundresses. Add the playfully coquettish banter that the trio is known for to the mix, and you've got a set that's not to be missed if you want to brag to your friends about your comprehensive festival experience.
"Second Date" live
"Tell The World"
Performing at: Bonaroo, Sasquatch
Sprouting from a musical Valentine's gift crafted by Michael Angelakos for his special someone, Passion Pit scored one of indie's most unexpected playlist hits with "Sleepyhead," the single off their debut EP, Chunk of Change. With the music world's attention now firmly set on these promising new songwriters, this Cambridge collective is preparing to drop their first full-length, Manners, while wowing audiences in the opening slot for powerhouses like Death Cab For Cutie. Catch them during one of their early festival slots to get a sneak peak of their impending full-length.
"I've Got Your Number" live