Firefly 2012 Preview

<p> <a href="features/features/firefly_2012_preview/"><img src="" alt="Firefly 2012 Preview" /></a> </p> <p> Just when you thought that North America couldn't get another big music festival (<a href="features/features/2012_festival_guide/" target="_blank"><b>QRO Festival Guide</b></a>), the...
Firefly 2012 Preview





Firefly Stage

Jack White, 9:30 PM – 11:00 PM

The most famous artist in indie-rock, probably the most famous rock ‘n’ roller to emerge in a generation, you already know Jack White’s story (QRO photos) – married & broke-up with drummer Meg White, then formed The White Stripes (QRO live review) with her (pseudo-pretending to be brother-and-sister), massive success as a new generation of rock ‘n’ roll broke out at the start of this century/millennium, Meg’s meltdown, Jack’s work in other bands like The Raconteurs & The Dead Weather (QRO album review), The White Stripes’ final confirmed break up last year, and now Jack White’s solo record, Blunderbuss (QRO review).

White’s been on everything from The Simpsons to The Colbert Report (QRO Indie on Late Night TV), founded his own label, Third Man Records (that includes America’s favorite pundit as an artist), and Blunderbuss has hit #1 on the charts – so don’t expect to get anywhere near the stage unless you camp out there the night before…

Jack White


John Legend, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

While John Legend began his career contributing to other people’s work (Kanye, Dilated Peoples, etc.), he’s since built an impressive career all his own, with nine Grammy Awards to his name, and reaching the top ten on the Billboard charts with all four of his studio albums, most recently 2010’s Wake Up, with the equally-acclaimed Roots.  He’s also had an acting career, political activism, philanthropy, and is currently one of the judges on ABC’s singing competition show Duets.

John Legend


The Wallflowers, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

The Wallflowers formed over two decades ago in Los Angeles around Jakob Dylan, son of yes, that ‘other’ Dylan (Thomas?…).  Jakob came out from his father’s massive shadow with 1996’s Bringing Down the Horse and hits like "8th Avenue Heartache" and "One Headlight" (though JD was outshone by Bruce Springsteen when they did "Headlight" together on the 1997 MTV VMAs…), though haven’t reached that height since.  Jakob Dylan has done his own solo tours (QRO live review), but recently got a new Wallflowers behind him.

The Wallflowers


The Lawn

Bassnectar, 8:15 PM – 9:30 PM

A festival mainstay, Lorin Ashton (a.k.a. Bassnectar – QRO photos) brings the lights live (QRO photos at a festival) – as well as the hair…



OK Go, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

In this YouTube era, Chicago’s OK Go (QRO photos outdoors at a festival) reinvented the music video as the viral video, first with "A Million Ways" in 2005 then even more so the following year thanks to the choreographed treadmill dancing of "Here It Goes Again" (QRO live video), which earned singer/guitarist Damian Kulash an appearance on The Colbert Report – and the whole band made it to the Report in 2010, in promotion of the new Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (QRO review).  Though Colour isn’t nearly as good as their videos or Stephen, OK Go are an incredible group live (QRO live review), with confetti, handbells (QRO video, outdoors at a festival), playing from the crowd, and much more…



Heartless Bastards, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Erika Wennerstrom’s (QRO photos) Heartless Bastards (QRO live review) emerged from the same post-industrial Ohio Rust Belt blues-rock revival as The Black Keys (see below), who discovered the group (QRO photos at a festival).  However, after 2009’s The Mountain (QRO review), the group (QRO photos) left Black Keys’ Fat Possum label for Partisan for this year’s Arrow (QRO review), along with playing bigger stages (QRO photos).

Heartless Bastards


The Backyard

Silversun Pickups, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM 

In 2006, Los Angeles’ Echo Lake music scene blew up in a big way – all thanks to Silversun Pickups (QRO photos) & Carnavas.  In 2009, they finally followed that up with Swoon (QRO review), which charted even higher – and they come to Firefly (QRO photos outdoors) behind the new Neck of the Woods (QRO review).

Silversun Pickups


Mayer Hawthorne & The County, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Actual name Andrew Cohen (QRO photos), he adopted his middle name & name of the street he grew up on (isn’t that how you get your porn name?…) for 2009’s A Strange Arrangement, and comes to Firefly behind follow-up How Do You Do with ‘The County’ – a.k.a. whoever’s in his backing band at the moment (QRO photos at a festival).

Mayer Hawthorne & The County


Blind Pilot, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Eco-friendly Portland has given the eco-friendly indie-folk of Blind Pilot (QRO photos), who did a whole tour in 2008 on bicycle, and the group (QRO photos) is currently touring behind last year’s We Are the Tide.

Blind Pilot


The Porch

Walk the Moon, 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM

In their new, self-titled album, Walk The Moon, these Ohio natives (QRO live review) have become one of America’s infectious indie rock groups (QRO photos at a festival) and it’s easy to see why: their catchy guitar riffs, fun and creamy pop beats can strike a tune within any listener (QRO photos at a festival).  Later in the year, the band will be the supporting act for fun. (QRO album review).

Walk the Moon


Matt Costa, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

For the slightly younger set, there’s skateboarder-turned-singer/songwriter Matt Costa.  The California native brought an infectious sound to his recent records Unfamiliar Faces (QRO review) and Mobile Chateau, which only get more so live (QRO live review).

Matt Costa


Turf War, 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

The cacophonic four piece band hailing all the way from southern Georgia have been known to for their raucous performances and gritty rock songs.  The nearly nameless band only has two singles out on their Facebook but has already garnered much publicity along the east coast (QRO photos at a festival).  They have a lot of potential as the band makes gritty southern rock ‘n’ roll music that has the fervor of a nostalgic ‘70s band.

Turf War





Firefly Stage

The Killers, 9:30 PM – 11:00 PM

The Killers (QRO photos) broke out of their Las Vegas home in 2004 with debut Hot Fuss and great singles "Somebody Told Me" and "Mr. Brightside" – and have failed to match that since.  2006’s attempt at greatness Sam’s Town didn’t make it, and after 2008’s middling Day & Age (QRO review) singer Brandon Flowers went solo for his own middling work.  But now the group is back (QRO photos) with the upcoming Battle Born – and they still play Hot Fuss live.

The Killers


Modest Mouse, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Washington State’s Modest Mouse (QRO photos) broke through to mainstream success in 2004 with Good News For People Who Like Bad News, and followed that up by adding Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr for 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (QRO review) – unfortunately, Marr has since left to join the even younger Cribs (QRO live review) and more.  But they’re still big enough to even headline (QRO photos headlining a festival), are great outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), and word is they’re finally working on a new album (QRO photos at a recent festival).

Modest Mouse


Young the Giant, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

These Irvine natives toiled for years as The Jakes, but when they changed their name to Young the Giant (QRO photos at a festival), things finally took off (QRO photos at a festival), with their self-(new) titled album & TV performances, including at MTV’s Video Music Awards.  They’ve since been gracing bigger (QRO photos) and bigger (QRO photos) stages.

Young the Giant


Michael Franti & Spearhead, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

The Bay Area’s multi-ethnic Michael Franti is a mixture, as he fuses hip-hop & jam-band with Spearhead.  Also noted for his peace and social activism (including going barefoot since 2000), it hopefully won’t fly over the heads of his crowd at the diverse festival.

Michael Franti & Spearhead


The Felice Brothers, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

The Catskills’ Felice Brothers (which includes both actual and honorary Felices – QRO spotlight on) have moved up from playing in subways stations (or, only slightly more up-market, for tips at Living Room – QRO live review) to becoming the go-to band (QRO live review outdoors) in today’s roots-revival with records like The Felice Brothers (QRO review) and Yonder Is the Clock (QRO review).  After the departure of Simon Felice (for The Duke & The King, and now solo – QRO photos) in 2009, the brothers Felice (QRO interview) took a break from touring (QRO photos at a festival) and recording, but are back with last year’s Celebration, Florida (QRO review), where they change-up their backwoods stomp for some sadder & even techier fare – but still hit up great live staples like "Whiskey In My Whiskey" (QRO video), "Love Me Tenderly" (QRO video), and "I’m Saved" (QRO video).

The Felice Brothers


The Lawn

CAKE, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

A band that covers a lot of musical ground, CAKE (QRO live review) draws from more than just the indie-rock well.  While best known for singles like "The Distance" and "Short Skirt/Long Jacket", the repertoire is varied (QRO photos), including the theme song for NBC’s Chuck.  Look for material old and new at Firefly (QRO photos at a recent festival).



Grouplove, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Rock collective Grouplove (QRO photos) have had two of the most enjoyable recent hits, "Tongue Tied" and "Colours" (QRO review) from the otherwise somewhat unremarkable debut, Never Trust a Happy Song (QRO photos at a recent festival).



Poliça, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Minneapolis indie/electronic/R&B outfit Poliça have been getting serious attention recently (and not just for the ‘ç’…).



Ra Ra Riot, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Oh, how they’ve grown!  In the less than six years since their self-titled EP (QRO review) and the death of singer/drummer John Pike, this Nor’easter collective (QRO photos) has not only rebounded but exploded (QRO photos at a festival), embracing life even more on 2008’s excellent The Rhumb Line (QRO review) than early single "Dying Is Fine" (QRO video) could have predicted.  Ra Ra Riot’s live show (QRO live review) sees everyone but the new drummer running around on stage like kids on candy (especially singer Wesley Miles – QRO interview), but they’re also relative road ‘veterans’, from near-immediately after Pike’s death (QRO live review) to outdoor festivals (QRO photos outdoors at a festival) to in-stores (QRO photos) to industry showcases (QRO photos at an industry showcase) to bigger & bigger rock clubs (QRO photos) to bigger & bigger outdoor venues (QRO live review outdoors) to opera houses (QRO live review) to fashion launch parties (QRO live review) – and even the occasional basement show (QRO photos).  They’re also building in songbook, from early numbers like "Can You Tell?" (QRO video) to Rhumb single "Ghost Under Rocks" (QRO video) and the Pike-penned "St. Peter’s Day Festival" (QRO video) to "Too Dramatic", from 2010’s follow-up The Orchard (QRO review).

This will also be one of the band’s first shows since the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn (QRO interviewmaybe that’s why they’re stuck playing so damn early…) – so what will happen to the usual tight pack of males (QRO photos at a festival) in front of everyone’s indie-rock crush?

Ra Ra Riot


The Backyard

Lupe Fiasco, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM

Discovered by no less than Jay-Z, Chicago’s Lupe Fiasco (QRO photos at a festival) rose to fame on the back of 2006 debut Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor.  While he was able to follow that up the next year with Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, conflicting and ever-changing third album announcements have come & gone since then.  But that third record, Lasers, finally came out last year, so there should be new & old Fiasco at Firefly.

Lupe Fiasco


Chiddy Bang, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Alt-hip-hop duo Chidera ‘Chiddy’ Anamege and Noah ‘Xaphoon Jones’ Beresin form Philadelphia’s Chiddy Bang.

Chiddy Bang


The Knocks, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM 

Electronic duo Ben ‘B-Roc’ Ruttner and James ‘JPatt’ Patterson form The Knocks (QRO photos at a festival).

The Knocks


Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

The ‘Screaming Eagle of Soul’, Charles Bradley (QRO photos at a festival) is one of the many great soul singers to emerge from Brooklyn’s DapTone Records, which also brought the world Sharon Jones  & The Dap-Kings (QRO album review) and Budos Band (QRO album review).



Imagine Dragons, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Charles Bradley


The Porch

Trampled by Turtles, 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM

From frigid Duluth comes the warm jam-folk of Trampled by Turtles (QRO photos), who are hitting up a number of festivals this summer (QRO photos outdoors).

Trampled by Turtles


Graffiti6, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

The backrooms of hip-hop and pop combined when writer/producer/DJ TommyD (who’s worked with the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West) teamed up with singer/songwriter Jamie Scott (who’s toured with Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson) as Graffiti6, to make Stare Into the Sun.  The title track was picked up for a TV ad campaign by The Sun newspaper (not the late, unlamented News of the World – but also not hacking scandal-breaking The Guardian), and perhaps the duo are the new model for making it in music.



Cults, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

When Cults (QRO photos) broke out in 2010 with infectious single "We Go Outside", they’d achieved the near impossible: being famous without anyone knowing anything about them (QRO photos outdoors).  Since then, the wall of silence has broken down (QRO photos), with the catchy sixties male/female duo recruiting a band (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), playing South-by-Southwest (QRO photos), and signing to major label Sony for last year’s Cults (QRO review).  But even if you’ve got a face (QRO photos) to put to the un-Google-able name, they’re still a hook-laden band (QRO photos at a festival).



Kids These Days, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Moon Taxi, 11:15 AM – 11:45 AM






Firefly Stage

The Black Keys, 9:30 PM – 11:00 PM

The blues-rock from guitar/drums duo of Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney (QRO photos) sounds like it comes from the deepest (and blackest…) part of the South, but these two white men (QRO photos at a festival) hail from Akron, Ohio.  However, The Black Keys (QRO photos outdoors) are as gritty as anyone, whether on records like 2008’s Attack & Release (QRO review), or live (QRO photos at a festival), as depicted on the recent Live at Crystal Ballroom DVD (QRO review).  And their latest, Brothers (QRO review), channels all their inspirations into a great sound that’s even better at a festival (QRO photos at a festival).

The Black Keys


Death Cab for Cutie, 6:15 PM – 7:45 PM

When Pacific Northwest alternative favorite Death Cab for Cutie (QRO photos at a festival) left long-time indie imprint Barsuk for major Label Atlantic in 2005 with Plans, fans thought the sky might be falling.  But instead, Death Cab (QRO photos) has released not one, but two of their best records to-date, following up Plans in 2010 with the excellent Narrow Stairs (QRO review) – and their latest, Codes and Keys (QRO review), out last year.

Singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard may have gone from dork to looking like a Cascadian beefcake (QRO photos at a festival) – he was married to Zooey Deschanel of She & Him (QRO live review)/The New Girl (meanwhile, his side project, The Postal Service, may never release a follow-up to the much beloved Give Up), but guitarist Chris Walla is still an indie producer extraordinaire (and kept his alt-cred with his own solo record la few years ago on Barsuk, Field ManualQRO review).  And with over a decade’s worth of strong material (QRO photos), their well is deep for a wide performance (QRO photos at a festival).

Death Cab for Cutie


Cold War Kids, 3:45 PM – 5:00 PM 

After a string of EPs, Fullerton, California’s Cold War Kids (QRO photos) blew up in 2006 with their full-length debut, Robbers & Cowards.  While 2008’s Loyalty to Loyalty (QRO review) suffered something of a sophomore slump, last year’s Mine Is Yours (QRO review) lifted things, and their live show (QRO photos) is still electric, especially outside (QRO live review outdoors), as they still ring with singles (QRO photos), from the more recent "Mine Is Yours" and "Audience" (QRO video) to their break-outs "We Used To Vacation", "Hospital Beds" (QRO video), and "Hang Me Out To Dry" (QRO video).

Cold War Kids


The Head and the Heart, 1:05 PM – 2:15 PM

Very recently, things have been seriously booming for The Head and The Heart (QRO photos at a festival).  The Seattle alt-folk/pop band (QRO photos outdoors) was signed by Sub Pop (QRO photos outdoors), named their city’s best new band (QRO live review) by Seattle Weekly, opened for everybody from Dave Matthews (QRO photos) to Death Cab (see above), and even played Conan (QRO Indie on Late Night TV)!

The Head and The Heart


The Lawn

The Flaming Lips, 7:50 PM – 9:20 PM

There’s a good reason The Flaming Lips (QRO photos at a festival) have been so popular for so long on the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), including FPSF 2010, as there is no live show out there like a Flaming Lips live show (QRO live review).  Confetti cannons, costumes, video screens, balloons from the sky, puppets, singer/guitarist Wayne Coyne surfing the crowd in a giant plastic bubble – The Lips have it all (QRO photos), and expect them to take it even higher (QRO photos at a festival).  Oh, and they’ve got some great music, too, from early nineties hit "She Don’t Use Jelly" to seminal The Soft Bulletin (QRO photos from top-to-bottom performance, at a festival), as well as 2006’s Grammy Award-winning At War With the Mystics (even put out a movie, Christmas On MarsQRO review), and 2009’s Embryonic (QRO review).

The Flaming Lips


Fitz & The Tantrums, 5:10 PM – 6:10 PM

While acts like Brooklyn’s Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (QRO album review) revive the soul sound, Los Angeles’ Fitz & The Tantrums (QRO photos) are reinventing it with an indie-pop twist (QRO photos at a festival) – and their own amazing live show (QRO live review).

Fitz & The Tantrums


AWOLNATION, 2:20 PM – 3:30 PM

The solo project of Aaron Bruno, formerly of Under the Influence of Giants and Hometown Hero, AWOLNATION (QRO live review) have been getting attention quickly.



Penguin Prison, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Known for their funky guitar riffs, bubbly synths, and smooth bass lines, Penguin Prison (QRO photos at a festival ) released their first full-length, self-titled album last year.  To support their album, and gain a wider audience, they have been striking a groovy beat amongst stages all across America, ensuing in an electro-pop frenzy.

Penguin Prison


The Backyard

Girl Talk, 7:50 PM – 9:20 PM 

Greg Gillis (Girl Talk – QRO photos at a festival) moved from biomedical tissue engineering to DJ mash-up engineering, taking samples from across the spectrum and making something very new (QRO photos at a festival).  While he started out playing clubs, he’s graduated to ballroom & even the great outdoors (QRO photos outdoors) – but that just means he’s got bigger stages (QRO photos outdoors at a festival) and festivals (QRO photos at a festival) to fill with dancing concertgoers… (QRO photos at a festival)

Girl Talk


Tinie Tempah, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM 

English rapper Tinie Tempah had two number one singles in his native U.K. before ever putting out an album, and has since had serious success, including his "Written In the Stars" used as the theme song to WrestleMania XXVII and as the entrance music to the New York Giants before Super Bowl XLVI…

Tinie Tempah


Bombay Bicycle Club, 2:15 PM – 3:25 PM

One of a growing stable of ‘club’ bands (see Two Door Cinema Club QRO album review – Tokyo Police Club – QRO spotlight on), Crouch End’s Bombay Bicycle Club (QRO photos) alt-folk/rock got hot early on with "Evening/Morning" and debut LP I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose in 2009, but have already followed it up with Flaws in 2010 and A Different Kind of Fix, whose deluxe edition (QRO review) came out earlier this year



J Roddy Walston & The Business, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – QRO photos outdoors

Bombay Bicycle Club


The Porch

Allen Stone, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Allen Stone began his singing in a church, and his soulful sound has kept that connection.

Allen Stone


Mariachi El Bronx, 3:40 PM – 4:40 PM

Los Angeles’ hardcore act The Bronx (QRO photos) don their sombreros to become Mariachi El Bronx (QRO photos at a festival).

Mariachi el Bronx


Reptar, 1:10 PM – 2:10 PM

After opening on tours with the likes of Matt & Kim (QRO spotlight on) & Art Brut (QRO spotlight on), Atlanta’s Reptar (QRO photos) have built up to headlining (QRO photos), though still play early at Firefly (QRO photos at a festival).



Lower Case Blues, 11:25 AM – 11:55 AM




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