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SUMMER GUIDE 2011: Get ready for Bonnaroo 2011



The temperatures are getting higher, so it's another sign that the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is just around the corner. Why should you care? Not only is it a great way to see bands that don't often hit the Queen City, but it's a great way to see a lot of music in the course of four days (that being June 9-12). Among this year's headliners are Eminem, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket and a reunited Buffalo Springfield. But if you're headed to 'Roo (or waiting for them to hit Charlotte), here are some other acts we'd recommend checking out:

Florence & The Machine — Driven by the powerful vocals of singer Florence Welch, the band was nominated last year for a Best New Artist Grammy. The band has been touring furiously in support of its debut album, Lungs, and expects to hit the studio this summer to work on the follow-up.

Gogol Bordello — The gypsy punk orchestra of sorts is known for its energetic live show. Some people might hear a song or album and shrug it off, but this stuff is best captured in a live, if not festival, setting.

Hayes Carll — Not too long ago, Carll was in Charlotte spending two hours on the Stage Door Theater stage rumbling through his country-folk tunes and telling whiskey-soaked stories. He wrapped up his night by hitting the Thirsty Beaver for an after-show cocktail. One can only imagine the scene he'll create kicking off the main tents of Bonnaroo on Thursday.

Bootsy Collins & The Funk University — Legend. That sums up the bass-playing wizard of funk. Sure, I wish he was still with George Clinton and P-Funk, but I'll take Collins' legendary style in any form I can see it.

Jessica Lea Mayfield — The soft, sultry and goth-ish vocals of Mayfield can be haunting, if not hauntingly beautiful. Her set will kick off Friday's long day/night of music and is a perfect way to settle in.

Karen Elson — Another Thursday evening performer, Elson is best known as a model and wife of Jack White, but her talent far exceeds any expectations. Her appearance is giving many people hope for an appearance by White, who is often seen at Bonnaroo in one band or another.

Black Joe Lewis — Someone had to pick up where James Brown left off, and I'd say the torch was passed right here. Complete with horns and funky, soulful rock rhythm section, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears will get people moving and grooving early in the day on Saturday.

River City Extension — Another band kicking off the Thursday tent scene, River City Extension's music is some combination of The Avett Brothers, Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Mumford & Sons. It's Americana with a horn section. This is one I'm interested in seeing at 'Roo and will probably catch again when they hit Snug Harbor this summer.

Superjam — In years past, I caught Ben Harper teaming up with John Paul Jones and ?uestlove for a set of Led Zeppelin covers and Les Claypool teaming up with Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Gogol Bordello for a set of Tom Waits covers. Gone for the last two years, the Superjam returns to Bonnaroo this year with featured performers Dr. John and Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. With Robert Plant ending a set just before it, is it too much to ask for him to show up, as well?

Bands that have recently played Charlotte or will be coming this summer include My Morning Jacket (August), School of Seven Bells, David Mayfield Parade (June), Neon Trees, Primus (June), Iron & Wine, Wavves, Grace Potter (August), Wanda Jackson, Amos Lee, Nicole Atkins (June), Kylesa (June), Ryan Bingham (June), Man Man, The Low Anthem and plenty of others.

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