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.

Día y Noche de Los Muertos returns to Hollywood Forever, creating a cathartic experience with Ed Maverick, Hermanos Gutiérrez & more

Día y Noche de Los Muertos 2022By Iván Fernández //

Día y Noche de Los Muertos featuring Ed Maverick, Hermanos Gutiérrez, Son Rompe Pera, Thee Sacred Souls //
Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles
October 29th, 2022 //

Typically, there’d be cause for serious concern when thousands of people congregate in a cemetery on a Saturday. The last thing we need in our not-quite-post-pandemic world is a mass gathering of a demonic cult or an apocalyptic scenario previously only imagined by the likes of the creators of the “Doom” video game franchise.

However, when the reason turns out to be the 23rd annual Día y Noche de Los Muertos event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in LA, the main concern is searching for a place to sit to eat between performances. The festival is one of the largest Day of the Dead-related events in the world outside of Mexico and Latin America. Attendees over the years have been regaled with impressive lineups of Mexican and Latin American artists along with the dozens of altars built by community members in honor of their departed loved ones.

For many years, the event at Hollywood Forever and the Día de los Muertos event at Self-Help Graphics on the other side of the county were the only large-scale celebrations of the cultural holiday in LA. In our post-“Coco” and “The Book of Life” world, they are national torchbearers for a region with the largest Latin American diaspora in the country.

The festival’s first edition in 1999 was a small affair featuring some live music, a couple of altars and roughly 300 people. At its peak about six to seven years ago, 40,000 people were dancing along near the memorial and burial sites of celebrities (one half of the original Ramones lineup, Johnny and Dee Dee, are laid to rest here along with Mel Blanc, Mickey Rooney, Burt Reynolds, Jonathan Gold, the DeMilles, the Chaplins, etc.) and non-celebs alike, some who were laid to rest in the late 19th century. Since 2021, the festival has pulled a Coachella of sorts and split into two separate events at the same location: a daytime cultural event dedicated to families and kids to learn about the history and specific cultural practices of Day of the Dead followed by a nighttime event featuring three stages of live music.

The 2022 edition welcomed over 20,000 people to the cemetery grounds for a day of music and remembrance. This year’s theme was dedicated to Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of fertility and maguey (agave), the plant where pulque, mezcal and tequila are derived from. There’s a tragic backstory about the romance between Mayahuel and Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, that ends in her death. His tears fall on her grave and create the agave plant, “producing pulque and mezcal to forever lesson our miseries and lift our grief,” to quote the event’s press release.

Día y Noche de Los Muertos 2022 - Thee Sacred Souls


Thee Sacred Souls

There was certainly something of that in the air this year. Though it was still a fun celebration of life, perhaps the weight of these past two years has made people’s sentiments heavier. You could see it in the elaborate altars placed along the pathways from the cemetery to stages and art exhibits.

Everywhere you looked, there was an old portrait of a married couple as well as photos of an infant, boys, girls and teens whose lives were all tragically cut short. The beauty in the Day of the Dead event is how these portraits are also adorned with items that reflected the warmth of their lives, however short or long. Creating an altar takes time and an emotional effort by their builders that helps them confront their grief. There may not have been much pulque or mezcal on the grounds, but the miseries of recent times were certainly lessened through these public displays of grief and love.

The performers for the night also did a wonderful job of bringing people together and lessening their miseries while lifting their grief. The night began with San Diego’s Thee Sacred Souls. The trio of singer Josh Lane, drummer Alex Garcia and bassist Sal Samano have seen their star rise quickly over the past year-and-a-half thanks to a combination of Lane’s Marvin Gaye-esque vocal styles and their mesmerizing take on Chicano soul and R&B.

Día y Noche de Los Muertos 2022 - Son Rompe Pera


Son Rompe Pera

Thee Sacred Souls were joined onstage with a pair of backup singers, a guitarist and a pianist/organ player to fill out their sound. Though the trio has just one full-length album to its name so far, songs such as “Can I Call You Rose?”, “Weak For Your Love” and “Love Comes Easy” have become instantly recognizable by the band’s growing legion of fans. Tears flowed, kisses were planted and lovers hugged as the band gracefully swung from one love balled to the next.

Son Rompe Pera, on the other hand, were the exact opposite. If you’re ever curious as to what a combination of cumbia and marimba music from Mexico’s southeastern coast sounds like when fused with the ethos and energy of hardcore punk, then you must make it your mission to watch these guys live.

At the heart of Son Rompe Pera’s sound is not an accordion, a guitar or a drum, but the graceful xylophone! Never have I seen so many people lose their minds over watching a guy who looks like Edward Munson’s Mexican twin rocking out on a minutes-long xylophone solo. Never have I also seen a mosh pit start thanks to a xylophone solo, and even less have I ever encountered a mosh pit where a man felt comfortable enough to run circles in it with his very young daughter cheering him on while riding on his shoulders.

Día y Noche de Los Muertos 2022 - Hermanos Gutiérrez


Hermanos Gutiérrez

The Mexico City outfit from the town of Naucalpan is also an example of how to restructure your recorded music for a live setting. Songs such as “Calculadora” and “Tortuga del Arenal” have a danceable, yet mellow rhythm to it on the album. When played live though, the songs take on a faster rhythm, with the marimba and cumbia accents ceding ground to the group’s punk vibe.

This is where I question the order of the artists on the lineup. Hermanos Gutiérrez went up next and played beautifully. Brothers Alejandro and Estevan Gutiérrez are two talented musicians who play guitar together, swapping between acoustic, electric and slide guitars during their shows. The Zurich-based duo’s instrumental music swept me away, carrying me into a mystical world soundtracked by their cinematic, western style.

Unfortunately, some in the crowd were still riding the high from Son Rompe Pera and jarred by the switch in energy and music, prompting me to wonder if it would have been better if Hermanos Gutiérrez performed before Son Rompe Pera. It’s a shame really, but it was wonderful to hear songs from their latest album El Bueno Y El Malo (The Good And The Bad), which they recorded with Dan Auerbach and released on The Black Keys frontman’s record label Easy Eye Sound, along with a few older cuts. There was something about listening to title track, “Tres Hermanos” and “Hermosa Drive” live in a cemetery that added to the experience and aura of the night’s festivities that no other performer had.

Día y Noche de Los Muertos 2022 - Ed Maverick


Ed Maverick

The evening’s headliner Ed Maverick was a smart choice to close things out. I knew the fest had taken a somber and introspective turn when the promoters announced him to lead the lineup. In fact, the “Sad Boy Supreme” of Chihuahua, Mexico, was stopping through LA on his first-ever world tour — and he did not disappoint.

Even from a distance, it’s easy to tell that his sad-boy schtick isn’t a performance but who he truly is. It also shouldn’t be a surprise considering he titled one of his albums Mix Pa’ Llorar en Tu Cuarto (A Mix to Cry in Your Bedroom). And yes, he performed his sad-boy anthems, but he and his band gave the songs an aura that matched the grief-lifting vibes of the night.

Maverick and his band adapted other songs from Mix and his 2021 LP Eduardo to give them a larger presence live. “Hola, ¿cómo estás?,” for example, filled the event like an anthem meant for a stadium as opposed to the recorded version’s floating, atmospheric vibes. Meanwhile, “Fuentes de Ortiz”, “Acurrucar” and “Quiero” became cathartic sing-alongs for thousands of fans in attendance.

Maverick didn’t have too much to say between songs and let his music do most of the talking. However, when he did speak to the crowd, he had to pause with a smile and wait for the lull between screaming and cheering fans to be heard. He ended the night with a lengthy guitar solo that cemented his newfound status as a rock star and new king of the sad boys.

Whatever grief guests carried with them into the event, they certainly left feeling weightless after a long, fun and most importantly, cathartic experience.

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.