By Ashley Zimmerman
By Dana Krangel
By John Hood
By Ashley Zimmerman
By David Von Bader
By Sayre Berman
By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
This Chicago quartet continues its quest to incorporate the best bits of shoegaze, stoner rock, and heavy music — and then flips the bird at the genre conventions of all three. With their most recent album, last year's City of Echoes, the staunch road dogs have progressively drifted away from their earliest, mostly metal compositions toward more cerebral — and, dare we say, softer? — territory. Each song centers on a droning chord cycle, with each pass through revealing another layer, another added guitar melody that propels it to a churning end. It's the sort of aural tug-of-war in which this band excels.Performs at 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Chickee Hut.
The Bad Plus
Formed in 2000 by bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King, this progressive jazz band (if there is such a term) blends original material with personal covers of mainstream pop songs few would have imagined in a jazz format. They can cover everything from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and still keep it decidedly jazzy. Their own material is slightly rock-inflected, but it also has plenty of sonic experimentation for those who like their musical boundaries pushed.Performs at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on the Swamp Stage.
If you've ever wondered what an indie-rockin' hipster and a backpack-wearin' hip-hop nerd would sound like sharing the same vocal cords, then meet Busdriver. This eccentric L.A.-based lyricist is known for his high-octane stage presence and his relentless journey for impromptu divine intervention. His latest album, RoadKillOvercoat, is a hybrid of stadium pop-rock hits colliding with obscure electronic spasms. Equipped with only a dying laptop and a static microphone, Busdriver doesn't just rap; he performs a five-act play. If you enjoy Shakespearean theater, Busdriver is your Hamlet.Performs at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Chickee Hut.
When it comes to making roots rock reggae, there isn't another band in the land that's warranted more respect throughout the years than the Wailers. When Bob Marley was fronting this outfit in the 1970s, they single-handedly took reggae and turned it into a global phenomenon. Now that Bob is in the heavens watching over us all, the Wailers still tread on, keeping his music and memory alive. There are a few guys in the group now from the early days, and even though they've obviously got a different lead singer, when the band jumps into Bob's classic material, just grab a fistful of spliffs and head toward the stage.Perform at 4:30 p.m. Friday on the Everglades Stage.
The Shout Out Louds
Again, we can thank Sweden's government-funded arts education, along with whatever it is in the Scandinavian waters that fuels pop perfection. One of their sparkliest recent products is the Stockholm quintet the Shout Out Louds, creators of fuzzy musical diary entries that wrap up neatly in a few minutes, laden with enough hooks to snag the saddest fish. Tracing romantic triumphs but more often foibles, the band's songs provide little empathetic nuggets for the overthinking bookworm without wandering into too-precious or ironic territory.Perform at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Chickee Hut.
Something magical happens when Ozomatli takes the stage. It's as if you drank ten Red Bulls in one sitting, as you find your feet moving uncontrollably. Maybe it's some mystical voodoo attributed to the name, Ozomatli being an Aztec word for the God of Dance. Or it could simply be the dope music that comes out of this ten-piece multi-ethnic jam band hailing from the City of Angels. Its sound is a sweet concoction of various cultures and styles: Latin, funk, hip-hop, and rock, and the lyrics are often laced with poignant political diatribes showing support for freedom's cause. Sí se puede!Performs at 3:30 p.m. Friday on the Sunset Stage.
Balkan Beat Box
If you ever wondered what the United Nations would sound like if it had a band, well, let me introduce you to Balkan Beat Box. Led by two Israeli-born New Yorkers, Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskrat, this collective consists of belly dancers, gypsies, visual VJs, and hip-hop MCs mixed with punk rockers, reggae rastas, jazz pianists, and trance DJs. Oh wait, there's more! Not only does BBB's music sound like a smorgasbord of world music gone ballistic but it's also a refreshing reminder that our ears are indeed colorblind and see no borders. If you can handle Bulgarian salsa and Swahili polka, then your weird ass needs to check this set out.Performs at 12:15 p.m. Sunday at the Chickee Hut.
Even though many figured this New York-bred Jewish reggae singer would be no more than a passing novelty after his big break opening for Dave Matthews at Bonnaroo a few years back, the public has realized that the heavily bearded crooner really has the chops necessary for a reggae pop music career. His music is thoroughly connected with his Hasidic Jewish identity, and he's still able to rap, beat-box, and rock out without selling out, which is hard. While some people take all of this as a novelty, check out his set this weekend and leave your misconceptions at the campground entrance.Performs at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Sunset Stage.