BottleRock Day Two Recap

Day 2 of BottleRock Napa Valley consisted of an eclectic collection of genres, people, and engrossing performances. Our feet still aching, we safeguarded our barricade camp as the antsy Twenty One Pilots fanatics made their way to the pit. With eight hours to go before the Ohio-born musical duo made their appearance, the audience strapped in for a day of outstanding gigs. 

Kicking off the festival was Ron Artis II and the Truth. Vocals of pure soul floated above the midday crowd and brassy, excited instruments brought us back down to earth. Ron Artis set a veil of peace, love, and blues over the event that was powerful enough to dictate the mood of the entire day. 

“We get so focused on tomorrow’s goals we forget that we’re living right now,” Artis says. Vocal riffs sculpted to perfection and unique guitar sounds poured from Ron Artis II; the man was born to play. 

About half way through the set, Artis invited his two young daughters up on stage to share the spotlight with him. The trio sang a heartfelt acoustic serenade to the crowd and Artis II left the audience with a sweet taste in their mouth. 

Shortly following Ron Ariris II and the Truth was R&B soul band, The Suffers. The Suffers delivered retro, colorful, pop-art visuals with a celestial sound defined by soaring vocals, powerful bass, and a hectic duo of horn players. Spunky and vibrant lead singer, Kam Franklin, dominated the stage in every arena and brought a rhythmic passion to every lyric she produced. 

“We’ve got a lot of artists in the crowd today, keep doing what you know you were meant to do!” Franklin declared. 

The Suffers demonstrated the true power of sound; music is not just a gadget for a musician, but a gift meant to be shared, hollard, and given a community. The Suffers dropped a glitter bomb on BottleRock and their light and energy lingered in the crowd for the remainder of the afternoon.

The folky string quintet, Greensky Bluegrass, took center stage as our third act of the day. The string band delivered a performance of music broken down to its fundamentals; no flashy lights, no special mics; just pure musical ability and a rhythm that buzzed in your chest. The set held long intervals of jamming and each bandmate was equally reliant on one another to accomplish their intricate 60’s sound. Greensky Bluegrass made me want to grow a beard and walk across the country. 

Things took a dramatic turn with Rainbow Kitten Surprise. The pop-rock performance was portrayed with a bubbly, bassy sound and lead vocalist, Ela Melo, delivered her lyrics with her unique and utterly authentic voice–a tone likely unmatched by any other vocalists in the game. Rainbow Kitten Surprise was an extremely fun band to watch perform, their friendship evident based on their interactions on stage. Even more fun to watch perform was bassist, Charlie Holt. Holt brought a life and energy to the stage that was impossible to ignore. Their off-the-wall dances and constant movement left Kelsey a very frustrated photographer, but the audience thoroughly entertained. 

The fifth act of the night, rock n’ roll idols, The Black Crowes, left this journalist so enthralled I couldn’t take my eyes away to take notes on the performance. Lead singer, Chris Robinson, was spry and spunky as he moved around the stage, offering vocals of unmatched capability. The band around him blared and bellowed their cacophonic ensemble with perfect form. 

The BottleRock 2022 audience was frenzied and eager as the time for Twenty One Pilots was upon us. With the sun nearly set and a layer of fog clouding the sky, the evening air had an intense chill to it but nothing was able to dampen the excitement of the band’s devotees. Singer, Tyler Joseph, fronted a thrilling display of lights and smoke as drummer, Josh Dun, thundered behind him. The crowd was impassioned by their presence, and the impact of Twenty One Pilots was made clear to me immediately as their set began. Unexpected covers such as Benny and the Jets by Elton John and Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ignited the audience and intricate visuals of neon lights kept their interest until the very end. 

Although we’re continually nursing our sunburns and feet aches, days one and two of BottleRock have given us a sense of community and music that could not be sullied by any amount of pain. Day three here we come!