Bonnaroo 2011: Five Overlooked Acts To Catch

By Jett Wells

We’ve heard the complaints from Bonnaroo vets about this year’s lineup, but that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of worthwhile acts: Eminem, Arcade Fire, Lil Wayne and The Strokes make up some of the upper-bill heavyweights, but its on the undercard where Bonnaroo truly shines. Here are five overlooked acts that you can’t miss at this year’s fest.

Sleigh Bells, Thursday, 10:15 p.m., The Other Tent
You know who they are, and you know what they bring. Over the past year, Sleigh Bells have earned a reputation as one of the loudest bands around, hitting the stage with fury. Although their sets can be short and don’t really sound their best without a roof over their heads, Sleigh Bells will be sure to pack ’em in at the ’Roo.

Ratatat, Friday, 12:30 a.m., The Other Tent
Electro stalwarts Ratatat have aged well, and their growling, prowling guitar-lectro concoctions can still electrify a crowd. Ratatat is as sure a good time as they come at this year’s festival.

Chiddy Bang, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., This Tent
Don’t let their up-and-coming status fool you, the dynamic duo known as Chiddy Bang are already a top hip-hop talent. Known for their cleverly-crafted mixes, Chiddy Bang combines nerd-hop with indie pop. You can do a lot worse for an appetizer early in the festival, and the duo’s frat-boy energy should make for a really fun time.

Girl Talk, Saturday, 2:30 a.m., This Tent
Gregg Gillis has solidified himself as one of best party DJs around, and he’ll host the biggest dance party in Tennessee this weekend, for sure. The mixes will be more fresh than usual especially after releasing his latest album All Day n November, and history tells us Gillis saves a little extra for the bigger stages.

Explosions in the Sky, Sunday, 6:45 p.m., This Tent
Known for beautiful, anthemic instrumental rock — and for being on the “Friday Night Lights” soundtrack — Explosions in the Sky blowing you away every time. Their latest, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, continues in that grand tradition. Sure to be an epic capper to your already epic weekend.