We all know the festival grind: trying to fit as many performances as possible into a handful of days. Anyone who says that’s not overwhelming is a liar.
This is why RIFF makes these handy guides for under-the-radar bands and artists that are worth your time.
We’ve chosen three artists from each day at BottleRock Napa Valley to make sure you wisely spend your time before the headliners. From Louisiana revival to pop, rock and blues mashups, enjoy these acts either performing earlier in the day or competing against the bigger draws.
Neon Trees at JaM Cellars Stage — Friday — 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
After six years of blending new wave with pop, this quartet has risen as one of Utah’s best musical exports. Neon Trees have topped Billboard charts numerous times with their infectious melodies and accessible songwriting. Their incredible chemistry is evident, but their songs can always boil down to hooks that will surely stay in your head long after their set ends.
Shannon Shaw at JaM Cellars Stage — Friday — 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
Hot off the heels of her solo debut, the Oakland songwriter will be bringing 2018’s Shannon in Nashville to Bottlerock. The album pushed Shaw past many of her comfort zones and it resulted in her most vulnerable and triumphant work to date. Her heavenly voice and raw delivery will make for a striking performance. Oh, and if you miss her solo set, her band, Shannon and the Clams, plays on Saturday.
Yoke Lore at Firefox Stage — Friday — 12:00 to 12:40 p.m.
You might know him from his work in Walk the Moon and Yellerkin, but Adrian Galvin’s personal brand of indie pop as Yoke Lore more than stands by itself. His etherial production and emotional resonance evokes both the big city and rural parts of his being, tastefully combining modernized synth pads with a classic indie rock bounce. Having released EP Absolutes last year, he’s more than prepared to share his nuanced perspective in a polarized society.
The Blue Stones at Lagunitas Stage — Saturday — 12:00 to 12:40 p.m.
While it’s understandable that this Canadian blues rock duo would bring The Black Keys or The White Stripes to mind at first glance, there’s a lot more to The Blue Stones. Tarek Jafar’s fiery riffs and powerful voice, alongside Justin Tessier’s pounding drums, bring a wall of sound worthy of bands twice their manpower. Their sound is tailor-made for fans of solid grooves, crunchy guitar chords and untethered musicality.
Elle King at JaMPad — Saturday — 1:40 to 2 p.m // JaM Cellars Stage — Saturday — 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
The accessibility of pop, the power of rock and the grit of the blues all find a place in Elle King’s sound. Most artists would lean in one direction, but the Ohio singer-songwriter manages to ride the narrow path of seamless cross-pollination.
Pink Sweat$ at Bai Stage — Saturday — 3:45 to 4:30 p.m // JaMPad — Saturday — 5:45 to 6:15 p.m.
As hip-hop gets continually popular, genre boundaries have become increasingly irrelevant. It’s a trend of which Pink Sweat$ has taken full advantage. Blending flavors of R&B and soul with some cutting-edge production, it’s no wonder he found himself in the legendary Sigma Sounds Studios not long after he began pursuing music at 19. The rapper exemplifies the universal appeal hip-hop music has achieved over the past decade.
Sweet Crude at the Lagunitas Stage — Sunday — 2:15 to 3 p.m.
The fact this band’s lyrics are sung in both Louisiana French and English is only the surface of its unique approach. The band draws from its home state’s rich musical history to bring a strikingly original take on indie rock. With dynamic arrangements, passionate singing and leveling guitar chords, it only makes sense the band’s performances would be larger than life as well. Expanded instrumentation ensures the lasting impression of Sweet Crude’s joyful noise.
The Soul Rebels at the Lagunitas Stage — Sunday — 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm.
Whether it’s their 2018 NPR Tiny Desk performance or collaborations with everyone from Joey Bada$$ to Portugal. The Man, it’s hard to think of a better rep for New Orleans traditions than The Soul Rebels. These guys have all the timeless groove and infectious vamps from their hometown, but their execution proves the classics can still set fire to a stage. With blaring brass and vigorous rhythm, The Soul Rebels are ready to give Napa Valley the French Quarter treatment.
Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra at the Bai Stage — Sunday — 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm.
What is there to say about Jeff Goldblum that hasn’t already been said? The man is an absolute legend of the silver screen, and as of last year proved his worth in traditional vocal jazz with The Capitol Studios Sessions. The charisma and charm that made him a cultural icon will be on full display at BottleRock.