Editors: Shay Mehr, Spencer vonHershman, & Kenneth Oravetz
Contributors: Alex Siegers, Anne Trinh, Esha Suri, Kyle Roe, & Adriana Aguilar
Do you like live music? Do you find sanctuary in yoga and spiritual healing? Do you want to woogie down? After generating sterling word of mouth from last year’s festivities, Lightning in a Bottle, in Bradley, California, will be here for three days of good vibes, good music, and good people on Memorial Day weekend. Sure, you may not have heard of all of the acts on this year’s lineup, but have no fear: KCSB has your back! Here are some highlights.
Whilk and Misky There isn’t much talk out in the internet-osphere about what to expect from Whilk and Misky’s live show, but if the other bands emerging from the streets from London are anything to go by, these guys will be good. Whilk and Misky fuse electronica with folk or blues, sometimes both, to create a delicious world of experimental folktronica. The pair introduce themselves on first-name-only basis, edgy enough to earn them some street cred, but friendly enough to make their music approachable to your average festival-goer. In short: Charlie provides the vocals while Nima strums the guitar; Charlie brings the soul and Nima the techno. Their Twitter tag lines tells us to “just keep smiling”, and with their tunes pumping in the background, you can’t help but bop your head along and do just that. (Alex Siegers)
Pimps of Joytime The Pimps of Joytime, hailing from Brooklyn and New Orleans, cross the boundaries between soul, funk, Latin jazz, blues, and jam band reverie with virtuosic ease. Known more for their countless major festival appearances than their studio albums, although 2011’s Janxta Funk! is particularly engaging and funky, the group’s songs are a collaborative effort where no one musician hogs the spotlight. Instead, they all bring their unique personalities and playing styles to the table as an eclectic, multifaceted whole. Their music’s lively, infectious inventiveness is perfect for starting the party off early and right. (Kyle Roe)
RAURY One of the most hyped names on the Lightning In A Bottle line up has to be Raury. His music has been described as eclectic folk-rap, and his presence on stage from androgynous and playful, to totally chaotic. A lot of the tunes on his latest album All We Need explore themes of unity, love and the impending Armageddon, and his music video for God’s Whisper paints a picture of a world of hedonistic hippies – perfect for the that dreamy festival daze. Fun fact: Kanye West was so moved by Raury’s sense for composition and a knack for ambiguity that after seeing the God’s Whisper music video he flew Raury to Los Angeles to meet him.(Alex Siegers)
The Russ Liquid Test The Russ Liquid Test is a live performance project formed by Russell Scott, better known as Russ Liquid, whose sets have frequented many past festivals such as Snowglobe, Coachella, Electric Forest. The band itself is an ensemble of jazz musicians, including Russ on the trumpet, mixed with electronic beats to create a soundscape that’s fresh yet orchestrative. Don’t miss Russ Liquid’s New Orleans roots coupled with heavy bass and bumping at the Lightning Stage. (Anne Trinh)
Ibeyi Ibeyi is the interconnected, cultural masterpiece of two twin sisters, Lisa Kainde and Naomi Diaz. Their harmonized, wide ranged vocals stand out amongst minimalistic beats with intermittent multi-instrumental solos. Their self-titled LP draws from jazz, electro, soul, and the sisters’ Cuban and Yoruban roots musically and lyrically. Listening to their album brings about feelings of unity for the listener due to the vast expanse of influences obvious in Ibeyi’s music, which will contribute seamlessly to the energy and goal of Lightning in a Bottle. Lyrically focused on opening oneself up to the experiences and magic in the world despite struggles, Ibeyi’s intricate, elegantly put together songs serenade every listener and are bound to unify the diverse audience of this year’s festival through the magical force that is beautiful music. (Esha Suri)
Lucent Dossier Experience Amongst an enormously popular main stage lineup for this year’s festival lays one secret gem- the Lucent Dossier Experience. Greatly contrasting the choppy cuts that characterize most electronic music, the Lucent Dossier Experience only uses electronic cuts to accentuate the smoothness of instruments’ natural sound. Overall, this creates a calming, trance-like mood that still has aspects of intrigue. Their sound would best be comparable to meditating at a secluded waterfall in a light-saber enthusiastic, alien world. The band’s newest album, Light of the World, shows great improvement in using electronic effects to amplify, rather than take over the music as compared to their first album. With the huge platform of Lightning in a Bottle, the Lucent Dossier Experience is bound to blow our minds and create a spectacular world for festival goers to escape into. (Esha Suri)
Grimes Headlining the Lightning Stage at this year’s fest will be Grimes. With her feminist activism in the media to her self-produced, experimental music, Grimes is sure to leave the crowd feeling empowered at this year’s transformational festival. First emerging on the music scene in 2010 with her album Geidi Primes, she’s gone on to produce more music while continuing to learn about herself and her musical style along the way. She has referred to her music as “ADD music” because she constantly changes her musical styles and genres whenever she feels the inspiration to do so. Art Angels, released in November of 2015, is Grimes’s most recent album and has been acclaimed as one of 2015’s best albums. It comes as no surprise that Grimes is a headliner for Lightning in a Bottle, as she is a progressive and powerful artist whose energetic stage presence will leave a mark as one of the Lightning Stage’s most memorable performances of 2016. (Adriana Aguilar)
Jamie xx London producer Jamie xx, former member of minimalist indie pop band The xx, has reinvented himself as one of electronic music’s most exciting new prospects. His newest album, 2015’s In Colour, takes this minimalism in a bold new direction, combining the disarmingly simple hooks of house music with complex drum patterns and cavernous bass and harmonies. The result is an album that is both loud and restrained, smart and bombastic, and translates on stage as euphoric and dancefloor-friendly to indieheads and EDM-lovers alike. (Kyle Roe)
Tokimonsta California native Tokimonsta is performing at this year’s Thunder Stage where headliner RL Grime hit the stage last year. With her new single I’m Waiting released in January of this year, Tokimonsta is an artist to watch at this year’s LIB. Her passion for hip hop and eclectic music fuses to create a unique sound which brought a sold-out crowd to Santa Barbara’s SoHo Restaurant and Nightclub this winter. With hard hitting beats, Tokimonsta knows how to make a crowd uncontrollably dance. Ranked as the “#1 female DJ in Los Angeles,” Tokimonsta is sure to excite. (Adriana Aguilar)
Four Tet Four Tet, the stage name of English electronic musician Kieran Hebdan, creates electronic beats infused with a style that resonates like no other artist. His work is complex and contains a multitude of layers, so much so that you might even think you’re listening to several songs at once, a clusterfuck of noise, a cacophony of electronic sounds. However, if you indeed thought that, you would be wrong. If anyone can take a discordant menagerie of exotic sounds and make them clean, crisp, and cohesive through and through, it’s Four Tet. You’re sure to hear some tracks from his latest album, Morning/Evening, as well as some classics as you woogie down at this year’s Woogie Tent. (Anne Trinh)
Showcasing artists with a knack for creativity and experimentation regardless of their genre, this year’s Lightning in a Bottle Festival surely has many sets that die-hard fans or casual listeners can all enjoy. After you’ve soaked in all that Lightning in a Bottle has to offer, come back to kcsb.org for a review of this year’s festivities.