Next weekend, we expect that many of you will be trucking off to Manchester, TN for Bonnaroo, the annual live-music splurge and weekend in the sun. This year Phish are headlining and that’s a big deal, since last year it still looked questionable that the much-loved Vermont band would ever play again. To celebrate this week, and to hold you over till the big road trip, we have a Bonnaroo package marking the Rock Band debut of four major acts who’ll be playing there.
And yes, Phish is one of them, with the version of “Wilson” from A Live One (the 1993 concert album where the song first appeared). If you think every Phish song is a half-hour jam, take note: Wilson is a punchy, five-minute rocker with some nifty guitar interplay by Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon. Long a live phavorite, “Wilson” has already been reinstated in Phish’s live sets; appearing on the third night of March’s inaugural swing at Hampton Coliseum. Will it be played at Bonnaroo? Only four people know for sure.
Ben Harper is another eclectic guy that we’ve caught in a rocking mood. In the past he’s done everything from country to gospel to sensitive acoustic music. But “Shimmer & Shine”—from his latest disc with his new band Relentless7—is heavy and loud with a distorted lead guitar and some drum fills that will give your feet a workout.
You may have seen TV On the Radio when they did a guerrilla performance on the David Letterman Show last winter, or you may have read the million ecstatic reviews of their last album Dear Science. We’ve gone back to the previous disc, Return to Cookie Mountain—once again for the most rocking song we could find, their NYC punk homage ”Wolf Like Me.”
Shooter Jennings is the son of the late Waylon Jennings, who created the “outlaw” country movement with his pal Willie Nelson. Shooter’s a musical hellraiser himself, and though he’s been known to play his dad’s songs in concert, he also busts out with pure Southern rock. If you grabbed our Skynyrd and Drive-By Truckers tracks, you’ll go wild for “Steady at the Wheel.”
Coheed & Cambria have been with Rock Band since the beginning, and we’re glad to add a new pair of tracks this week. The band’s devoted much of its career to a multi-album concept work whose plot can’t be summarized here (mainly because we’re still trying to work some of it out ourselves), and last December they performed the entire four-album cycle in four cities, over four nights each. They now promise to play “an interesting set” at Bonnaroo. We wouldn’t doubt it.