UPDATE: The Outside Lands schedule has been announced. Check out the soul-crushing conflicts.
The Outside Lands lineup for 2013 has been unleashed, and it’s as strong as ever. We made our predictions, and they were pretty good, but now it’s time to take a look at the sets that peak our interest most.
There are so many incredible artists not listed below, including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Kurt Vile & A-Trak. But with so many great acts to see (and we’re not even including the comedy tent, the Heineken Dome, late-night shows around SF or possible pop-up shows), it’s good to get an idea of which sets you will want to see, as conflicts will happen. Here are ten sets we’re looking forward to.
Follow our Outside Lands 2013 playlist on Spotify, featuring three tracks from each artist.
Were you one to pass up on Stevie Wonder last year for Skrillex? Then this does not matter to you. The ‘law of legend’ applies here – you don’t pass on a set by a member of the Beatles, with the exception of Ringo. Even then you probably should pick a Ringo set. I like dance music plenty, and often an EDM show can be the single most fun thing you can do at a music festival. It’s just not an option here, not for Kaskade or Pretty Lights – have an after-party at your apartment after the festival to make up for it and piss off your neighbors. Paul’s son James will also perform, so look for a father-son collaboration and other special guests. Macca would be an ideal Sunday closing set, but look for Sir Paul to play Friday or Saturday since he has dates scheduled in Canada the Monday through Wednesday after Outside Lands. ~Mike Frash
Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor just cannot slow down, it’s a simple musical fact. Whether it’s winning Academy Awards for the Social Network soundtrack, or forming a new band with his wife, he never lets up, and he has totally reconfigured the 90’s industrial rock staple that we have grown to love. With Adrian Belew (King Crimson) manning the guitar in this freshly-cast lineup, songs are sure to take on a new identity, which seems to be what Reznor is going for. Add in former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery and Josh Eustis of now-defunct Telefon Tel Aviv, and this conglomeration is sure to excite the masses in Golden Gate Park. ~Kevin Quandt
Update 5/15: Bassist Eric Avery has decided to quit the band.
Vampire Weekend has gone from “skip” to “must-see” at Outside Lands with the release of their new album Modern Vampires Of The City, and what a gem it is. It’s convinced me not to skip them this year, unless they are up against personal bucket-lister Sir Paul McCartney. Their live act was beginning to feel stale, but the introduction of inspired new material with improved songwriting makes this Outside Lands set one not to miss. Do yourself a favor – check out Vampire Weekend and their new songs live. ~Kevin Raos
The R&B genius is back at it after a multi-year hiatus, and this return has been slow and seemingly calculated, making one wonder if an album isn’t too far behind. His recent shows in NYC were widely hailed for their simplicity in intstrumentation, anchored by D’Angelo’s smooth vocals and a mix of old favorites, new offerings and choice covers. One cannot deny the brilliance of albums like VooDoo and Brown Sugar, and though it’s a name from the past for many, he is an artist with a rising stock. ~Kevin Quandt
The nuanced, somber music created by The National is not for everyone, but those who are into The National love them, and for good reason. The knock-you-down then build-you up songwriting structure the Brooklyn-based indie group uses is contemplative yet comforting, and their show setlists include songs from their extensive catalogue. The National’s sixth LP will be available May 21, and you can stream it now (and it’s pretty damn good). The Pro-move here will be ditching a larger group to slinky up to the front of the main stage with a few like-minded friends, as proximity will be key – you’ll want to be closer to swooning super-fans with their hand over their heart as opposed to loud drunk chick inadvertently chatting into your ear during the quiet parts. The National will be performing in Los Angeles Saturday and Sunday, so plan on seeing them Friday. ~Mike Frash
The Tallest Man on Earth
Kristian Matsson’s one-man show as The Tallest Man on Earth is a bit of a surprise on the bill. The Swedish singer-songwriter is not scheduled to play any other shows in the US after Bonnaroo summer, so San Francisco seems to be getting a one-off treat in August. He’s tenacious on stage, whipping around like a cobra ready to strike at critical moments for added emphasis. Matsson’s gritty, passionate vocals can be hynotic, and The Tallest Man should help music fans float away at the main stage with a mid-afternoon time slot. ~Mike Frash
Already approaching headliner status across the pond, these English rockers produce indie dance-punk that that runs the emotional gamut, from mysterious wall-of-sound ragers (“Inhaler”) to upbeat, rock-your-socks-off party anthems (“My Number”). No matter where the music takes you sonically, it’s pretty impossible to not dance, or at least gyrate when seeing this act live. Their set at Coachella was a top set of the weekend, and word is spreading about their third LP Holy Fire – it’s one of the best records of 2013 so far. Foals are performing in Los Angeles on August 9, so plan on catching them Saturday or Sunday (and hopefully at a late-night show – fingers crossed). ~Mike Frash
Gary Clark Jr.
This hard rocking blues guitarist has been making waves for the past year or two, and is on a meteoric quest to the top. Whether he is sitting in with the Stones in NYC or for the President at the White House, Clark can’t stop turning heads and taking names with his virtuosic guitar chops. Much like Alabama Shakes last year, the popularity of this act lies in a modern spin on Southern music and it’s palpability to many age groups. Fans of the blues are sure to be pleased as Clark weaves that genre into other styles, creating something fully unique. ~Kevin Quandt
The shimmering beauty from the Chromatics will shower upon Golden Gate Park as they continue to tour on the strength of their 2012 LP Kill for Love. Ruth Radelet’s angelic-cool voice breezes over minimalist noir-electro disco, and their live performance can be serious, sexy and danceable all the same time. Chromatics are one of the only acts in synth-pop territory this year at Outside Lands, so plan on seeing this foursome if you’re a fan of the Drive soundtrack (they were in it). ~Mike Frash
Is Atlas Genius the Foster the People of 2013? When one hears the slickness of summer-tinged track “Trojans,” it’s pretty clear that it’s a strong contender for ‘Song of the Summer.’ One could even dub them part of the ‘Australian Invasion’ over the past few years alongside the likes of Tame Impala, Cut Copy and Empire of the Sun, all heralded acts that Atlas Genius will inevitably be compared to. When It Was Now will certainly fuel their massive summer schedule of festivals galore and loads more radio airplay. ~Kevin Quandt