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Outside Lands 2015 highlights: Eight years strong and feeling ‘fantastic’!

Outside Lands 2015Photos by James Nagel, Marc Fong & Benjamin Wallen // Written by Molly Kish, Nik Crossman & Brett Ruffenach //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 7th-9th, 2015 //

We’re finally putting our lives back together after what was easily the biggest and most raging Outside Lands to date in its eight years. This year, local concert production company Another Planet Entertainment outdid itself on all fronts, bringing the best the Bay Area had to offer to Golden Gate Park. They pulled out all the stops and man, did they deliver!

From the amazing lineup of music, comedy, food and beverage to the near perfect weather and best crowd of characters you could ask for, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival has officially become a bar-setting force to be reckoned with on the festival circuit. Those lucky enough to attend this year will wholeheartedly agree that the festival has become not only a staple within the Bay Area community, but also a premiere destination for crowds from around the world and one of the fastest growing festival experiences currently in production.

Here’s what stood out to us at Showbams in 2015. What was your standout moment?

Outside Lands 2015

TOP SETS:

Artist: Lindsey Stirling
Set date/time: Friday, 3:40-4:30 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

Hailing from Gilbert, Ariz., Lindsey Stirling leaped around the Twin Peaks stage on Friday afternoon with violin in hand. Combining classical violin riffs with modern electronic beats, Stirling had the entire crowd dancing alongside while she made use of every inch of the stage. Despite her modesty, Lindsey put the violin down and treated Outside Lands with a rare and beautiful singing performance. Based on the reaction to the violin fairy’s voice, Stirling should be proud to put her strings down from time to time. -NC

Outside Lands 2015 - D'Angelo & The Vanguard

Artist: D’Angelo & The Vanguard
Set date/time: Friday, 7:45-9 p.m.
Location: Sutro

“The Black Messiah” made his triumphant return to the Bay Area on Friday evening for a soul-clapping set with a sea of devoted fans. Outside of Karl Denson’s mighty performance on the Twin Peaks stage later on in the weekend, this was one of the few opportunities for funk fans to get down this year — and D’Angelo pulled out all the stops. Mirroring more of a religious revival than a R&B jam session, the sunset spectacle hit the crowd’s Friday night sweet spot. D’Angelo’s silky smooth vocals ushered in all the post-work/late arrivals, crooning out audience favorites from his latest joint “Ain’t That Easy” and “Sugah Daddy”, which book-ended a sultry set. For anyone who missed his sold-out shows at the Fox Theater Oakland earlier this year, the performance served as the perfect redemption amidst a collective of festival fans who all came prepared. -MK

Outside Lands 2015

Artist: Angus & Julia Stone
Set date/time: Saturday, 4:20-5:10 p.m.
Location: Sutro

Recently reunited after a few years of time apart, the brother-and-sister duo played a mix of old and new hits at the Sutro stage on Saturday afternoon. Their latest album brings a new sound to their discography and marks a milestone of achievement for the Australian siblings. Anyone with a brother and/or sister can appreciate the banter shared between Angus and Julia on stage. Describing Angus laying in the grass of a park staring at the clouds as inspiration for “Other Things”, Julia poked fun at his peculiar “state of mind.” -NC

Outside Lands 2015

Artist: Toro y Moi
Set date/time: Saturday, 5:15-6:05 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

Chaz Bundick is almost a great artist. Touring with a new full band as opposed to his typical synth-and-drum-machine combo, the new sound of Toro y Moi is a very nice expansion on their sound. That being said, Toro y Moi seemed to often come up flat when singing throughout the set, leaving more to be desired. I did love the new version of “So Many Details”, though. -BR

Outside Lands 2015 - Tame Impala

Artist: Tame Impala
Set date/time: Saturday, 6:30-7:40 p.m.
Location: Lands End

As the de facto opener for The Black Keys, Tame Impala brought their heavy compositions and trippy visuals to the Lands End stage to the delight of a crowd of young, old, sober and heavily intoxicated folks alike. Tame Impala’s ability to expand on and change up their studio recordings is what makes them the greatest rock band touring right now — breakdowns and glitchy, sonic asides in songs like “Mind Mischief”, “Elephant” and “Apocalypse Dreams” came out of nowhere, creating a wave of awe and amazement in the crowd. They were certainly a highlight of the weekend. -BR

Outside Lands 2015 - Kendrick Lamar

Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Set date/time: Saturday, 8:40-9:55 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

As Kendrick Lamar’s incredible performance began to wrap up with his newest single “Alright”, a group of fans in the crowd proceeded to lift someone up in a wheelchair, who, if I recall correctly, was the same guy who had his photo famously taken at Outside Lands in 2013. Kendrick took notice and called him out — his sense of sincere appreciation for a place like the Bay Area was written all over his face. -BR

Outside Lands 2015 - Hot Chip

Artist: Hot Chip
Set date/time: Sunday, 4:20-5:20 p.m.
Stage: Lands End

An anxious crowd remained at the Lands Ends stage after Nate Reuss’ solo set on Sunday afternoon for an all-too-rare performance from percussion powerhouse Hot Chip. In recent years, only ever getting the chance to see the outfit in stripped-down DJ sets or as part of side projects/collaborations, the afternoon crowd full of die-hard, nu-disco fans were not disappointed as the UK dance veterans set the polo fields ablaze. Refraining from any slow builders, Hot Chip performed an hour-long set of career-spanning bangers, keeping the crowd moving with hit after hit, that seamlessly blended into one another. The set procured one of the most viral dance party moments of the festival, with the audience spiraling into a collective bliss as it came to a close. -MK

Outside Lands 2015 - Dan Deacon

Artist: Dan Deacon
Set date/time: Sunday, 5:55-6:35 p.m.
Location: Panhandle

Dan Deacon, everyone’s favorite electronic experimentalist and figurative “adult camp counselor”, was the perfect pick-me-up for a festival-weary crowd between neighboring bass-heavy sets from ODESZA and Caribou. Playing to a crowd partially made up of Deacon enthusiasts and otherwise occupied by enthralled passersby, the one-man spectacle reeled in a sizable audience to the Panhandle stage for a lesson in crowd participation that was rivaled by no other act over the course of the weekend. Excited to see how his live-show magic would translate to a large-scale festival crowd, the audience was equal parts bewildered and attentive as they were beckoned into a storm of peer pressure and oddball antics, maestro-ed by none other than the king of interactive showmanship. The crowd relinquished control of the moment to the man in charge as he orchestrated colorful coordination amongst a sea of noise and frenzied electronica. Needless to say, established fans of Mr. Deacon were pleased while new converts lives were changed on Sunday afternoon. -MK

Outside Lands 2015

Artist: Caribou
Set date/time: Sunday, 6:40-7:40 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

Described by fellow musician Dan Deacon as “one of the most brilliant acts touring right now” just before their set, Caribou lived up to the hype. Starting with “Our Love”, the four-piece band led by Dan Snaith perfectly set the stage for the next hour — a series of tightly wound compositions that, as the song progresses, expand in rhythmic complexity before reaching a climax that will get even the most tired Sunday afternoon crowd moving. Heavily augmenting its live performances from its studio recordings, the band’s live rendition of “Jamelia” in particular was a highlight of the set. Caribou is a band not to be missed. -BR

Outside Lands 2015 - Elton John

Artist: Elton John
Set date/time: Sunday, 7:35-9:35 p.m.
Location: Lands End

The star-spangled legend sat at his majestic piano as the sun went down on Sunday and moved the crowd with his brilliant playing. The adoring audience hung on every word and joined in singing his most popular hits. Walking off stage quickly after his last song, the audience demanded more and Elton happily obliged. With rumors of Lion King songs being played at past performances, some doting fans wanted a second encore to the tune of “Circle of Life”. While he didn’t indulge the Lion King fans, his stellar performance was a perfect ending to an amazing weekend at Outside Lands, leaving everyone’s festival tank full of love. -NC

Outside Lands 2015 - Mac Sabbath

OUTSIDE LANDS 2015 AWARDS:

Biggest a.m. crowd: Leon Bridges

Best make-out session: Angus & Julia Stone

Biggest equipment malfunction/distraction: St. Vincent’s blown-out sound system

Best stage dive: Mac Demarco (obviously)

Biggest band crush: Tie between Tame Impala and First Aid Kit

Best shirtless appearance: Billy Idol

King and Queen of GastroMagic: Beignets & Bounce Brunch with Big Freedia & Brenda’s Soul Food; Morimoto Karaoke

Best Unofficial Stage: #NoMoFoMo by StubHub

Food & beverage crowd favorites: Berry Lemonade; Ringmaster Doughnut Cheeseburger

Best Avant-Garde Act: Lindsey Stirling

Sexiest Set of the Weekend: D’Angelo & The Vanguard

Best Fairground Change: The Barbary’s relocation

Rowdiest Crowd: Kendrick Lamar

Best Hometown Act: Green Velvet & Claude VonStroke

Best Vocals: St. Paul and The Broken Bones

Best Commitment to the Bit: Mac Sabbath with Richie Nakano

Most buzz-worthy artist: SZA

Best Crowd Participation: Dan Deacon

Biggest DJ Drop: ODESZA

Crowd Favorite DJ: DJ Mustard

Best Cover: Hot Chip’s transition from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” into an outro snippet of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” to close their set.

Most “Fantastic”: Elton John

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