If we are superior at anything at New Times, it is at having opinions. We're talking like we even have something to say about the kind of toilet paper your mom buys (leaves stuff in our butts!) or the size of raindrops falling from the sky (they're too skinny).
So, of course, we needed to speak our piece about all the acts performing at SunFest this week. Starting tomorrow with the Smashing Pumpkins and ending Sunday with Kendrick Lamar, here is our list of ten best acts to see at SunFest.
10. Jimmy Cliff
This artistically prolific, Harder They Come-acting, and politically sensitive reggae legend is the real deal. And we're listing him first to get it out of the way so we can get to some musicians that are a little easier to make fun of.
At first, the Jacksonville-bred pop-punk unit Yellowcard may seem like standard-issue Drive-Thru Records nasal-core. But then you realize they've got a violin player, and then you realize the violin player can do backflips.
8. Reel Big Fish
Do you think the members of Reel Big Fish really live third-wave ska? Ya know, the whole kit-and-caboodle: 24/7 sideburns, bowling T's, studded belts, cargo shorts, chain wallets, and checkered sneakers? Survey says: Probably. You don't choose to be the last punk-with-horns band on Earth. You're born that way.
7. Barenaked Ladies
No band has ever epitomized its band name less than the Barenaked Ladies -- a quirky college-rock ensemble comprised of hairy, dorky, clothed males. But, hey, we get off on cognitive dissonance. And every time the little guy breaks into that "chickity China the Chinese chicken" breakdown in "One Week," we can't help but feel hyper-nostalgic for 1998.
6. Less Than Jake
Speaking of '90s, nostalgia, and breakdowns: You know when Gainesville ska-punk-turned-pop-punk stalwarts Less Than Jake take the stage at SunFest, we'll be front and center screaming along to all of the horn lines they've whited out of their catalog.
5. Cheap Trick
For decades, all Cheap Trick has wanted is for us to want them. The irony is: We always want Cheap Trick! Don't worry your pretty little heads, dudes. Just keep cranking out that classic power-pop 'n' roll and we'll never stop "Surrender"-ing or shrieking like the 12,000, teenaged Japanese girls doing just that on Cheap Trick Live at Budokan.
4. Ed Sheeran
That Ed Sheeran sure is a sensitive dude. The kind of guy who writes tender, whispered ballads about drug-addicted prostitutes and uses samples from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Plus "A Team" is the best Top 40 pop song about amphetamine abuse since Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life."
3. Smashing Pumpkins
The present-day Pumpkins are the Reunion Show Era's fattest cat and/or more most glimmeringly golden calf. Which is to say, back in the day, Billy Corgan was flanked by D'arcy and James Iha and had beef with Kurt Cobain. And in 2013, he breeds band mates in a secret laboratory and fakes feuds with Fall Out Boy as part of MTV promotional campaigns. If we're lucky, Corgan will have a meltdown onstage and begin to berate the audience. We're not being ironic. Rock-star ranting is our bread and fucking butter.
2. The Offspring
While you rarely hear much hype from or about guitarist Dexter Holland, bassist Kevin John "Noodles" Wasserman, and the rest of quintessential '90s skate-punk crossover crew the Offspring, there's no denying that the band was arguably the greatest success story of the punk and "alternative" (yeesh) explosion of popular culture post-NIrvana.
Its 1994 album Smash hit every marker: It was genre-defining skate-punk record label Epitaph's first gold and platinum record, not to mention the biggest-selling record ever released on an independent label. In four years' time, the Offspring transitioned once more from nice rock radio audiences and onto the main stage as personified by Total Request Live With Carson Daly.
1. Kendrick Lamar
When we saw Kendrick Lamar at The Fillmore in Miami Beach last September, the concert was bonkers-insane mix of religious reverence and blunt burnin', rum sippin', private-parts-grindin' decadence.
Men chanted "Kendrick! Kendrick" and did the Arsenio Hall fist pump and everybody got da fuck down. Are you, a novice de fiesta, unsure of your ability to properly and fully rage like a fratboy on 'roids? Well, Lamar himself has got a fool-proof plan that will guarantee you are the life of the party every time: "First you get a swimming pool full of liquor/Then you dive in it."
Bonus: Black Crowes
Because the Black Crowes fucking rule. Throw your bra only, not your whole body, on Goldie Hawn's former son-in-law. Those Robinson brothers have something about them, and not just huge beards and clothes borrowed from Steven Tyler's closet. It's called: star power.
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