Festival season is in full swing and this Memorial Day weekend boasts some of the best line-ups of the entire year. From coast to coast, artists are gathering to help us kick off the summer right! Up north, Sasquatch is giving the PNW a run for their money. On the East Coast, EDCNY will be electrifying MetLife Stadium. But right here in California, we have something special of our very own.
The Do Lab are long-time Coachella favorites and this weekend, they are bringing their unique brand of merry-making to Bradley, CA for this year’s iteration of Lightning in a Bottle – a transformational music, art and culture event. In addition to the most fire line-up this side of the Rocky Mountains, Lightning in a Bottle features yoga classes, guest speakers, interactive art installations and a metric s***-ton of good vibes.
Always boasting the cream of the electronic and synth-pop crop, LIB is one of the festival world’s best-kept secrets (not for long though). This is my first year I’ve been able to finagle the time off to join the party, and the anticipation is QUITE LITERALLY KILLING ME. It wouldn’t be a festival without a LIVE music blog breakdown, so without any further ado – here are our Top 10 Can’t Miss Sets at LIB 2015.
10. G Jones
Saturday, 8:00-9:30pm @ Thunder Stage
Cali’s own Greg Jones has been wubbing his way into our hearts over the past few years but we’ve never had the opportunity to catch him live. His sound is oozing with West Coast swag – heavy as hell but still dynamic and interesting. He caught Bassnectar’s attention recently and was resultantly featured on the epic NVSB remix album. Check out his amazing set from LA’s Low End Theory last year below to get an idea of what you’re in for.
9. Zion I
Sunday, 6:00-7:30pm @ Lightning Stage
Another Bassnectar favorite, these Oakland natives are no stranger to the festival circuit. They’ve been in the game for close to 20 years at this point, and over the years they have learned exactly what their audience wants. Their spitfire brand of hip-hop is sharp and rhythmic – perfectly constructed to flow on top of hefty electronic beats. These hip-hop legends will provide a “breath of fresh air” (so to speak) in the middle of an otherwise pretty much exclusively electronic environment. Here is one of my favorite Bassnectar x Zion I tracks to get you ready.
Friday, 9:30-11:00pm @ Thunder Stage
This psychedelic-dub pioneer is best known for his collaborations with Simon Posford (Shpongle/Hallucinogen), but his solo show is a beast of it’s own. Groovy and sensual, Ott slows things and sexes them up. His unassuming stage presence is juxtaposed with the heavyweight nature of his sound. Like the heaviest heavyweight of all time. He isn’t as track-driven as most of the producers out there these days, rather he explores the environment and experience and builds his sets based on that. With colorful visual production and a nighttime set, this will prove to be one of the most beautiful moments of the entire weekend.
Saturday, 9:15-10:45pm @ Lightning Stage
Over the past year, LA-based producer Josh Legg aka Goldroom has produced some of our favorite feel-good electro. Focusing on melodic samples and rich, diverse layers rhythm, his songs are romantic dance floor-ready anthems. With echoes of disco and soul, there is something nostalgic about these tracks. Legg debuted a live band at SXSW this year, so we’re obviously very intrigued with that. With a 9:15pm set, he’ll be playing later than we’ve ever seen him – we’re excited to see what he brings to the night.
6. Shiba San
Sunday, 8:00-10:00pm @ The Woogie Stage
The true identity of the mysterious Shiba San has been kept under wraps during his quick-fire rise over the past year but we do know that he’s been producing in the French industry for over 15 years. His deep/ghetto house sound has been nothing short of infectious – sweeping airwaves and festival stages alike. He will provide a much needed jolt of energy as LIB enters it’s final evening on Sunday night. If you haven’t heard this track before, you’ve likely been living under a rock/in North Korea.
5. Opiuo Band
Saturday, 11:20-12:35pm @ Thunder Stage
If you haven’t been closely following Opiuo for the past 5 years, you’ve been doing life wrong. The first time I heard Opiuo’s “Robo Booty”, it was nothing short of a reveltation. His crunchy, funk-driven beats hit hard and showcase impressive musicality. He’s often surrounded by drum machines and synths, but our boy is all grown up now – he’s bringing a world-class live band with him this tour and we’re besides ourselves with excitement. Honestly there aren’t enough words to express how VITAL it is that you don’t miss a single second of this set. Opiuo out here changing the world #prayerhandsemoji.
Friday, 7:20-8:35pm @ Lightning Stage
And now for something completely different! English songwriter/producer Christopher Taylor is a bit of an enigma. After dissolving Trouble Over Tokyo, he reinvented himself as SOHN – a project that has been met with immense popular and critical acclaim alike. Layering dark sonic landscapes and looped vocal refrains, he creates something chilling and beautiful. There is something haunting and James Blake-ish about this music. That being said – it moves and grooves. He also produces for huge names such as Banks, Lana Del Rey and Rhye. It’s an interesting pick for sunset at the main stage on the first night, but we’re sure it will be absolutely breathtaking.
Sunday, 7:00-8:00pm @ Thunder Stage
For us, 2014 was The Year of The Snakehips. The melodies are memorable. The production is excellent. This UK duo has grooved their way into the hearts and minds of the electronic industry while managing to keep a pretty low profile. No matter – we’re here for the music. Their first single “On & On” reached the iTunes Top 15 Electronic Charts and ever since then, they’ve been churning out soulful hits and intoxicating synth tracks. They opened one of the days of SnowGlobe in Tahoe over NYE, but it was so god damn frigid that we physically couldn’t force ourselves out of the cabin in time to catch their set. This will be our redemption.
Friday, 7:20-8:35pm @ Lightning Stage
At long last, this unlikely collaboration is coming to a live stage. Comprised of LA-based vocalist and Kelsey Bulkin and Seattle-hero Sabzi (of Blue Scholars and Das Racist fame), Made In Heights has a sound that is all their own. There is something reminiscent of Sylan Esso – but its weirder. There’s a sharpened hip-hop edge from Sabzi, but a soft, angelic tone from Kelsey. We’ve had their sophomore album on repeat since it was released on Tuesday and we COULD NOT be more excited to see them bring it to life. DO. NOT. SLEEP. ON. THEM.
1. RL Grime
Sunday, 12:30-2:00am @ Thunder Stage
This has been a massive year of LA’s golden boy Henry Steinway. 2014 saw the release of his debut studio album, Void – which was a loud, gritty masterpiece from start to finish. (It’s still hard to believe that was his first album, he’s been a household name for electronic fans for years.) At this point, we’re used to him slaying massive festival stages left and right – but this show will be something new and unique. It’s a smaller setting and a different vibe. Flume, Odesza and SBTRKT are obviously f***ing phenomenal – but this is the headliner that is really lighting our fire. With an amazing Void remix album recently released, we can’t wait to see what Steinway has in store. Here is Wuki’s take on one of Void’s best tracks: