The Moss delivers a shockingly hardcore performance at BottleRock 2024

by Gavin Meichelbock

This article is part of BruinLife’s BottleRock music festival coverage happening from May 24-26, 2024.

Hailing from Hawaii before finding home in Utah, the four friends Tyke James, Addison Sharp, Willie Fowler and Caiden Jackson brought their sun-soaked alternative vibes to Napa Valley with their band The Moss. Although the band is known for their downtrodden songs about heartbreak, they adapted their discography to create a hard-rocking and upbeat setlist.

Before turning things up, The Moss first slowed things down by playing a laid-back version of their 2020 single, “Willie’s Song.” While the song’s tempo took a step back, the rock-inspired pounding triplet beat from the drums and James’ vocals on the melody set up where the performance was going. They then went into their second song, which James said was titled “Another Way to Waste Time” — something James said he was really good at doing. The song ended, and an intense instrumental interlude began. Drums started pounding, guitar solos started buzzing and the audience got revved up for the next piece in their setlist.

“Storm Cloud Baby” crashed through the speakers and the audience rocked along. The song bobs and weaves through a whirlwind of textures, tempos and emotions. The steady beat of the verses was met with dramatic half-time sections in the chorus and back again before James screamed the final climactic sections. The song came to a close, and James told the audience that the song was based on a girl who always hated him. James then joked that he spotted 16 different kinds of moss on the festival grounds and whoever finds them all gets reward points to a program that doesn’t exist.

Next, the set went hard into its indie-rock appeal with the song “Grand Hoodoo.” James put the guitar down, took the mic off the stand and started strutting around the stage. The song’s upbeat tempo and rhythmic guitar got the entire audience grooving along from the second it started. As the song neared its final verses, James jumped off the stage to interact with the people in the VIP viewing section, which increased the audience’s enthusiasm toward the song.

Before the next song began, James put the mic back on the stand, said the next song was about a roadrunner and began to play “Chaparral.” The pure fun of this song with lines like “fast like Ferris Bueller” had James and Sharp jumping around in a circle as they played guitar at one another. The Moss then launched into their newest song, “The Place That Makes Me Happy;” the audience knew it well enough to shout the lead-in to the chorus with the lead singer.

As their second-to-last song of the evening took form, it was recognized by members of the crowd right away. Audience members shouted, “One, two, three, four,” like in the recording, and the group started to play their hit track “Insomnia.” To close out their Napa Valley BottleRock performance, The Moss busted out their hardest rock song, “Dog Valley.” Everyone was jamming out at this point, and James responded by once again jumping off the stage, not only going into the VIP section but the general admission viewing area as well. James then got back on stage, did a backflip off of the drum stand and closed out a phenomenal set. Whether audiences knew who they were or not, The Moss surely grew on their audience like moss.

Featured Image Photographed by Cathryn Kuczynski/BruinLife

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