BottleRock Napa Valley makes more strides in 2016

BottleRock Napa Valley 2016By Mike Rosati & Norm de Veyra //

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
May 27th-29th, 2016 //

BottleRock Napa Valley once again returned to downtown Napa over Memorial Day weekend for its fourth edition, boasting an improved fan experience and an eclectic bill of music over a three-day stretch.

Serving as this year’s headliners were Stevie Wonder, Florence & the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while other notable acts included The Lumineers, Death Cab for Cutie, Lenny Kravitz, Walk the Moon, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ziggy Marley, Grouplove and more.

But some of the best performances of the weekend came from artists playing on the festival’s smaller stages, from Long Beach’s Cold War Kids to Welsh alt-rockers The Joy Formidable. The Suffers, a 10-piece soul band from Texas, made one of the biggest impressions on the final day of BottleRock, along with San Francisco indie-pop outfit Dangermaker and singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim.

BottleRock Napa Valley 2016 - Florence & the Machine

Florence & the Machine

Among all of the music being played, one of the highlights was undoubtedly the festival’s Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage, which welcomed appearances by classic stoner-comedy duo Cheech & Chong (who kicked things off with a special show at The Uptown Theater in Napa the night before BottleRock) and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Even “American Pie” actor Thomas Ian Nicholas joined in on the fun during a set dedicated to the 1999 film.

Showbams was on hand for all three days of BottleRock, noting an upgraded layout, more food/beverage options and better VIP accommodations than in past years. And though the festival still has room to grow, it has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time.

BottleRock drops 2016 lineup, led by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Florence + the Machine

BottleRock Napa 2016 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
May 27th-29th, 2016 //

While everyone has been fixating on Monday night’s Coachella lineup announcement, which includes a reunited LCD Soundsystem and some form of Guns N’ Roses headlining the Indio festival, BottleRock Napa Valley was busy unveiling their own bill less than a day later.

The three-day festival in downtown Napa, which appeals to an older crowd than the aforementioned Coachella, announced its lineup early Tuesday and will welcome Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder and Florence + the Machine as headliners over Memorial Day weekend.

With more than 70 artists scheduled to perform across four stages, other noteworthy acts on this year’s lineup include The Lumineers, Death Cab for Cutie, Lenny Kravitz, Walk the Moon, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ziggy Marley, Grouplove, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Gogol Bordello, Cold War Kids, Iration, Misterwives, Atlas Genius, Buddy Guy, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Pharcyde, The Joy Formidable, X Ambassadors, Ozomatli and Jamestown Revival.

BottleRock will also be bringing back and expanding its popular Culinary Stage that’s known for matching culinary stars up with celebrities, as last year’s festival saw Snoop Dogg teaming up with “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday, January 7th at 10 a.m. here and start at $269 for a three-day GA pass. VIP passes will be sold for $619, and a three-day platinum pass is as much as $3,100.

So, as you get ready for your “first taste of summer,” go back in time with our 2014 coverage.

PHOTOS: X Ambassadors at The Independent 11/19

X-Ambassadors_postBy Scott Martin //

X Ambassadors with Grizfolk, DOE EYE //
The Independent – San Francisco
November 19th, 2014 //

On this night at The Independent, the weather outside was wet and cold. But inside, it was hot thanks to the X Ambassadors, a four-piece band from Ithaca, N.Y. Frontman Sam Harris told the crowd how excited he was to be playing in SF, and it showed throughout the night.

Down With Me
Free & Lonely
Love Songs Drug Songs
The Business
Jungle (Jamie N Commons cover)










PHOTOS: Panic! at the Disco at Fox Theater Oakland 2/15

Panic!-at-the-Disco_postBy James Nagel //

Panic! at the Disco with The Colourist, X Ambassadors //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
February 15th, 2014 //

It was another full house at the Fox Theater Oakland last Saturday night, as fans eagerly awaited a headlining performance from Panic! at the Disco.

Notable opener The Colourist, led by Adam Castilla and Ellen Page doppelganger Maya Tuttle, offered an entertaining performance of their latest EP Lido, but it was obvious the audience was there to see one band and one band only.

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance offered by Panic! at the Disco. After sifting through several YouTube videos of their live shows and having seen similar bands like Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects and Boys Like Girls over the years, I had come to expect the high-energy dancing at the expense of a great vocal performance. It may have been that extra burst of stamina that comes from an end to a long tour, but Brendon Urie and company met the standards set by their recorded albums for range and lyrical complexity.

Visually, Panic! at the Disco pleased the eyes of the crowd with giant screens as backdrops, platforms for the bassist and guitarist and smoke spouts at the front of the stage. As always, the Fox Theater provided excellent lighting. Check out the photos below to see what I mean.