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BottleRock

Crowds at BottleRock 2018. 

One of the greatest things about BottleRock is the variety of music that is brought into Napa under one umbrella. From local favorites like the Silverado Pickups to Platinum-selling acts like Mumford and Sons, each year’s lineup showcases a vast diversity of talent found at few other festivals.

I was a little unfamiliar with many of the acts listed on this year’s line-up, more so than I have been in previous years. I did some serious listening to the official BottleRock 2019 Spotify playlist and discovered some new gems that I’m now excited to see live. Here are some of my recommended acts (in no particular order) that are worth checking out at this year’s festival:

— Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana is living proof that hard work and dedication does pay off. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began her career in Melbourne as a busker (street-performer) and exploded onto the mainstream music scene in 2016 after several of her home-made YouTube videos went viral, and propelled her onto a sold-out world tour the following year.

Her music combines element of reggae, psychedelic, and post-rock, and her haunting voice combined with her use of live loops in her performances create ambient soundscapes that send her listeners into space. Tash Sultana will be playing on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. on the Firefox Stage. Recommended listening: “Jungle.”

— The Dandy Warhols

Best known for their groundbreaking 2001 single “Bohemian Like You,” The Dandy Warhols are an American alternative rock outfit from Portland, Oregon with influences of garage rock, power pop, and shoegaze. The group is celebrating their 25th year as a band. Their recent tours have showcased a diverse collection of material spanning across the band’s 10 studio albums. Based on videos, the Dandy Warhols appear to bring an energy to their live performances that is both infectious, and downright fun. They will be performing at 6:45 p.m. on Friday on the Bai Stage. Recommended listening: Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia.

— Forgotten Dreamers

Formerly known as “Serf and James,” these local alt-rockers will be making the official debut of their new project at BottleRock on Friday afternoon. While their name and project may be new, each member is a veteran musician in the Napa and Bay Area music scenes.

Vocalist Serf Barto and guitarist James Porter have always created beautiful and appealing melodies, reinforced by the driving rhythm section provided by bassist James Yokoi and drummer Mikey Rhinehart. Barto’s on-stage antics are always entertaining to watch, and the band’s high-energy performances never fail to captivate their audience, regardless of the venue. Make sure you line up early at the main entrance on Friday, because these boys will be kicking off the festival at noon on the Lagunitas Stage. Recommended listening: “Stay In My Head.”

— Big Boi

Big Boi is an American Southern rapper, songwriter, and producer best known as a member of Outkast alongside André “3000” Benjamin. His imaginative lyrics and speedy flow over funky and tastefully-sampled beats have become recognizable as the rapper’s own signature style.

Big Boi broke ground as a solo artist during the production of his first solo album, Speakerboxxx, which was released alongside Benjamin’s album The Love Below in 2003 as a double album and proceeded to dominate the hip-hop charts. The album’s main single, “The Way You Move” ran neck-and-neck with Benjamin’s song “Hey Ya!” and became the #1 song on U.S. pop music charts for a time.

After the release of Outkast’s musical concept album Idlewild in 2007, Big Boi began to focus on creating his first full-fledged studio album and continuing his solo career. Today, Big Boi has become a well-established solo artist, and often collaborates with many of the top names in the hip-hop and R&B industries. His 2018 hit single “All Night” again rose to the top of the hip-hop charts, and almost instantly became a millennial anthem. He will be performing on Sunday at 8:45 p.m. on the Bai Stage. Recommended listening: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

— Harry Hudson

Harry Hudson is a 23-year-old American singer-songwriter from New Jersey with influences of folk, rock, country, and pop. His emotional hit single “Yellow Lights” made its way into the Top 10 songs on Spotify’s U.S. Viral Chart in 2018. He’s also been named an “Artist to Watch” by both Pandora and Live Nation. Hudson’s music is soulful and heartfelt, drawing inspiration from difficult life events including a health crisis that he went through at age 20. His debut album, Yesterday’s Tomorrow Night was released last year on Jay-Z’s record label Roc Nation. Hudson will be performing on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. on the Bai Stage. Recommended listening: “Yellow Lights”.

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Zak Fennie is a Napa Valley-based musician and a frequent contributor to the Register.

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