Back to the stage: BottleRock Napa Valley and Sock Monster


Kelsey Riemer

The Alive plays bottlerock in Napa Valley on Sunday September 5th

Being in a band is the ultimate dream for some musicians. However, no matter the age or experience of an artist, the pandemic served as unprecedented territory. Whether it meant having extra time to practice, not going on tours for almost two years, or anything in between, both student and professional bands experienced unique circumstances during COVID-19.

Recently, however, many bands have begun playing together again. From September 3-5, bands performed at a music festival called BottleRock in Napa Valley, many for the first time since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. 

BottleRock showcased many bands such as teenage rock band The Alive, which draws inspiration from bands like Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age. Donna Missal, an alternative singer/songwriter, performed for the first time in a year and a half. Cage the Elephant, a rock band, performed their hit songs “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Cigarette Daydreams.” The Foo Fighters, a rock band with over 13.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, performed songs ranging from scream-along’s to ballads.

In addition to professional bands, student bands have also begun to perform together again. One of these bands, Sock Monster, is formed by two AWHS students: junior Sophia Nowlen and senior Sadie Kyburg.

“It’s super fun … once you finally do get that song, and you’re playing with everybody and it actually sounds good,” Sophia said.

Similarly to the members of The Alive, the members of Sock Monster have been friends and musicians since childhood.

“It doesn’t have to be a big band or anything but just like continuing to work together,” Sadie said. 

Whether it’s a large concert, a music festival like BottleRock, a dance performance, or a small backyard set, live performance plays a role in the lives of both the artists and the spectators.

“I f***ing sat around waiting for this to happen,” said Dave Grohl, the lead singer and a guitarist in the Foo Fighters during their evening show. 

With the return of live music, performers now have the chance to release their built-up energy after months of isolation due to COVID-19. Not only can musicians once again see in-person how their music affects people, but fans can show their support for their favorite musicians.

Finally, after almost a year and a half free of any live performance opportunities, artists are beginning to reconnect with themselves and their fans through live music.