I think Shakespeare might have been seeing into the future of BottleRock when he said “parting is such sweet sorrow.” True story: on the last day of the inaugural festival in 2013, I remember thinking that I was like a kid at summer camp; I wanted to just keep coming back, but I knew that if I showed up the next day, all my friends would be gone and it would just be a big, sad mess that would leave me emotionally scarred. Thankfully, though, after an amazing Day One and a lovely Day Two, I still had a whole final day to see, and this time, my bestie had come to join the fun.
We started our day early(ish) on the main stage for Echosmith, who I had no idea were all siblings. They were adorable, and cheery, fun pop music that we both really enjoyed. I only knew “Cool Kids” and “Bright,” and okay, those are still the only two I know, but I’m certainly going to be keeping an ear out for what this band evolves into, because they have a really cool little vibe going. And am I crazy, or is lead mama Sydney a dead ringer for the lovely Anna Kendrick? (I overheard someone saying they thought she looked like Emma Watson… I bet she’d probably most like to be known as herself…)
After Echosmith, we opted to make the wine/cocktail rounds while American Authors took to the stage for a pretty great set. Their cover of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” was a little highlight for bestie’s 11-year-old daughter, who we called so she could hear it. Of course, their biggest hit to date, “Best Day of My Life” was appropriate for a wonderful day like this, so it was our favorite part of the set as we hung way back in the crowd sipping on Ca’Momi bubbles and Brett Dennen’s Charismatic Fool Sparkling Rose (more on him later, though).
Next it was time to cross another huge artist of my bucket list, so we got as close to the main stage as we could in time for the appearance of the one and only Snoop Dogg, who was one of the best parts of the entire weekend. For me, this dude epitomizes “swagger,” and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. More to the point, his unmistakable voice is irresistible live, and he gave the crowd everything they wanted and then some. My only criticism isn’t really one, and is minor anyway: don’t you guys think the poor guy was probably roasting in that sweat suit? Anyway, if he was comfortable, I certainly was… he rocked my world, and I loved him for it.
As the day began to wind into late afternoon/early evening, we headed over to the (other) main stage for AWOLNATION. I really wanted to hear them play “Sail,” and the bonus on many festivals is that artists won’t wait till the very end of their sets to play huge hits because they know you’re trying to cram as many acts into your day as you can. Sadly, this was not the case with AWOLNATION, and so they closed with “Sail,” meaning I didn’t get to experience it live, but what I will say for the part of their set that I did get to see is this: I love their distorted, grungy, electronic rock sound, and frontman Aaron Bruno’s energy. I had a hard time taking my eyes off him, and with the handsome Drew Stewart so near, that’s really saying something. I can’t wait to see them again and finally get to hear “Sail” (and an entire set!) in all its glory.
Next we hoofed it over to one of the smaller stages to check out the gloriously talented Brett Dennen. Bestie Shannon & I first learned of Dennen when he opened for Jason Mraz’s We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. tour, and we’ve been keeping track of his music and talents ever since. If you don’t know who this guy is, you have to check him out. He has a voice like nothing you’ve ever heard, and he’s even more fun in person because he’s 100% authentically his own quirky self (note that he was barefoot, dirty soles and all). From making music to creating wines, there isn’t much this guy does that I don’t enjoy, and I’m happy that BRNV is in on the action. He played a great set and we got to stay for most of it. (Though, sadly, we missed his stops by the JW Thomas Group tent to promote his delicious wine.)
Finally, it was time. The moment we’d all been waiting for: No Doubt closing out the night (and the weekend) on the main stage. By this time, I was beyond tired of standing (my feet ached in ways it still hurts to talk about) and even more so of the crowd in general, (leave me alone, I’m an introvert!) but I didn’t care. How often does one get to see Gwen and the gang in your own backyard? While bestie danced the whole set away and enjoyed herself immensely, I preferred to sit and let the music wash over me. Either way, we both had a great time. Here’s the set list:
“It’s My Life”
“Underneath it All”
“Ex-Girlfriend” (my personal favorite of their set)
“Simple Kind of Life” (this one still makes me swoon every time)
“Excuse Me Mr.”
“Bathwater” (this song is kind of gross and utterly fantastic)
“Just a Girl” (which made me feel like I could explode with all the excitement and energy, it takes me right back to my senior year of high school & really made the night for me)
After a very brief break, they were back for a quick two-song encore, consisting of “Push and Shove” and “Spiderwebs,” which ranked just about as high as “Just a Girl” in terms of equal parts reminiscence and contagious energy. No Doubt did not disappoint; they were the perfect end to yet another fantastic BottleRock Napa Valley festival. I already can’t wait for next year – who’s with me?