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IT’S LIKE THAT: Is Metallica Worthy of Hippie Love?

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hippie.jpgThe lineup for the 2008 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 12-15) was recently announced. One act in particular caught my eye. It wasn’t Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam, or even Kanye West — it was Metallica. Yes, Creeping-Death-Bell-Tolling-Damage-Incorporated Metallica.

Since its humble beginnings in 2002, Bonnaroo (in many music circles) has been referred to as “the hippie festival”. Each year, I’d watch as my hippie friends and back-pack hip-hop comrades would leave home and venture down south to Manchester, Tennessee. For three days and nights, they would camp out with thousands of strangers on a 700-acre farm of mud. During the day, they could catch their favorite band jamming out on 15-minute songs, then cap off the evening by twirling some glow sticks in one of Bonnaroo’s dance tents. Hemp jewelry stands, amateur drum circles, burrito booths–sounded like a great time to me. That’s why I’d always decline the invite, and wait from the comforts of my own apartment to hear all about their mud-drenched Bonnaroo experience. Surprisingly, everyone always seemed to have a good time (despite having to drop their #2’s in a porta-john and going a weekend without taking a shower).

For the first few years of the festival, it was almost guaranteed that you could catch a performance from Trey Anastasio (Phish), Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, and/or Medeski Martin & Wood. Besides having the Grateful Dead or Crosby, Stills & Nash on the bill, what more could a hippie ask for? Though the festival grew in popularity each year, the line-up stayed pretty consistent with the jam-band philosophy (Dave Matthews, O.A.R., Robert Randolph, etc.). Even when Radiohead played Bonnaroo in 2006, it seemed to make sense (Jonny Greenwood, with all his electronic knobs and distortion pedals is pretty much a one-man jam-band himself).

Last year, Bonnaroo’s lineup included both The Police and Tool–sort of a stretch, but I could still rationalize it. Sting, like many of the festival’s patrons, goes barefoot a lot of the time–and going barefoot–is a pretty hippie thing to do. Also, it’s not out of the question to think that some of the young concert-goers could have been conceived while their parents were listening to a Police album back in the 80’s. Then there’s Tool. A lot of their songs clock in over five minutes, and all of their music videos are pretty darn trippy. Judges? Jam-band certified!

Though Bonnaroo has slightly veered from the course over the last couple of years, I’ve been racking my brain trying to justify Metallica’s spot on the line-up card this year. Yeah, I know their new album is supposed to feature lengthy eight-to-nine-minute songs with lots of guitar solos, but with previous album titles Kill ‘Em All and St. Anger and songs like “Seek and Destroy”, “Creeping Death”, and “Damage Inc.”, it’s kind of tough to throw them in that hippie/jam-band category. They do have two Woodstock appearances on their resume, however, during their first one in ’94, James Hetfield was seen walking the concert grounds in a Smith & Wesson (a handgun manufacturer) shirt, and then, we all know what happened at Woodstock ’99.

I have found hippies, at least in my travels, to be a loving, sharing bunch. Among other things, they like to share grilled-cheese sandwiches, beaded jewelry, incense sticks, and of course, music. In the late ’90’s, instead of trading cassettes at concerts, people began sharing music via the internet. Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich didn’t take kindly to this practice, so he and a team of lawyers helped put an end to mainstream music file sharing. It’s not like the hippies were downloading Metallica songs, but with Napster out of commission, it probably became more difficult to share rare MP3’s from groups like The String Cheese Incident or Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.

For the life of me, I just can’t figure out how the patron saints of thrash metal belong at Bonnaroo 2008. Maybe the hippie faithful won’t even notice. To help soften the blow, organizers have also signed on Grateful Dead alum, Phil Lesh and Friends, as well as Willie Nelson, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Allman Brothers Band, and college faves Death Cab For Cutie, Sigur Ros, and Iron & Wine. I guess if you have a member of the Grateful Dead playing your hippie festival, things haven’t gotten too out of hand (yet).

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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