BottleRock begins tomorrow, May 8, 2013, in Napa Valley. As if anyone needs a reason to go to wine country, here are more than a few. KQED Arts is going for the music but there's comedy, food, wine and craft beer to keep festival-goers happy. The lineup is diverse, with older bands like Cake, Jane's Addiction, and Dwight Yoakam paired with indie favorites from all genres. Like most large festivals there are a few stages and overlapping sets, but here are my must sees for BottleRock 2013.
WEDNESDAY: May 8
Family of the Year is a sweet dance psych-rock pop band from Los Angeles. They'll kick things off in proper California style. And while fellow Angelenos Best Coast will be performing at the festival later in the week, Family of the Year is the better choice.
THURSDAY: May 9
Delta Spirit is another incredible California band. I first saw them in Austin, TX seven years ago as an opening band. To this day I can't remember who headlined the concert -- Delta Spirit completely stole the show. Today, their songwriting remains strong and heads a call for progress and hope. On stage, in the sun, before an audience is where they really shine. Don't miss this gem early in the day.
I've heard about The Avett Brothers for years and I'm looking forward to hearing them live as the headliners for Thursday night. Their folk-pop-bluegrass combination should compliment a warm summer night in Napa nicely.
FRIDAY: May 10
Dare I say it but I'm most excited for Friday at BottleRock: one of my favorite live bands is performing. The Black Keys can command a stage as a duo better than most five- to eight-piece bands. They are first and foremost a blues band, capable of rocking every second of their set. Usually a full band joins them for at least half of their performance, and their stage design is always intriguing. For a hard-working blues band, they don't take themselves too seriously -- expect stage props. Plus, you'll want to dance like this guy in their video for "Lonely Boy."
Other highlights on my Friday radar are Alabama Shakes, Dirty Projectors, and of course The Flaming Lips. I haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing Oklahoma-based band The Flaming Lips at a festival, but I've seen the pictures and heard the tales. I can't wait to see what they've got in store for this show. Here's a taste from their David Letterman appearance.
SATURDAY: May 11
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will be out in full force before sunset on Saturday. This 20-person (sometimes more) band is a treat to see live. They transform the stage with great Americana folk music, creating one special moment after another with call and response verses, banjos, and an upright bass.
Saturday yields some of my other favorites as well, featuring Tift Merrit, Sharon Van Etten, Iron and Wine, and Dwight Yoakam.
SUNDAY: May 12
Sunday is for reminiscing about the '90s with Cake, The Wallflowers, and Train. If you'd prefer to stay in the present, GROUPLOVE's lifted vocals, upbeat harmonies, and climbing hooks will have you dancing in the sun.
BottleRock runs May 8-12, 2013 at the Napa Expo in Napa Valley. For tickets and more information, visit bottlerocknapavalley.com.