Home World BottleRock Napa opens with Stevie Nicks, Megan Thee Stallion

BottleRock Napa opens with Stevie Nicks, Megan Thee Stallion

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The 10th installment of BottleRock Napa Valley got off to a fine start on Friday (May 24) as Stevie Nicks, Megan Thee Stallion, Chevy Metal, Nelly, Bebe Rexha, Boywithuke and other talents entertained tens of thousands of music lovers.

The music started right around noon and it continued right up to around 10 p.m., as dozens of acts performed across multiple stages.

The festival continues through Sunday at the Napa Valley Expo with such acts as The Offspring, Queens of the Stone Age, Stephen Marley, Norah Jones and Ed Sheeran set to take the stage.

The two Friday headliners — Nicks and Megan — definitely delivered. Yet, there were plenty of fine sets delivered by the lesser-known acts on the bill as well. Notably, Chevy Metal turned in two blistering sets of hard rock that had people shouting along in joy.

Bebe Rexha performs on the JaM Cellars Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on May 24, 2024. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Bebe Rexha performs on the JaM Cellars Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on May 24, 2024. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 

Of course, music was only part of the story, given that the food and drink offerings — two of Napa Valley’s true calling cards — are also major reasons why this festival keeps selling out year after year.

People just plain adore this festival, which began in 2013 and has been held every year since, except for the COVID-impacted year of 2020. That much is made clear by looking at the sea of smiles in the audience as well as just by talking with people and hearing how much they look forward to attending each year.

It’s easy to understand why when your talking about a festival that has hosted such acts as Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, Modest Mouse and Metallica over the years.

And now we can finally add Nicks to that list, since the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — who was first inducted as a member of Fleetwood Mac and then as a solo artist — made it to the festival on her third try. She was first booked to play in 2020, which was the year that the event ended up getting canceled, and then again in the make-up year of 2021, only to then remove herself from the bill due to concerns of over touring in the midst of COVID.

The third time proved to be the charm for Nicks, as she delighted the crowd at the biggie JaM Cellars Stage with a roughly 90-minute that included such fan favorites as “Stand Back,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Edge of Seventeen.”

The former Bay Area resident — who attended both Menlo-Atherton High School and San Jose State University — sounded strong on the microphone as she mixed solo hits, Fleetwood Mac classics and covers of the Buffalo Springfield gem “For What It’s Worth” and Led Zeppelin’s powerful “Rock and Roll.”

Megan Thee Stallion performs on the Verizon Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Megan Thee Stallion performs on the Verizon Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 

While Nicks was twirling about the JaM Cellars Stage, Megan Thee Stallion and her legion of accompanying dancers were twerking up a storm over at the festival’s other main showcase — the Verizon Stage.

Thee Stallion was a commanding presence on the stage, drawing big applause from her devoted crowd as she ran through material from her two studio albums (2020’s Good News and 2022’s “Traumazine”) and other offerings. The short segment that I witnessed, before running off to catch the rest of Nicks’ set, was strong enough to make me even more interested in attending the hip-hop star’s upcoming show at Chase Center in San Francisco on June 23.

Early in the day, BoyWithUke delivered a fun set for a massive gathering of fans, many of which probably first learned about him on Tik-Tok. Sure, he’s got a bit of a gimmick going on, following in the footsteps of everyone from KISS to deadmau5 as he hides his face behind a mask, but it’s songwriting and pleasant folk-pop sound that really sells the whole thing.

Boywithuke performs on the Verizon Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Boywithuke performs on the Verizon Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 

Also, Chris Shiflett — who is best known for his guitar work in the Foo Fighters — did a good job strutting his solo stuff over on the Prudential Stage. He used the time to showcase a whole other side of him than what fans are used to hearing, with his solo stuff being more along the lines of roots-blues-rock than the Foos’ patented alternative sounds.

Yet, it was another Foo Fighters-related band that arguably delivered the best set on Day One, as wonderfully named Chevy Metal kicked off an incredible clinic in hard rock at 5:30 p.m. on the Prudential Stage.

The all-covers trio featured Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins (who died in 2022), but now has his son, Shane, playing drums.

And — wow — can that kid play.

The 16-year-old Hawkins, who reportedly had to get a pass to leave school in order to come play BottleRock, was an absolute beast on the kit as the group tore such material as Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” and the Police’s “Next to You.” Led Zeppelin’s legendary “Moby Dick,” not surprisingly, provided an excellent showcase for the young Hawkins’ drumming.

Yet, the song of the set was the cover of Black Sabbath’s mighty “Children of the Grave,” which got an assist from yet another teenager — the Bay Area’s own Grace Bowers — who we were told had just learned how to play those incredible Tony Iommi riffs backstage. (It was a big day for Bowers, who also opened the big JaM Cellars Stage at 12:30 p.m.)

Bay Area native, Grace Bowers performs with The Hodge Podge on the JaM Cellars Stage on the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Bay Area native, Grace Bowers performs with The Hodge Podge on the JaM Cellars Stage on the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 

Beyond the music, there were also plenty of highlights and hijinks happening on the increasingly popular Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage, where celebrity chefs join forces with rock stars, sports figures and other notables to put on cooking demonstrations, all under the watchful eye of longtime host Liam Mayclem.

And, really, you never know what might happen on this stage. For instance, Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee would close out his segment with chef Tyler Florence by using a pair of large cow bones to play a drum set built from Williams Sonoma pots and pans.

Yeah, that’s the kind of thing you’re only going to see at BottleRock Napa Valley.

BeBe Rexha to performs on the JaM Cellars Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
BeBe Rexha to performs on the JaM Cellars Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 
Nelly performs on the Verizon Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Nelly performs on the Verizon Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 
Erica Mancini performs with Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello on the Prudential Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
Erica Mancini performs with Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello on the Prudential Stage during the first day of the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on Friday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald) 

 



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