Chromeo, Tipper, Vulfpeck, The Glitch Mob & more hit the beach at Lake Perris for 2022 edition of Same Same But Different

Same Same But Different Festival - 2022 lineup

Same Same But Different //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
September 9th-11th, 2022 //

Does it feel like festival season in the Golden State or what?

On the same day Goldenvoice revealed its new Portola Music Festival with Flume and The Chemical Brothers headlining its inaugural edition at San Francisco’s Pier 80, another California music festival also has made its plans known for this September.

Same Same But Different follows in the same sort of vein as Lightning in a Bottle by offering more than just music, with yoga, educational workshops, and wellness activities, as well as arts and crafts, all part of the event’s programming two weeks prior to Portola and one week before Primavera Sound LA.

But like LIB, it’s the music that ultimately attracts fans to SSBD and this year’s roster boasts a variety of electronic- and funk-leaning acts beginning at the top of the bill with electro-funk lords Chromeo rocking the stage Friday, British electronic composer and producer Tipper turning up Saturday, and funk quartet Vulfpeck and LA beat-scene veterans The Glitch Mob co-headlining Sunday.

Along with the aforementioned four headliners, the three-day fest’s undercard delivers other can’t-miss acts such as Washed Out, Poolside, Emancipator, Lettuce, The Brothers Macklovitch (A-Trak & Dave1), Neil Frances, Beats Antique, The Polish Ambassador, Moon Boots, The California Honeydrops, Sacha Robotti, The Floozies, Goldfish, Harry Mack, The Funk Hunters, Manic Focus, Justin Jay, Anomalie and more at Moreno Beach inside the 1,800-acre Lake Perris State Recreation Area. See the poster above, and check back here as additional artists are announced in the coming months.

SSBD tickets can be purchased starting this Thursday, May 19th at 1 p.m. PT during the presale with payment plans available for those who only want to put down $49 right now, but don’t forget to register here for your chance to also win a grand prize of four VIP weekend passes and car-camping or one free GA ticket. Three-day GA passes start at $285 and jump to $345 while VIP are available for $490 before increasing to $580 here. The general on-sale, meanwhile, begins this Friday at 1 p.m. PT so get them while they’re hot!

10 California music festivals you won’t want to miss in 2022

2022 California music festivalsWritten by Josh Herwitt //

With live music returning to stages across the U.S. during the second half of last year and spring now right around the corner, 2022 is shaping up to be a monumental year for the industry and a big reason for that is the comeback of the music festival. California has certainly played a major part in its revival coming out of a global pandemic, with a number of single-day and multi-day events already scheduled to take place up and down the Golden State over the next six-plus months. So, who’s ready for festival season to begin?

If you’re itching to hit a music festival, here are 10 in California you should save your cash for this year.


CRSSD Festival - Spring 2022 lineup

CRSSD Festival
Location: Waterfront Park – San Diego
Dates: March 5th-6th
Tickets: Buy them here!

One North American concert promoter who wasn’t deterred by the news surrounding the coronavirus’ omicron variant a few months ago happens to be FNGRS CRSSD, the San Diego-based brand that debuted CRSSD Festival back in 2015 and has been going strong ever since with a spring and fall edition of the event each year. Unleashing another electronic-leaning roster for its first installment in 2022 with Glass Animals and SOFI TUKKER as headliners, CRSSD has managed to hold tight with its plans. Four Tet, Get Real (Claude VonStroke and Green Velvet), Gorgon City, 070 Shake, Blu DeTiger, Cautious Clay, Chet Faker, Parcels, Franc Moody, Lastlings, SG Lewis and more stack the undercard.

READ MORE HERE


Smokin Groves Fest - 2022 lineup

Smokin Grooves Fest
Location: LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
Dates: March 19th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Smookin Grooves’ lineup has easily matched what it offered fans in 2018 (read our review here) and 2019 (read our review here) after putting on excellent showings both years sheerly by landing Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots, Miguel and Jhené Aiko to lead the charge. But adding The Internet, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Smino, Toro y Moi, SiR, Little Dragon, Hiatus Kaiyote and more to the roster makes this another must-see production. The one-day fest is also getting a change of scenery as it relocates north to the 32-acre LA State Historic Park in the Chinatown neighborhood of downtown LA that once hosted FYF Fest and several HARD events.

READ MORE HERE


Coachella - 2022 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Location: Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
Dates: April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th
Tickets: Buy them here!

The three-day, two-weekend event is finally ready to give it another go in April after becoming one of the first large-scale music festivals in the U.S. to postpone its plans when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm almost two years ago. Harry Styles and Billie Eilish will spearhead the 2022 lineup, with Swedish House Mafia back at Coachella for the first time in a decade since the electronic supergroup’s closing set on the main stage in 2012 and The Weeknd added late to help replace Ye (fka Kanye West). The famed California fest has had a penchant for booking more international acts — from BLACKPINK to Bad Bunny — in recent years, and 2022 will be no different.

READ MORE HERE


BeachLife Festival - 2022 lineup

BeachLife Festival
Location: Seaside Lagoon – Redondo Beach, CA
Dates: May 13th-15th
Tickets: Buy them here!

The three-day event moved to September in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s back to its normal month of May this year with plenty to get excited about. Leading the fest’s third installment will be Weezer and 311 as co-headliners on Friday while The Smashing Pumpkins and Steve Miller Band will have their own days — Saturday and Sunday, respectively — to shine even after the sun dips into the Pacific Ocean. Black Pumas, Vance Joy, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots and Lord Huron, in the meantime, anchor an impressive undercard for what’s sure to be a party down by the shore.

READ MORE HERE


Just Like Heaven - 2022 lineup

Just Like Heaven
Location: Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Dates: May 21st
Tickets: Buy them here!

The one-day music festival put on by Goldenvoice, which debuted in 2019 and was an instant success, has dropped a 2022 roster that should be a dream come true for any indie music fan. And after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show is ready to go on again — although this time it’s migrating north from the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach to take over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl — and we still can’t remember the last time heaven ever looked this good. NYC indie rockers Interpol will have the honor of headlining this time around, but sets by Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A., Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Chromeo, Santigold, Cut Copy, The Hives, Wolf Parade, Peaches, !!!, The Raveonettes and more are likely to leave a lasting impression.

READ MORE HERE


Lightning in a Bottle - 2022 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle
Location: Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
Dates: May 25th-30th
Tickets: Buy them here!

After being forced to cancel its 15th edition more than 18 months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “transformational festival” is returning to Kern County over Memorial Day weekend and The Do LaB has retained a handful of acts on the 2020 roster from headliners like Kaytranada and GRiZ to several undercard standouts such as Purity Ring, Big Wild, Four Tet, Empress Of and Jon Hopkins. But LIB in 2022 will also feature some new blood, starting right at the top of the poster with Glass Animals as well as a pair of Brits in SG Lewis and Little Simz — who are newcomers to the event — on the bill. Other notable names include Chet Faker, Black Coffee, CloZee, Seth Troxler, Monolink, G Jones B2B Eprom, Maya Jane Coles, Goldlink, OPIUO, Chika, Mr. Carmack, Big Freedia, Dirtwire and more, including a Desert Hearts launch party with Lee Reynolds.

READ MORE HERE


BottleRock - 2022 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley
Location: Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
Dates: May 27th-29th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Despite announcing its lineup at the beginning of this year when COVID-19 cases were skyrocketing across the U.S. due to the omicron variant, the three-day event is marching ahead toward its normal timing of Memorial Day weekend after canceling in 2020 and sliding the festivities back to Labor Day weekend in 2021. And much like BottleRock’s previous rosters, 2022’s follows very much in the same vein (i.e. lots of rock ‘n’ roll) with Metallica, P!NK, Twenty One Pilots and Luke Combs topping the bill. The Napa fest’s ninth edition should serve as a special performance for Metallica no less, considering that the legendary heavy-metal band has called the Bay Area home for almost three decades.

READ MORE HERE


Outside Lands - 2022 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
Dates: August 5-7th
Tickets: Buy them here!

After being forced in 2021 to push back its 13th year (read our review here) to Halloween weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-day music festival is finally returning to its usual timing in August and spring is when we normally anticipate the lineup dropping every year. But the latest installment of SF’s signature event has a slightly different feel than in years past as Green Day, Post Malone and SZA assume headlining duties with Jack Harlow, Weezer, Phoebe Bridgers, Illenium, Lil Uzi Vert, Kali Uchis, Disclosure, Mitski, Polo & Pan and Anitta leading the undercard. And though all three headliners will be topping the poster at OSL for the first time, Green Day’s performance should carry a little extra weight given that the legacy act is originally from the East Bay.

READ MORE HERE


This Ain't No Picnic Festival 2022

This Ain’t No Picnic
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Dates: August 27th-28th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Concert promoter Goldenvoice is bringing back This Ain’t No Picnic to SoCal for the first time since 2002 and taking over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl for two days in late August (warning: it will be hot) with a killer two-day roster that screams “Pitchfork Fest!” The event has a history of exposing the raw energy of punk-leaning, indie darlings such as Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and Guided by Voices in 1999 before taking another step toward the mainstream by booking Beck, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, At the Drive-In and Modest Mouse for its 2000 edition. A couple of NYC products in The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem will serve as headliners in 2022 while the fest’s undercard offers its own set of highlights starting with the reunion of Le Tigre, another NYC product who last reunited in 2016 to give us “I’m with Her” as their latest single.

READ MORE HERE


Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 lineup

Primavera Sound Los Angeles
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
Dates: September 16-18th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Primavera Sound has been a staple across the music festival circuit since launching back in 2001 with its Spanish roots firmly planted in Barcelona. But we would be lying if we didn’t admit here that we have eagerly been anticipating the release of Primavera Sound LA’s inaugural lineup, which was originally set to make its U.S. debut in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on things, and that news has finally become a reality with Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails set to headline. That said, Arca, Bicep (Live), Buscabulla, Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Faye Webster, James Blake, Jehnny Beth, Khruangbin, Kim Gordon, King Krule, Low, Mitski, Stereolab and Tierra Whack have all signed on as well to mark what’s looking like a banner year for live music in the City of Angels.

READ MORE HERE


Which of these music festivals are you going to? Which are you looking forward to the most?

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Lightning in a Bottle lines up Glass Animals, Kaytranada, GRiZ & more to lead festival’s comeback in 2022

Lightning in a Bottle - 2022 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 25th-30th, 2022 //

Lightning in a Bottle is alive and well!

After being forced to cancel its 2020 edition more than 18 months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “transformational festival” is returning to Kern County over Memorial Day weekend.

And for those who previously purchased tickets and have been waiting for an update on LIB’s future, you might be happy to know that The Do LaB has retained a handful of acts on the 2020 roster from headliners like Kaytranada and GRiZ to such undercard standouts as Purity Ring, Big Wild, Four Tet, Empress Of and Jon Hopkins across the fest’s three stages.

But LIB 2022 will also feature some new blood, starting right at the top of the poster with Glass Animals fresh off their performance at Outside Lands last weekend for Halloween. Joining the English psych-pop band as other LIB newcomers on the bill will be a pair of 27-year-old Brits in SG Lewis and Little Simz.

Other notable names on the initial lineup for LIB’s 15th installment include Chet Faker, Black Coffee, CloZee, Seth Troxler, Monolink, G Jones B2B Eprom, Maya Jane Coles, Goldlink, OPIUO, Chika, Mr. Carmack, Big Freedia, Dirtwire and more, including a Desert Hearts launch party with Lee Reynolds.

LIB, which has long been considered to be one of the country’s premier boutique festivals, has served as an excellent follow-up to Coachella over the last decade, often pulling some of the same electronic-leaning talent — whether it’s Bob Moses, Bonobo, Emancipator, RÜFÜS DU SOL or Tycho — who can be seen performing years prior at the famed two-weekend, three-day music festival in the desert.

GA and VIP passes to LIB can be purchased during the presale this Thursday, November 4th at 10 a.m. PT if you sign up here or for $395 and $775, respectively, plus fees here this Friday, November 5th at 10 a.m. PT with payment plans available. As always, promoting the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers will remain a critical and prominent element of The Do LaB’s signature event.

Lightning in a Bottle - 2022 daily lineups

UPDATE (March 8th): LIB has shared its daily lineups for 2022, with Glass Animals leading the way on Friday, Kaytranada performing on Saturday and GRiZ closing out the fest on Sunday. Take a closer look at the list of artists scheduled for each day above.

Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - Compass lineup

UPDATE (March 15th): The lineup for the festival’s music, learning, and culture programming at the Compass that will feature speakers, workshops and more across seven immersive spaces has arrived. Among some of the discussions are Regenerating Soil with Microbes, Cryptocurrency: The Ownership Economy, Queering the Liminal, Technology of Prayer, Fire Adapted Communities: Building A Wildfire Resilient Future, Transforming Fulfilling Prophecies into Love and Resilience of Chamorro Food. See more details above.

Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - Friday

Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - Saturday

Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - Sunday

UPDATE (May 16th): Less than two weeks before LIB’s long-awaited return, the festival has released its set times — so you can sort out your conflicts for all three days in advance — with the music going until 4 a.m. for those who can hang that long. See more details above.

UPDATE (May 22nd): LIB has announced several changes to this year’s lineup as the days count down to the fest. Jhené Aiko will replace Little Simz, who had to cancel her performance. Chromonicci will also step in for Jon Casey while Moodlite and Dirtwire will fill in for Moontricks. Plus, don’t forget to check out the festival and camping maps below before you arrive at Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area.

Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - festival map

Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - camping map

Can’t wait until May? Tap back into our past coverage of LIB here.

Lightning in a Bottle’s 2020 roster has Kaytranada, Sylvan Esso, GRiZ & Purity Ring leading the pack

Lightning in a Bottle - 2020 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 20th-25th, 2020 //

Lightning in a Bottle is back on schedule.

After a longer-than-expected wait last year to release its 2019 lineup due to new dates and a new location in Kern County, the “transformational festival” has already unleashed its 2020 roster with Kaytranada, Sylvan Esso, GRiZ and Purity Ring topping the bill.

Other noteworthy acts on the initial lineup for the fest’s 15th installment include James Blake (DJ set), Four Tet, Amon Tobin (presents Two Fingers), Nina Kraviz, Big Wild, DJ Shadow, Bob Moses (club set), Jon Hopkins, Emancipator, Noisia, Stephan Bodzin, Doja Cat, Justin Martin, Keys N Krates (DJ set), Empress of, DROELOE and more.

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - The Stacks

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - CTRL-Z

UPDATE (February 13th): The Do LaB has announced the lineups for The Stacks and CTRL-Z stages at LIB 2020 that includes sets from Joe Kay, Justin Martin, Kraddy and more. Check out the posters above for both stages.

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - Grand Artique

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - The Compass

UPDATE (February 20th): The lineups for the Grand Artique and Compass stages have now also been announced with performances by Fantastic Negrito, Whiskerman and more slated at Buena Vista Lake. See the posters above for both stages.

LIB, which has been praised over the years as one of the nation’s premier boutique festivals, will also return to its traditional Memorial Day weekend slot when it takes over Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area for a second straight year this May. But for many West Coast music fans, it has become an excellent hangover cure shortly after Coachella’s both weekends end.

Four- and five-day passes to LIB, as well as the brand-new Patron Experience ticket, can be purchased here for $349, $419 and $999, respectively, with payment plans available. And as always, promoting the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers will remain a defining portion of The Do LaB’s signature event.

UPDATE (March 13th): Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Lightning in a Bottle will not take place May 20-25 at Buena Vista Lake, with no official word on rescheduled dates or refunds yet. LIB joins Coachella as another California music festival that has either postponed or canceled this week, shortly after South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival pulled the plug on their own events. With the coronavirus rocking a lot of the world right now and in particular the live music industry, The Do LaB is uncertain if LIB will return in the near or distant future and that is certainly a sad thought to consider.

Take a peek at our past coverage of Lightning in a Bottle here.

Lightning in a Bottle 2019 boasts Disclosure (DJ set), Big Gigantic, Flying Lotus & more at a new location

Lightning in a Bottle - 2019 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 8th-13th, 2019 //

After a longer-than-expected wait, Lightning in a Bottle has finally given us the goods.

The “transformational festival,” which has become an excellent hangover cure for West Coast music fans shortly after Coachella, usually drops its lineup sometime in mid-January, but with new dates and a new location in Kern County holding things up, it took an extra month before we could learn more about who will be performing in 2019.

And boy, did The Do LaB go big for the 14th edition of its signature event, booking Disclosure (DJ set), Big Gigantic, Flying Lotus (3D) and Santigold to lead another outstanding lineup that comes to Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area in Bakersfield this May.

Let’s just hope leaving on Monday morning doesn’t take a mind-numbing five hours like it did once at San Antonio Recreation Area, the festival’s previous site in Bradley from 2014-18.

Now a staple in California’s expansive music festival scene, LIB took some more steps toward the mainstream a year ago after securing Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, Griz and Fever Ray to play its 2018 installlment, and it appears to have continued down that same path with Gramatik, Toro y Moi and Khruangbin on board for this go-around, which will not occur over Memorial Day weekend as has been the tradition.

Lightning in a Bottle 2019 - Phase 2 lineup

Other acts earning a spot on the Phase 1 roster include Rising Appalachia, Masego, ELOHIM, Cautious Clay, Jan Bloomqvist & Band, Channel Tres, Framworks, ÌFÉ, LUM, Mobley, Lane 8, DJ Koze, Damian Lazarus, Shiba San, Bedouin, Recondite (Live), Escapade (Walker & Royce + Ardalan), G Jones, The Polish Ambassador, OPIUO, CloZee, Shades, 1788-L and more.

UPDATE (March 5th): The Do LaB has announced the Phase 2 lineup for LIB 2019 with Ozomatli, Rising Appalachia, My Baby, Swingrowers, Próxima Parada, The Fungineers, Frameworks, Vokab Company, Balkan Bump and more all slated to perform across four stages. Check out the poster above for the rest of the bill.

LIB has received praise as one of the nation’s premier boutique festivals over the years, but that label has been called into question as sold-out crowds have become more of the norm. Meanwhile, prior mainstays like Lucent Dossier Experience and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective have also been recently absent as the fest’s organizers look to branch out.

Four- and five-day passes to LIB can be purchased here for $335 and $395, respectively, this Saturday, February 16th at 10 a.m. PT. As attendees have come to expect over the years, The Do LaB will also continue to promote the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers.

Itching to attend LIB? Take a peek at our past coverage here.

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, Griz & Fever Ray lead Lightning in a Bottle’s 2018 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle - 2018 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 23rd-28th, 2018 //

Lightning in a Bottle has been considered one of the country’s premier boutique festivals for quite a while now, although in more recent years it has arguably started to outgrow that label with rising attendance numbers and capacity crowds becoming the norm.

But after last year’s edition saw Bassnectar, Bonobo, RÜFÜS DU SOL and Kaytranada lead the way, the 13th year of The Do LaB’s signature event will be headlined by Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, Griz and Fever Ray this Memorial Day weekend. The news, which comes more than four months in advance of the festival, marks the first scheduled show on U.S. soil since 2010 for Fever Ray (aka Karin Dreijer), the former lead singer of The Knife who released her sophomore solo LP Plunge back in October.

Other names listed on what LIB is calling Phase 1 of its 2018 lineup include The Glitch Mob, SOFI TUKKER, tUnE-yArDs, NAO, Beats Antique, Tokimonsta, The Funk Hunters, Monolink, Dirtwire, Tipper, Modeselektor (DJ set), Emancipator, Sango, Giraffage, Bleep Bloop, CloZee, Random Rab, Alix Perez, Nu:Logic, Nicole Moudaber, The Black Madonna, MK and more.

While the “transformational festival” has become a great hangover cure for West Coast music fans suffering from a bad case of post-Coachella blues, it also marks the second straight year that LIB mainstays Lucent Dossier Experience and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective are missing from this year’s bill.

Lightning in a Bottle 2018 - Phase 2 lineup

UPDATE (February 8th): The Do LaB has dropped its Phase 2 lineup for LIB 2018, featuring performances by Beats Antique Lightning Orchestra, Too Many Zooz, Lyrics Born, Con Brio, Jamie N Commons, The California Honeydrops and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the roster that will be dispersed across four stages.

Weekend passes to LIB can be purchased here for $305 starting this Thursday, January 18th at 10 a.m. PT. As attendees have come to expect over the years, The Do LaB will also continue to promote the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through its unique collection of art, yoga, workshops and speakers.

Yet, over the past few years, the festival has regularly sold out as the calendar turns to May, and 2018 will likely follow that trend with the lineup shaping up to be one of LIB’s best. So, don’t sleep on getting your tickets for what’s sure to be another memorable weekend at San Antonio Recreation Area.

Can’t wait for LIB? Look back at our past coverage here.

Lightning in a Bottle drops 2017 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle 2017 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 24th-29th, 2017 //

Lightning in a Bottle regularly serves as the perfect hangover cure for those suffering from a bad case of post-Coachella blues, and once again, the famed boutique festival has delivered another strong lineup for its 12th year this Memorial Day weekend.

Headlining The Do LaB’s signature event will be Bassnectar, who last performed at LIB in 2012, along with Bonobo, RÜFÜS DU SOL and Kaytranada. Other notable acts include Bob Moses, Jhené Aiko, Bomba Estéreo, Big Wild, Weval, NoMBe, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Richie Hawtin, Paper Diamond, Machinedrum and The California Honeydrops.

It’s also worth mentioning that Lucent Dossier Experience and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective, which both have become LIB mainstays over the past few years, will not be performing for the first time in a while. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

Weekend passes to LIB can be purchased here for $280 starting this Tuesday, January 24th at 10 a.m. And with the “transformational festival” reaching capacity in 2015 and 2016, we won’t be surprised if the 2017 edition yields the same result. As usual, The Do LaB will also offer its unique collection of art, yoga, workshops and speakers in a continuing effort to promote the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression.

Excited for LIB now? Make sure to revisit our best and worst from last year’s fest.

The best and worst of Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Lightning in a Bottle 2016Photos by Josh Herwitt & Melissa Hebeler // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 25th-30th, 2016 //

Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) returned to San Antonio Recreation Area for a third straight year over Memorial Day weekend, serving as that perfect hangover cure for those still suffering from their post-Coachella blues.

Last year, we asked whether the “transformational” festival was undergoing a transformation of its own by shedding its boutique label to go mainstream (read the review here). Now, after paying another visit to Bradley, Calif., the answer to that question appears to be even clearer than before with LIB selling out once again, this time more than a week in advance. Vanessa Hudgens, no less, showed up!

But for as strong as this year’s artist lineup was, not everything went off without a hitch. In fact, there were enough logistical nightmares and bad vibes — believe it or not — to keep us from coming back next year.

So, with another edition of LIB in the books, here are our best and worst moments from 2016:


Lightning in a Bottle 2016 - Emancipator

Best: Emancipator Ensemble

Portland-based musician Douglas Appling, better known by his stage name Emancipator, has been fusing hip-hop-flavored beats with downtempo electronica ever since he started writing his debut LP Soon It Will Be Cold Enough while attending the College of William & Mary. And in many ways, he’s still cooking up that same sonic recipe that borders on post-trip-hop with violinist Ilya Goldberg by his side, although it’s with his ensemble members that we get to see Appling serve as more than just an electronic music producer. At his Friday evening set on the festival’s main stage, Emancipator set the tone for the rest of the weekend, grooving to tracks from his latest studio album Seven Seas with a guitar in hand and a full band at his disposal, much like we saw at The Regency Ballroom last fall (see more photos from that show here).

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Worst: The weather

Sitting more than 200 miles north of Los Angeles, San Antonio Recreation Area once again proved to bring hot days and cold nights to LIB. With temperatures peaking in the mid-80’s during the day and dipping into the low 50’s at night, adjusting to such a drastic change in climate is never easy, especially when you’re forced to brave the outdoors by camping in a dried-up lakebed. Whether you were sweating profusely or shivering in your sleep, it was nearly impossible to ever feel comfortable with the weather at LIB.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 - Rubblebucket

Best: Rubblebucket

LIB has always leaned heavily on electronic music while assembling its lineup, but in more recent years, the festival has also found room to include eclectic, female-fronted indie bands. Last year’s example was Poliça, the Minneapolis five-piece led by vocalist Channy Leaneagh. This year’s case in point was Rubblebucket, the more obscure, yet upbeat Brooklyn alt-dance outfit fronted by Annakalmia Traver. Playing very close to the same time slot on the Lightning Stage as Poliça did the year before, Rubblebucket, nevertheless, got festivalgoers moving after a scorchingly hot day in the sun, setting the bar for the rest of Saturday’s lineup as day turned to night. What makes Rubblebucket such a catch is their horns section that’s made up by Alex Toth (trumpet), Adam Dotson (trombone) and Traver (saxophone), who knows how to charm a crowd with her quirky stage banter.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 - The Russ Liquid Test

Best: The Russ Liquid Test

Russ Liquid (born Russell Scott) broke onto the scene back in 2013 with his debut LP Foreign Frequency on STS9’s 1320 Records, fusing jazzy saxophone lines over dance beats much like Colorado livetronica duo Big Gigantic, who also performed at LIB this year, do for a living. But his “Test” set on Sunday at LIB was particularly special, as he stepped on the main stage with guitarist Andrew Block and drummer Nick Mercadel flanked on either side of him. The New Orleans trio laid down one funky groove after another for an hour and a half, at times sounding reminiscent of GRiZ, another electronic producer now based in Colorado who has featured Russ Liquid on his record label’s mix series titled “All Good Radio.” We weren’t all that familiar with Russ Liquid’s work prior to arriving at LIB, but his performance certainly intrigued us enough to want to hear more.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Worst: Crowds

With another sellout bringing more than 20,000 people to Bradley, LIB felt just as crowded as last year — something we never experienced at previous locations like Oak Canyon Park and Lake Skinner Recreational Area. After all, it’s no secret that part of the reason why The Do LaB settled on San Antonio Recreation Area was the fact that it could accommodate more “festies” and therefore, could sell more tickets as a result. But from a consumer’s standpoint, there are obvious drawbacks to that philosophy. Waiting for a shower, for instance, took as long as 2-3 hours depending on what time you got in line. Many of the food vendors had significant lines, taking as long as 15 minutes just to place your order. No one likes waiting in line in 85-degree heat, especially when your phone can’t get service. Part of what made LIB such a nice change-of-pace from Coachella was the sheer lack of crowds, but it was only a matter of time before big business won out, right?

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 - Moderat

Best: Moderat

Easily the most anticipated set of the weekend from this spectator’s vantage point, Moderat hadn’t toured since dropping a pair of EPs in 2014. But with the release of its third full-length album, aptly titled III, the Berlin-based supergroup comprised of Apparat’s Sascha Ring and Modeselektor members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary were primed to make their mark on the final day of LIB — and that they did. Beginning with “Ghostmother” off their latest LP, Moderat ran through a good chunk of new material, but nothing ignited the crowd more than their new single “Reminder”, which remains one of our favorite songs of the year so far. As we witnessed a few days earlier in Los Angeles at The Fonda Theatre (read our show review here), the group’s dark, minimalist stage setup with psychedelic flourishes paired nicely with Ring’s ethereal vocals. Of all the other performances throughout the weekend, Moderat’s 90-minute set undoubtedly stood as one of the brightest moments of LIB 2016.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Worst: Trash

LIB has been tabbed as the “Greenest Festival in America” over the last five years, though you might not have known it while looking at the grounds this year. With the festival’s attendance numbers reaching an all-time high, trash has increasingly become a bigger issue at LIB. Sure, it’s easy to blame a bunch of inconsiderate festivalgoers for littering and not picking up after themselves, but a big part of the problem is simply a lack of trash cans and dumpsters near the stages and in the camping areas. Furthermore, LIB’s “pack it in, pack it out” motto just isn’t realistic at this point with the amount of attendees. Maybe that’s the reason why after leaving the festival, trash was spewed all over the street. We’re glad The Do LaB tried their best as they told us on the way out, but sometimes trying your best, especially after you’ve been running the same festival for more than a decade, just isn’t good enough.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 - Chet Faker

Best: Chet Faker

I remember first learning of Chet Faker more than a couple years ago while researching the 2014 LIB lineup for this preview. At the time, the electronic-leaning singer-songwriter from Australia had yet to release a full-length album, which makes it all the more crazy to think that he has already reached festival headliner status in a little more than 24 months since then. But over that stretch, from his two-night run in LA at The Roxy Theatre to last year’s performance at FYF Fest, Nicholas James Murphy has grown his live show tremendously. There’s no question the full band setup has been the right call, affording the 27-year-old Melbourne native the opportunity to breathe new life into songs from his lone LP Built on Glass (read our review here), such as “Melt” and “Gold”. Yet, with only one studio album under his belt and a few festival headlining spots in 2016, including the spring edition of CRSSD Fest back in March, it’s just amazing to think where Murphy could go from here.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Worst: Leaving LIB

If the crowds and trash at LIB weren’t enough to leave a sour taste in your mouth by the end of the weekend, the disaster that ensued in the parking lot after the festival definitely was. Since I started attending concerts and music festivals years ago, I have never seen a bigger shitshow than the LIB parking lot by 9 a.m. on Monday. Taking five hours (yes, you read that right) just to leave San Antonio Recreation Area proved to be the ultimate test in patience for me as well as thousands of other festivalgoers. Of all the worst moments at LIB, this easily took the cake, so much so that after five times attending, this very well could have been my last.

Will Lightning in a Bottle continue its rise in 2016?

Lightning in a BottlePhotos courtesy of Juliana Bernstein // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 25th-30th, 2016 //

So you’re all recovered from Coachella by now, and you’re feeling like you’re ready to get back out there pretty soon.

Sure, you could wait until Outside Lands returns to San Francisco this summer, but that’s not until the first weekend of August anyway. Three months between music festivals, after all, can be a long time for some passionate music fans.

If you’re itching to go to another fest in between Coachella and Outside Lands but also feeling a little more adventurous than usual, Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) might be just what the doctor ordered.

Geographically, the “transformational” festival remains perfectly located to tap into both the LA and SF markets since adopting San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, Calif., as its home for what will be the third straight year this Memorial Day weekend.

Lightning in a Bottle

But LIB has always been so much more than merely a music festival. In what has been The Do LaB’s crown jewel of all the events it puts on throughout the year, LIB offers its own unique melange of art, yoga, workshops and speakers that few other U.S. festivals have been able to replicate; Symbiosis Gathering in Northern California and Further Future near Las Vegas are the closest comparison to date in matching LIB’s Burning Man-esque vibe. Major corporate sponsors like Heineken, American Express, H&M or T-Mobile don’t exist. Instead, it has made lasting partnerships with small to mid-size companies like New Belgium, Reed’s, KIND and your favorite coconut water brand (LIB had partnerships with three different ones last year). For California’s music scene in particular, what has been dubbed the “Greenest Festival in America” the past five years continues to serve as a stopgap between the state’s two largest music festivals in its two largest geographic regions.

And for that very reason, we’ve noticed that LIB may be undergoing a bit of a transformation after selling out for the first time in 15 years last May (read our review here), with attendance numbers reaching as high as 20,000, roughly 5,000 more than in previous editions. But even at this juncture more than a decade since LIB started as a friend’s birthday party in the Santa Ynez Mountains outside of Santa Barbara, each year is just as critical as the last in shaping its identity. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the festival’s boutique roots can stay firmly planted in the ground, and as the music migrates further and further toward the mainstream with indie-electronic artists like Chet Faker, Grimes and Jamie xx topping this year’s lineup, toeing that line can start to look rather murky. In fact, it’s become fairly commonplace to see Coachella and LIB share artists who either played in Indio the year before (i.e. Jamie xx, Chet Faker and Cashmere Cat) or less than two months prior (i.e. Grimes, TOKiMONSTA and Lucent Dossier Experience). Who knows, you may even see LIB newcomers like Moderat and Tourist making their debuts in the desert next year, too.

Lightning in a Bottle

LIB has not officially sold out yet, but with 80 percent of its tickets already accounted for, you can bet that it will by the time we reach Memorial Day weekend. This year’s bill is as strong as its ever been, with an undercard that will see international acts like Cashmere Cat, Ibeyi, Four Tet and Guy Gerber perform on The Do LaB’s three innovatively designed stages.

That’s not to say the U.S. is not well-represented at LIB, however. Portland-based electronic producer Emancipator (born Douglas Appling) and Colorado “jazztronica” duo Big Gigantic are two of the bigger names to grace the festival’s poster this year, while Florida electro-rock trio Hundred Waters and Brooklyn indie-dance quartet Rubblebucket are two other domestic groups bolstering an already-impressive collection of artists.

It should be no surprise then why LIB has become one of California’s fastest-growing festivals over the last five years as the lineup steadily improves with each spring that passes. Yet, only time will tell what kind of impact it makes in what’s been one wild and crazy 2016 so far.

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 lineup

Win Tix // GO4FREE to Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 25th-30th, 2016 //

Masterful event creators and production innovators The Do LaB are offering an incredible opportunity to win the ultimate VIP package for the 11th annual Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) music, arts, yoga and camping festival taking place Memorial Day weekend at San Antonio Recreation Area.

Widely considered as California’s premier camping, music and art boutique festival, LIB brings together a community of inspired individuals, internationally acclaimed musicians, enlightening speakers and illuminating workshops designed to expand the mind and open the heart.

This year’s festival features headliners Chet Faker, Jamie XX and Grimes while TOKiMONSTA, Guy Gerber, Cashmere Cat, Four Tet and many more are also scheduled to perform on The Do LaB’s multiple majestically structured stages. Furthermore, LIB features visionary artists and interactive zones, including The Village, the Grand Artique, Amori’s Cafe, Kid’s Village and the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, in addition to an expanded Learning Kitchen, Healing Sanctuary, Meditation Nest, Mystery School, Pineal Playground, two yoga tents and more.

For a peek inside the magic of LIB, watch the LIB 2016 official video below and learn more by visiting the festival’s website here.

Click here to purchase tickets if you know you want to go!

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 contest flyer


LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE 2016 PRIZE PACKAGES

Grand Prize “Ultimate LIB VIP Package” (one winner)

• Two passes to LIB 2016
• Two early-arrival passes allowing entry into the festival when the gates open on May 25th
• LIB’s uber-great camping experience, which includes:

— One 16-foot-wide Luxury Canvas Bell tent with a 9-foot-8 interior height and 200 square feet of living space that includes one full-size, elevated bed complete with a real mattress, fresh linens, shower towels, indoor furniture, lighting, power outlets, a personal cooler with complimentary ice, an outdoor seating area and access to upgraded restroom suites with full-length mirrors
— Two keepsake Lightning in a Bottle water bottles
— Two lush lounge visitor wristbands for friends not staying in boutique
— On-site concierge service
— One welcome package from LIB sponsors

• Two tickets to a sit-down dinner at Amori’s Cafe, Giggle Juice Cafe or The Last Supper Club
• Two LIB 2016 official T-shirts

Second-Tier Prize (one winner)

• Two LIB festival tickets and one on-site car camping pass

Third-Tier Prizes (five winners)

• One free pizza from The Dough LaB on site at Lightning in a Bottle

Please read below for the list of rules before you enter the giveaway. The contest will end this Sunday, May 1st at 11:59 p.m. PT. Winners will be notified by email on Monday, May 2th.


CONTEST RULES

• Entries can be submitted until May 1st at 11:59 p.m. PT.

• Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, but you can gain extra entries through social media shares.

• Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given out to any third parties.

• Must be 18+ to enter. Contestants can come from anywhere in the world but need valid ID. Travel out to the Lightning in a Bottle festival will not covered.

• Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will receive VIP Prize Package, One (1) winner will win the Second Tier Prize, and Five (5) winners will receive the Third Tier Prize.

• Winners will be notified via email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted to redeem prize. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen at random.

• Make sure that the email account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a working email.

• Prize packages are part of a promotional giveaway and non-transferable.

CONTEST CLOSED.

Beats Antique, Lettuce join forces at Club Nokia to bring electronica and funk together for one night

Beats Antique


Beats Antique

By Josh Herwitt //

Beats Antique, Lettuce with Lafa Taylor //
Club Nokia – Los Angeles
February 12th, 2015 //

It’s not often that you see a modern funk band sharing the stage with an electronic music act on the same night, let alone a weekend night in LA.

For that reason, it was hard to deny when last Friday’s co-headline show featuring Lettuce and Beats Antique was first announced that it felt like somewhat of an odd pairing between two well-established groups that have made their mark in very different ways. While Lettuce have inevitably cultivated jam-band fans with their tie to funk/jazz trio Soulive (keyboardist Neal Evans and guitarist Eric Krasno are members of both groups), Beats Antique have built their own unique audience, one that frequents Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle and other “transformational” events put on by The Do LaB.

Lettuce


Lettuce with Nigel Hall

But if there’s one constant running through both bands’ music, it’s their ability to make their fans move. Sure, funk might not be what’s trendy among mainstream music fans these days, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a group of musicians cooking up a better batch of funk than Lettuce. If anything, the No. 1 position on Billboard‘s U.S. Jazz Albums chart that their fourth studio album Crush earned firmly stamps the band’s place in today’s music scene. And even with Lettuce performing sans Krasno — to some fans’ dismay — on this night, the collective threw down one groove after another, as bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes and drummer Adam Deitch laid the foundation for Adam Smirnoff’s guitar licks or the band’s three-piece horns section to take center stage. That, of course, was all before Nigel Hall stepped onstage and grabbed the mic for the group’s final songs, letting it all hang out during a cover of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Gratitude” in memory of the late Maurice White, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 74.

When it came time for Beats Antique to join the party, the Oakland-based trio quickly made its presence known, as multi-instrumentalist David Satori, drummer Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel and belly dancer Zoe Jakes often do, with a performance that makes you feel like you’re at the circus or at the very least, a psychedelic-inspired carnival. Pair that with their own take on neo-gypsy electronica and tribal fusion dance, and you get the whole experience of a Beats Antique show. Jakes started off the set by riding a stationary bicycle high above the ground and eventually grabbed ahold of a bass drum for the group’s ensuing song, pounding away with both arms as if she were leading her own marching band onstage. Joined by frequent guest musician Sylvain Carton (baritone sax, clarinet), Beats Antique dove deep into their catalog, one that’s starting to near the 10-year mark believe it or not.

Beats Antique


Beats Antique

The highlight of the night, though, was no doubt the encore, which saw Deitch and Lettuce’s horns section jump back onstage for a couple more tunes. It didn’t take long for the highly sought-after Deitch — the Berklee College of Music graduate who has also produced hip-hop tracks with 50 Cent, Redman, Talib Kweli and Xzibit and now splits his time between Lettuce, Pretty Lights and Break Science, the latter being the Brooklyn electro/hip-hop/soul duo he formed with keyboardist/producer Borahm Lee in 2009 (read one of our show reviews here) — and Cappel to capture some of the spotlight, as the two drummers battled it out on the skins while exchanging a few smiles and laughs along the way. As surprising as it was to see these two bands teaming up for the very first time, it was a special moment for the fans who stuck around until the early-morning hours, one that they will likely not forget.

Lightning in a Bottle unveils 2016 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 25th-30th, 2016 //

Returning to San Antonio Recreation Area for a third straight year, Lightning in a Bottle will once again take place over Memorial Day weekend — and this year’s bill is as strong as ever.

Led by headliners Chet Faker, Grimes and Jamie xx, the famed boutique festival that began more than 15 years ago as a birthday party among friends (and who would eventually start The Do LaB, a Los Angeles-based event production company) in the Santa Ynez Mountains will also feature performances from Big Gigantic, Moderat, Ibeyi, Emancipator Ensemble, Four Tet, Tourist, Cashmere Cat, Guy Gerber, Tokimonsta, The Polish Ambassador, Alina Baraz, Josh Wink, Hundred Waters, Lee Burridge, Minnesota and G Jones (B2B), Pimps of Joytime, Mija, Rubblebucket, PANTyRAiD, The Russ Liquid Test, AndHim and many more.

Furthermore, The Do LaB will welcome back the LA avant-garde circus act Lucent Dossier Experience and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective, which both have become LIB mainstays over the years. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

Tabbed as the “Greenest Festival in America” each of the last five years, LIB offers more than just live music on three different stages, with art, yoga, workshops and speakers all playing a crucial role in maintaining the festival’s identity, which centers around sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression. The word has certainly gotten out about LIB since its early beginnings, as last year’s festival, which boasted Australian DJ/producer Flume as its main headliner and included sets from SBTRKT, ODESZA, RL Grime and Tycho, was the first reported sellout in its longstanding history.

Weekend passes to LIB can be purchased here starting at $270, and the festival reports that 50 percent of them have already been sold, leaving us to believe another capacity crowd will be descending upon Bradley, Calif., this May. If you’re getting excited for LIB after reading this, make sure to check out our coverage from 2015.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2015

Caribou


Caribou at The Fillmore // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Justin Yee

Ah, where did 2015 go? It felt like we were just ringing in a new year a couple months ago. But with another year in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to once again doll out our annual “Best of” lists. Much like we did in 2014, we heard a lot of music this year, whether it was at a show or at a festival, at work, on the bus or in our cars. From established headliners who continue to amaze us to emerging artists who rekindled our excitement for new music, our collective lives were filled with one musical memory after another over the past 12 months.

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2015.

The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2015

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2015:


Tycho


Tycho at Lightning in a Bottle // Photo by Josh Herwitt

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2015
1. Jack White at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 11th
There’s a reason why Mr. White was named our No. 1 live music act of 2014 around this time last year, and it’s not because he’s simply a guitar god. The Detroit native and former White Stripe is much more than that now, as he has proven with the kind of clever, genre-swirling songwriting that permeates his two solo albums Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. But witnessing White perform live almost feels like a musical right of passage in and of itself, reminding us that while inventive, mainstream rock ‘n’ roll may be harder to come by these days, it’s still far from dead. On this warm, spring night in the California desert, he imparted on us that “music is sacred” — not just with his words in between songs, but also with every ferverous note that he struck on his fret board. From the moment White appeared on the festival’s main stage, his 20-song, headlining set was bold and powerful, even if it would serve as one of his last shows for a while.

2. My Morning Jacket at Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA – October 11th
3. Modest Mouse at Hollywood Forever – Los Angeles, CA – August 21st
4. Tycho at Lightning in a Bottle – Bradley, CA – May 24th
5. The War on Drugs at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 10th

Top 5 Albums of 2015
1. My Morning JacketThe Waterfall
When My Morning Jacket announced that they would be releasing a new studio LP in May after nearly a four-year layoff, their longest between albums since forming in the late 90’s, I wasn’t sure if they could top what they had devised on 2011’s Circuital. But these Louisville rockers, rather, did just that, putting together a flawless record that opens with the inspiring “Believe (Nobody Knows)” and concludes with the gloomy, yet poignant “Only Memories Remain”. In between it all, frontman Jim James continues to build off his 2013 solo album, showing what a thoughtful songwriter he has become — knowing when to step on the gas pedal and when to ease off of it. With an already impressive catalog highlighted by 2005’s Z, it’s hard to definitively say that The Waterfall has taken over the throne as MMJ’s best album now, but there’s no doubt it belongs in the conversation.

2. Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear
3. Silversun Pickups – Better Nature
4. Jamie xxIn Colour
5. Tame ImpalaCurrents

Top 5 Songs of 2015
1. My Morning Jacket – “Tropics (Erase Traces)”
It’s only fitting that my favorite album of the year also boasts my favorite song of the year. The penultimate track on My Morning Jacket’s The Waterfall is an absolute rocker that gradually builds from the opening, Led Zeppelin-esque guitar lick before peaking midway through for a chilling finish. There might not be a better example in MMJ’s catalog that demonstrates how well Jim James and Carl Broemel play off each other, and if the two guitarists haven’t already, then they’ve certainly cemented themselves as one of rock’s best one-two punches by now.

2. The Weeknd – “The Hills”
3. Modest Mouse – “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box”
4. Battles – “The Yabba”
5. Tame Impala – “The Less I Know the Better”


The Chemical Brothers


The Chemical Brothers at The Armory // Photo by Justin Yee

Molly Kish // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2015
1. Jamie xx at Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco, CA – July 31st
Whereas those familiar with his early XL Records mixtapes were satiated by his intermingling of Gil Scott-Heron and Idris Muhammad samples between hits, Jamie xx’s newfound, post-In Colour fans experienced equally breathtaking moments with the crowd hitting peak energy levels during the chorus of “Loud Places” amidst the glow of a warped-speed, neon-green strobe light. Another notable moment included the near-religious choral drop of “Gosh” that escalated the packed house to spiritual levels of enthusiasm, all while bathed in the glowing sparkle of Jamie Smith’s staggeringly iridescent, ceiling-to-floor disco ball and stage lights.

2. The Chemical Brothers at The Armory – San Francisco, CA – November 30th
3. Kate Tempest at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – May 20th
4. Kishi Bashi at Palace of Fine Arts Theatre – San Francisco, CA – January 30th
5. Caribou at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – March 1st

Top 5 Albums of 2015
1. Jamie xxIn Colour
Acclaimed London-based producer and half of electronic powerhouse The xx, Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) broke the mold this past year with his stunning solo debut In Colour. Earning top accolades within the music industry, including a 2015 Mercury Prize nomination and a Grammy nomination for “Best Electronic/Dance Album”, In Colour featured both individually conceptualized strokes of production ingenuity as well as many of the biggest contemporary-crossover hits this year. Smith explored his dubstep, house, garage and trip-hop influences on In Colour to deliver a genre-spanning masterpiece, highlighting his illustrious career as an electronic composer while setting the standard for the current and future state of EDM.

2. Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly
3. Tame ImpalaCurrents
4. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
5. Lord Huron – Strange Trails

Top 5 Songs of 2015
1. Jamie xx – “Loud Places”
As part of a track list that included some of 2015’s most groundbreaking and genre-defining hits, “Loud Places” holds its own as a standout cut on Jamie xx’s monumental solo debut In Colour. It comes in toward the latter half of the UK producer’s LP and enlists the gorgeously haunting vocals of Romy Madley Croft, one of Jamie Smith’s partners in The xx and a longtime collaborator of his. Amid a packed roster of acclaimed vocalists, emcees and iconic samples, Croft’s contributions, while paired with a full choir, help manifest the lyrical content of the song while evoking a near-religious experience for its listener.

2. Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
3. Robyn – “Love Is Free”
4. Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta”
5. FKA twigs – “In Time”


Outside Lands 2015 - Tame Impala


Tame Impala at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival // Photo by James Nagel

Brett Ruffenach // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2015
1. Four Tet b2b Floating Points at Public Works SF – San Francisco, CA – May 3rd
Sparked by their set at Plastic Peoples in London earlier in the year — a set, coincidentally, that was named “Best of the Year” by THUMP a few days ago — SF’s own DJ Dials was kind enough to bring Kerian Hebden and Sam Shepherd, better known as Four Tet and Floating Points, to Public Works last May. Starting early in the evening, the two well-established English producers put on a scorching, non-stop, six-hour, vinyl-only DJ set. Kicking off the evening with over an hour of early-70’s Brazilian samba and steadily moving from there to all forms of funk, big band, soul, jazz and of course their own eclectic catalog of music, the two DJs seamlessly moved between tracks, bringing up and down the energy at just the right point to keep you guessing what’s going to happen next. After dozens and dozens of shows and DJ sets this year, I always keep thinking back to this one because it wasn’t only a chance to see an artist I like play their music — it was a chance to see two artists I like play the music that they love, and do it on an absolutely killer sound system.

2. Kendrick Lamar at Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – November 10th
3. Tame Impala at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival – San Francisco, CA – August 8th
4. Jamie xx “In Colour” album release show at Church of St John-at-Hackney – London, England – July 16th
5. Nicolas Jaar at Symbiosis Gathering – Oakdale, CA – September 19th

Top 5 Albums of 2015
1. Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick wins. No contest. At this point, there’s nothing I can say that will be new or not already over-analyzed by the blogosphere over TPAB. All I can say is that TPAB is one of those rap albums that, just like Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010, expanded my understanding of what a rap album can be. From the very start you hear Lamar’s voice in the genius, FlyLo-produced “Wesley’s Theory” — a track that I think is among the greatest album openers ever — to the closing conversation with 2Pac in Mortal Man, TPAB is among the most ambitious and thoroughly conceptualized productions I have had the pleasure of hearing (and seeing) in my life.

2. Tame ImpalaCurrents
3. Nicolas Jaar – Nymphs I-IV
4. Jamie xxIn Colour
5. Beach HouseDepression Cherry

Top 5 Songs of 2015
1. Pumarosa – “Priestess”
“Priestess” is a seven-minute, punk-meets-disco dance party that starts as an observation and ends as a declaration. Its declaration? To dance. Its lyrics (for instance: “Cut from clay and stone / Electricity flows through your spine and shoulders/In the night when we’re alone”), its visceral rhythm and undeniably entrancing, three-minute instrumental closing out the track (DAT SAX) are what make it an easy choice for my favorite of the year. In a culture engulfed in consumerism, celebrity and over-consumption, “Priestess” reminds us all that dancing is free. Dancing can be a protest. Dancing can be a celebration. Dancing is whatever you make of it. “Priestess” is a track that reaches into your soul and forces you to do one simple thing: dance. That’s something we all need in our lives every once and a while.

2. Kendrick Lamar – “Wesley’s Theory”
3. Jamie xx – “Gosh”
4. Tame Impala – “Eventually”
5. Nicolas Jaar – “Swim”


High Sierra Music Festival 2015 - The String Cheese Incident


The String Cheese Incident at High Sierra Music Festival 2015 // Photo by Benjamin Wallen

Benjamin Wallen // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2015
1. Greensky Bluegrass at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – November 1st
Many bands get bigger and play bigger shows. Every now and then, you get to see them in a smaller venue with a more “intimate” feel. This was that show. Following a crazy night at the Fox Theater Oakland celebrating Halloween, the band crossed the Bay Bridge to play a birthday show for its dobro player Anders Beck at The Independent. It was a “Greatest Hits” setlist of all the songs I loved the most: past, present and future. The show was definitely intimate and filled with energy, and Greensky ended the night with some acoustic tunes. I think it says a lot about a band that can pack a big venue and then play a smaller venue and still the heat. This is my favorite band these days. They are consistently great and just too much fun.

2. String Cheese Incident at High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA – July 3rd
3. The Sam Chase at High Sierra Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA – July 3rd
4. Jeff Austin Band at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – April 26th
5. The Devil Makes Three at Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – February 3rd

Top 5 Albums of 2015
1. Della Mae – Della Mae
These girls are damn talented as much as they are cute. I stumbled upon these five girls from Nashville while at The Chapel a few years back, and they were just damn good. Then, I heard that they were nominated for a Grammy and only beaten by the legendary Del McCoury Band. These ladies can pick and tick and get the crowd jumping. For Della Mae, powerful songs and epic throw-down jams are just par for the course. This album was Kickstarter-funded, which I was happy to contribute to, and continues the revival of bluegrass for the younger generation and modernizing the sound with the energy of youth. I find myself playing this album more and more each day from start to end — it’s just that good.

2. The Dustbowl Revival – With a Lamp Shade On
3. Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear
4. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers – Loved Wild Lost
5. Jackie Greene – Back to Birth

Top 5 Songs of 2015
1. Jackie Greene – “A Face Among the Crowd”
I have been a Jackie Greene fan since I moved to SF almost 10 years ago. This song I heard a number of years ago when Greene was uploading hotel room solo tracks on the road. This song was put up on Father’s Day for Greene’s dad and was a touching song. Creepily sitting in a hotel room, you can feel the emotion. Hearing it on a record in my home is just heaven. After some of those really tough days in life, I come home, put this song on while listening on my best pair of headphones and zone out — let all the crap from the day that doesn’t mean shit just fade away. This song does that for me, and as a music lover, finding this type of song is like finding gold on the street.

2. The Dustbowl Revival – “Standing Next to Me”
3. The California Honeydrops – “When It Was Wrong”
4. Father John Misty – “I Went to the Store One Day”
5. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers – “Mr. Saturday Night”


Father John Misty


Father John Misty at Treasure Island Music Festival 2015 // Photo by Marc Fong

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2015
1. Father John Misty at Treasure Island Music Festival – San Francisco, CA – October 18th
Of all of the performers on Day 2 at the festival, Father John Misty held my attention the most. A stellar performance, hitting all of the right points, which gave me good reason to believe that he may in fact be one of the best frontmen of the last 10 years.

2. Hum at Slim’s – San Francisco, CA – September 18th
3. Fat Wreck Chords 25th Anniversary at Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA – Aug 22nd & 23rd
4. Refused at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – May 28th
5. alt-J at Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA – April 16th

Top 5 Albums of 2015
1. Tame ImpalaCurrents
From top to bottom, this is an album that I can listen to over and over without feeling burnt out (and believe me, I have). I appreciate the fact that on this album, they steer clear of too much “jam” and keep it straight forward. I can’t help but move my feet when I hear some of the tracks on Currents.

2. Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly
3. Failure – The Heart Is a Monster
4. Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear
5. God Is an Astronaut – Helios/Erebus

Top 5 Songs of 2015
1. Tame Impala – “The Less I Know the Better”
From the first time I heard this track, I knew it was the best song of the year. Infectious as hell, you cannot stop your body from getting into that groove.

2. Grimes – “Kill V. Maim”
3. Father John Misty – “Bored in the USA”
4. The Velvet Teen – “All Is Illusory”
5. Viet Cong – “Continental Shelf”


Viet Cong


Viet Cong at Rickshaw Stop // Photo by Diana Cordero

Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2015
1. Viet Cong at Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA – March 5th
Viet Cong were easily one of the most brilliant bands in 2015 as they shook up South by Southwest (even when their drummer had a broken arm), generally not caring about the whole band-name fiasco and releasing a stellar debut LP. The brooding studio work from this Canadian outfit turned out to be way more accessible on the live stage as bassist/singer Matt Flegel bounced between playful banter and pile-driving post-punk.

2. Caribou at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – March 1st
3. Todd Terje (Live) at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 10th
4. Kendrick Lamar at Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – November 10th
5. BADBADNOTGOOD at FYF Fest – Los Angeles, CA – August 22

Top 5 Albums of 2015
1. Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly
No surprises here, as truly this was objectively the best album of the year. With expectations high from his growing fan base, Lamar delivered an LP that had it all: crushing singles, a bold concept and a clear message. The smorgasbord of genres and vibes TPAB lays out for the listener further shows that K-Dot’s bag of tricks has no end in sight.

2. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect
3. DJ Paypal – Sold Out
4. Tame ImpalaCurrents
5. Archy Marshall – A New Place to Drown

Top 5 Songs of 2015
1. Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
This track was our first taste of Currents, and it got fans salivating in no time. “Let It Happen” was the perfect amuse-bouche with Kevin Parker’s vision shifting a bit toward synths over his trusty Rickenbacker guitar, which slightly became the resounding chatter behind the LP. Oh yeah, and there was the “record skip” in the middle of the track that we all went mental over.

2. Ought – “Beautiful Blue Sky”
3. The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”
4. DJ Spinn – “Dubby” (feat. DJ Rashad & Danny Brown)
5. Deerhunter – “Snakeskin”

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Inaugural One Tribe Festival canceled just weeks before coming to Southern California

One Tribe Festival

One Tribe Festival //
Lake Perris State Park – Lake Perris, CA
September 25th-26th, 2015 //

In what came as some surprising news this week, EDM promoter SFX has canceled the first edition of One Tribe Festival after ticket sales failed to meet expectations.

The two-day, electronic-leaning festival located outside of Los Angeles in Riverside County was supposed to feature sets from Norwegian DJ and record producer Kygo, San Francisco ambient-techno outfit Tycho and glitch-hop act Gramatik. London-based house/techno DJ Damian Lazarus, Israeli DJ/producer Guy Gerber and renowned Detroit techno producer Carl Craig were also slated to perform this year, with the festival offering other activities such as camping, yoga, swimming and paddle boarding.

On Tuesday afternoon, One Tribe officials issued a statement on their website, Facebook and Twitter, stating that the event had been “postponed indefinitely due to a mix of unforeseen events and circumstances.”

However, Jacob Smid, managing director of SFX Live North America, revealed to The New York Times that it was low ticket sales that in fact put the kabosh on having One Tribe later this month at Lake Perris State Park.

“We had an ambitious plan to bring an innovative and unique experience built around the spirit of community, art and music to an amazing venue in Southern California,” Smid told The Times in a statement. “Unfortunately, disappointing ticket sales put us in a position of choosing between compromising our vision and the overall experience at One Tribe, or canceling it.”

As Billboard reported, SFX has fallen on hard times, with its stocks declining more than 80 percent in 2015. SFX chairman and CEO Robert F.X. Sillerman had plans to complete a bid to take the company private but recently changed course and announced that it would instead entertain minority offers from potential stakeholders. A parent company of Dutch dance promoter ID&T, SFX also organizes and promotes Electric Zoo, the three-day music festival which returns to Randall’s Island in New York City this weekend, along with TomorrowWorld, another three-day music festival that hits Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., outside of Atlanta later this month for its third straight year.

But One Tribe’s cancellation speaks louder to the music-festival market in California. With music festivals spread across The Golden State throughout the summer and into the fall, it’s worth asking if we’ve hit a ceiling point on how many are actually sustainable. Lightning in a Bottle and Symbiosis Gathering (one of our eight California music festivals you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015) are both multi-day festivals in Central and Northern California and already offer similar experiences, with camping, yoga and music all apart of the overall packaged deal.

If anything, One Tribe’s inability to reach a larger audience in one of the country’s biggest music markets throws caution to the wind for other concert promoters looking to tap into California’s festival scene. We’ll see if SFX gives One Tribe another shot in 2016 or conversely scraps the idea altogether.

Is Lightning in a Bottle shedding its ‘boutique’ label to go mainstream?

Lightning in a BottleBy Josh Herwitt //

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 21st-25th, 2015 //

It has been more than 15 years since Jesse and Josh Flemming set out to throw a wild birthday bash for themselves in the Santa Ynez Mountains just north of Santa Barbara, Calif. The twin brothers, who had left their Pennsylvania roots behind for Los Angeles in the late 90’s in hopes of pursuing careers in the entertainment industry, enlisted the help of their younger brother Dede, who had his own aspirations of working in Hollywood, making the cross-country move to Southern California a few years after them.

But what started as a private party of 150 people would eventually become better known as Lightning in a Bottle (LIB), the famed boutique festival that the Flemming brothers have curated for more than a decade with the help of their LA-based event production company The Do LaB. Tabbed as the “Greenest Festival in America” each of the last five years, LIB has continued to foster a community that values sustainability first and foremost, but also social cohesion, personal health and creative expression. Consequently, the Flemming brothers have created one of the most unique experiences on the entire U.S. festival circuit, with music, art, yoga and workshops all serving as essential elements in forming LIB’s identity. Whether all of that can be sustained while the festival maintains its “boutique” label though, remains to be seen.

Lightning in a Bottle


LIB sold out for the first time in its 15-year history with as many as 20,000 festivalgoers attending.

For the first time ever, LIB sold out in its 15-year history this month, with last weekend’s attendance peaking at 20,000 after hovering around 15,000 in previous years. Some of that surge can likely be attributed to the musical talent that LIB now shares with Coachella. SBTRKT, ODESZA, Tycho and Panda Bear, for instance, all performed in Indio this year while Flume, RL Grime and AlunaGeorge made appearances on the polo fields last April. But the festival has arguably welcomed no bigger up-and-coming artist than Flume, the 23-year-old Australian producer and DJ who won numerous awards in his home country back in 2013. Since then, he has been all the rage in today’s electronic dance music scene, with tickets to his three sold-out shows in LA last August reselling on both Craigslist and StubHub for upwards of $100.

So, it was no surprise that the largest crowd over the entire weekend congregated a little after midnight on Sunday to see Harley Streten take the stage as the festival’s top headliner and drop one wonky trap beat after another. With the crowd spilling over outside of the main stage’s premises, it was a quick reminder of what the Gobi Tent looked like during Flume’s set at Coachella just a year earlier. And by the following day, much of the camp grounds had already emptied out — a clear sign that those who made the trek to Bradley, Calif., had seen all that they needed to see, even if that meant simply watching Streten command the crowd with mainly a laptop. It’s at least in part why if The Do LaB continues to book headliners of Streten’s stature, LIB can likely kiss that “boutique” label goodbye — unless financial gain is of no interest or concern.

Lightning in a Bottle - Flume


Australian DJ/producer Flume packed the main stage at LIB for his Saturday night headlining set.

Yet, that’s not the only indication that LIB could soon be headed for the big time. The real icing on the cake didn’t come until Sunday night, when English synthpop/trip-hop duo AlunaGeorge, midway through their main-stage set, busted out a cover of “White Noise”, the Disclosure mega-hit on 2013’s Settle that they collaborated with brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence on. And as I watched those all around me mouth every word that vocalist Aluna Francis belted out, it was hard not to foresee the moment becoming somewhat of a trend at LIB. Because when I attended the festival for the first time in 2011, there was little chance of hearing a Top 40 song on the main stage. LIB, for better or worse, has certainly come a long way since then.

The musical offerings aren’t the only noticeable change at LIB when you take a closer look, however. While the festival has always catered to health-conscious individuals, offering a variety of vegetarian, raw, organic and non-GMO options, it’s only started to offer dishes featuring meat, whether it be chicken, beef or pork (bacon was served … yes, bacon!), in the last two years — even though the chicken supply ran dry by Day 3 this year. That small, yet significant transformation could simply be the product of a growing fan base, one that continues to swell as EDM heavyweights like John Digweed, Thomas Jack and Bakermat become more and more a part of the festival’s musical palette. And with more people comes more trash (something LIB has kept to a minimum more than any other festival in America to date), less space (something that has always been relatively easy to come by at LIB) and a harder time of finding your friends (something that was never an issue at LIB in the past but became much more of one this year).

The purists may already be claiming that LIB has sold out and there’s no turning back. But at this juncture, the “transformational” festival — as some like to call it — is still toeing a fine line between the underground and mainstream. It’s where it goes from here that will ultimately decide its fate.