Bunbury 2014: Must-see bands through the festival

Don't get lost in the weeds of folk and synth pop

You’re in for either an amazing or frustrating weekend. Depending on your vantage and sense of adventure, the Bunbury Festival is either a paradise for adventurers or a tease for those who know what they like and only want more of it.

Unlike most summertime music extravaganzas, which cater to specific niches, Bunbury caters to strands of people likely to find little in common on their iTunes playlists. Folk, synth-pop, earnest singer-songwriters, bluegrass with a beat, southern-fried stomp rock, trance rock, indie rock and straight-ahead, mainstream, radio-friendly rock—there are just enough artists running through each vein of the Bunbury lineup to draw their own dedicated fan bases.

As it happens, relative to previous years, guitar-loaded rock is in short supply at the 2014 Bunbury. For those about to rock, here’s our picks. 

FRIDAY

2 to 2:45 p.m.—Upset Victory: Local band returns with energy, angst and twin-guitar riffs. (Amphitheater Stage).

3:30 to 4:15 p.m.—Let it Happen: Straight-ahead, radio-friendly indie rock. (Amphitheater Stage).

4:15 to 5 p.m.—500 Miles to Memphis: Do you call the melding of rock and bluegrass, rockgrass? (Lawn Stage)

5 to 5:45 p.m.—J. Roddy Walston: Black Crowes-ish, southern-tinged dance rock. (River Stage).

5:45 to 6:45 p.m.—Cage the Elephant: Power pop that doesn’t take the power for granted. Sure to be one of Bunbury’s must-see sets. (Main Stage).

6:45 to 7:30 p.m.—Bad Suns: Relaxed, catchy indie rock with clean, clear, upbeat vocals. (River Stage).

7:15 to 8 p.m.—Black Owls: Local, hard-driving quintet with four on the floor, fronted by the charismatic David Butler. (Lawn Stage).

8 to 9 p.m.—Dead Sara: Mainstream rockers who opened a recent American tour for Muse. (Warsteiner Stage).

9 to 10 p.m.—Veruca Salt: Even after a 14-year absence, we still can’t fight the seether. (River Stage).

9:15 to 10:15 p.m.—Heartless Bastards: They put the rock in folk-rock, and their return to Cincinnati is one of the most-anticipated sets of the festival. (Warsteiner Stage).

SATURDAY

2 to 2:45 p.m.—Crass Mammoth: You’ll hear some Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with more lilting vocals. (Main Stage); Brent James & the Vintage Youth: Country one minute, 1970s roots rock the next, with a live show that promises more kick in the pants than delivered on disc. (Amphitheater Stage).

4:15 to 5 p.m.—New Politics: Bratty guitar pop. (Main Stage).

5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.—Modoc: Southern-touched riff rock with clever lyrics and big, infectious choruses. (Lawn Stage).

7:45 to 9 p.m.—Paramore: Earnest, uplifting rock, with long-held notes and driving drums. Another one of the most anticipated sets of the festival. (Main Stage).

8:15 to 9:15 p.m.—Andrew W.K.: Eclectic veteran rocker with a penchant for party songs. (Warsteiner Stage).

9 to 10 p.m.—Foxy Shazam: A funky rock soul party every time this local outfit performs. (River Stage).

10 to 11:15 p.m.—Fall Out Boy: Some might turn a nose up at their radio-friendly rock, but who else in this lineup can pull out a Slayer drum break when the mood strikes? (Main Stage)

SUNDAY

2 to 2:45 p.m.—Brick+Mortar: An indie, electronic drum-and-bass pop duo from New Jersey. (Main Stage).

3 to 3:45 p.m.—The Easthills: Comfort rock with vapors from the ‘70s. (Lawn Stage).

6 to 7 p.m.—Robert Delong: Young, self-sampling wunderkind with soul. (River Stage).

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.—Bear Hands: Rock with an ‘80s pop quality. (Warsteiner Stage).

7 to 8 p.m.—Young the Giant: Textured, danceable pop rock. (Main Stage)

8 to 9 p.m.—The Orwells: Psychedelic garage rock from Chicago. (Warsteiner Stage).

9 to 10:15 p.m.—Flaming Lips: Trance band with a broad sonic palette, drenched in psychedelia. Allmusic.com calls them “acid-bubblegum.”
 

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