Overall Experience: I have been to numerous large scale music festivals in my life, and before the second day of Lightning in a Bottle was complete, I knew that this one was very possibly my new favorite. This was an especially incredible realization for me considering that the lineup was not even close to being the best I’ve seen at other multi-day festivals. Looking back, I know now that it was the atmosphere and overall experience of the weekend that caused me to fall in love with LIB. From the moment I arrived, there was so much to do and see everywhere around me. From incredible art exhibits to mind expanding public speakers, and of course the plethora of stellar musical artists, Lightning in a Bottle had something for everyone at all times. LIB festival goers had a particular happiness and helpfulness that brought everyone together in what felt like a giant, loving community.
Shortly after arriving, two strangers offered me to help carry my bags and tent almost all the way from the parking lot to my camp ground without me even asking them. The neighbors I shared my camp ground with were also extremely friendly, sharing food and materials throughout the entire weekend. One of my favorite aspects of the festival was all of the different speakers. I was able to learn a lot about social entrepreneurship, healthy sleep cycles, and even festival law. Everywhere you looked there was stunning art work from dozens of different famous artists, filling the festival grounds with a colorful well of beauty. The main reason I go to festivals like this one though is for the music, and LIB knew exactly how to cater to the music lover in me. All three of the stages were beautifully set up in a way that was incredibly visually appealing. Each stage also had colorful canopies covering the audience to protect us from the scorching sun. It felt like I arrived, blinked, and then it was Monday morning and I was packing up my things and getting ready to go because it all just happened so quickly. Leaving the festival grounds Monday morning, I already knew deep within my heart that there is no question that I will be returning to Lightning in a Bottle again next year and would wholeheartedly recommend that you do as well!
Tasty Treat: Hailing from my hometown of San Luis Obispo, this was one of the acts that I was most excited to see! John Smith and Devon Hardy combine to make this stellar future bass group that has been quickly gaining a lot of popularity. They recently performed at Coachella, and are often headlining individual shows all over California. They were the first performance I saw on Friday, and I couldn’t be happier with the way my weekend started! When I arrived at the Thunder Stage where they were performing, they were playing the recently released Wuki remix of RL Grime’s “Kingpin ft. Big Sean”. Looking down from the stage, the atmosphere in the crowd was electric, especially considering their set time was from 4-5:15pm. This was the third time I had seen Tasty Treat perform and it was undoubtedly my favorite of the three. Overall their set was absolutely incredible and only increased my fandom of the group.
Thomas Jack: This Australian tropical house producer was allotted an entire two hour set on what many considered to be the best stage of all, The Woogie, and oh boy… did he deliver! DJing from inside the treehouse stage which was The Woogie, Thomas Jack had the entire audience in a euphoric trance throughout his whole set, dropping one blissful tune after another. My favorite song of his is one of his original releases titled “Booka Shake” which he dropped about half way through his set. When the simplistic, heavy hitting dance track dropped, you could visibly see the entire crowd pick up a lot of intensity in their dance moves. As the sun set over the campgrounds on the first night, the beauty and excitement was off the charts as he spun his tracks one by one. There was a joyous lull over the entire crowd almost throughout the whole set, leaving many people speechless and begging for more when his set finally ended. After his set was over I was able to share a few words with him backstage. I told him that I loved all of his tropical house, but also really appreciated how he has been trying to branch out lately into other sub genres. He looked at me with an enormously grateful look in his eyes and thanked me from the bottom of his heart.
Griz: This was most likely my favorite set of the entire weekend! It was my second time seeing Grant Kwiecinski, also known as Griz, perform. Griz closed out the night on the Thunder Stage and absolutely blew the crowd away. His extremely unique mixture of live instruments with heavy electronic baselines made for a truly groovy night of dancing. Having just released his debut album “Say It Loud” about four months ago, he had a plethora of new music to choose from, and the crowd seemed to know all of it. About every other song or so he would bring out his saxophone to blast the audience with marvelous rhythms that kept his listeners jumping and moving all around. Towards the end of his set, he brought out his guitarist who often performs with him to play the last few songs. One of the best parts of his set was when he dropped his lead single “Funk Party” from “Say It Loud”. The crowd burst with pleasure and I could see an enormous smile stretch the width of his face at their reaction. My favorite song that he played was actually a Grizmatik song, “Digital Liberation”. I was in the photo booth when it dropped and I had to put away my camera and jump the fence back into the audience in order to dance because I simply could not help it!
Goldroom: Before Lightning in a Bottle, I had only heard of Goldroom, but had never once listened to their music. Originally, I planned to see their set so that I would have a decent spot for Flume, but within the first ten minutes of their performance starting, I was in love. They absolutely blew me away, especially considering I didn’t know a single one of their songs. The electronic band is comprised of three members, the leader being Josh Legg. The whimsical and dancey feel of their music had me feeling light as a feather from beginning to end. Songs of theirs that stood out to me were “Fifteen” and also their remix of Mo’s “Don’t Wanna Dance”, which both had a very dreamy feel to them. Watching their set was a very nice break from all the heavier sets I had been watching previously that weekend.
Flume: Lightning in a Bottle 2015 was Flume’s very first festival in America where he was the true headliner. He stopped the music about 3/4’s of the way through his set to say this. Everyone around me, including myself, was blown away by that considering how big and talented of an artist he is. Harley Streten is a 23 year old Australian producer who has gained an enormous following around the world with amazing tracks such as his remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Courts” and his original track “Sleepless”. He opened his set with his brand new remix of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down”, which caused quite an uproar amongst the audience members. Being on the main stage, his light show and visuals were incredibly colorful and powerful, causing his viewers to be mesmerized throughout his entire set. One of my favorite things about Flume’s live performances is how he plays his songs out almost in entirety from beginning to end. Although this restricts the amount of songs he is able to fit into a set, it allows his listeners to become more enveloped in each and every song that he does chose to play. In late October of 2014, a song was leaked titled “That Look”, which was branded as an unreleased Flume track. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs I have heard in my entire life, and I’ve been dying to hear it live ever since. However just like the last time I saw him, he still did not play it during his set. He did however play his newest original track that he just released, “Some Minds” as well as another new but unreleased track which is said to be collaboration between What So Not and Dillon Francis tentatively titled “Dill’s Mom”. Much to the crowds enjoyment, as his encore, he came back out and played What So Not’s anthem, “Tell Me”, leaving the audience shaking and buzzing from the high induced by his set.
SNBRN: SNBRN was the artist that I was most excited to see coming into the festival, and he still managed to exceed my expectations. His newest track, a remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” has been gaining a ton of popularity amongst avid dance music listeners in the past two weeks since it was released. When he dropped this song early on in his performance, it really set the pace for his entire show. His repetitive but bouncy baselines have become a signature sound that his fans love and crave. The tall, LA native had the entire Thunder Stage crowd bumping and moving throughout the entirety of his performance, kicking up a cloud of dust and busting some funky dance moves. One of his fan favorites is his remix of Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants”, which he dropped about halfway through his set. He closed out his performance with his remix of Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” which had me belting out the lyrics at the top of my voice and dancing like a mad man.
Hermitude: This electronic duo hailing from Sydney, Australia was another group I was highly anticipating coming into the weekend. Directly following SNBRN’s incredible set at the Thunder Stage, they had quite a lofty task of continuing the incredibly euphoric atmosphere of the Sunday Lightning in a Bottle audience members. The duo had an unbelievable set up of live percussion instruments which they were both playing throughout the entire set, keeping the crowd engaged and begging for more, song after song. The highlight of their set for me was when they played their newest original single, “The Buzz”, a heavy hitting future bass track featuring vocals from Mataya and Young Tapz. Towards the end of their performance, they came out in front of the DJ booth, one equipped with an keyboard guitar and the other with a Launchpad, and played a track live for all to see. This display of live instrumentals was extremely appreciated by both myself and everyone around me.
RL Grime: Closing out the weekend of the Thunder Stage, RL Grime had a lot of pressure on him to finish the weekend strong and leave the audience buzzing the rest of the night. That’s exactly what he did. From beginning to end, his set was jam packed with exceedingly high energy, base-blasting tracks which caused the crowd to scream and roar with excitement. Henry Steinway, a young producer from LA, has become the top dog in the trap and bass world, especially since the release of his debut album “Void” in 2014. His set was filled with high-octane, brain-rattling trap anthems that kept coming one after another in a frenzy of filthy base. The highlight of his set for me was when he played his original track “Valhalla”. He closed out his performance with a mashup of his original track “Golden State” mixed with Zhu’s “Faded”, something that has become a bit of a signature sign off for RL Grime. It was the perfect blend of heavy base with the cool melodic lyrics of Zhu’s most famous hit. Overall, RL Grime did not disappoint and was the perfect way to end the weekend.