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Happy accidents: BottleRock 2014 recap

The Cure.BottleRock Napa Valley 2014
The Cure.BottleRock Napa Valley 2014
Kenneth Fish

After three days of some of the best food (BaconBaconSF), wine (Ceja), and music (Mexican Institute of Sound) of any festival anywhere, BottleRock Napa has come to a close and downtown Napa has settled back into its normal routine of locals and tourists enjoying all that Napa has to offer. Despite what has been called a quirky line up of artists, the entire festival, from my perspective, anyhow, was a total and rollicking success. Check out the series of happy accidents that made this year’s BottleRock so much fun for yours truly.

With open arms.
Kenneth Fish

Day 1

My trip to the Food Truck Rodeo ended up being one of the happiest surprises of the entire festival. This was so much the case that over the course of 3 days I got food from the BaconBaconSF food truck four times. Upon approaching the big black truck, it became immediately apparent what it was I was going to be stuffing into my face: Porky Fries. The mix of crispy fries, pulled pork, pork belly chunks, and bacon with fresh herbs, Parmesan and mildly spicy red peppers is simply one of the best things I have ever eaten. The fatty goodness of the pork is nicely balanced with the mild heat of the peppers and fresh herbs and there’s just enough sauce from the pulled pork to pull the whole thing together into one incredible dish.

Also, The Cure threw down an amazing show that totally brought me back to my teenage days and the neverending search for a color darker than black. Matisyahu, described by one concert-goer as the “Jewish rapper with the Japanese name,” was the musical happy accident of the day with his downright irie delivery of slow-groove reggae being a great way to ease into three days of BottleRock festivities.

Day 2

Instead of sticking to a fixed schedule, I decided to throw caution to the wind and wing it, and I’m really glad I did. This made it possible for me to start my day with more Porky Fries and then to see San Francisco-based The Soft White Sixties, Sacramento-based Autumn Sky, Napa-based The Deadlies, and Los Angeles-based No Age before being absolutely blown away by De La Soul’s performance over on the Miner Family Winery Stage. Sometimes faith in fate is all it takes to have a good time.

Day 3

Thee Oh Sees hit the Toshiba Stage at 1:15 in the afternoon and proceeded to make the crowd question reality. This San Francisco-based four-piece know how to make some serious noise while delivering tight, almost jazz-like, post-punk, noise-rock at a blistering pace. It must be mentioned that having them play on gigantic main stage early in the day did seem a bit odd, but that decision did make it so there was plenty of room for those in attendance to rock out as hard as they wanted to, and by the end of the first song a fan-friendly frenzy had begun.

If you’ve never heard of the Mexican Institute of Sound, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with them. They are incredible to hear and watch, and they are super fun, to boot. Their set was arranged to elicit maximum joy from the audience, and frontman, Camilo Lara, made sure everyone was up, dancing, and having a good time by encouraging somewhat of a dance-off between the two sides of the audience. Great stuff from another band I’ve never heard of.

For more information about BottleRock Napa Valley, visit the website to join the mailing list, join the conversation on Facebook at Rock Napa Valley, or follow them on Twitter at, #brnv #brnv14.

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