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Start of Something Big

BottleRock descends upon the tiny town of Napa



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This is only a select list. For full lineup, see

The Black Keys

What You Need to Know The duo once recorded an album inside an old rubber tire factory in their hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Song You Hope They'll Play "Keep Your Hands Off Her," a Junior Kimbrough cover.

From the Gossip Pages In 2011, drummer Patrick Carney's ex-wife wrote "Snapshots from a Rock 'N' Roll Marriage," about the couple's tumultuous marriage and eventual split.

Alabama Shakes

What You Need to Know Just see them. Then you'll know.

Song You Hope They'll Play "Hold On," which blows away the Wilson Phillips song of the same name by miles.

Let's Compare! Singer Brittany Howard gets the Janis Joplin comparison on an hourly basis, but she's far more reliable live.


What You Need to Know Primus is led by the best damn rock bassist in the world. Even folks in the pit will stop at one point to gawk at the thunderous pounding and plucking of Les Claypool's mindboggling fingers.

Song You Hope They'll Play An incredible claymation video for "Southbound Pachyderm" was made in 1995, involving a kidnapped elephant and an evil dictator. Hopefully, they'll show the video, too.

Join in the Chant Fans routinely chant "Primus sucks!" at their shows. It's a term of endearment.

Kings of Leon

What You Need to Know In 2010, the Kings cut their set short in St. Louis because a flock of pigeons decided to shit all over the band.

Song You Hope They'll Play "Taper Jean Girl," the last song the band played while pigeons were shitting all over them.

What Could Go Wrong Napa has even bigger pigeons than St. Louis.

Dirty Projectors

What You Need to Know This hip group uses a lot of electronic sounds on record and recreates them live almost perfectly.

Song You Hope They'll Play The badass rhythm, powerful yet sweet female vocals and sweet ear candy guitar parts of "Stillness Is the Move" are groove-inducing.

You Should Bring Dancing shoes, tight pants, dark sunglasses and a goatskin pouch.

Best Coast

What You Need to Know It's as if this band were cryogenically frozen in 1994 and thawed out a couple years ago to teach overproduced hipster bands a lesson. And they don't even know how to use the "three seashells."

Song You Hope They'll Play "When I'm with You," the saddest happy song you'll hear all day.

Surf's Up Best Coast is often categorized as surf rock, which is odd considering they don't surf and their music has nothing to do with the sport. Don't be fooled.


Café Tacuba

What You Need to Know They're one of the biggest bands in Latin America and won three Grammy awards for their last album.

Song You Hope They'll Play That haunting acoustic version of "Maria," about a beautiful ghost that roams the city at night. And "Chilanga Banda"; Mexico City is famous for its slang dialect that almost no one can understand—and the band put every single catcall and cussword in existence into this rowdy crowd inciter.

What You'll See Lots of spastic jumping around, Spanish-speakers belting out the lyrics and maybe some artist-inspired communal hugging.

Dwight Yoakam

What You Need to Know The baddest honky-tonker to ever pull a ten-gallon hat over his eyes.

Song You Hope He'll Play "Little Ways."

Watch Your Back, Though An occasional actor, Yoakam played an abusive boyfriend in Sling Blade and a psychopathic killer in Panic Room.

Richard Thompson

What You Need to Know He once recorded an album, 1,000 Years of Popular Music, spanning traditional songs from 1068 to Britney Spears.

Song You Hope He'll Play "1952 Black Vincent Lightning" is as technically thrilling as it is emotionally moving.

As a Laddie Thompson was born in Notting Hill, before the movie of the same name and before the neighborhood got all fancy-schmancy.

Justin Townes Earle

What You Need to Know Steve Earle is his pops; Townes van Zandt is his namesake.

Song You Hope He'll Play "Harlem River Blues," with its catchy chorus of "Tonight I'm going uptown to the Harlem River to drown," is sure to be crowd-pleaser.

What Could Go Wrong The dapper singer-songwriter always looks impeccable, but in front of such a large crowd, in the heat, it's hard not to wonder if the hair gel will run or bow-tie go askew.

Iron and Wine

What You Need to Know Lead singer Samuel Beam is not related to Jim Beam; his band name comes from a dietary supplement; and his cover of "Such Great Heights" was the wedding song for a certain Bohemian staff writer.

Song You Hope They'll Play "Sodom, South Georgia" once inspired said Bohemian staff writer to take a road trip through the Peach State until she realized it wasn't a real place. It's desolate and hopeful and heartbreaking enough to be real.

Watch the Crowd For White people drinking Jim Beam and crying like fools.

Violent Femmes

What You Need to Know Started busking in Milwaukee and hit college radio with "Blister in the Sun," featuring the most recognizable bass line from the 1980s.

Song You Hope They'll Play "Never Tell," a hypnotic minor-key dirge that the band inhabits and completely transforms live.

So Happy Together Singer Gordon Gano broke up the band by selling "Blister in the Sun" to Wendy's against band mates' wishes; they recently kissed and made up.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

What You Need to Know They perfected their magnificent guitar skills playing in a thrash metal band in Mexico City before moving to Europe.

Song You Hope They'll Play A medley of Metallica and Slayer covers mixed in with "Stairway to Heaven," and the original flamenco-inspired "Tamacun."

Viva Obama! They were invited to play at the White House when the Obamas hosted the president of Mexico.


What You Need to Know John Doe once punched out a guy at a party in L.A. for making moves on his then-wife, singer Exene Cervenka.

Song You Hope They'll Play "The Hungry Wolf," a driving beast of a song.

Is He a Statue? Guitarist Billy Zoom tends to stand immobile on stage, legs spread, strumming and smiling calmly.

Girls & Boys

What You Need to Know These Sonoma County darlings were crowed Best Indie Band at the 2012 NorBay Music Awards.

Song You Hope They'll Play The heart-wrenching tribute to local guitar legend Johnny Downer, "Johnny's Song," which might provoke a few tears in the crowd.

Why They Are Awesome Because only a handful of local artists were selected to perform on the BottleRock stages.


Sharon Van Etten

What You Need to Know Last year's album, Tramp, keeps making new converts.

Song You Hope She'll Play "I'm Wrong," which builds in emotional intensity to inexplicable, joyful terror.

The Page Factor It's not unusual to see her backing band playing their guitars with violin bows.

Carolina Chocolate Drops

What You Need to Know One of their members actually, legitimately plays a jug.

Song You Hope They'll Play Although most of their numbers are based on traditional roots music from the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina, they do a mean cover of "Hit 'Em Up Style."

Watch the Crowd For Tweens wanting to hear that one song from The Hunger Games soundtrack.

Joan Jett

What You Need to Know Known as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Jett was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Song You Hope She'll Play "Bad Reputation" is the anthem for justifying unladylike behavior of females everywhere.

Watch Out For Lake County biker chicks pummeling frat boys.

This is only a partial list of bands—for full lineup, see Especially make sure to check out the WildCat local band stage inside the festival.

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