As the sun illuminated downtown Napa, a warm glow came over the Oxbow River Stage — the first Golden States Music Festival was underway. Curated by Tycho and thrown by Another Planet Entertainment, the crowd trickled in with great anticipation. With the strong lineup, the stage was set for a day-long dance party.
I was excited for all the acts: Tycho, Channel Tres, Panda Bear (Animal Collective) and Sonic Boom, Buscabulla, Washed Out, Brijean, and Kaelin Ellis.
Kaelin Ellis: Setting the Stage
As the festival kicked off, Kaelin Ellis started the party. He was a perfect opening act. The crowd immediately started dancing to the magnetic beats. Kaelin’s infectious energy and euphoric mixes set the perfect tone for the entire festival. Revelers swayed and grooved to the rhythms that flowed from the stage. He emphasized over and over again, ”I’m just making this up as I go along!” He did it well. Several times, he said, “Five more minutes – can I play one more song?”, checking with the crowd and the festival staff. Nobody considered objecting.
Brijean: A Mesmerizing Journey
Following Kaelin Ellis’s exhilarating opening, the stage came alive with the enchanting presence of Brijean. The Bay Area duo’s percussion, bass, singing, dancing, and keys kept the audiences’ groove going. Sometimes Doug Stuart (bassist, keyboards) looked into what seemed like a bag of magical, musical tricks on top of his keyboard. It turned out to be a Berkeley Bowl grocery bag he used to block the bright sun so he could see the displays on the equipment. The hard work paid off — the grooves were well crafted.
It’s hard not to have a good time on your listening to Brijean.
Washed Out kept the party going with great music and bold yet understated visuals for their DJ set. People were dancing with abandon. Washed Out did a great job of being sonically and visually interesting as a DJ and one-person performer, which can be difficult.
Buscabulla: Latin Rhythms and Dance Frenzy
Adding to the sonic and geographic diversity of the festival, Buscabulla brought Puerto Rican rhythms and infectious energy to the stage. Their performance had the crowd dancing and grooving, embracing the richness of Caribbean-inspired music. They featured a timbale solo, and the crowd loved the performance.
Panda Bear and Sonic Boom: A Sonic Adventure
The collaboration of Panda Bear and Sonic Boom pushes the boundaries of music.
While technical difficulties briefly delayed the start, technology ultimately enhanced the performance. Once resolved, the duo immediately started creating an interesting sonic landscape. The music included frequent clapping and high-register, melodic falsetto singing. The experimental sounds and captivating visuals bloomed a mesmerizing experience that invited the audience to explore uncharted aesthetic territories. They fused the familiar with the strange, so the visuals and sounds stuck out in a fascinating, beautiful way.
Channel Tres: Hip-Hop Beats and Irresistible Grooves
When was the last time you saw a pink kilt, with or without utility belt? Channel Tres rocked them. He took the stage by storm, delivering a high-energy performance that had the crowd on their feet, moving to the infectious electro hip-hop grooves. His charisma and musical prowess brought a unique flavor to the festival, making his set one of the highlights of the night. The dance frenzy intensified, and massive crowd swayed in unison to the mesmerizing sounds. His dancers were on point, keeping the audience engaged the whole performance. See him whenever you get the chance.
Tycho: Orchestrating a Symphony of Harmony
As the night reached its pinnacle, Tycho graced the festival with their mesmerizing presence and masterful performance. The visuals and sounds created a transcendent ambiance. The atmospheric guitar, driving bass, and wandering keys, infused with 80s dance music, harmonized beautifully with the rhythmic drums. Tycho’s music, accompanied by bold visuals of captivating colors and scenes, enthralled the crowd, leaving them energized and moving in harmony with the music.
The bold lights and visualizations made for a captivating show.
The Golden States Music Festival became a celebration of dance and sonic brilliance, where each artists created moments of pure energy. The day unfolded in a symphony of good vibes and strong beats, and as the festival-goers dispersed, they carried with them memories that would stay with them long after the music faded away.
Artists: Tycho • Channel Tres • Panda Bear and Sonic Boom • Buscabulla • Washed Out • Brijean • Kaelin Ellis