BottleRock picks: 9 bands you don't want to miss at this year's festival

With big names like Bruno Mars, The Killers, Muse and Snoop Dogg performing at the 2018 BottleRock Napa Valley music festival, it's easy to overlook other artists playing on the bill.

But there are more than 80 artists performing at Wine Country's biggest musical event over the course of three days and like Pokemon, it's hard to “catch them all.”

Here are a few picks you won't want to miss.


If any single female artist on this year's BottleRock lineup should have headlined a night of the three-day fest, it's Halsey and you'll agree after catching her set.

Starting her career as a teen who couch-surfed and had to scrounge together money to split a $1 pizza with friends, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, gained attention overnight after her song “Ghost” went viral on SoundCloud.

Her first full-length album, “Badlands,” was full of unique songs like “Control,” referencing her mind as a deadly disease with poetic lyrics too dark to be considered pop. Yet, Halsey proves it's possible to appeal to mainstream music culture without watering down songs or filtering herself. Her newest album “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” led to sold-out shows at giant venues like Madison Square Garden in New York where she coined her stage name Halsey, after a street in Brooklyn.

Tank And The Bangas

No need to fly to New Orleans for Mardi Gras when Tank and the Bangas bring the funk and soul of New Orleans to Napa Valley.

Since winning the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest out of 6,000 entries, the New Orleans band earned a reputation for being one of the most energetic live bands to watch, and it's not just hype. During live shows, Tank and the Bangas are a powerhouse of goodness.

The Bangas combine R&B, hip-hop and Jazz with a lyrical style of slam poetry that flows seamlessly through songs. A short listen to “Quick,” should leave you with hungering for fresh tunes and needing to see the band in person. Not to mention that vocalist Tarriona “Tank” Ball has a zesty voice spicier than a pot of Louisiana gumbo.

The Wrecks

The Wrecks are a young band without a debut record but have come a long way since secretly recording their first EP while house sitting for a musician with a home studio. For a band who came together in Los Angeles in 2016, The Wrecks have an undeniable stage chemistry that makes it seem as though they've been playing together for a lifetime.

The band's hit single “Favorite Liar” was catchy enough to command a national headline tour and a dedicated street team titled The Robot Army. New songs like “Way With Words” off the band's latest EP “Panic Vertigo” make the perfect soundtrack for a summertime festival.


It's no secret Phantogram has worked with numerous major artists. Singer Sarah Barthel appeared on the album “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” and the duo has even gone as far as recording an entire album as Big Grams with Outkast's Big Boi. While the pair isn't afraid to reach out of its synth roots to take hip-hop for a spin or work with pop queens, at its core, Phantogram has its own sound, and puts on one heck of a show on its own.

Barthel and Josh Carter do more with a guitar and keyboard than you'd ever think possible, for a band consisting of just two people. They'll make you dance with anthems like “You Don't Get Me High Anymore” or classic chill tunes like “When I'm Small.”

Other picks you should catch, in one sentence:

E-40: If you live in the Bay Area and I have to explain why you should see E-40, you should probably just move.

New Politics: Radio hits like “Harlem” or “Tonight You're Perfect” come to life when singer David Boyd does headstands midsong or taps into his past as a part of a member of a touring dance crew.

The Aces: Out of 80 bands, they're the only all-female act and sound like The Go-Go's.

Natalia Lafourcade: She won five Latin Grammys. If that won't make you stop to check out Natalia Lafourcade, I question your life choices.

Watskey: George Watskey raps fast, I'm talking Eminem-fast in the song “Rap God.” See him.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette