Review and Photos by Lauren Beck
Returning to Lightning in a Bottle in the 2022 was a magical, colorful, and high-energy experience. As a returning veteran of LIB, I had many expectations after my previous experience in Bradley, CA at their previous venue. With the change in venues, there was an increase in artists of a higher caliber, and more interactive art with roaming masterpieces; this year was bigger than ever. The lineup had an expansive mix of genres ranging from house, electronic, hip/hop, dance, alternative, indie, and R&B/Soul. There were three main stages: Lightning, Thunder, and Woogie. Following these were other miniature stages with smaller acts throughout the festival weekend.
VNSSA Performing on Friday of LIB.
Friday, the first night of the music acts, had a lineup of 23 artists for the main stages. I was able to experience sets by Chet Faker, Rome in Silver, Big Wild, G Jones b2b Eprom, and VNSSA. My first act of the weekend was VNSSA, who had disco wave sounds added to her house underpinnings. Overall her set was filled with vocals and upbeat music. The crowd ebbed and flowed with electricity as she played her classics “WORD” and “Rave Grave” at the Woogie stage. After VNSSA was over we headed over to Rome in Silver at Thunder Stage. As I approached Thunder I felt a heavy and vibrating bass from the ground up, and darkness was beginning to fade in with bright and vibrant images illuminating the stage setup. Rome in Silver grabbed my attention instantaneously with their grimey, heavy-hitting bass tracks. The crowd was stirring with excitement as the sun set on the lake. Rome in Silver had a kinetic and magnetic sound that reminded me of early Odesza days. They drew a big crowd and were a great artist to stumble upon. Up next, Big Wild appeared on stage with a spread of instruments as well as a fellow bass player. The set was full of funky, groovy classics such as “When I Get There” with his larger-than-life vocals and immersive performance.
Big Wild performing on Friday of LIB.
Chet Faker was next on our list, performing at Lightning Stage. Faker opened up on the piano playing his hits, “Talk is Cheap” and “Gold." He had a soulful and mindful performance that had the crowd entranced with a sense of peace in the air. During his set, Faker also debuted some new music. It was the perfect combination of fan favorites and new tunes. The last set of Friday night was G Jones b2b Eprom. Knowing collaborations with various other artists, such as Bassnectar, I was looking forward to this set. I knew there would be some experimental bass and heavy-hitting trap. Let me tell you, G jones b2b Eprom delivered. The stage pulsated like a giant heart beating out of its chest with the sound hitting you like a ton of bricks. The two artists blended seamlessly and set a high note for closing sets on the first night.
Saturday of Lightning in a Bottle was a stacked lineup with 26 artists set to perform, continuing the momentum of magical acts. The main sets of the day were WhoMadeWho, Eli & Fur, Monolink, Purity Ring, and LSDREAM. The first performance we adjourned to was WhoMadeWho, who I had never heard of before that day, but was grateful to come across this refreshing house/experimental pop act. Their electronic beats and live vocals carried throughout the Woogie stage area and forest, lighting up the crowd with emotion. The trio was a very unique act that stood out and was hard to follow.
Purity Ring Performing on Saturday of LIB.
Next up on the Woogie stage, was Eli & Fur. Due to Fur’s fibromyalgia, the house duo rarely play together live, but we were treated with the presence of both artists, which made the performance enchanting and full of life. Eli & Fur steadily played hypnotizing and melodic hits of theirs including “You’re So High” and “The Pressure,” alongside tracks from their latest album. Ending off a high note from Eli & Fur, we headed to the Lightning stage for Monolink, who had a calming presence as he entered the stage with tasteful lighting and a chill demeanor. He sat with his electric piano and kicked off with his popular track, “Rearrange My Mind." The sound throughout his performance was mystic, deep, and mesmerizing. After Monolink, Purity Ring entered the stage. The setup was simplistic with drums encompassed in tall bulbous color-changing lights. Purity Ring opened up with their newest song, “Graves," with Megan was draped in a cocoon-like coat. This set was emotional and powerful with heartfelt lyrics and powerful drums. Next up on the Thunder stage was LSDREAM. LSDREAM’s set was dreamy, with visuals and lasers/lights. LSDREAM played his newest track, “Badman” and welcomed some special guests onto the stage. His set was filled with a nice mixture of trap and dubstep with some experimentation and funk.
Eli & Fur Performing on Saturday of LIB.
On the final day, there was 23 acts lined up for the night. The sets we chose to wrap up the event with were Lastlings, Ivy Lab, Mr. Carmack, SG Lewis, Black Coffee, and Griz. Lastlings was the first set of our day, the Australian electronic trio opened up with their stable “No Time” and played many of their hits off their album, First Contact. The set was a very vocal performance with the instruments taking a backseat. Amy, the lead singer, had a powerful, yet soft voice that carried a quiet confidence. After Lastlings, we headed to Ivy Lab at the Thunder stage. The duo kicked the set off with some immediate drum and bass classics such as, “When I Go." The visuals were very trippy and showcased some animals and geometric designs. During the set, Ivy Lab had some local dancers from LA breakdancing which added a great energy to the set. The set was experimental with some bass, trap, and dubstep nods while keeping it fresh and new. They closed out the set with their staple, “Cake” and the crowd went wild.
A hard act to follow, Mr. Carmack entered the stage and came out with some drum and hip-hop flows. He mixed hip-hop classics from artists such as Iamsu and Kanye West, while keeping it all his own. Mr. Carmack also had dancers perform on stage, but this was more of a choreographic dance, creating silhouettes with colorful and abstract backdrops to showcase the dancers. This was a very lively set with various genres captivating the audience. The next act was SG Lewis at Lightning stage. As the smoke appeared and the crowd waiting in anticipation, SG Lewis walked on stage blazing with a guitar in his hand. He opened his set with his debut song, “Time” on his album Time. Lewis’ set was very funk, disco, and house influenced with some surprise acts to duet on some of his songs. The performance was very instrumental as well as electronic. SG Lewis did not miss a beat by meddling his different styles of music into one cohesive performance.
SG Lewis Performing on Sunday of LIB.
Up next was Black Coffee at the Woogie stage. The sought-after legend known in his home country of South Africa had a larger-than-life presence. His set exuded confidence and showcased his house, Afro-pop, and tribal influence. He played his classics “Superman” and “Turn Me On." The stage was one of the most packed sets there had been all weekend and it was no secret as to why. Going out with a bang, the last set of the night was Griz. Griz had a band as well as surprise vocal acts on stage with him. The set was the most packed of the night, maybe even the weekend, with its chaotic but playful nature. Griz played a vast range of sounds ranging from dubstep, trap, bass, and funk, and played his signature saxophone to accompany the tracks. To end the night off with a bang, Griz had flames surround the stage as he played his saxophone solo.
Lightning in a Bottle 2022 Photo Gallery