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BottleRock 2017

Hard times make music better

BottleRock music festival has been held in Napa for the last five years and it’s damn fancy. It’s something I’ve been trying to get to for years, but unfortunately 2017 came around a difficult time. My girlfriend’s friend had recently passed away. We missed Friday, but thought it would be good to get into a different space for the long Memorial weekend.

We may not have had the time of our life in Napa, where it’s held, but it helped take us away from our typical routine. It gave us a chance to take a breath. Festivals aim to give you the best experience possible and to some extent usually pull it off, but more importantly they’re the place to see people at their best. A getaway filled with music, food and wine. And that’s exactly what we needed.

Saturday was a little rough. Trying to get a hold of where everything was and get our head out of anything too deep. Sunday we got our bearings and had someone special I wanted her to see. Fifteen minutes into Charles Bradley’s set and he had her balling. I was tearing up too. Bradley has a voice even our father’s appreciate, something that connects us all, that makes the deepness feel more full, especially in sadness. He made the weekend and took our mind into the moment instead of worrying about everything else.

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Upstream Music Fest + Summit, 2017

Seattle supports local music scenes

Upstream’s first year was focused on educating the Seattle music scene about how technology & community are helping drive better business in music. And also gave them a place to show off their skills live. Upstream’s potential is educating other local scenes by recording the panels and making an effort to distribute them online. In turn driving more people in the music industry to come, so they can in turn see what’s happening in Seattle and other local music scenes.

We did find plenty of musicians this year coming from other local scenes to perform. My hometown Minneapolis had quite a few I adore, but I really only went for one local Seattle musician. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Gabriel Teodros play while I was there, but I did get to watch his panel during the summit. After, I introduced myself and had the chance to tell Gabriel how his music has affected my life and the blog. He recognized Silence Nogood’s name (I hate saying it in public), but when I got back I had to look up the brief conversations we had over the years. There were some gems.

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SXSW 2017

100,000 steps later

Austin’s Sixth Street is where the main action happens at SXSW by night, along with Rainey St. I walked between the two and the Austin Convention Center in total of 25 miles over the four days. I was wrecked by the end, especially my feet, but I had plenty of stories to reflect on.

Covering big festivals can be stressful at the start. Making sure everything is booked and packed. The red-eye flight there. Figuring out the plan during the festival. But most of all the pressure to find a good story, and get it on paper.

It’s good stress that’s both invigorating and inspiring. Whether you’re there for work or fun, the key is to keep an open mind & heart. There’s always a story to tell, so don’t stress the good stuff.

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BADBADNOTGOOD at The Fillmore

Noise Pop Festival's 2017 Show to See

Besides the musicians it books, the historic Fillmore in SF is known for its free apples and posters. You can have as many apples as you’d like, but not every show comes with a poster at the end of the night. I talked with one of the coordinators there and she told me that sold out shows and any of the bigger names will get a custom made poster for all attendees.

I’ve gotten three posters so far. My first was at Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, then a few months later at The Knocks, and finally for Noise Pop Festival’s 2017 show to see, BADBADNOTGOOD.

I still can’t believe how well a jazz band could rock. BADBADNOTGOOD is known for their low-key instrumental playfulness, and while that dominated the show, it got real rowdy at its peaks, especially towards the end.

Their music isn’t all jazz though. Their experimentation in electronic with jazz is among the best playing now. They had a collaboration with Ghostfast Killa a few years back. And they also recently teamed up with Kaytranada & Goldlink for the best dance song of 2016.

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The Last Ever Treasure Island Music Festival

The rain couldn't hold down most the performers and crowd

The 10th and final Treasure Island Music Festival was a rainy one. I’ve been to festivals with some showers before, but the rain got many crammed in tents for hours a day, if they could find one, and a few sets were cancelled. People were pissed.

By the second day I saw a long list of people’s complaints on Treasure Island’s Facebook & Twitter. They were selling their tickets for $20 and a hug or bitching about how unprepared the festival was for the storm. The Tunnel stage could barely handle the rain and the grounds should’ve been more accommodating to the conditions. Even the fans knew the rain was coming a week before.

The festival was still something to remember. People concentrate too much on the music and the creature comforts, but forget why we’re really there. To experience something together. If the music gets delayed, all the better to find people to share some stories with.

Let me know if you’ll be at Treasure Island this year. Close it out with us :)

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Symbiosis Gathering 2016

The one thing to bring to a festival

For the second year in a row at Symbiosis I wasn’t prepared.

With camping equipment, the right clothing and food. All the things you should prepare for when your off the grid for a few days. But one thing makes those problems a lot easier to deal with, friends. It’s easy to survive in the city alone, but not out there.

There’s no better place for short bursts of conversation with people than places like Symbiosis. Even the occasional longer, deeper ones and more rare one’s that last past the moment. But there’s one thing that can make finding these connections easier than ever, friends. The more friends you have in your own camp, the more connections you have going around Symbiosis.

It’s hard to get friends there, but it’s much harder to survive & prosper without them.

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Kaaboo Del Mar 2016

+ a playlist with my favorite RAC

I was a big fan of Lenny Kravitz back in middle school. And what I mean is I listened to Fly Away on repeat while playing Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64, and I played that shit often. That’s a fan when you’re 13.

When I saw him on the lineup for Kaaboo, I was pretty set on going, but Jimmy Buffett sold me… My Uncle is one of the biggest Parrotheads on the planet, or at least Minnesota, so I had to see what Jimmy was all about.

Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Buffett weren’t the only two the lineup had to offer. Kaaboo 2016’s long list of talent stretches from Hall & Oates and Macy Gray to Aerosmith and Ludacris, none of which played together.

The comedy was right up there too, but there was one thing missing for me. The electronic acts. My almost perfect lineup was about 20 miles South of Kaaboo, one year ago in San Diego at CRSSD fest, and this electronic lineup looked nothing like it.

There was one producer I wanted to see. Even though he produces a lot of pop vocals that aren’t for me, with over three hundred tracks on SoundCloud, RAC had a handful that I liked, especially that Zee Avi remix. Beautiful voice.

Outside Lands 2016

Only one thing comes before the music

Outside Lands 2016 hosted my long awaited show from The Knocks. I had a run in with one of the members, Patts, on my blog almost six years ago and it was a major influence for what I do on here now.

He didn’t like what I had to say about Chiddy Bang’s remix of The Knocks ‘Dancing With the DJ’ and told me “if you don’t like it don’t post it.” I get what he was saying and as much as I stand by my words, I haven’t posted a single track I haven’t liked since (maybe one). I don’t give a fuck about music I don’t like (fuck might be a little harsh).

Their performance may not have been the highlight of OSL (he’s next), but it was so much fun to party with The Knocks & friends in the sun at Golden Gate Park. And they played all the hits, ‘Comfortable’ being one of my favorite dance songs of all time.

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Mamby, on the Beach, in Chicago

Finally got to see Kaytranada and Mayer Hawthorne

Kaytranada ditched out on me and the rest of the crowd in two different locations. Once opening for Disclosure at The Greek in Berkeley and the other this past year at Symbiosis. Finally, I got to see him live at Mamby, the festival’s second year on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

My expectations weren’t too high for Kay. My favorite producers DJing live haven’t been anything phenomenal at festivals in the past and going in with high expectations is a recipe for disaster (see Mayer Hawthorne). However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well he kept the crowd bouncing.

Bass is what gets people moving. I’ve seen plenty of it, but Kaytranada live was the most stark example. When the bass wasn’t bumping the people weren’t bouncing. Get that signature kick in there and Kaytranda has the crowd in a jig. Guess this is why house music and its many iterations are what we love to dance to most. Except Bill Withers, of course (soul music) […]

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Live 105’s BFD 2016

How bad music got me a good woman

First off, these festivals with acronyms for names leave little to the imagination, which doesn’t make it easy to remember. I got BFD mixed up with TBD with the promoter and I feel like a dipshit. As I should. Always good to start off with a little humility.

BFD, or as I recently found out its full name, Big Fucking Day, leaves a lot more to the imagination and is Live 105’s annual summer festival at the Shoreline in Mountain View. The show had three stages this year: the main stage, one for local bands and a tent for the electronic acts. Of course I was there for The Offspring, not really, I was there to see TOKi. And Joywave.

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