This year’s Bottlerock music festival in Napa featured an eclectic mix of artists, ranging from electronic, pop, glam rock and Mexican band music, as well as a mix of attendees. The three-day festival offered something for everyone, including children, seasoned concertgoers and those in between.
With three days of amazing music, food and wine, these top five things stood out among the rest.
In a festival full of male artists, strong women were a welcome highlight at BottleRock, from popular bands like Florence & the Machine and Grouplove to lesser-known acts like White Sea and Deap Vally.
MisterWives frontwoman Mandy Lee especially stood out; an energetic quirky singer, with a style reminiscent of a young Gwen Stefani. Her band had great energy, made jokes, and delivered fun songs like “Best I Can Do” and “No Need for Dreaming.” Before singing “Queens,” Lee said she was “sick and tired of the industry standard between men and women,” and encouraged everyone to fight for equality.
Andrew McMahon's Positivity
Andrew McMahon brings unique piano phrasing, high-energy performances and beautifully written songs with each project he takes on. His newest band, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, is no exception. While the singer treated fans to Jack’s Mannequin’s “Dark Blue” and Something Corporate’s “I Woke Up in a Car” on the Midway stage, his newest material had the crowd just as excited as they were for his past bands.
At times performing songs on top of the speakers in the photo pit, getting as close to his fans as he could, McMahon's highlight came during the last five minutes. He invited the audience to relive their childhood by throwing parachutes into the air as he told them, “What happens under the parachute, stays under the parachute.”
Acts like La Misa Negra, Chicano Batman and Ozomatli represented a Latin portion of the line-up, but Rodrigo y Gabriela proved head-banging isn’t just for metal guitarists. The Mexican duo gave a Latin twist to heavy, bold guitar riffs filtered through jazz, metal and salsa music, moving their fingers across the neck of the guitar so fast it was hard to keep up.
The Struts' Busy Schedule
The Struts made the most appearances at this year’s Bottlerock. The band not only played the main, culinary and JaM Pad stages, and also played an aftershow. As members stepped onto the main stage Saturday afternoon, the name seemed fitting with the swagger they brought to their performance. Singer Luke Spiller blew kisses at the crowd and shook his hips in a manner that would challenge Elvis Presley; a glam-rock vibe mixed with catchy hooks caused the audience to break into dance moves during “Kiss This” and “Could Have Been Me.”
Though the band played Jam Cellars during the hottest part of the day -- so hot that people used blankets to guard themselves from the heat -- the band members still dressed in clothes that screamed "hair metal," like fringe vests, '70s shades and gold sequins.
The Chili Peppers' Closing Set
Nearly every other stage was empty when the Red Hot Chili Peppers started their set on Sunday night. The band played classics like “Californication,” “By The Way,” and more. Far from the stage -- if you hadn't staked out your spot early, there wasn't any way to get close -- a couple was grinding in time to the beat of “Under The Bridge,” while nearby, a big burly biker had a tear forming from the corner of his eye.