Words by Stephen Taylor
There are many aspects of Bonnaroo that distinguish it from other summer festivals: the clocktower, the Comedy Tent, the giant shroom fountain, the Silent Disco (The Roo made it famous at US festivals), the TN heat, the confusing stage names, etc. Perhaps the greatest of these, though, is the Superjam. The inaugural Superjam, featured Micheal Kang (String Cheese Incident), Bela Fleck, Jeff Raines (Galactic), and Robert Randolph. Over the years, these spontaneous, mildly rehearsed sets featured some of the festivals most memorable moments on the backs of legendary musicians including Herbie Hancock, John Paul Jones, Dr. John, George Porter Jr., Kirk Hamlet, Trey Anastasio, Pino Palladino, and Mike Gordon.
After being left off the schedule for 3 years beginning with the 2008 festival, the Superjam made a triumphant Sunday return to its roots with New Orleans artists Dr. John and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who were joined by Black Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach in 2011. One of the festival’s all-time memorable sets, this collaboration ultimately led to Auerbach’s production of Dr. John’s 2012 GRAMMY-winning LP Locked Down. One year later, Questlove carried the torch with a heroic late night featuring a top-secret comeback by reclusive R&B icon, D’Angelo.
The 2013 schedule once again ups the ante with three Superjams, featuring seminal artists from soul & funk, hip-hop, and bluegrass. To help prepare you for what you are about to witness, we have summarized the action on the Rock N’ Soul Dance Party and the hip-hop Superjam, which Bonnaroo has disclosed the most detail about.
ROCK N’ SOUL DANCE PARTY SUPERJAM | SATURDAY 12:00-2:00 AM
The Meters – “Cissy Strut”
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND
Preservation Hall Jazz Band w/ Jim James- “St. James Infirmary”
Also no surprise is the inclusion of My Morning Jacket’ lead guitarist, who was named one of Rolling Stone’s New School of Guitar Gods (via Stereogum). Broemel shreds, but has also become quite the multi-instrumentalist, adding saxophone and pedal steel to MMJ’s records.
Brazil born percussionist Cyro Baptista has a hall of fame roster of previous collaborations including Herbie Hancock, David Byrne, Dr, John, Trey Anastasio, & Paul Simon.
As the original bassist for one of America’s greatest funk bands, Sly and the Family Stone, Graham is credited for inventing the slap technique. Graham later went on to lead funk group Graham Central Station, which had several hits and toured with Prince. All this to say, the man has the tools to maintain the low end.
Following an appearance at Jazz Fest 2013, the two are gearing up for a string of dates in August and James’ Superjam could be the perfect venue to rekindle the flame. Hall is no stranger to Bonnaroo, having performed a 2010 late-night set with Chromeo. A cameo for “You Make My Dreams Come True” would hurl this thing into orbit.
Shorty is more than friendly with the New Orleans musicians already on the bill, he has a show the next day in LA, but his band is used to tight turnarounds.
Kelly’s set ends at 1 AM on Which Stage, which gives him more than enough time for a cameo at the Superjam if he doesn’t bounce straight back to the motel party.
Idol’s set ends just in time for him to make it over to the Superjam. You have to believe that he and Oates probably know each other from Studio 54 in the early 80s.
With the lack of a keyboardist already on the lineup and Benevento’s Led Zeppelin cover band playing on the same stage after the Superjam, this one just feels too easy.
Continue to Page Two for a breakdown of Friday’s Rap Superjam!