Billboard is announcing the inaugural independent artists participating in this year’s Billboard Live Music Summit, taking place Nov. 5-6 in Beverly Hills.
Leading the first slate of artists is Jordan Cook from Reignwolf, a fast-rising L.A. rock band that opened for The Who‘s 2019 Moving On Tour and released one of the year’s best rock albums in Hear Me Out. His first album since launching in 2012, the debut LP packs nearly a decade of creative power in 10 tracks, each endowed with hard-driving guitar riffs, frenzied vocal hooks and a stripped down, lo-fi rock sound that has been largely absent from guitar-driven rock for much of the decade. Tracks like “Black and Red” have drawn comparisons to Gary Clark Jr. and the The Black Keys, while the band’s live shows have the raw, anything-can-happen energy of early Nirvana or Queens of the Stone Age.
Reignwolf will headline the Summit’s afterparty at On the Rox on Nov. 6 and will be joined by opener The Holy Wars and their magnetic frontwoman Kat Leon. Today (Oct. 15), the Holy Wars released their most powerful track to date in “Welcome to my Hell.” They’ve been percolating on the L.A. rock scene for a few years, with a live show that’s part avant-garde performance art, part unrelenting rock gig. The band’s recent video for “Legend” was shot and directed by by Erin Naifeh in collaboration with Leon, and captures with the band’s dark-noir ambient aesthetic. It also introduced fans to the Identities: faceless, genderless characters who represent humans stripped down to their simplest form.
Rounding out this year’s inaugural class of independent artists is singer/songwriter Nikki Lane, who is releasing her fourth studio album in the spring. Lane will join AEG and Goldenvoice’s Stacy Vee for the panel “Mane Attraction: An Insider’s Guide to Stagecoach” featuring Goldenvoice’s Mapi Moran, Caroline Burrus and Lindsay Lyons, as well as CAA agent Meredith Jones. The behind-the-scenes tour of Stagecoach will highlight the festival’s many activations, including Lane’s Stage Stop Marketplace featuring vintage fashion and western wear from Lane’s Nashville retail outlet Highclass Hillbilly, as well as the Stage Stop Horseshoe stage, with a special music lineup curated by Lane.
“Reignwolf, the Holy Wars and Nikki Lane exemplify what it means to be an independent artist that inspire me and hopefully will engage our audience in an important discussion about mission as cultural presenters ” says Dave Brooks, Billboard‘s senior director of live and touring. “Kat is an incredibly talented singer, performer and artist who has found a path taking themes of darkness and pain and transforming that energy into these big, complex songs that can stand aside any pop song you hear today. And Nikki is so talented and creative and one of my favorite people making music right now. She’s not just building a career, she’s building her empire.”
As for Cook, “he’s one of the most authentic rockstars I’ve ever met. He’s just so talented and easy to believe in, but he never takes you quite where you think he’s going to go,” Brooks says. “He pushes boundaries and never holds back. I think our audience is going to embrace these three and find a way to be a part of their success ahead.”
The 2019 Billboard Live Music Summit and Awards is the music industry’s top touring conference and a must-attend event for anyone working in live entertainment. Set at the Montage in Beverly Hills, the conference features two days of high-level panels, artist interviews and executive Q&As with some of the biggest names in music, comedy and live entertainment. Additional speakers and panelists will be announced in the coming days. Learn more and register here.