The inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley, a new music festival that also features a diverse selection of food, wine, comedy & beer, is set to launch next week. Situated on four stages spread over 26 acres on the grounds at the Napa Valley Expo in the city of Napa, more than three dozen chefs and restaurateurs will join more than 50 wineries and artisan brewers during BottleRock. The comedy choices are stellar, with Daily Show correspondents and veterans Wyatt Cenac, Assif Mandvi, Kristen Schall and Demetri Martin providing depth — and most likely plenty of laughs. But let’s be honest, the main reason folks will be heading to Napa next week is for the music.
The music lineup is stacked with A-List headliners and plenty of living legends like The Black Keys, Further, Jane’s Addiction and Primus. And there are also plenty of fast-rising contemporary mega-bands like The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.
While there are plenty of well-known, top-notch rock groups playing at BottleRock, there is also a surprisingly strong undercard. We present five excellent early performers — five reasons to get to Napa early during the festival.
Delta Spirit ~ 1:45 p.m. Thursday
Touring steadily this past year in support of their self titled third album, Delta Spirit hits the stage Thursday, kicking off the festival with their infectious brand of alternative folk. Riding off the success of their breakthrough single “California”, which Amazon Music named best song of 2012, the band has been bringing their unique sound to intimate venues, sold out festivals, top syndicated television/radio shows and every fan filled stage in between. This is their only west coast stop on their summer tour so far, and BottleRock Napa will provide the perfect setting to become acquainted with the local flavor Delta Spirit brings to the stage.
Allah-Las ~ 1:15 p.m. Friday
Clangy guitar riffs, rattling drum rolls, echo chamber vocals all in perfectly off-pitch harmony: the Allah-Las transport you back to a time of lo-fi production at its finest. Writing and recording most of their material in a dug out basement along the California coastline, the guys embody the quintessential garage rock sound of the late 60’s with a west coast flare. Effortlessly mezmerizing, the band’s performance will cater to an early Friday crowd, luring fans into the festival grounds. This set will be a great soundtrack for a sun soaked afternoon, allowing crowds to leisurely assimilate to the remaining festival weekend.
Sharon Van Etten ~ 1 p.m. Saturday
Sharon Van Etten has finally gotten the attention she deserves following her 2012 breakthrough record Tramp. Her swooning voice and slow-building song arrangements have a pied-piper effect; it’s easy to close your eyes and drift away to Etten’s hypnotic sounds. Her lyrics often seem like longing cries for love lost, but her voice is utilized more as an instrument than a methodology for storytelling – her siren call is one that shouldn’t be missed live.
Allen Stone ~ 2:45 p.m. Saturday
Landing directly in the middle of the weekend’s line up, soulful powerhouse Allen Stone will reinvigorate the wine-weary crowds with his energetic live show and electrifying vocal range. This serial vagabond is coming straight off a two-weekend stint at Coachella, an appearance at the Food and Wine Festival in Austin, and he’s working his way back down the coast from Seattle to kick of his summer touring schedule right here in Napa. Selling out nationwide shows on a nightly basis, Stone lives for the live performance and brings the crowd literally to their feet in his signature crowd participation dance-offs. A welcomed burst of energy to the mid-day agenda, this show will undoubtedly get the audience moving and ready for the rest of the fest.
Rogue Wave ~ 2:15 p.m. Sunday
East Bay indie rockers Rogue Wave will be releasing their 5th LP Nightingale Floors June 4th, and BottleRock Napa will be hosting the duo’s only live performance before the new record releases. Some of the best tracks from their forthcoming LP will be previewed alongside their mostly acoustic-based catalogue of songs. This will be a lovely, mellow set early on Sunday.