Lightning in a Bottle taps REZZ, SOFI TUKKER & ZHU as headliners for ‘transformational’ festival’s 20th anniversary in 2023

Lightning in a Bottle - 2023 lineup - Phase 1

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 24th-29th, 2023 //

Lightning in a Bottle, believe it or not, is turning 20 this year.

After 2022 marked its first installment in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic with Glass Animals, Kaytranada and GRiZ headlining, the “transformational” festival is back at it this Memorial Day weekend and ready to enter a third decade.

Sitting atop the poster for The Do LaB’s signature event will be three electronic heavyweights in REZZ, SOFI TUKKER and ZHU following its Phase 1 lineup announcement, but the undercard has more than enough dance-forward music to keep you moving and grooving into the early-morning hours, too.

Below the top line, some of the artists standing out at the Lightning Stage in 2023 include Phantogram, Tobe Nwigwe, 070 Shake, Caribou, DRAMA, Sampa the Great, MINDCHATTER, Uncle Waffles, Beats Antique and Ozomatli with Chali 2na & Cut Chemist. The Thunder Stage, meanwhile, has its own crop of acts worth highlighting here in Liquid Stranger, LSDREAM, TOKiMONSTA (DJ set), The Glitch Mob, LTJ Bukem with Armanni, MEUTE, Deathpact, The Polish Ambassador and The Floozies, yet so does the Woogie Stage with sets by Tale of Us, Diplo, Purple Disco Machine, Ben Böhmer, Stephan Bodzin (Live), Blond:ish, LP Giobbi, Giorgia Angiuli and more. Peep the poster above for the rest of the roster.

LIB has long been considered to be one of the country’s premier boutique festivals and a great way to cure any Coachella blues just one month later. Though there aren’t a lot of names — besides DRAMA — crossing over from the famed two-weekend, three-day extravaganza in the desert this April, both of them have previously shared the same electronic-leaning talent from RÜFÜS DU SOL, SG Lewis and Bob Moses to Four Tet, Bonobo and Tycho. Still, for as much as the music has been the main draw for fans over the last 10 years, promoting the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers continues to play an essential part of the experience and The Do LaB’s overall mission since the very beginning.

GA and VIP tickets to LIB 2023 can be purchased here for $439 and $775, respectively, plus fees as well as car camping and parking passes. Group campsites in addition to admission for RVs and kids ages 1-17 will also be available, so feel free to bring the whole family to Buena Vista Lake for a long weekend of fun!

Just Like Heaven returns to Pasadena in 2023 with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Future Islands, Empire of the Sun, M83 & more on the bill

Just Like Heaven - 2023 lineup

Just Like Heaven //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
May 13th, 2023 //

While last Tuesday served as a big day for live music with Goldenvoice revealing the 2023 lineup for its signature event Coachella, the renowned California-based concert promoter is moving full steam ahead by announcing plans for one of its other annual music festivals this spring.

Just Like Heaven, which became an instant success in 2019 and expanded to two days that year for its debut, will return to the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl with another top-notch roster that most indie-music fans can get behind after an outstanding showing in 2022 featuring Interpol, Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A. and a whole lot more (read our festival review here).

Even with that in mind, we think it’s safe to say that Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett and company have once again put together a heavenly assortment of indie artists and bands for its third edition.

This time Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Future Islands, Empire of the Sun and M83 will lead the way for only one Saturday in May, but there’s plenty more stellar acts listed further down the the bill with an undercard that boasts Hot Chip, Caribou, The Walkmen, The Bravery, Fever Ray, Peaches, Azealia Banks, Ladytron, STRFKR, Metronomy, The Faint, The Sounds and Cults. See the poster above for those who are not already mentioned and are scheduled to perform. It’s worth bringing up that Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, STRFKR and The Faint were all part of the 2019 festivities down at the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, yet as we know, so much has changed since then.

The inclusion of Peaches is particularly noteworthy considering that Merrill Nisker just took the stage at the fest last year and made quite an impression upon many of us (our photos will give you a clear idea about what we mean). How will she top her 2022 set? Well, you’ll just have to be there — or back here — to find out. MGMT, meanwhile, have been booked to play their 2007 debut LP Oracular Spectacular, so we’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled in case we see Leonardo DiCaprio raving once “Kids” begins.

If you’re sold on going to Just Like Heaven, make sure to register for the presale here before GA passes go on sale this Friday, January 20th at 10 a.m. PT for $149 (Tier 1) and eventually increase to $169 (Tier 2) and $189 (Tier 3). GA+ wristbands will be a new option this year for $249 that offers a dedicated GA+ entry lane at the main entrance, fast-lane access at the main merch stand and an exclusive GA+ lounge with air-conditioned restrooms, shaded areas plus additional seating, complimentary bottled water and a dedicated bar for 21+ patrons. VIP and Clubhouse tickets, should you want to splurge, are also available for $369-389 and $649, respectively, prior to any additional fees. Mark your calendars because “heaven” for music lovers of all things indie is less than four months away!

Just Like Heaven 2023

Coachella comes clean with 2023 lineup as Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK & Frank Ocean land headlining slots in the desert

Coachella - 2023 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 14th-16th & April 21st-23rd, 2023 //

It’s that day again when Coachella finally lets the cat out of the bag each year.

Many had speculated the famed California music festival would offer up its big secret this week as it often does once we ring in a new year, and Goldenvoice did just that for its 22nd installment on the same day Bonnaroo, Boston Calling and Sonic Temple all revealed their own lineups as well.

But after last year’s installment saw late lineup changes with Ye (fka Kanye West) — unsurprisingly — backing out as the headliner for Sunday and being replaced by Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd, it appears Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett is prepared for that sort of scenario should it happen again this April at the Empire Polo Club.

Headlining will be Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK and Frank Ocean, and while two of those artists check the box that we referred to in 2022 when it comes to the fest featuring more international acts, this year’s Day 3 headliner — whose set was originally announced for the 2020 edition but was pushed back to 2023 as the COVID-19 pandemic sent Coachella on a three-year hiatus — is also one who has been known to cancel his performances.

If Ocean does this time, Tollett and company will have Calvin Harris waiting in the wings and ready to step onto the main stage after 10 p.m. much like SHM did in 2022 (with some help from The Weeknd). He could even elevate sub-headliners Gorillaz, ROSALÍA and/or Björk to the No. 1 spot since two of them have headlined Coachella before. Either way, the man who has been organizing the three-day event — which expanded to two weekends in 2012 — for more than 20 years now certainly has his share of options after locking down Harry Styles and Billie Eilish to lead the charge a year ago.

We should note that it’s not clear yet which day Harris will perform if all goes according to plan, but the five-time Grammy-nominated DJ/record producer has headlined once before in 2016 and was included as a sub-headliner in 2020 before it was ultimately canceled. We will provide updates about his status below whenever we have more information.

Given those contingencies, the roster for Coachella’s 22nd edition has a lot to consider below the top line for each day and there are plenty of names that stick out among the undercard. And though those receiving high placement on the poster like Burna Boy, Eric Prydz, Kali Uchis, The Chemical Brothers, Porter Robinson, boygenius, Porter Robinson, Kaytranada, $uicideboy$, Fisher + Chris Lake, Blondie, the Kid LAROI, A Boogie, Becky G, Charli XCX, Dominic Fike, Metro Boomin, Labrinth, Jai Paul and Underworld are worth considering, there are others farther down that deserve being mentioned here such as FKJ, SOFI TUKKER, Jai Wolf, Wet Leg, Chromeo, 2ManyDJs, SG Lewis, TESTPILOT, Mura Masa, Weyes Blood, Marc Rebillet, Alex G and Hiatus Kaiyote.

Tickets for Weekend 1 are almost sold out, though you can always jump on the wait list here after three-day GA and VIP passes go on sale here during a presale this Friday, January 13th at 11 a.m. PT.

Coachella 2023

BottleRock locks in Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone, Lizzo, Duran Duran, Lil Nas X & The Smashing Pumpkins to play 10th anniversary

BottleRock - 2023 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
May 26th-28th, 2023 //

With BeachLife Festival unveiling some exciting news last week by announcing its 2023 lineup, we can expect more music festivals in California to follow suit throughout this month.

But if you were wondering which one would be next, look no further than Napa Valley where BottleRock is gearing up for its 10th anniversary over Memorial Day weekend after tapping Metallica, P!NK, Twenty One Pilots and Luke Combs among others for 2022.

Arriving in our inboxes and social media feeds right on schedule, the three-day music festival’s roster delivers plenty of star power with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone, Lizzo, Duran Duran, Lil Nas X and The Smashing Pumpkins on the top line while Leon Bridges, Billy Strings, Wu-Tang Clan and The National lead an excellent undercard.

Other notable acts who have signed on to play BottleRock this May include CAAMP, Sheryl Crow, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bastille, Tove Lo, Phantogram, Japanese Breakfast, Quinn XCII, Yung Gravy, Thievery Corporation, Dayglow, ASHE, Lucius, Teddy Swims, Cautious Clay, Nicky Youre, Los Lobos, WAR, Taj Mahal, Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Struts, Warren G, KennyHoopla, Jean Dawson, Lupe Fiasco, Peter Yorn and more. See the poster above for the rest of this year’s roster.

While the music usually serves as its biggest draw, the festival does offer guests access to a spa and silent disco. Of course, there’s also the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage, which pairs celebrity chefs with various musicians and athletes for several live cooking demonstrations you won’t want to miss.

Tickets can be purchased here beginning this Tuesday, January 10th at Noon PT. Three-day GA passes will go for $389 plus fees with VIP ($979), Skydeck ($1,799), The Suites ($1,899) and Platinum ($5,495) experiences available too, so make sure to set those alarm clocks stat for a BottleRockin’ good time!

BeachLife Festival ups the ante again this May with The Black Keys, Gwen Stefani, The Black Crowes & more booked for fourth edition

BeachLife Festival - 2023 lineup

BeachLife Festival //
Seaside Lagoon – Redondo Beach, CA
May 5th-7th, 2023 //

It’s the first week of the new year, and you know what that means … it’s almost festival season!

No, the Coachella lineup hasn’t dropped yet — although we’ll be sure to cover it here whenever that day comes soon — but in the meantime, another Southern California music festival has already revealed its plans for this year.

Taking over Redondo Beach’s waterfront for a fourth time, BeachLife Festival has put together another quality roster this May that once again leans heavily in the direction of rock ‘n’ roll but also incorporates pop, reggae, jam, funk and punk. And all things black is certainly back in 2023, as The Black Keys and The Black Crowes will bookend the three-day event that has three-time Grammy winner Gwen Stefani set to take the stage Saturday after a special performance from Sublime with Rome of 1992’s 40oz. to Freedom, marking more than 30 years since Sublime released their seminal debut album.

Despite only debuting in 2019, BeachLife has continued to up the ante and its latest roster once again boasts plenty of talent as Pixies, John Fogerty (performing the music of Credence Clearwater Revival), Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, CAAMP, Tegan & Sara, Iration, The Head and the Heart, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Dispatch, Noah Cyrus, LP, Sugar Ray, Mavis Staples, The Aiborne Toxic Event, Aly & AJ and Trampled by Turtles round out an excellent undercard. The inclusion of Modest Mouse is especially noteworthy given that Jeremiah Green, the band’s longtime drummer and one of its founding members, passed away at the age of 45 last week. Check out the poster above for the rest of the acts scheduled to take the stage.

The festival, as it did in both 2021 and 2022, will offer guests the unique opportunity to sit on the main stage and eat a four-course meal while being only a few feet away from the action as part of its DAOU SideStage Experience. So if you’re looking to get a little extra bougie for a weekend, that could be just the experience to make BeachLife a very memorable one this spring.

Speaking of tickets, they’re already on sale here! Three-day GA and GA+ passes can be purchased for $379 or $419, and VIP is available for $849 as well as single-day tickets for $159 (GA), $179 (GA+) and $339 (VIP). Of course, there’s always the three-day Admirals pass for $995 or Captain’s pass for $2,999 and $1,250 (single-day) as well if you’re looking to make a big splash so get ’em while they’re still hot.

FOALS deliver another ‘sweaty good time’ at Hollywood Palladium while traversing the globe on their ‘Life Is Yours Tour’

FOALS - Yannis PhilippakisBy Josh Herwitt //

FOALS with Inner Wave, Gustaf //
Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles
November 16th, 2022 //

What is it about FOALS that makes them one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands to come out of the aughts? You know, that decade after the 90’s beginning more than 20 years ago?

A good starting point for most longtime listeners and fans of the British outfit would be Greece-born frontman Yannis Philippakis, whose gorgeous vocals and emotive guitar solos are often juxtaposed against his morose, yet impassioned lyrics.

And boy, let me tell you … when you’re feeling down, putting on one of FOALS’ masterpieces like 2013’s Holy Fire and 2015’s What Went Down can offer the emotional strength one might need to keep moving forward. You can hear it in Philippakis’ voice, and you can feel how much he’s pouring his heart and soul into the music. It’s really a beautiful thing to take in when it feels like the music industry has been largely condensed to 30-second soundbites with the rise of TikTok and proliferation of NFTs.

With founding member Edwin Congreave’s departure more than a year ago to pursue a postgraduate degree in economics at Cambridge University, the once-sextet has shrunk down to a trio consisting of Philippakis (lead vocals, lead guitar), Jack Bevan (drums, percussion) and Jimmy Smith (rhythm guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals) in the studio, but you wouldn’t notice much of a difference from the sound of their seventh LP Life Is Yours that arrived in June and saw them collaborate with a number of producers, including John Hill, Dan Carey, A. K. Paul and Miles James, for the first time.

FOALS

If anything, the result is a shinier and catchier collection of songs in a pop sense, with its title track and lead single “Wake Me Up” setting the tone for the rest of the album. Life Is Yours was preceded by five singles, more than any other FOALS studio effort to date, and while others have had the same number of singles in the end, it wasn’t until after those records were released that they reached such a mark. In that regard, Life Is Yours is easily FOALS’ most accessible piece of work, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of praise with Philippakis, Bevan and Smith sharing songwriting duties. It actually still fits in quite well with the rest of their burgeoning catalog, even if it isn’t as wide-ranging or commercially successful as 2019’s two-part Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost that would eventually top the UK Albums Chart.

FOALS, nonetheless, are still touring as a six-piece with three hired guns — Kit Monteith of Trophy Wife (percussion, sampler, backing vocals), Jack Freeman of Jagwar Ma (bass, synthesizer, backing vocals) and Joe Price (keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals) — rounding out the lineup while always making sure to deliver a “sweaty good time” as Philippakis declared last Wednesday evening at the Hollywood Palladium during their first LA show since headlining the Shrine Expo Hall more than three years ago — and over six since the last time they set foot in the Art Deco-style theater (read our show review here).

The three-time Mercury Prize nominees were in good spirits as they often are when they come to town, particularly one where they spent time working on Life Is Yours and Smith also now resides. But on this night, FOALS weren’t just going to settle for the same setlist they uncorked less than 24 hours earlier in Oakland. Unlike our Bay Area counterparts, those of us in sunny SoCal would have the distinct pleasure of witnessing the tour debut of “Neptune” as the 10-minute epic came packaged in between What Went Down cuts “Snake Oil” and “Mountain at My Gates” heading into a brief encore break, marking only the fourth time it has been performed live so far. Of course I had hoped we would get to hear the full length’s namesake too with it being a personal favorite of mine, but considering the song hasn’t been in rotation for months dating back to July, it wasn’t all that surprising it wasn’t in the cards.

When Philippakis and company returned to the stage amid a roaring applause, it felt like they were just getting started. At the very least, FOALS know how to take things up a notch or two in the encore, and with Philippakis ripping through “Inhaler” while making his way through the crowd, it only reaffirmed their brand as an absolute force in live music. Some might claim the 60-plus stops on the “Life Is Yours Tour” extending into 2023 won’t stand up to some of their previous shows when we look back at them, but as our eardrums rattled for a final time to “Two Steps, Twice” off their 2008 debut Antidotes, it served as an immediate reminder that these past 15 years have truly been one hell of a ride for FOALS and those of us who have been here for them all.

Setlist:
Wake Me Up
The Runner
2001
(summer sky)
Olympic Airways
My Number
Black Gold
2am
In Degrees
Spanish Sahara
Red Socks Pugie
Providence
Snake Oil
Neptune (tour debut)
Mountain at My Gates

Encore:
Inhaler
Two Steps, Twice

A little rain doesn’t stop Bonobo from finishing his U.S. live tour for ‘Fragments’ with an electric hometown show at LA’s Greek Theatre

BonoboBy Josh Herwitt //

Bonobo with Tourist & O’Flynn //
Greek Theatre – Los Angeles
October 22nd, 2022 //

For those who have been following Simon Green’s work under the Bonobo moniker that the British DJ, producer and musician created more than two decades ago in the seaside city of Brighton, it shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise to hear his seventh LP Fragments arrived in January almost five years to the day since 2017’s Migration came out.

A lot has happened around the world over that span, though none more impactful than the COVID-19 pandemic of course. Green has even stated in interviews that the isolation he experienced during the lockdown stifled his creativity for much of 2020.

In fact, it wasn’t until he received Jamila Woods’ vocal parts that Fragments would begin to take shape, with “Tides” featuring the Chicago-based singer-songwriter, rapper and poet serving as its centerpiece. So while the 12-track album embodies Green’s struggles and introspection over the past two years with a deep sense of sorrow, it also offers moments of liberation and joy for the three-time Grammy nominee.

All of those emotions were channeled through Green’s music last Saturday at the Greek Theatre in his adopted hometown of LA. This wasn’t actually the first time he was headlining the historic amphitheater. No, we were there for that (read our show review here) as he shared the stage with Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses and demonstrated why his live performances are truly something special to witness.

Bonobo - Nicole Miglis


Nicole Miglis

Nonetheless, this gig marked the final date of his U.S. live tour in support of Fragments, and what better way to end a weeks-long trek across the states than on a rainy night in the City of Angels? Green might very well disagree given that the inclement weather had fans abandoning their seats for shelter on each side of the venue, but the precipitation would fortunately last for only part of Tourist’s opening set as the clouds parted before the evening’s main attraction.

By the time Green stepped onstage with his live band after 9 p.m., the Greek was ready to welcome him with open arms. It’s not often he performs with a string section behind him, but with the increasing costs that have come with touring on a larger scale, Green knows it’s not likely he’ll be able to do this again in the same capacity down the road as he confessed recently on social media. Almost a third of the songs that he would unveil featured Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters on lead vocals, and with her touching on some newer and older Bonobo material, she filled in seamlessly as a proper substitute for Green’s wide swath of collaborators that has included Joji, Nick Murphy (aka Chet Faker) and Rhye to name a few.

There was a small hope in us too that Green would debut his brand-new single “Defender” after its drop three days prior, but despite our wish not coming true, the inclusion of “ATK” following its release in early September as well as 2019’s “Linked” proved this tour was more than just a celebration of Fragments. If anything, it was him reminding us how much his eclectic sound has been rooted in the UK dance clubs it pervaded amid the early 2000’s.

With the live music industry still in a state of recovery as many established artists struggle to make ends meet, there’s no telling what a live Bonobo show will look like in the future. One could see Green scaling back to not have as much instrumentation and instead utilizing more prerecorded stems to ease some of the financial burden — or he could simply stick to the major markets and pass on the smaller cities such as Flagstaff, Ariz. Either way, we have little doubt that however Green’s performances look one day, they will be like they have always been: beautiful, euphoric, sad and all of those feelings in between.

Setlist:
Polyghost
Rosewood
Counterpart
Surface (feat. Nicole Miglis)
Tides (feat. Nicole Miglis)
Kiara (feat. Nicole Miglis)
Bambro Koyo Ganda
Cirrus
Outlier
ATK
From You (feat. Nicole Miglis)
No Reason (feat. Nicole Miglis)
Linked
Age of Phase
Otomo

Encore:
Break Apart (feat. Nicole Miglis)
Kerala

Moderat are back to mesmerizing their fans again following an extended hiatus as they demonstrate at The Wiltern

ModeratBy Josh Herwitt //

Moderat //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
September 23rd, 2022 //

With the music industry still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two and a half years, it’s not hard to find a concert worth catching in LA at the moment. Artists and bands across every scene have been trying to make up for lost time, and those more specifically in the world of dance music have been no different.

But it’s not every day that you get to see a top-notch electronic act perform live inside one of the city’s most historic music venues on a Friday night.

And in the case of Moderat, it took the German supergroup consisting of Sascha Ring (aka Apparat) and Modeselektor members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary more than six years to release their fourth studio album More D4ta as the follow-up to 2016’s phenomenal III. While that remains Moderat’s largest gap between full-length efforts, they haven’t forgotten how to captivate their audiences after going on an extended hiatus.

The Berlin-based three-piece was greeted by a strong turnout at The Wiltern for its first LA show since 2017 when Ring, Bronsert and Szary played The Mayan (read our show review here) in between what many fans have considered to be two career-defining performances at Coachella — and we truly can’t disagree with that assessment from what we saw during Weekend 1 (read our festival review here).

After all, there aren’t a whole lot of electronic-leaning acts out there who are doing anything like what Moderat does when it comes to their approach and sound as they fuse electronic beats and textures behind live vocals — led by Ring with Bronsert and Szary assisting — and instrumentation.

Moderat

Caribou would be another one that comes to mind after witnessing the Grammy nominee’s gig at LA’s Greek Theatre last November (read our show review here), but unlike Moderat, Dan Snaith has had a knack for mixing 70’s funk and soul as well as 90’s hip-hop and R&B into his music over the years.

While you won’t hear any of those genres on More D4ta that Moderat put out in May via Modeselektor’s own Monkeytown Records, there are some similarly hypnotic moments throughout the 10-track LP. Just take new singles “Fast Land” and “Easy Prey” for instance, the latter of which surprisingly wasn’t on the group’s LA setlist despite being performed in Oakland the evening prior along with its 2014 remix of Jon Hopkins’ “Abandon Window” (yeah, I guess you could say we’re jealous about that).

Regardless of whatever songs we didn’t to get hear before Ring, Bronsert and Szary headed south to CRSSD Festival, there was plenty to enjoy. From the opening lines of “Reminder” to the mesmerizing audio-visual experience of “Bad Kingdom” that entrances us every time, Moderat had a packed crowd hanging on every word that Ring delivered by the time they ran through an encore that concluded with “Les Grandes Marches” and “No. 22” off their 2009 self-titled debut from what feels like ages ago.

There also aren’t many acts, electronic or not, that will come back out for a second encore. Moderat are built a little bit differently in that way though, and based on the applause they were showered with at The Wiltern, it wasn’t completely shocking to watch them return to the stage one last time and drop “Intruder” for those screaming “one more song!” at the top of their lungs.

Because after waiting five-plus years to tour the world again, can you really blame them?

Setlist:
Reminder
More Love
Animal Trails
Undo Redo
Doom Hype
Rusty Nails
Eating Hooks
Running
Neon Rats
Bad Kingdom
Ghostmother
A New Error

Encore #1:
Fast Land
Les Grandes Marches
No. 22

Encore #2:
Intruder

Primavera Sound LA 2022: The best & worst of the Barcelona music festival’s inaugural edition on U.S. soil

Primavera Sound LA 2022Photos by Josh Herwitt & courtesy of Primavera Sound LA // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Primavera Sound LA //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 16th-18th, 2022 //

It’s no secret that Primavera Sound has had its sights set on Los Angeles for quite some time now. The Barcelona music festival that has been going strong for two decades expanded to Porto in 2012 and will finally stamp its brand on four more cities in 2022 after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LA is the first of those four cities, but with the festival’s other three new locations — São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago — all launching in South America later this year, LA State Historic Park also served as Primavera Sound’s inaugural event in the states.

Spreading four stages across the 32-acre park that remains one of the best spots in the city to host a music festival before and after three years of renovations, PSLA welcomed a wealth of talent from the top line to the bottom. Lorde, Nine Inch Nails and Arctic Monkeys each delivered headline-worthy sets while an indie-leaning undercard highlighted by BICEP (Live), Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Drain Gang, Fontaines D.C., Girl in Red, GIVĒON, James Blake, King Krule, Khruangbin and Mitski all drew big crowds over the course of three days. In a lot of ways, PSLA fills a much-needed void after the sudden and disheartening end to FYF Fest, which would tout itself as the “best weekend of summer” for many live music fans and was one of our favorite multi-day festivals to cover (read more here).

Any time a new music festival launches though, there are always highs and lows. So without further ado, here are our best and worst moments from Primavera Sound’s first installment on U.S. soil:


Primavera Sound LA 2022

Best: The weather

After LA experienced its worst heat wave of the year earlier this month with temperatures reaching triple digits, the weather luckily cooled down just in time for PSLA. For many of us, a second layer of clothing wasn’t ever necessary from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. After all, how often does that happen? With great music lined up throughout the day and a forecast hovering in the mid to high 70’s, it truly felt like a quintessential summer weekend in LA.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Will Call line

When we arrived at the festival on Friday afternoon, the line at the box office quickly stood out. In fact, it was so long that we knew the wait would be at least an hour for those trying to pick up their passes, only to discover later via Twitter it was even longer for many even at 6 p.m. These are the kind of issues any first-year music festival hopes to avoid and can ultimately prepare for, but when you change your ticket delivery method to in-person on short notice after previously telling fans it would be done electronically, it’s no surprise that you end up pissing off some of your customers.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Lorde

Best: Lorde

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter has been making the rounds this year on an extensive world tour in support of 2021’s Solar Power, and there’s no question that her entire stage design and production was impressive to witness. Ahead of festival stops at Life Is Beautiful and Rifflandia over the same weekend, Lorde arrived onstage via a rotating staircase with some of her backing band and ran through 15 songs — from her 2013 debut single “Royals” to Melodrama hits like “Perfect Places” and “Green Light” — as PSLA’s first headliner. We wouldn’t necessarily call ourselves big fans, but we definitely understand why she was deserving of top billing.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Food & drink

We will eventually get to the limited viewing space that under-21 guests were offered, but even if you wanted to drink at PSLA, the options were simply not good. This was certainly not the place for craft beer enthusiasts, as your choices were Heineken or the low-calorie Tecate Alta that tasted mostly like beer-flavored water for $12 each. Not only would it be nice to have seen local breweries — there are two excellent ones located across the street from the festival’s entrance — featured, but in a city such as LA with a food-and-drink scene that’s one of the best in the country, partnering with major beer and liquor brands along with a handful of Smorgasburg LA restaurants doesn’t exactly cut it anymore. The only food stall in one of the VIP areas selling “California style” Philly cheeseteaks made us think about how much Goldenvoice has elevated its game in this respect, with top-notch local options at Just Like Heaven (read our festival review here) from Goldburger to Homage Brewing standing out as examples most recently in May.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Khruangbin

Best: Khruangbin

The Houston three-piece that has made 70’s Thai funk sound cool again has been one of the hottest acts to tour over the past five years, as evidenced by their three sold-out shows at LA’s Greek Theatre last November. While most might have come Saturday to see Nine Inch Nails, it was K-bin who would steal the show before Trent Reznor and company ever played a note. Those who made it to the main stage for sunset were treated to an hour of grooves, as Mark Speer (guitar, vocals), Laura Lee (bass, vocals) and Donald Johnson (drums, vocals) hypnotized us with fan favorites “María También” and “So We Won’t Forget” before diving into a melody of covers that embraced a wide array of artists, from MF DOOM, The Isley Brothers, Tina Turner and Chris Isaak to 90’s hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Warren G and Dr. Dre.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Art installations

Sometimes it can be easy to forget how spoiled we are in California when it comes to all of the music festivals we have. Not only do many of our best and brightest such as Coachella, Outside Lands and Lightning in a Bottle showcase a wide range of musical genres, but they also feature their own unique art installations that continue to push the envelope. In the case of Primavera Sound, let’s just say that’s not its M.O. While we can’t fault the festival for keeping the focus strictly on the music, LA State Historic Park did seem to lack some color aesthetically. That said, there were a couple of highlights off the stage, including the vinyl market that was curated by KCRW and Beat Swap Meets as well as the FLATSTOCK poster show series making its only West Coast stop of the year and featuring locals like Kii Arens of La-La Land Prints.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Best: Signs, sightlines & sound

With the Primavera Sound brand being all about the music, our eyes were mostly focused on the artists performing. Nevertheless, the signs, sightlines and sound at PSLA were all on point. The downtown LA skyline served as a fitting backdrop like it usually does at LASHP, and despite poor audio issues playing a role at outdoor music festivals, we didn’t experience any while we were on the ground so kudos to the organizers for locking that down. If anything, the decibels across the fest’s four stages were so high that we found ourselves needing ear protection most of the weekend.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Nine Inch Nails

Worst: Short headliner sets

After Primavera Sound LA unveiled the lineup for its debut this year, we presumed all three headliners would receive at least 90 minutes each day. So when the set times dropped more than a couple weeks in advance, it was a bit of a shock seeing only 75 minutes designated for each of them. A Hall of Fame band like Nine Inch Nails has more than 10 studio albums and several EPs in its catalog but were only granted enough time to crank out 16 songs, many of which have been setlist staples for years up to this point. Though NIN classics like “Wish”, “March of the Pigs”, “Closer”, “Gave Up” and “Head Like a Hole” are never tracks to lack energy live, we’re happy we caught their sold-out gig at the Santa Barbara Bowl (read our show review here) four days earlier for the chance to hear a cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” and multiple other deep cuts.

Primavera Sound LA 2022 - Arctic Monkeys

Best: Arctic Monkeys

It was clear when we showed up for PSLA’s final day that the attendance felt bigger than the day prior. Although that seemed a little odd considering it was Sunday and not Saturday, it was a testament to the fan base Arctic Monkeys have built at the 20-year mark. The English rockers haven’t toured since 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and with their forthcoming seventh LP The Car slated to come out next month, frontman Alex Turner and his bandmates gave us a taste with the disco funk that they’ve cooked up on “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am” midway through their headlining performance. And even though we didn’t hear lead single “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” despite it being the only track that they have officially released so far, there were plenty of other thrilling moments for us to remember in between the opening notes of “Do I Wanna Know?” and the closing “R U Mine?” to end the night. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long before there’s a return date to California after the new album drops.

Primavera Sound LA 2022

Worst: Under-21 viewing areas

Most of PSLA’s guests are of legal drinking age, and with the festival boasting a number of alcohol-related sponsors that included Cuervo and Smirnoff, it certainly caters to the over-21 crowd. But for those who weren’t, the viewing areas at the Primavera and Tecate Alta stages were less than ideal. Besides the allotted space being too small and positioned off to the side, underage guests were only informed 10 days in advance. If you’re not 21 yet, make sure to temper your expectations — or we’d recommend waiting until you are before attending.


Primavera Sound LA photographers featured: Nicolita Bradley, Lindsey Byrnes, Pooneh Ghana, Miranda McDonald, Ismael Quintanilla III & Quinn Tucker.