BottleRock Napa Valley 2022 is this weekend and it’s one of my absolute favorite music festivals on planet earth! It’s a family-friendly fest (you won’t see many teens running around grinding their teeth because they took too much molly) that ends at a reasonable hour each night. It’s mostly the local Napa Valley people but a lot of people from all over the East Bay come out as well.
This year’s festival is headlined by Metallica, Twenty One Pilots, P!NK, Kygo, The Black Crowes, and Luke Combs but also features a really good undercard! Here are some bands early in the day we recommend you checking out.
FRIDAY, MAY 27
Kygo and Metallica go Friday night on opposing stages at 7:45 PM as the headliners, and favorites like Spoon, CHVRCHES, FLETCHER, and more play as the sun starts to go down. But there are definitely a few acts worth getting into the gates early for.
12:00 PM at JaM Cellars Stage
I became obsessed with Dorothy when I first heard “Wicked Ones”. The LA-based rockers have been crushing live shows for years and I’m surprised they don’t get booked on more festival lineups. There will be no way to start your weekend than with a dose of singer Dorothy Martin’s powerhouse vocals as well as some ripping guitars. Get there bright and early day one to catch them at 12 PM. They’re touring in support of the recently released full-length record Gifts from the Holy Ghost (dropped Apr. 22 via Roc Nation).
3:00 PM at JaM Cellars Stage
Greenville, South Carolina’s Americana singer Marcus King put out one of my favorite albums during the pandemic with El Dorado — his debut solo record that was produced by The Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach (who has done some amazing stuff as a producer). Though I liked his work as the head of The Marcus King Band, his solo stuff just hits different — in a good way. Check him out at 3 PM on Friday. Listen if you like Gary Clark Jr. meets The Doors.
5:15 PM at Allianz Stage
Japanese psych rockers Kikagaku Moyo first blew me away a few years ago at Desert Daze Festival and I’ve been a fan ever since. The name translates to “geometric patterns” and their music will have you feeling like you are tripping and seeing shit, fort sure. They just dropped what will be their final record Kumoyo Island as they’ve announced an indefinite hiatus. This is one of those bands you don’t need to be familiar with at all going in to enjoy them. It’s really impressive stuff.
SATURDAY, MAY 28
1:45 PM at JaM Cellars Stage
Houston group The Suffers are bringing the soul and funk that will be much welcomed at BottleRock Napa Valley 2022 on Saturday afternoon. They define their sound as “Gulf Coast Soul” as it has a mix of cultures and styles from all over the area. Singer Kam Franklin has fire behind every vocal she delivers. They just dropped a new EP recently called Yada Yada and the title track is a great fuck you anthem.
MARC E. BASSY
2:15 PM at Verizon Stage
It may be a little bit early in the day Saturday for some sexy R&B jams, but in reality, it’s never too early for that. San Francisco native Marc E. Bassy has made a name for himself as a feature on songs from G-Eazy but is a talented singer and songwriter in his own right. He’s supporting last year’s full-length record Little Men and has dropped a couple new singles this year. Don’t miss his syrupy deep vocals on Saturday at 2:15 PM.
SUNDAY, MAY 29
12:00 at Truly Stage
A new discovery for me, I’ve dove deep on the 21-year-old SoCal native Niko Rubio and she’s already got a deep catalog of bangers for being so new. Shake off those Saturday hangover cobwebs and get there early to see her perform. I’ve already turned a couple friends onto her stuff — one said “Dream Girl” is a “drive with the windows down” kind of song and I wholeheartedly agree. I think she has huge star potential and this may be one of the rare times you see her with a small crowd at an early afternoon set time.
2:00 PM at JaM Cellars Stage
I’m what you’d call a Blu DeTiger longtime hipster fan. Ever since she briefly joined the LA-based pop favorite band Kitten, I fell in love with her bass playing and her swagger. The lanky NYC-bred singer-songwriter has made waves on her own since kicking off a solo career a couple years ago. Her bass playing is otherworldly and her vocals really mesh well with her disco and funky style.
3:00 PM at Verizon Stage
I first saw grandson as an opener for someone years ago and I can’t even remember who the headliner was because grandson made such a huge impression on me. It’s Rage Against the Machine meets emo rock. The Canadian-American singer Jordan Benjamin is in a category all his own and they make every live show feel like it’s the best show they’ve ever played. The energy is undeniable and it’ll give you that second wind you need to make it through the rest of day three.