Treefort Music Fest 2022: Here’s (almost) everything you need to know as Boise’s best festival turns 10

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - crowdPhotos by Matthew Wordell, Amanda Morgan & Christina Birkinbine // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Treefort Music Fest //
Downtown Boise – Boise, ID
March 23rd-27th, 2022 //

2022 is looking to be a “return to normality” in many sectors of life compared to the last two lengthy years, and as we notice more shows and festivals returning to their previous capacity and success, it’s no surprise that Idaho’s premier indie music event is poised to be an overwhelming standout early in the season. This year’s lineup is truly a cornucopia of up-and-coming artists coupled with some of the best established alternative acts spread across Boise’s charming and extremely navigable downtown area.

There’s a lot to dig into for this five-day event, and while many know Treefort as the Northwest’s iteration of South by Southwest, it has begun to grow out of that singular reputation in its 10th year of existence. We’ll do our best to touch on as many areas, or Forts, below.


The Forts

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - beer

Alefort: Beer has increasingly become a sizable part of the Boise community in the past few years with the town home to nearly 20 breweries. Toss in a few distilleries, and you have a recipe for beverage success. While Alefort will offer a plethora of local beers and cocktails, the introduction of Future Pub will see Boise’s favorite foods reimagined as plant-based and sustainable eats.

This Fort will offer around 70 different selections from the area. Here’s a sneak peek of a few offerings:

• Lumberbeard – Cody’s Red Couch (West Coast IPA collaboration with Treasure Valley Beer Buyers)
• Odell – Barreled Treasure (Barrel-Aged Imperial Horchata Stout)
• Barbarian – Cry of the Blackbirds (Blackberry and Boysenberry Barrel-Aged Sour)
• OEC – Coolship Lager (a Lager with a character all its own)
• Von Ebert – Volatile Substance (2021 GABF gold medal winner for American IPA)
• Rodenbach – Red Tripel (celebrating a 200-year anniversary from a classic Belgian brewery)
• Fremont – Coconut Cacao BBADS (Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout with coconut and cocoa)

Getting thirsty yet? If so, we highly recommend you consider the Alefort Buzz Pass, as it’s essentially an affordable “Beer VIP” add-on to your festival pass that comes with eight beer tokens, front-of-line privileges and assorted swag. Cheers!

Artfort: Expect to see various artistic selections throughout the streets of downtown Boise as local muralists, performers and visual artists pepper the site with their creative output. Longtime musical puppetry ensemble The Fungineers will be on hand to showcase their bizarro skills, playing a late-night set at The Egyptian Theatre on Friday, March 24 from 12-1:30 a.m.

Comedyfort: Looking for a little break from the music and more importantly, some serious laughs? (Is that an oxymoron?) Comedyfort, held on Friday and Saturday at the Owyhee and FireFusion Studio, is your destination for both passholders and the general public. This two-day showcase features nearly two dozen comics from across the country and will be anchored by co-headliners Chanel Ali and Chris Garcia.

Dragfort: Treefort thrives as an all-inclusive event, and Dragfort showcases this in FABULOUS form. Dragfort is a shining celebration of all things LGBTQ+, building community through performance and dialogue. Various troupes will be performing across the event, such as the Corevette Collective, a group of queer fae performers. Start your Sunday in grand style at “It’s Brunch Bitch”, which will be held at Alefort on Sunday from 12-2 p.m.

Filmfort: This cinema-centric Fort will present an array of independent film screenings coupled with DIY panels and Q&A sessions with many of the featured filmmakers. Zambia’s Zamrock heroes WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc) are in the U.S. this spring, and we should be thrilled they are hitting Treefort on this tour. They’ll be performing both Saturday and Sunday, as well as having a screening of their seminal documentary. Another standout film event will be anchored by 90’s alternative-rock stalwarts Mercury Rev as they present a rare performance of their Clear Light Ensemble. This iteration of live film soundtracking will take place on Friday at 12:30 a.m. (late Thursday night) at The Egyptian Theatre. The 1962 cult-horror film “Carnival of Souls” will be live scored by Mercury Rev alongside John Dwyer (Osees), Mimi Goese (Hugo Largo), Ryley Walker, Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill, Earth, Scram Signal), Luke Wyland (AU, Methods Body), Andrew Dixon, Michael Mitchell (Jeff Crosby, Floating Witch’s Head).

Foodfort: Should be one of the more self-explanatory spaces at the event. The list of gastronomic superstars is impressive as Foodfort serves up our chef du fest Hugh Acheson, Food & Wine’s 2021 Best New Chef Carlo Lamagna and James Beard Award-winning podcast “Copper & Heat”. While Foodfort Tastes are ticketed events, all Foodfort Talks are open to pass holders.

Hackfort: For those attendees who live for the next tech innovation, there is indeed a Fort for you. Workshops will touch upon such popular topics as AI, gaming, 3D printing, animation and music tech to name a few. Admission to Hackfort is included with Treefort passes, yet a singular pass for this Fort is also offered.

Kidfort: Hey, Treefort is for all ages, so naturally some fun offerings for the lil’ festival-goers had to be present. Even better is the fact that kids 12 and under get a totally free wristband for the entire festival. These focused events for the kiddos include art projects, puppetry, workshops, family dance parties, sing-a-longs and even a youth variety showcase.

Skatefort: This single-day exhibition of all things skateboarding, roller skating, music and the intersecting communities. All are welcome to skate the park on this Saturday offering, advocating youth and at-risk youth to enjoy this growing sport.

Storyfort: Not being the type of all-inclusive arts event to leave out the written word and the process of telling a compelling story, this fort focuses on authors, poets, journalists, spoken word artists, refugee storytellers, podcasters and much more.

Yogafort: After three days and nights of various shows and programming, some attendees may need a little healthy stretching and movement. Well, Treefort has got you covered on Saturday, March 26th with their holistic Yogafort program at the Adelmann Building, which will offer a radiant heart flow, queer-guided meditations, dancing, musical yoga pairings and a bunch more. Much like Hackfort, a Yogafort-specific pass can be purchased.


Treefort Music

Treefort Music Festival 2022

As you can clearly see, Treefort offers attendees no shortage of auxiliary offerings, but the majority of pass holders will surely be focused on the music programming that is extensive, inclusive and very deep. We’d be here all day if we highlighted even half of the hundreds of acts that are present on the lineup. Much like South By, Treefort’s curation leans heavily on breaking the next banner acts as they jump onto the radar of industry and fans alike. There are plenty of accolades to be showered on headliners such as former Sonic Youth founder Kim Gordon, psych demigods Osees and buzzworthy upstarts Men I Trust. We’ll focus on more mid-tier, up-and-coming and rare acts as they make a visit to the edges of the Northwest.

Artist: Nubya Garcia
Set date/time: Thursday, March 24th 9:10 p.m.
Location: El Korah Shrine

London-based Nubya Garcia has been making serious waves in the past couple years, and it’s a treat to have her make a visit to Treefort after a handful of support dates with Khruangbin out east. The critical acclaim has been raining down on the saxophonist/composer quickly after her debut Concord Jazz release, and has become a key figure in the rising UK jazz scene alongside Kamaal Williams, Ezra Collective and Kokoroko. Garcia’s sultry groove is not to be missed for fans of free-flowing jazz.

Artist: Vanishing Twin
Set date/time: Friday, March 25th 7:30 p.m.
Location: El Korah Shrine

Thankfully the Treefort booking team was able to re-secure this UK psych-pop consortium after 2020’s event was punted. The group is made up of members from the HAHA Sounds Collective, an assembly of London vocalists and instrumentalists who all generally share the same vision on creating jazzy, atmospheric tunes that occasionally sound better suited as a soundtrack for an obscure French film.

Artist: Magdalena Bay
Set date/time: Friday, March 25th 10:20 p.m.
Location: Egyptian Theatre

This duo serves up a heaping slice of futuristic indie-pop that will surely stick with you as they deliver shining electronic tunes coupled with eye-grabbing visuals. Their knack for delivering content via multiple online formats has created a unique commentary of the state of tech and the shifting music industry, which is soundtracked by some seriously catchy electropop. Fans of acts such as Spelling, Dorian Electra and the late SOPHIE should prioritize this evening performance.

Artist: Dummy
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 7:10 p.m.
Location: Sonic Temple Blue

An emphasis on minimal UK noise rock coupled with haunting, melodic vocals has never sounded so refreshing as this LA group expertly displayed on their Trouble in Mind Records debut Mandatory Enjoyment. This aptly named release found its way onto a handful of “Best of 2021” album lists for good reason, as their organ-heavy sound paired with female vocals heralds comparisons to Stereolab.

Artist: Deradoorian
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 9:00 p.m.
Location: KIN

Many tuned-in indie music fans are most likely to recognize Angel Deradoorian from her tenure with Dirty Projectors. However, it’s under her solo moniker that the art-pop goddess shines brightest. Equal parts spooky indie pop coupled with krautrock-leaning flourishes has yielded some truly impressive releases. 2020’s Find the Sun is worth a spin before making the pilgrimage to Boise in the coming week.

Artist: Ducks Ltd.
Set dates/times: Saturday, March 26th 10:10 p.m. & Sunday, March 27th 5:20 p.m.
Locations: Linen Building (March 26th) & Radioland (March 27th)

Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis are vetted pros at serving up gleeful pop rock, which somehow equally sounds both nostalgic and newfangled. The Toronto-based jangle-pop duo’s 2021 Carpark release Modern Fiction is one to throw on before heading to Boise in the coming week for fans of Luna, Real Estate and Chime School.

Artist: PAINT
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 10:30 p.m.
Location: The District

While not a new side project for LA band Allah-Las songwriter/guitarist Pedrum Siadatian, PAINT can fly under the radar of Allah fans. Luckily, their surf-inspired jangle rock is rather akin to Siadatian’s main project, full of piercing guitar leads coupled with washed-out vocals. While PAINT’s overall vibe may be supremely suited for a sunny beach day, it’ll win over those in attendance for their Saturday showcase. Fans of this sound and act should also heavily consider catching fellow LA act The Spyrals.

Artist: Geese
Set date/time: Sunday, March 27th 10:50 p.m.
Location: Sonic Temple Blue

These uber-buzzy NYC teenagers might be on your radar as they’ve garnered a slew of critical acclaim since the release of their sensational debut single “Disco”. While they have only recently begun to tour, they have already taken the U.S. and globe by force with relentless touring and press. Post-punk bands have become pretty plentiful with a renewed emphasis on the genre, but these young lads have stood out with their guttural vocals, impressive guitar interplay and introspective-beyond-their-age lyrics.


As you can likely surmise, Treefort offers a ton of options to every demographic and tough decisions will need to be made as you zig zag through Boise’s city center for five days. You should currently be trying to put your game plan together assuming you already have a pass in hand. If not, you still have plenty of time to book travel to this highly accessible and very financially reasonable locale. There’s little doubt that every attendee won’t walk away with a handful of new artists to dig into this spring as we ramp back up to live shows and festivals. Why not get the ball rolling in late March at Treefort?

Tickets to Treefort Music Fest 2022 are available here.

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - lineup

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

Primavera Sound LA drops inaugural 2022 lineup headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Lorde & Nine Inch Nails

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 lineup

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

The weather outside currently might be a little chilly, but the 2022 festival season in Southern California is already heating up. Just in the last week Smokin Grooves announced its return in March and concert promoter Goldenvoice unleashed its plans to revive the iconic This Ain’t No Picnic next summer to mark what’s sure to be a banner year for live music in the City of Angels.

But we’ve 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.

Headlining the three-day music festival at the 32-acre LA State Historic Park will be Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails, the latter of which had previously confirmed on social media more than a year ago that they had been booked for the event.

Other highlights on the 2022 roster include Arca, Bicep (Live), Buscabulla, Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Faye Webster, Fontaines D.C., James Blake, Jehnny Beth, Khruangbin, Kim Gordon, King Krule, Low, Mitski, Paloma Mami, Shygirl, Stereolab, Tierra Whack and more. See the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Launching back in 2001 with its roots firmly planted in Barcelona, Primavera Sound has been a staple across the music festival circuit for two decades now after expanding in 2012 to Porto under the name NOS Primavera Sound and adding Primavera Weekender since 2019.

You can buy tickets for Primavera Sound LA starting this Friday, December 10th at 10 a.m. PT for just $50 down, but make sure to register here for your presale code. GA passes will start at $399 with VIP available for $925 here. Don’t miss out on what’s sure to be an epic weekend of live music!

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 daily lineups

UPDATE (February 23rd): Primavera Sound LA has just revealed its daily lineups for 2022, with Lorde headlining Friday, Nine Inch Nails rocking Saturday and Arctic Monkeys closing out the fest on Sunday. Single-day tickets are on sale here right now for $149 (Tier 1) plus fees before increasing to $159 (Tier 2) and $169 (Tier 3).

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - updated 2022 lineup

UPDATE (May 17th): New artists have been added for Primavera Sound LA’s debut this September, including Girl in Red, Giveon, Current Joys, Surf Curse, Amyl and the Sniffers, and Jeff Mills. And for those who haven’t done so already, you can still purchase your ticket for just $19.99 down here!

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2019

Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest - Rochelle Shipman


Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Rochelle Shipman

Um, that’s it? Another year in the rear-view mirror? Where the hell did the last 12 months go? Time sure does seem to fly when there’s so much good new music out there to enjoy.

With that said, it’s once again time for us to share our annual “Best of” lists like we have done the past few years (see our 2018 picks here). From new emerging artists to reunion tours to the return of rock ‘n’ roll, this year had a little bit of everything for both the casual and passionate music fan. And even if you didn’t have the time to listen to every album that came out (neither did we), that’s why we’re here: to help point you in the right direction whenever you do finally get the chance to dig in.

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2019.

See our favorite performances from 2019 here.

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2019:


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall - Josh Herwitt


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall // Photo by Josh Herwitt

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Tool at Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – October 20th & 21st
Unlike the delay on Tool’s fifth album Fear Inoculum, I thankfully didn’t have to wait 13 years to see my favorite band perform live. It was only a couple of years ago when I caught the boys at The Gorge, earning top honors as my favorite show in 2017, and subsequently a week later at Glen Helen Amphitheater for an all-day affair with Primus, Clutch, Fantômas, Melvins and The Crystal Method. Perhaps my tastes haven’t changed all that much since then, but even in a year that saw me attend half as many concerts as I usually do, Tool are still finding new and innovative ways to enhance their live show. Whether it’s tinkering with their stage production to incorporate a see-through curtain at times or adding surround sound throughout the arena, a Tool performance has evolved into a spiritual, meditative and almost out-of-body experience over the last decade. It’s no wonder why scoring tickets remains a trial of good fortune.

2. The Raconteurs at Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA – July 27th
3. The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – May 15th
4. Jim James & The Claypool Lennon Delirium at The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA – July 3rd
5. Foals at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – March 24th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
When a three-time Grammy-winning band takes more than a decade to release its next album, it’s only natural for expectations to go through the roof. And I’ll be the first to admit that there was a small seed of doubt in my mind when it came to just how epic Tool’s latest sonic voyage in the studio could and would be. But upon first listen, any uncertainty I had about the merits of Fear Inoculum was quickly dispelled. The title track lures you in from the onset, building to a higher place as Maynard James Keenan (vocals) and company — Adam Jones (guitar), Justin Chancellor (bass) and Danny Carey (drums, percussion) — take listeners on an 80-minute rite of passage that holds up as some of the quartet’s best material in its entire catalog. I just hope they got at least one more LP in them, even if it takes another 13 years to make.

2. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
3. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
4. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
5. Black Pumas – Black Pumas

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Tool – “Descending”
If you’re still reading, you’ve probably gotten the hint by now that I’m a big fan of Tool. After all, it only seemed fitting that my top song in 2019 should also come from my No. 1 album of the year by my favorite band over the last two decades. I have seen Tool perform a shortened version of “Descending” several times since 2014, before it ever had an official title, so when Fear Inoculum arrived back in August, there was no track I anticipated hearing more. In fact, at more than 13 minutes long, it’s one that requires your full, undivided attention, which can be a significant amount of time to dedicate in a world of three-minute pop songs and endless distractions now. But for prog-rock enthusiasts like myself who are more than willing to take the ride, “Descending” delivers a total rush of blood to the head that ultimately leads to pure unadulterated euphoria.

2. Bon Iver – “Hey, Ma”
3. Hot Chip – “Hungry Child”
4. Foals – “On the Luna”
5. Karen O and Danger Mouse – “Turn the Light”


Cate Le Bon - Reward

Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Stereolab at Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain – June 1st
Primavera Sound has always had a knack for booking reunions (i.e. Pulp, The Avalanches and Pavement) to its “musical mecca” on the Balearic Sea. 2019’s iteration featured the first proper show in nearly a decade from the anti-capitalist art-pop darlings Stereolab. “Come and Play in the Milky Night” on 1999’s Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night would open the evening to the international consortium of aging music nerds who undoubtedly knew that they were about to be treated to a “best of” set from the English-French outfit. Better yet, their politically themed lyrical content seemed more relevant in 2019 than it was around the time of their creation a quarter-century ago.

2. Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium at The Music Box Village – New Orleans, LA – April 26th
3. BLACK MIDI at Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA – November 21st
4. Amen Dunes at August Hall – San Francisco, CA – January 10th
5. Ween at Desert Daze – Perris, CA – October 12th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Cate Le Bon – Reward
What a banner year for the Welsh artist as she created her most highly acclaimed LP to date. Le Bon has truly honed her craft over the last decade as she has collaborated with a laundry list of indie-music royalty before writing the whimsical and austere Reward that employs an array of fresh sounds swirling around her haunting, pixie vocals. 2020 will see Cate jump on tour alongside Kurt Vile in a solo capacity, but we can’t wait to see what she produces next.

2. Wand – Laughing Matter
3. (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
4. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
5. Omni – Networker

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Foals – “Sunday”
As Foals teeter on the edge of being rock’s next big headliner, the British group semi-quietly unleashed a pair of albums entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 and Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2. While their style continues to hover around math, dance and indie rock, they dig into a deeper realm of sonic atmosphere as frontman Yannis Philippakis questions, even laments, the state of our current times. “Sunday” tends to borrow a tad from the grandiose nature of their fellow Brits in Coldplay before dropping into a four-on-the-floor section that was rather well-received during their March stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

2. Crumb – “Ghostride”
3. Vampire Weekend – “Sunflower” feat. Steve Lacy
4. Oh Sees – “Henchlock”
5. Allah-Las – “In the Air”


Rochelle Shipman // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. slowthai at Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA – September 4th
Shortly after releasing his debut album Nothing Great About Britain in May, Tyron Frampton played a few intimate U.S. shows several months later. My guess is that those were probably the last ones he’ll do if the UK rapper out of Northampton continues to rise and deliver, just like he did for much of 2019. Part Johnny Knoxville-type grime smart ass, part brilliant gritty-crust punk, slowthai shook the roof off LA’s Lodge Room, which turned out to be a warm-up show before he returned to play Camp Flog Gnaw in November. Frampton certainly came to please, setting the energy level at 11 and even performing his rowdy hit “Doorman” twice in the set. He could’ve run through it 15 times and the crowd would’ve left just as satisfied.

2. Little Simz at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – June 13th
3. Taking Back Sunday at Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – April 11th
4. Night Moves at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – September 21st
5. Usher at Smokin Grooves Fest – Long Beach, CA – June 15th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Little Simz – GREY Area
The production. The flow. The bars. The BALLS. Little Simz absolutely brings it on GREY Area, leaving no space for second-guessing, sexist bullshit or honestly anyone else at all. This latest studio album from the British emcee is all her, and you can feel it with every breath she takes. We should all be so lucky to come into our confidence the way that she did on this record, but most of all, we should just be grateful “Simbi” trusts us to keep her deepest secrets — and that they sound so, so good.

2. slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
3. Shura – forevher
4. Ari Lennox – Shea Butter Baby
5. White Reaper – You Deserve Love

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. slowthai – “Doorman” (with Mura Masa)
This song technically dropped in 2018, but its spotlight was shone even wider with slowthai releasing his debut LP this year. The Mura Masa-assisted cut pulses with adrenaline, carries the air of a movie soundtrack in only three minutes and has a beat that will take you all the way to the moon and back. In the words of Lizzo, it’s a whole damn meal!

2. Kari Faux – “Latch Key”
3. Billie Eilish – “bury a friend”
4. Little Simz – “Venom”
5. Smino – “Trina”


Tool - Fear Inoculum

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. IDLES – Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – October 10th
After putting out one of my favorite albums from 2018 and missing their show earlier this year, I was thrilled to finally catch IDLES live. To say that these English punk rockers put on a good performance would be a true understatement. They had the energy of an out-of-control freight train but were able to contain it while proving to be an incredibly fun act to see live. Frontman Joe Talbot engaged with the audience in a very authentic way, talking and singing to fans, not just at them. There were crowd-surfing guitarists, mosh pits and sing-a-longs … it was wild.

2. Punk Rock Bowling 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – May 23rd-27th
3. Judas Priest at The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – June 24th
4. Van’s Warped Tour 2019 at Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA – July 20th-21st
5. ITCHY-O at Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA – November 23rd

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
Well, after all of the waiting and speculation, Tool have done it again, in a really big way. Fear Inoculum is everything that I was hoping it would be, and then some. HUGE-sounding drums, guitars and bass wrap your head in a warm prog blanket while Maynard does what he always has so well. It takes the best parts of their previous albums and combines them to showcase a band that has clearly not missed a step in the 13 years since 10,000 Days.

2. Bad Religion – Age of Unreason
3. Brittany Howard – Jaime
4. Catbite – Catbite
5. Plague Vendor – By Night

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. The Hammerbombs – “I Hate Cars”
The Hammerbombs are an undersung Bay Area pop-punk group that have written some of the catchiest and fun songs I have heard from the East Bay scene in a long time. Their 2019 release Goodbye, Dreamboat made my top 10, and this track is the hands-down standout on an album chock-full of toe-tappers. It’s a heartfelt song written by singer and bassist Jen Louie, who has a knack for crafting some really fantastic tunes. The chorus is saccharine sweet, and you can’t help but sing along.

2. Lizzo – “Juice”
3. Bad Religion – “Do The Paranoid Style”
4. Ceremony – “In The Spirit World Now”
5. Lagwagon – “Surviving California”

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Desert Daze 2019: Another intriguing lineup loaded with must-see performances takes over Lake Perris

Desert Daze - 2019 lineupPhoto by David Evanko // Written by Kevin Quandt & Pete Mauch //

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
October 10th-13th, 2019 //

After settling into a new location last year, Desert Daze aims to dial in a festival that continues to gain steam and win over rock fans around the globe, beckoning them to come to the shores of Lake Perris. This self-proclaimed “anti-festival” has impressed with their eye-popping artist roster, interactive art and smorgasbord of workshops and otherworldly experiences for all you intergalactic space rangers making the drive from Los Angeles or any of the surrounding hubs across Southern California.

We have a deep love for Desert Daze and want to be your pre-fest sherpas, so we have broken down the best music, camping and food options ahead of this weekend’s festivities.


Stereolab


Stereolab

Music

Let’s jump head first into the real meat of Desert Daze, and that’s its cutting-edge lineup of all things rock, psychedelia, garage, noise, experimental, North African-desert Tuareg blues-pop guitar and so on. Between the festival’s trio of lakeside stages, there should be little downtime for the savvy listener, so we’ll happily offer up a few of our picks and tell you why you should order that chicken tikka wrap a little later on.

Artist: Frankie and the Witch Fingers
Set date/time: Friday, 2:15-3 p.m.
Location: The Block

These LA psych rockers are truly having an amazing year. After unloading their most cohesive and energetic album to date in ZAM, they have found themselves touring non-stop supporting their killer new release. They are currently on a 37-date tour that sees them opening for ZZ Top and Cheap Trick on seven of those dates, with their Desert Daze set coming right smack dab in the middle of their run with both legendary rockers, so we’d imagine that they’ll be fired up to play to their own crowd. This should be an extremely high-energy set that won’t let you take a breath because Frankie and the Witch Fingers are pure psychedelic bliss right now. -PM

Artist: Stereolab
Set date/time: Friday, 6:35-8:05 p.m.
Location: The Moon

Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier are finally bringing their electro-leaning indie pop back to the western side of the country and should be firing on all cylinders after a nearly decade-long break. Having witnessed one of their first reunion shows at Primavera Sound, I can confirm Stereolab’s laid-back vibe is still delivered with precision as they work classics like “French Disko” and “Brakhage” as well as others from Dots and Loops into the setlist. We can’t think of a better act to catch during Friday’s magic hour. -KQ

Artist: Altın Gün
Set date/time: Saturday, 2:40-3:40 p.m.
Location: The Moon

This Anatolian psych-folk group that calls Amsterdam home has been blending traditional Turkish music and psychedelic melodies to great avail. Their most recent release Gece finds this experimental outfit playing around with time signatures and quick, fierce changes that keeps their listeners wanting more. Their Desert Daze slot in the early afternoon Saturday is really going to get the day rolling. -PM

Shintaro Sakamoto


Shintaro Sakamoto

Artist: The Locust
Set date/time: Sunday, 12:45 a.m.-1:35 a.m.
Location: The Theatre

Shit! This set is not for the faint of heart and will surely be one of the most brutal (looks over shoulder for Lightning Bolt) and thrilling performances for those brave souls still awake after Devo, Ween and Flying Lotus (3D) hit the main stage. Expect a handful of masked musicians bending every boundary of rock music to their back and call, a feat that hasn’t transpired for close to five years. Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone clearly has the Midas touch whenever it comes to reuniting bands or flying in rarities from around the world. -KQ

Artist: SASAMI
Set date/time: Sunday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: The Block

Domino artist Sasami Ashworth has been having a moment since the release of her self-titled debut LP back in March. Some veteran Desert Daze attendees might recognize Ashworth from her days as a former touring member of the LA band Cherry Glazerr, which played the festival in 2016 at its previous location The Institute of Mentalphysics. Since departing Cherry Glazerr, she has quickly cultivated a following under the moniker SASAMI that swoons for her unique brand as a guitar-wielding indie songstress. For now, she has toured with her contemporaries, received blessings from Mitski and expanded to larger international tours. -KQ

Artist: Shintaro Sakamoto
Set date/time: Sunday, 7:45 p.m.-9 p.m.
Location: The Block

Japanese composer Shintaro Sakamoto is making his U.S. debut at Desert Daze 2019, and we couldn’t be anymore excited to see him perform on Sunday. Sakamoto has been active in his home country for 30 years, most notably with psych rockers Yura Yura Teikoku, but you will see a softer side to him than with his prior band. Sakamoto at The Block during sunset with the Mad Alchemy light show behind him is an absolute must-see! We should hear plenty of tracks off 2014’s Let’s Dance Raw and 2011’s How to Live with a Phantom, too. -PM

Desert Daze 2019 - map

Camping

There’s nothing easier than pitching a tent only a few hundred yards away from any festival site, and Desert Daze continues to excel in this area. Moreno Beach’s plush grounds have it all: trees, campside parking, free hot showers, permanent bathrooms and even a camping-exclusive stage area called The Mystic Bazaar.

The Bazaar features a mind-expanding array of programming, including, but not limited to, Modular Sound Baths, Vinyasa Pranayama yoga and various forms of meditation (check out the full schedule here). Plus, plenty of camping options to fit your liking are available here.

Desert Daze 2019 - The Marketplace

The Marketplace

Whether your home base will be offsite or you’re calling Lake Perris home for a long weekend, you’ll want to do some light shopping, quench your thirst or carb load for Animal Collective’s blistering show on Friday. Desert Daze always prints a whopping selection of show- and artist-specific posters and they’re always sold at affordable prices, so an early trip to the merch tent is a must. And if boutique wares are your preference, a healthy variety of vintage sellers, craft jewelers and visionary designers are strewn about the groves and shoreline. Bring some cash because you won’t be disappointed with what you find.

For all of your consumption needs, Black Fin Sushi, Flavors of East Africa and Good Times Ice Cream are just the beginning of options that will be available onsite. Don’t forget to look at the full listing here to see if your local favorites will be making the trip out to Moreno Beach.

Lastly, make sure to grab your Desert Daze 2019 passes here and we’ll see ya on the other side.

Desert Daze 2019 - David Evanko

Lætitia Sadier shows off her melodic-pop prowess at Brick & Mortar Music Hall

Lætitia SadierBy Diana Cordero //

Lætitia Sadier with Deradoorian //
Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San Francisco
September 23rd, 2015 //

French singer-songwriter Lætitia Sadier returned to the Bay Area last week after a three-years absence. On her previous visit, she was the opening act for indie-folk band Beirut at The Fox Theater Oakland. This time around, she served as the headliner at the intimate Brick & Mortar Music Hall, which drew in a good-sized crowd for a Wednesday night.

Sadier’s style is very simple, composed mostly of melodic pop songs with very little layering despite her electronic background. Accompanied by drums and bass, she sang stories of love and other everyday events. Her voice leans toward a monotone style but with a range that can suddenly reach very high notes and exudes a warm, lovely sound.

Deradoorian


Deradoorian

Sadier began her career in the London-based, indie-rock band Stereolab, which she started with her husband Tim Gane back in the late 80’s after she left her native France in search for better opportunities within the music scene. Following Stereolab’s indefinite hiatus in 2009, Sadier has focused on her own solo music, which has kept her fairly productive and actively touring the globe.

Eternally grateful for her SF fan base and with a simplicity that is rare to see in musicians, Sadier definitely melted ears at Brick & Mortar Music Hall and promised to be back. Opening the show was sister act Deradoorian, an electronic music duo that uses loops and samples to create harmonious soft-pop songs. Think of tUnE-yArDs but without the cheerfulness that characterizes Merrill Garbus’ worldbeat project.