Images by: Sterling Munksgard & Joe Russo
Words by: Eric Podolsky
BottleRock Festival :: Day 5 :: 05.12.13 :: Napa Valley Expo :: Napa, CA
Full review below photo gallery!
By the fifth and final day of BottleRock Napa Valley, the audience had settled into a nice groove. Having
themselves with the setup and flow of this first annual festival's grounds, the crowd was able to enjoy this hot
Mother's Day Sunday in the sort of carefree, drifting way that a festival should be enjoyed. This is a testament to how
well thought-out and well-run this event was, as first year festivals can tend to be logistical nightmares. And though
the crowd definitely ran older than your typical Cali festival audience, this made for an eclectic atmosphere where
music lovers young and old grooved the day away in a sunny, happy co-existence.
The eclectic lineup had something for everyone, from the indie-pop of Grouplove and Rogue Wave, to 90's FM hitmakers Cake, the Wallflowers, and , to the country hit-
makers Kacey Musgraves and The Zac Brown Band. Yes, it was hipsters,
hippies and cowboys all hanging together, getting down in the sun. This unique something-for-everyone approach
must have worked, as the festival has already announced dates for next year.
Mavis Staples – 4:00-5:00 PM – Miner
Family Winery Stage
Having been in the music business for 63 (!) years now, Mavis Staples is no stranger to getting a crowd
working. And though we were all expecting a good time, few expected such energy and power from a woman of 73.
Backed by a rocking band with a decidedly rootsy T-Bone Walker vibe and three backup sigers,
Mavis was in truly high spirits as she belted her way through infectious Staple Singers hits like “I
Like The Things About Me” and “Let's Do It Again,” which featured the most perfect sunny day groove anyone could
have asked for. There were too many highlights to count, including a funky take on P-Funk's “Can You Get To That,” a Levon Helm tribute with “The Weight,” and
“You Are Not Alone,” a surprisingly great new song that Jeff Tweedy wrote for Mavis. But the set achieved best-of-the-day status with the
closer sing-along of “I'll Take You There,” which got everyone involved and dancing harder than few other acts could.
The Wallflowers – 6:15-7:15 PM – Citi Bank Stage
I have to admit I found myself much more excited than I expected to be for this set once Jakob Dylanand Co. opened with a rootsy
take on Marvin Gaye - via - The
Band's “Dont Do It.” Make no mistake, this is a tight, killer band. (Who knew that Jack Irons was their
drummer?) Their sound is just as satisfyingly rockin', rootsy, and catchy as it was in 1997, and they did a great job
spacing out their obvious radio hits with well-selected covers and lesser-known originals. “The Letter” was a fun
piano-ticklin' rework of a classic oldie, and the fantastic original “I've Been Delivered” had Dylan doing his
best Springsteen-esque raspe. The
soaring B3 organwork of Rami Jaffee added the heart to the music's duel-guitar attack, and gave new life
to the tunes we all knew, like “6th Avenue Heartache” and the eternally great “One Headlight,” which will never get
old for me. After Dylan showed his soul with a deep take on David Bowie's“Heroes,” we all sang along with “The Difference” to close, and left this set
surprisingly and supremely satisfied on many different levels.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – 8:15-9:30 PM -
Miner Family Winery Stage
There's nothing like a good dose of flamenco-metal to usher in the night. Having heard many things about this
virtuoso duo from Mexico, I was excited to check out what all the fuss was about. And right from the opening chords
“Raining Blood,” it was clear that I wasn't going to be catching any of the Zac Brown Band tonight. As
Gabriela Quintero held down the lightning-fast rhythm guitar parts and percussion (by slapping the guitar
body), it gave Rodrigo Sanchez ample room to shred plenty of Spanish-tinged metal riffs in complex,
rhythmically-challenging song structures. With Marshall amps powering their acoustic guitars, the duo's fully
instrumental set was a heavy, blazing dose of amplified virtuosity that was almost too much to absorb all at once.
Pacing the stage back and forth, the two would occasionally lock eyes in intricate duels that were so tight and dialed-
in, it sounded like they shared a brain. The set flew by in a happy blur of riffs and staccato power chords, and though
I wasn't familiar with their originals, there was definitely a part of Metallica's “Orion” stuck in there
somewhere. An awe-inspiring set, and a great way to end the festival.
JamBase | Olfactory
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