It's the sixth edition of the Langerado Music Festival, and what started out as a concert for jam-band enthusiasts has grown into a megafestival that all South Florida music lovers should be proud of. Every genre you can think of is here, and with lots of great bands playing at the same time, it's going to take some keen planning to see everybody you really want to catch. With more than 80 acts in the lineup, there's a dizzying array to choose from. This year, the folks at Langerado have added a fourth day, a fifth stage — and now that the festival is at Big Cypress Indian Reservation, there will be 40 acres of land that we'll all be navigating at once. All this great music can be a little overwhelming. But New Times is here to help guide you toward a stress-free weekend. So sit back, relax, and let us offer a few key suggestions for all things Langerado.
This Philly-based sextet is one of the best things ever to happen to hip-hop. They changed the sound and texture of live rap music in the early '90s when they tossed out the DAT machine and picked up real instruments. They've captured the hearts of music fans around the world, not just because they're a real band (which is rare in hip-hop) but because they're a great band. During a two-night stint at Radio City Music Hall a few years ago, Trey Anastasio was spotted rocking out to these guys in the front row hardcore. If Trey can dig these cats, you can too.
Cheat Sheet to Langerado
Perform at 8 p.m. Friday on the Sunset Stage.
What else can you say about Vampire Weekend that hasn't already been written? They're blowing up faster than they wanted to. They're on the cover of plenty of magazines right now as they embark on a tour to support their self-titled debut album. And for the most part, these Ivy League grads who share a love for Paul Simon-style Afro-pop with indie sensibilities are going to have to work real hard in concert to get past their own hype. For us, that's a good thing. Everyone's skeptical yet curious, and the audience at Langerado will have a chance to see the best of this band before the music industry chews it up and spits it out. Enjoy 'em while they're still remotely pure.
Performs at 5 p.m. Friday at the Chickee Hut. Get there early. Hipsters and hippies are gonna have to fight this one out.
In a world spinning out of control, perhaps the hippie-dippie vibe of the tie-dyed set is something to be cherished again rather than ridiculed. This Philadelphia electro-jam quartet's music eschews the typical jam-band clichés and walks a tight balance between stretched-out improvisations and actual songs. Sometimes, you can't even tell you're listening to a jam band. So when the Biscuits take off on their groove-driven tangents, it's that much more fun getting carried away.
Perform at midnight Sunday on the Sunset Stage.
At 9 p.m. Sunday, you'll be dirty. You will have had a long, romantic journey listening to legends, and you'll probably be ready to part ways with those frisky hippies who partied all through the night right next to your tent. But before you drive back to your AC and crash on your couch, there's one last act you need to catch: the National. They're one of indie rock's finest brewed recipes — consider the group the gothic, orch-pop angel resting on top of the rock 'n' roll family tree. And the best part: It's yet to play a show in South Florida. So just as all the yuppies head home to be reunited with their condos, you should be able to enjoy this band stress-free.
Performs at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Chickee Hut.
The name means "Bullet Proof," but the music blares gunshots of funk, soul, and Afrobeat reminiscent of early Fela Kuti and Buena Vista Social Club. It's a tight 12-piece band hailing from Brooklyn, New York, and since its inception in 1998, Antibalas has received a slew of accolades for its sweaty, high-energy performances. Its shows are filled with horns, drums, musical orgasms, and voices chanting "Libertad!" If you think of what the soundtrack to a revolution would be like, head to the band's set this weekend and you can experience one live.
Performs at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on the Swamp Stage.
Perhaps we should have known that they would never truly die, but could we ever have guessed that the Grateful Dead would spawn possibly the world's greatest tribute band? It's not just Jerry's passing that lends the Dark Star Orchestra credibility but the DSO's meticulous attention to detail in reproducing (song by song!) set lists of Grateful Dead shows that took place at various points throughout the Dead's history. With the rabid fanaticism the Dead continue to inspire, it's no surprise, really. You could say "get over it," but clearly people aren't, so why bother?
Performs at 11 p.m. Thursday on the Swamp Stage.
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.
Built to Spill
Running for more than a decade and a half now, the Boise, Idaho,-based Built to Spill is truly the baby of the very serious and often-bearded Doug Martsch. Surviving the early- and mid-'90s Northwest rock scene, the band still retained much of that era's messy-on-purpose, chugging guitars. But it still has always possessed a little more musical finesse. That and much more of a tendency to wander in the middle of a song, spacing out for minutes at a time before crashing back into the original chorus in a way that seems to neatly make sense after all.
Performs at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Chickee Hut.
With a trademark stage show that begins with little skulls on sticks glowing from a dark abyss, Dan Deacon's trip at first seems like death-metal cheese. But then comes the music — bugged-out, psychedelic electro effects with a weird, crunching undertow. Deacon, you see, is all about flipping scripts, performing everywhere from hipster squats to the Whitney Museum in New York. With a balls-to-the-wall energy but still a head-in-the-clouds, out-there vibe, Deacon has the shamanic ability to make even a large show feel like the sweaty inside of the underground Baltimore art collectives from which he sprang.
Performs at 12:30 a.m. Sunday at the Chickee Hut.
Call them a jam band, or consider them eclectic; the Heavy Pets' propulsive blend of rock, reggae, blues, and grooves is perfectly attuned to South Florida's diverse musical mix. These New York transplants have become a popular draw on the local circuit by melding sprightly melodies with instrumental dexterity. That diverse template is evident on Whale, their sprawling two-disc debut, but its their live performance that finds the Pets in their prime. "We do jam, but most of the material we play has no real 'jamming' in it, although it may sound like it does," guitarist Jeffrey Lloyd told New Times last year. "We're just being ourselves."
Perform at 4:30 p.m. Friday on the Greening Stage.
This South Florida-based trio had everyone at Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, et al., freaking out — and for good reason. Its debut self-titled album, released on indie label Unfiltered, is a collection of whip-smart, wistful, British-influenced indie pop, sounding staggeringly miles away from South Florida. Thank God the sun didn't destroy their twee little souls, because we wouldn't have gotten the sweet, reedy, female-sung goodness of tracks like "Goodbye."
Performs at noon Saturday at the Chickee Hut.
The Spam Allstars
Miami's Spam Allstars seem tailor-made to put on a concert in the middle of the Everglades. Their music is a blend of swamp-funk and nocturnal grooves that could just as easily get them a write-up in Fader magazine as it could in National Geographic. Existing as a tight nine-piece unit full of Caribbean, Latin, and electronic flavor, the Spam Allstars are the type of band you'll want to see if you're ready to dance and sweat. And if you know how to salsa, this is the place to show off.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Perform at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Greening Stage.
The Lee Boys
Most people consider pedal steel guitar synonymous with country music and down-home twang. Robert Randolph makes it the focus of his blues brews, but it took the Lee Boys to give it back to God. They first blended those dulcet tones with gospel tradition as youngsters living in Perrine, Florida, and they still play in their respective church bands to this day. Since turning pro, they've jumped to the forefront of the sacred steel movement, enticing fans and admirers like Bob Weir, the Allman Brothers, and the North Mississippi Allstars with their exhilarating concert performances. That blend of funk, frenzy, blues, and Good News provides a thrill with steel.
Perform at 12:30 a.m. Sunday at the Swamp Stage.