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Five For Friday: Yeezus Season Approaching

by Rob Slater on February 21, 2014

Bonnaroo dropped their 2014 lineup on Wednesday, igniting the annual debate of whether Bonnaroo is "back" or not. Whatever that means. No matter what Lollapalooza, Hangout Festival, Summer Camp, or pick-your-favorite-festival does, it seems as if all eyes focus on Manchester, TN when lineup announcement season approaches. This year, the debate heated up to insane levels as 'Roo welcomed back fan-favorite headliner and mega star Kanye West as the (assumed) Saturday night headliner. West will join Elton John, Lionel Richie and Jack White as headliners throughout the weekend, with Sir Elton pulling Sunday night duty.

The controversy with the selection comes in the form of Kanye's 2008 debacle, where the rapper allegedly refused to take the stage until all other music stopped. His "All of the Lights" set ended up including the sunlight along with strobe lights, cop lights, flash lights, street lights and spot lights. And thus began the hatred of Kanye West from the 'Roo faithful. For a festival that promotes happiness, the fans can sure hold a grudge, as the backlash to West's headlining spot in 2014 is still raging over on Bonnaroo's Facebook page and on message boards everywhere. We'll get to that, but first lets dig into this week's Five For Friday with five observations on Bonnaroo's 2014 lineup.

See if you can find the theme. Hint: It's Kanye.

You are now watching the throne

Bonnaroo once again delivered a stacked undercard this year, with several headliner-worthy acts (Phoenix, Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys) performing before the final acts on the main stage. Needless to say, if there is a situation like last year when Mumford & Sons unexpectedly dropped out, there are worthy replacements already on the farm to take the spotlight if needed.

When these bands get in their zone, they will light up the crowd. Phoenix is arguably one of the best acts of the past year, and British rockers Arctic Monkeys are bringing rock and roll back to it's punky, don't-give-a-shit origins. Then there are more mainstream acts such as Skrillex, Frank Ocean and Vampire Weekend who are no strangers to the big stage.

No leaving this party with nobody to love

Has anyone in music written more love songs than Lionel Richie? The only headliner that wasn't heavily rumored (Elton, West and White were discussed heavily prior to the announcement), Richie is sitting on an immense catalog, both through his solo work and with '70s funk outfit (and hit MACHINE) the Commodores. He can close his eyes and point at 25 songs that will thrill a festival crowd like Bonnaroo. There will be lots of tent love following performances of "Hello," "Easy," "Endless Love" and of course "All Night Long." While most expected a more rock-oriented headliner in the fourth slot (i.e. Foo Fighters), Richie will give a valiant effort in filling the void left by those who longed for Prince in this spot.

I guess every superhero needs his theme music

He's back! The reaction to Kanye West's headlining set will undoubtedly be the most interesting and anticipated aspect of Bonnaroo 2014. Yeezus is in the middle of one of the most successful tours of the year, garnering rave reviews for its inventiveness, creativity and overall wow factor. Kanye is in the headlines for his rants against SNL, Apple, Microsoft and every other person who told him "no" in his life. What will the Bonnaroo faithful have to say? No one knows. The 'Roo brass have spoken on the issue, but it will ultimately come down to the fans' reaction. If there are boos, an it gets audible, the rant won't be directed at Apple or Microsoft, it'll be directed right at you. And, wow, will that make for some must-see YouTube TV.

If all goes smoothly, West's set promises to be one of the best of the weekend, mixing in classic cuts from his expansive catalog with new songs from his wildly popular last record Yeezus. Remember, Bonnaroo, Yeezus loves you. And if I had to guess, that love will come out on Saturday night as Kanye is a man who, despite his wild press interviews, has always claimed he learns most from his mistakes. Like the one above, and of course, #NODISRESPECTTOBENAFFLECK.

I wanna stick to my roots

After the 2013 edition seemed lacking in the jam department, Bonnaroo lathered up all you can handle this year, with the likes of Umphrey's McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, White Denim and many more scheduled to appear. It seems as if at any point during the day you will be able to pop over to a stage and get a heavy dose of instrumentation sans computers.

Dad cracked a joke all the kids laugh, but I couldn't hear em all the way in first class

While last year's comedic lineup boasted the likes of Daniel Tosh, Bob Saget, David Cross and other well known comedians, this year's drops off a bit in name recognition in favor of the young up and comers. Hannibal Buress and SNL's Taran Kilam will presumably anchor the comedy lineup, which lacks a top name like in year's past. While this is just the initial lineup and there could certainly be more comedians added, the funny isn't coming to The Farm in droves like it did last year.

Conan, Pete Holmes, Jeselnik, Tig Notaro, Rob Delaney, Amy Schumer, Mulaney, Louie C.K., Aziz. Anyone? I'll even settle for Kevin Hart at this point. Okay, no I won't. Nick Offerman would be a great fit too, but only in the persona of Ron Swanson.

And that is this week's Kanye'd version of Five For Friday. Consider it immersion therapy for those still holding onto the grudge from 2008. I promise this will never happen again. Happy Friday!

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