The Portola Artist Bible (Pt. 1)

With Portola music festival creeping around the corner, it’s time we discuss who you’ll want to consider seeing (or maybe my bias excitement is turning into a blissful factual recommendation). 

This is Portola’s second ever run of hitting Pier 80 in San Francisco, a conglomerate of shipping container-style warehouses much equipped to fit the reverberated effects of beats and synthesized sounds. Last year, the lineup was extremely desirable, with artists such as Flume, Kaytranada, Jungle, The Avalanches, Peggy Gou… I’m just going to share the lineup because it would be rude not to include everyone… It’s just that hot. Thank you Goldenvoice. 

You wouldn’t think it could possibly get better. I’m here to tell you that it most definitely can. Cheers to a most stunning lineup: 

That said, there’s a whole process in trying to fit everyone into your schedule. Who do you split your time between? Who do you sacrifice? Well, here is my breakdown of the artists and hopefully it serves as a guide to lead your way. 


2:00 p.m.: Model/Actriz, Eliza Rose, salute, Yung Singh, ELIO

Starting off the day is likely slow in attendance, but certainly not music. Model/Actriz is bringing in the post-punk dance energy. I see a frequent theme of incorporating glimpses of punk in electronica this weekend. Let the storyline create itself with your multi-genre attendance at a primarily EDM festival. 

I’m particularly excited for Eliza Rose with her top hit, “B.O.T.A.“. Her hyper pop twist will undoubtedly get you warming up for the day.

Next is salute. Pumping up the jams for us with his romantic and fast paced beats. It’ll get us bouncing to the beat of our hearts (not to be too corny). There is a truly a lighthearted feel to his dance music, you’ll feel it in his Boiler Room Melbourne set. I think while the sunshine is still out, salute is worth getting in the mood for. 

Whether he’s spitting rhymes or beats, Yung Singh is spreading the high vibes. He covers an aroma of genres, be it Garage, UK Funk, jungle and DnB, Punjabi folk, hip-hop, etc. etc. etc. Who knows what he’ll bring us, but something spicy. Check the Boiler Room set for a deeper dive. 

Let’s get a popstar to SF! ELIO is making her grand appearance, and although I’m not a huge fan of pop, I know she’s going to EAT. 

3:00 p.m.: The Dare, LF System, Young Fathers

Straight from New York City’s underground, The Dare brings back early 2000s rock into the next generation. Imagine San Francisco gone rogue, filled with the flavors of NYC Dance Punk. 

LF System is like the soundtrack music of our literal dreams (sleeping and all). I imagine vibrant colors, a Care Bare wonderland with them in the background. “Afraid to Feel” live? Are you kiddin’ me?! The Scottish duo knows how to throw a party, and I know all of the SF finance and tech bros will get that booty shake going. LF System previously worked as a roofer and petrol station worker, so let’s just appreciate that character development. 

ANOTHER SCOTTISH BAND, Young Fathers is here to bless us with their Lo-Fi Soul melodies. I especially love their Live At Best Kept Secret 2023 performance. Someone in the comments shared the nutshell of it all, “Band of the year, every year. I feel so lucky to have discovered this incredible collective. They’ve tapped into a kind of energy that is primal, beautiful and difficult to describe. Whatever it is, I’m in!!”

4:00 p.m.: Barry Can’t Swim, Hot Chip, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

I think it’s quite rude to put these artists all at the same time. There’s no pressure to be like me, but I am giving it my all to see a bit of each. Track star in preparation. 

Barry Can’t Swim, an Edinburgh delight, might also come to us as a surprise. His produced music can be perfect for a chill sunny day for light beats and chats. However, if you’ve checked out some of his live streams like his Boiler Room x FLY Open Air set, you’ll find our that he also comes in hot with the groovy dance IDs. So if you’re open for either mood, I highly recommend seeing him. 

Hot Chip, another London Town group, has been making synth pop music since 2000. They have an eclectic generational taste, but I think it goes farther than that to be considered timeless. Their Lot Radio appearance consists of slow disco jams, but their produced music gives 80s synth with sprinkles of indie/alt. Who knows what they’ll bring to San Francisco, dancing back and forward through time. 

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, yet ANOTHER Brit, gives testimonies to UK garage and future house, although my favorite song is more indie synth than anything else. He brings the emotion, attracting and sharing all the love in the air. 

5:00 p.m.: Dom Dolla, FKJ, Overmono, Chromeo

Traveling across the globe is Aussie legend Dom Dolla. His house music is unmatched. I actually don’t know a single time that his set hasn’t been a giant party. With great affinity for San Francisco, he even produced a song just for us, “San Frandisco”. Legend.

A bit on the slower side, maybe perfect for your evening reset, is FKJ, French multi-instrumentalist. It just keeps getting better with the home destinations of the artists at Portola. He is a stunning individual, and with an even more stunning performance like his Circle Live at Solar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Tell me you don’t want to see a solo performance like this one, and maybe shed a tear or two. 

With their recent project release Good Lies, Overmono is finally making a long awaited appearance. The Welsh siblings know how to work a breakbeat and give the U.S. that Euro-electro feel. They have a reputation for festival anthems that highlight the value of experimentation and transcendence. 

6:00 p.m.: Major Lazer b2b Major League Djz, Nelly Furtado, Jon Hopkins, SBTRKT

Major throwback meets major ENERGY. Major Lazer, consisting of (surprise) Diplo and Major League Djz, are making a special appearance at Portola. Bringing South African and Jamaican-American flair, the group creates an EDM Ragga Dancehall vivacity. Check a rare sighting of the three getting together in Miami for a taste of what didn’t realize you needed. 

Is this real life? Nelly Furtado really performing? The “Promiscuous” star is making one of her comebacks this year after being away from the live scene for even longer. Although it may be rude to do an age reveal, she is 45 and looking absolutely more stunning than ever. Earlier this year, she made a guest appearance on Dom Dolla’s Beyond the Valley set in Australia, for his “Say it Right” rendition, so maybe we’ll be lucky enough to catch this in San Francisco? 

Jon Hopkins, an English composer and electronic musician, is coming to move us with his meditative and psychedelic scores that traverse across time and techno. I mean, watch the full defiance of music genres in his live performance at Villain for Pitchfork. Perhaps this will be the set you want to catch if you’re looking for something a bit more spiritual. 

So many hidden crossovers at this fest! SBTRKT is coming, and if you know his most popular hit “Wildfire“, you might recognize this collaboration with other Portola performer Little Dragon (which we hope to see come to fruition). Stylized as “SBTRKT” and disembowelment of “subtract”, is an English producer who is considerably one of the greatest pioneers of UK remixes beginning in the 2010s. Proof here

7:00 p.m.: Maddy Maia, Polo & Pan, DJ Koze, Jai Paul 

Care to support an underground legend? Well, Maddy Maia is in town from Los Angeles (although she was ALSO born in London), bringing romantic and dark house beats to warehouses. Not only is she a DJ and producer, but she also does A&R for iconic British indie label Ninja Tune and is a label head of new women focused ! K7 imprint SOS Music. For a taste, she does quarterly appearances at The Lot Radio. So if you’re like me and want to support the hell out of women, head over to her set. 

A MUST, YOU MUST. Polo & Pan is by far one of my favorite producers. Hailing from ze ceeety of Fghrance (my phonetic spelling for French pronunciation), the duo synthesizes global classics (Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy or Zum Zum by Edu Lobo) with playful tropics. Every beat drop is groovy and unlike anything you have ever heard. A great example of the sentient response is their Cercle set in Paris. I will be there the majority of this hour. They’re creative and symbiotic geniuses. 

Ol’ man Koze is coming! Bringing German microhouse to the dancefloor, DJ Koze is an iconic representation of the electronic music journey across oceans. He’s produced music for Roisin Murphy, who will also be in attendance at the festival. He’s timeless, so I’ll share this archive vinyl set at CSides Festival, although we have no idea what disco, techno, DnB feel we’re going to be surprised with. 

8:00 p.m.: COBRAH, Maddy Maia, Eric Prydz presents HOLO, Purple Disco Machine, CHRIS LAKE b2b Armand Van Helden 


You may know COBRAH from her from her ID with Chris Lorenzo, but you should dive deeper into Stockholm-based independent artists. She’s dark electronic, she’s metal, she’s sex. Who knows what kind of performance she’ll put you on. 

Eric Prydz presents HOLO. this cannot be missed. The artist has a side project that is primarily focused on enormous holographic images that float in mid-air. Just so you get an idea of the visuals

Purple Disco Machine is exactly what you would expect from the name. My experience at Outside Lands 2022 was yet another Purple disco party, where the crowd was going absolutely wild. Maybe it’s because I got on the big screen for 40% of the set (subtle flex), but I had the greatest jolliest time dancing with my friends. So consider an evening dance battle before your triply trancey finale to the night. A German DJ decked out in purple?! Say less. 

Last but not least for the 8:00 p.m. call time is Chris Lake b2b Armand Van Helden, which have we seen before? I don’t think so! A Brit and a Bostonian electro vet have a baby – a true miracle. 

9:00 p.m.: Flying Lotus, Maddy Maia (pt.2), Underworld 

Record producer Flying Lotus is taking that LA>SF flight for us. He’s inventive, synthesizing hip-hop, experimental electronic, and svante-garde jazz. Taking us to the moon and back, his sonic etc tells a story of defying the artistic conventions with genre association. Flying Lotus breaks through with his unpredictable timeline and his experimental visuals, that, by the way will knock your socks off and possibly take you even further than the moon. If you want to prepare for the trip, his Glass House set might give you an idea. 

Go see the literal legends of the Underworld. From seeing them at CRSSD last weekend with my fresh naive techno ears, to the diehard fan next to me, Underworld had us absolutely shaken in awe. The vocals, the dance moves, the ambiance of transformation, the eccentricity did more justice than potentially most sets that you’ve been to. It is a privilege to see them, maybe because I love the Trainspotting soundtrack so much, go GO GO. 

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The Portola Artist Bible (Pt. 2)