Even Steph Curry digs BottleRock Napa Valley
The basketball megastar — who leads the Golden State Warriors against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals beginning next week — was out enjoying himself as the three-day event kicked off Friday at the Napa Valley Expo in downtown Napa.
Curry was one of 120,000-plus people who are expected to turn out during the course of this fifth annual BottleRock, which continues through Sunday.
Curry’s appearance was the big buzz of Day One, drawing chants of “MVP! MVP!” from the crowd as he made a surprise appearance onstage while wife Ayesha Curry participated in a cooking demonstration on the festival’s culinary stage. Bay Area rap icon E-40 was also on hand.
The event further underscores how this festival’s stock is soaring right now. Everybody wants to be part of BottleRock, including one of the Bay Area’s most beloved athletes of all time.
Talk about an amazing turnaround for a festival that was once on life support after running into massive financial woes following the first year (2013). Since then, however, organizers have continued to make all the right decisions, improving the fan experience with each outing.
This year is shaping up to be another success story for BottleRock, which was recently acquired by international concert promoter Live Nation. It sold out in record time, months before the festival was actually set to take place.
The lion’s share of that credit, of course, goes to the high-powered lineup, featuring such popular/talented acts as the Foo Fighters — who on May 26 played a surprise set for 150 people at the Blue Note club in downtown Napa — Maroon 5, Modest Mouse, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mavis Staples, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Fitz and the Tantrums, Warren G and Silversun Pickups.
Yet, it also has a lot to do with fans getting to know and trust this festival, believing that their ticket — or, to be more accurate, wristband — secures them a certain kind of upscale concert experience. That’s what the BottleRock brand has come to mean.
Friday proved to be a solid opening day, with some 30 musical acts performing on four stages.
The main stage headliner was Maroon 5, which thrilled the crowd with its seemingly endless stable of pop-rock hits. The Grammy-winning Los Angeles act — led by singer and TV’s “The Voice” star Adam Levine — also mustered an interesting cover of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”
But it was hard to stay in one spot for too long on Friday, since there was so much going down on multiple stages. At one point, for instance, fans were forced with the choice between Maroon 5, hip-hop icon Warren G, New Orleans R&B/funk outfit Galactic and alt-rock heroes Modest Mouse — all of which had overlapping set times.
Those who picked Modest Mouse certainly made a solid selection. The Pacific Northwest act, best known for 2004’s platinum-certified “Good News for People Who Love Bad News,” was downright ferocious on this night, roughing up their songs in all the right ways.
Isaac Brock, the leader of the Mouse club, ranted and raved like a man possessed as he sped through such numbers as “Tiny City Made of Ashes” from the essential 2000 outing “The Moon & Antarctica.”
One of the day’s other true standout sets came courtesy of Silversun Pickups, the Los Angeles outfit that has delivered four full-length albums since forming in the early 2000s. Bandleader Brian Aubert sounded phenomenal as he delivered one buzzsaw guitar lead after another on “Panic Switch,” “Lazy Eye” and other cuts.
It was also fun to hear hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis relive some of their past glories, especially the shout-along “Thrift Shop.”
One of the lesser-known bands to make a strong impression was The Staves, an English sister act consisting of Jessica, Camilla and Emily Staveley-Taylor. The trio are recommended for indie-folk fans that enjoy sparkling vocal harmonies.
Of course, there’s far more than just music at this festival. BottleRock is also well stocked with food and drink from around Napa Valley. Plus, the culinary stage has become a major attraction, drawing huge crowds to watch chefs and rock stars and other celebrities combine forces on cooking demonstrations.
Besides Ayesha Curry and E-40, other pairings at this year’s BottleRock included Adam Richman and Warren G and Martha Stewart with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
The fifth annual BottleRock is set to continue Sunday, with such popular acts as the Foo Fighters, Band of Horses and the Roots due to perform.