Outside Lands 2018: A return to form in Year 11

Outside Lands 2018Photos by Norm de Veyra // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 10th-12th, 2018 //

As another summer festival season winds down, we look back at the 2018 edition of Outside Lands with highlights, thoughts, musings and enough images to make you nostalgic for the Bay Area’s banner music festival. With the Superfly, Another Planet Entertainment and Starr Hill event celebrating its 11th edition, this incarnation of the annual Golden Gate Park soirée saw more of a return to form over the past year while also experiencing a notable shift in the sound that could be heard emanating through the eucalyptus and other flora.

While cancellations left a slightly sour taste in the mouths of last year’s attendees, this year only saw limited lineup hiccups. However, the bigger story at hand surrounds the changing tides of popular music. Sure, you’ve heard folks state “rock is dead,” but is a once-amusing quip starting to take greater shape as the youth clamor for a different sound and aesthetic? Though it was pretty evident on the 2018 lineup poster when it dropped in April, this query started to take greater shape once you were on the grounds and bouncing between sets. So, let’s jump straight into this now.

Outside Lands 2018 - Billie Eilish


Billie Eilish

Friday

Day 1 at Outside Lands tends to be a slow trickle of fans entering the park as some are able to play hooky, bounce from the office early or only show up for the headliners. Sure, some folks had to deal with longer-than-expected box office lines and others even had to bear the fest’s new bag policies, but luckily those in attendance were blessed with some clear skies instead of the usual August dread of the Outer Lands.

While Billie Eilish was relishing in her rising appeal on the Lands End stage, covering Drake and running through the majority of her singles, Rex Orange County was trying his hand at something a bit new and terrifying. The UK wunderkind was forced to play his first-ever solo festival set as his band and their gear ran into transit issues on the way to SF from the Pacific Northwest. The young crooner seemed a bit nervous about this predicament but competently knocked out a solid, eight-song performance that included “Sunflower” and closer “Loving Is Easy”.

N.E.R.D., meanwhile, played their first SF show in many years to a raucous crowd, opening with “Anti Matter” as a hyped Pharrell Williams feverishly worked every corner of the huge Lands End stage. The set featured a massive medley of tracks by The Neptunes, a cover of “Seven Nation Army” and a double dose of “Lemon” to send us on our way to the next set.

Simultaneously, Carly Rae Jepsen was apparently throwing down one of Outside Lands’ most enjoyable performances in front of a rather large crowd. While the pop sensation pleased the masses with a rendition of her breakout hit “Call Me Maybe”, she also performed more recent songs like “Emotion”.

ODESZA obviously drew a large crowd for their main stage afternoon showcase, putting the spotlight on the changing tides and tastes of the youth music market. That kind of youthful angst and energy seemed to be danced out to ODESZA, DJ Snake and Big Gigantic compared to the pits of rock bands from the 2000’s, be it Queens of the Stone Age, System of a Down or Deftones.

With the under-25 crowd predominantly stationed at Lands End, you could say there was a more intimate feeling at Twin Peaks for Father John Misty. Touting his expanded band that featured a string section and dialing back his quirky stage banter, Josh Tillman’s latest tour has been pretty much about presenting his music as faithfully as he can. “Nancy From Now On” opened his career-spanning performance as the shadows began to drape the park.

While FJM’s attendance was noticeably a bit small for a rock act, the king of “jizz jazz,” aka Mac DeMarco, was able to attract a rowdy crowd for his closing set on the Sutro stage. When the synth sections of “On the Level” opened DeMarco’s set, a certain air of relaxation swept the crowd as various smokeables were consumed in honor of indie-slacker royalty onstage.

Abel Tesfaye, popularly known as The Weeknd, enjoyed a sort of victory lap as he headlined the festival’s first day with an onslaught of hits such as “Starboy”, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”, along with a few select covers of Future, Belly, Drake and Ty Dolla $ign. Though Tesfaye’s current large-scale show is nothing new to the live music circuit, he still threw one helluva party before sending the masses into the wilds of the City.

Outside Lands 2018 - Florence + the Machine


Florence + the Machine

Saturday

It has been a couple of years since Outside Lands was fortunate enough to have a truly clear, sunny Saturday — and not just for a few hours, but the whole damn day. Plus, it was topped off with another insanely gorgeous sunset, but let’s not jump the gun here.

As the day got underway, New York indie artist Amen Dunes performed an extremely tight set, showcasing his wavy take on psychedelic rock/folk. Led by Damon McMahon, the trio played heavy off its most recent release Freedom while also not completely ignoring its back catalog. Moreover, McMahon’s stage presence was infectious and somewhat akin to R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, as his slender build moved to the emotive nature of his craft.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Lizzo was bringing down the early-afternoon house as she decimated the Lands End stage. “Fitness” opened her 10-song set as her pair of dancers, as well as Lizzo herself, left everything on the stage for the sizable crowd that was yearning for her energy, and some even yearned for a shot of tequila from her bottle of Patrón as she entered the photo pit for an up-close appearance during closing song “Good as Hell”.

When the Lizzo crowd dispersed, Broken Social Scene fans got prime real estate to catch the Canadian indie-rock demigods perform a blistering set of guitar-heavy tunes like opener “KC Accidental” and closer “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”. Even in such a large setting, the massive band was able to cook up a sense of intimacy and really engage.

While OSL this year leaned more toward R&B, electronic pop and other hip genres, UK jazz purveyors GoGo Penguin delivered a stunning set of avant-garde-leaning jazz. This punchy trio showed their chops over tracks like “One Percent” and set closer “Window” and could easily be compared to The Bad Plus. GoGo were a perfect palate cleanser before heading to more current stylings from either SOB X RBE or CHVRCHES.

Local legend Tycho performed to an enthusiastic crowd while Scott Hansen stated this would be the last incarnation of this phase for the group (we look forward to the next chapter). Back over at Lands End, Bon Iver delivered a prototypically powerful set as the sunlight dwindled, simultaneously providing a seriously stunning sunset.

As the limited amount of darkness fell over the park, one-third of The xx was preparing to hold court as the Sutro crowd swelled, moving their dancing feet to the new-school dance pioneer known as Jamie xx (born James Smith). Even as Jamie xx eased into his intro (The Animals’ “San Francisco Nights”) and more fans pushed in, it was rather evident that the Sutro’s sound system wasn’t able to fully reach the volume many were looking for. But an Above & Beyond nod (“Sun in Your Eyes”) eventually led straight into Smith’s mix of “On Hold” and all was right in the world, if only for about eight minutes.

There was a bit of controversy surrounding Saturday’s main slot as Florence + the Machine officially made the move to full-blown festival headliner. Some festivalgoers had their own doubts after FYF Fest 2018 was canceled with a near-identical top billing, but Florence and her bandmates proved, many times over, that she is more than capable of commanding any stage as her energy is unlike many others. She debuted a brand-new show, which featured “June” in the opening slot and was book-ended by “Big God” and “Shake It Out” for a two-song encore.

Outside Lands 2018 - Janelle Monáe


Janelle Monáe

Sunday

On the final day, the weather was back on track; by that, I mean it was cold, blustery and generally moist. Most were thankful for the two previous days as opposed to three days of “Karl the Fog,” as has been tradition for a good 3-4 years now.

The early afternoon of Sunday bore witness to some very lively performances from up-and-comers like Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers, both of who are primed to make moves in the festival circuit over the next year if they play their cards right.

Continuing with the trend of electro-leaning acts playing to some big crowds, BØRNS fully commanded a youthful contingent with hits such as “10,000 Emerald Pools” and set closer “Electric Love”.

The incomparable Janelle Monáe was a tad late to take the stage, as she was fighting off a stomach bug, but when she did, she captivated the masses with a suite of tracks from her most recent release Dirty Computer and tossed in a fair amount of costume changes over a nearly hour-long set. Monáe proved that she’s easily one of the best in the business at the moment and will only continue to climb upwards.

Over at the Twin Peaks stage, The Internet was trying to hash out some sort of technical difficulties before beginning their abbreviated performance, which seemed to be a little lopsided and uneven as they did their best to deal with the 30 minutes that they had left. Fortunately, “Girl” got the majority who stuck around swaying to Syd’s sultry vocals and generally chilled demeanor.

Portugal. The Man held a fleeting rock slot on the main stage, putting their quirky brand of psych-leaning pop rock on display. Moreover, they tossed in some oddly placed Pink Floyd and Beatles covers before closing with their breakthrough hit “Feel It Still”.

Aussie newcomer Tash Sultana, meanwhile, was putting on a masterclass in instrumentation and looping. Sultana has really had one of the biggest breakout years in independent music, and it was clearly evident as she had a carefree stage presence backed by some truly unique, solo-delivered music ripe with psychedelic and world elements. The 23-year-old is certainly a name to watch over the next year and beyond.

As the last set of OSL artists got ready to play, James Blake brought us to church for this year’s final performance on the Sutro stage, failing to disappoint while the fog grew slightly thicker in Lindley Meadow. Highlights from Blake’s dreamy set were easily his take on Untold’s track “Stop What You’re Doing” and a semi-rare rendition of “Modern Soul”.

Some say Janet Jackson couldn’t pull in big crowds amid the current shifting landscape of large-scale music festivals, and although she didn’t pull in record-breaking numbers on a rugged SF night, it was clearly evident that those fans who stayed to watch her were all-in. Jackson’s career-spanning show touched on more than 35 songs and was accompanied by some fierce choreography and production elements. Sure, she wasn’t singing much of the time, but that didn’t stop a wide range of fans from showering Jackson with affection. Her closing performance was highlighted by “That’s the Way Love Goes” and later on, the MJ collaboration “Scream” that transitioned into “Rhythm Nation”.

As the music festival industry continues to deal with a shifting crowd and demand, Outside Lands regained its stride after a few hiccups in 2017. And while this year’s lineup might not have appealed to the core demographic from its incarnation, the event still offers something for everyone.

CRSSD unveils Phase 2 of Fall 2018 lineup

CRSSD Festival - Fall 2018 lineup - Phase 2

CRSSD Festival //
Waterfront Park – San Diego
September 29th-30th, 2018 //

Less than two months after releasing the first phase of its Fall 2018 roster, CRSSD has added even more artists to the bill now.

UK ambient/post-dubstep two-piece Mount Kimbie, California-based electronic producer Big Wild, Chicago DJ/production duo Louis the Child and 23-year-old singer-songwriter Kiiara all lead the two-day music festival’s Phase 2 lineup, while The Hacker, LEFTWING & KODY, Mija, Oliver, Will Clarke and Dateless are also among its new additions this September.

CRSSD Fall 2018 - Phase 2 lineup

CRSSD’s eighth edition will be headlined by British DJ/record producer Duke Dumont, who we saw close out last year’s inaugural Skyline festival (read our review here), and Canada’s Bob Moses, with Marian Hill, Sofi Tukker, Flight Facilities, Hayden James, PNAU, Autograf, Elderbrook, shallou, Claptone and more scheduled to perform in San Diego.

See the poster above for the entire Fall 2018 lineup. The bi-annual, 21-and-over event has GA tickets available here for $145 before they increase to $155.

Outside Lands 2018: Don’t miss these performances

Outside LandsPhoto by Marc Fong // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 10th-12th, 2018 //

Well, another year of Outside Lands descends upon our foggy metropolis once again, packing a varied, even genre-shifting bill of up-and-coming acts across three days and a multitude of stages. And as the music festival celebrates its 11th year in Golden Gate Park, Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly continue to stack on new and exciting elements. Some changes that attendees should be in store for include a slightly updated location for the Gastromagic stage and the addition of a cannabis-centric installation, appropriately named Grass Lands. In the meanwhile, let’s dig into what this event is all about … the music.

Also, don’t forget to create your own schedule here.


Outside Lands 2018 - Carly Rae Jepsen

This is ladies’ night … oh, what a night

Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Set date/time: Friday, 5:15-6:05 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

The “Call Me Maybe” star has shifted her sound over the past few years, and while she has traded in some of her pop sentiment for something more akin to indie dance, she has held steadfast to her popularity. Her Outside Lands Night Show at The Independent sold out in record time, but those shut out will still be able to see her on Day 1. While we haven’t seen much new music from CRJ, clamoring fans can hope to hear a new track or two.

Artist: Florence + the Machine
Set date/time: Saturday, 8:25-9:55 p.m.
Location: Lands End

It has been a long three years for Florence Welch fans as they patiently awaited the follow-up to 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Alas, the indie-rock queen has returned, making the jump to festival headliner with her beauty-meets-power stage presence. While Florence + the Machine might not seem like top-billing material, her live show will definitely command your attention. Plus, this set will also be a tad more special now with the cancellation of FYF, making this her first U.S. performance since the release of her fourth LP High as Hope as well as the debut of her brand-new stage setup.

Artist: Tash Sultana
Set date/time: Sunday, 6:15-7:05 p.m.
Location: Sutro

While the two aforementioned female artists have become household names over the last half decade, it’s 23-year-old Tash Sultana who is poised to make the larger splash at Outside Lands in 2018. This Australian export has been turning heads in big ways for the past year or so and is on the cusp of stardom. While Sultana’s true calling is the guitar, this multi-instrumentalist weaves psych-leaning rock with reggae flare through a multitude of loops. Her artistry is hard to deny and will easily pull you in on Day 3.


Outside Lands 2018 - Florence + the Machine

For the indie heads

Artist: Father John Misty
Set date/time: Friday, 6:50-7:50 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

The return of Josh Tillman to Golden Gate Park took a solid six years to come to fruition, and boy how things have changed since those early Fear Fun days. Long gone are the days of LSD-slogan shirts and kitschy, from-the-pulpit rants, which he has traded in for a slick new, no-BS style that’s truly refreshing. The release of his fourth studio album God’s Favorite Customer in June, with its string flourishes and lush organ arrangements, has given fans a multifaceted LP to dig into as Tillman still strives to provide lyrics that are part reflection, part meta. Expect at Outside Lands a largely expanded live band, coupled with less witty banter.

Artist: Jamie xx
Set date/time: Saturday, 7:35-8:50 p.m.
Location: Sutro

Even though some might claim that this year’s Outside Lands lineup looks a tad homogenized on paper, there are luckily a few rare treats that make a fest vet perk up, and in 2018, Jamie xx (born James Smith) holds that title. Other banner dance names such as DJ Snake and ODESZA may pull larger crowds, but the purists will surely congregate for one-third of The xx as Smith lays down far-out selections as well as tracks from his 2015 banner release In Colour. Jamie xx live sets have become increasingly rare nowadays, so this performance will likely serve as the best jumping off point for your Day 2 closer, whether you go with Future or Florence.

Artist: James Blake
Set date/time: Sunday, 7:35-8:45 p.m.
Location: Sutro

SF was treated to a handful of James Blake shows in December at the Herbst Theatre, but we’ll certainly take another appearance from this UK dubstepper-gone-crooner. Some new material has trickled out over the last year with his next record on the horizon … somewhere. However, the main reason we included him in this list has more to do with location, time and vibe. With the Sutro stage hosting a more electronic lineup in 2018 (i.e. Jamie xx, Big Gigantic and Tycho) than in years past, the thought and likelihood of a thick fog rolling through GGP’s eucalyptus grove as the final light dwindles gives us those sought-after music chills. If he plays “Modern Soul” though, we’ll have to upgrade that status to full-blown goose pimples.


Outside Lands 2018 - James Blake

Rising to the top

Artist: Cuco
Set date/time: Saturday, 2:20-3:05 p.m.
Location: Sutro

This LA native has recently captured the attention of music lovers both young and old with his blend of jizz jazz, downtempo beats and multilingual singles. Fans of Mac DeMarco and The Internet should plan to be in attendance for this one as Omar Banos’ lo-fi song crafting will unequivocally get you swaying on a Saturday afternoon at Outside Lands. Moreover, his super-fresh collaborative track titled “Drown” that he dropped with fellow heatseeker Clairo should soon send his stock flying through the roof.

Artist: Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers
Set date/time: Sunday, 1:10-1:55 p.m.
Location: Sutro

Frank Lopes, aka Hobo Johnson, arrived in 2018 out of nowhere due to the popularity of his breakout single “Peach Scone” along with its viral music video for NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. This quirky collective whips up a musical style that’s unlike any other and what some might label as spoken word and/or alternative hip-hop. Sure, there’s a layer of novelty to Johnson’s select tracks, but he’s simply lovable and so easy to root for, much like his contemporary Rex Orange County.

Outside Lands - 2018 lineup

Outside Lands releases its 2018 schedule

Outside Lands - 2018 schedule

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 10th-12th, 2018 //

With Outside Lands just a little more than two weeks away, the three-day music festival has revealed what many fans have been waiting for since this year’s lineup dropped: set times!

Check out the fest’s schedule for its 11th edition here and start making your plans for which artists you’ll be seeing at Golden Gate Park this August.

As usual, there are enough scheduling conflicts to sort through in 2018. Friday’s action will see festivalgoers choosing between Rex Orange County/Perfume Genius, N.E.R.D./Chicano Batman/Carly Rae Jepsen, ODESZA/The Growlers/Father John Misty and The Weeknd/Mac DeMarco/Beck, while Saturday offers its own assortment of difficult decisions with Broken Social Scene, Poolside and Daniel Caesar pitted up against one another. Of course, there’s also CHVRCHES vs. Big Gigantic, Bon Iver vs. Tycho and Florence + the Machine vs. Future that the masses will have to consider on Day 2.

Outside Lands 2018 - daily lineups

Sunday’s slate offers even more, with Janelle Monáe and LP scheduled only 15 minutes apart and The Internet on 10 minutes later. Portugal. The Man’s and Tash Sultana’s performances, meanwhile, are only separated by five minutes, and to close out the weekend, attendees will have to choose between Janet Jackson and DJ Snake, which presents quite a dichotomy.

Trying to decide who to see might feel a little overwhelming right now, but just remember you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. Much like every year, there are so many good options at Outside Lands that it’s not worth stressing over in the long run. Just be sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes and download the mobile app here before you head to the park.

Overjoyed for Outside Lands’ return? Take a peek at our coverage from 2017 here.

Outside Lands - 2018 lineup

CRSSD enlists Duke Dumont, Bob Moses to headline Fall 2018 lineup with Marian Hill, Sofi Tukker & more

CRSSD Festival - Fall 2018 lineup

CRSSD Festival //
Waterfront Park – San Diego
September 29th-30th, 2018 //

Since its official debut in 2015, CRSSD has found a home at San Diego’s scenic Waterfront Park and become a mainstay across Southern California’s ever-expanding live music landscape.

California-based event promoter FNGRS CRSSD has organized seven editions of the bi-annual music festival in that time, partnering with Goldenvoice early on, and has already announced its eighth installment almost four months after Empire of the Sun and Gorgon City topped the fest’s Spring 2018 lineup.

Headlining this time around will be British DJ/producer Duke Dumont, who we saw close out last year’s inaugural Skyline festival (read our review here), and Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses. This won’t be either’s first time performing at CRSSD, with one previously serving as a headliner (Duke Dumont) and the other as an undercard act (Bob Moses).

UPDATE (August 9th): Organizers have unveiled Phase 2 of the Fall 2018 lineup, with Mount Kimbie, Big Wild, Louis the Child, Kiiara and more joining the party this September.

Though CRSSD’s rosters have often leaned in the electronic direction and continue to as evidenced by this latest one, there was a time when it strayed off course and gave rock a chance, booking The Flaming Lips and TV on the Radio surprisingly enough.

Meanwhile, the two-day festival’s Fall 2018 bill also boasts Marian Hill, Sofi Tukker, Flight Facilities, Hayden James, PNAU, Autograf, Elderbrook, shallou, Claptone, Dusky, Anti-Up, Thomas Jack, AC Slater B2B Jack Beats, Darius (Live), Detlef, Cut Snake B2B Ardalan, Nina Kraviz, John Digweed and more.

See the poster above for the rest of the lineup. Advanced tickets for the 21-and-over event will be available here starting Tuesday, July 3rd at Noon PT.

CRSSD Festival 2016

Outside Lands taps The Weeknd, Florence + the Machine, Janet Jackson to lead 2018 lineup

Outside Lands - 2018 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 10th-12th, 2018 //

Outside Lands is bringing some heavy hitters to Golden Gate Park this August.

The three-day music festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, has inked The Weeknd, Florence + the Machine and Janet Jackson to headline its 2018 edition, and we had good reason to believe that the latter, who was already confirmed for FYF Fest in July, would come true as early as a few days ago.

Last week, Ranger Dave started releasing lineup clues via Twitter, including one in particular that indicated Jackson would be on the bill as well as others hinting that Bon Iver, Huey Lewis and the News, Mac DeMarco, Jessie Ware, Big Gigantic, BØRNS, Rex Orange County, SOBxRBE and to get things started, Portugal. The Man, would perform.

Now, we have this year’s complete roster that also boasts Future, Beck, ODESZA, DJ Snake, N.E.R.D., CHVRCHES, James Blake, Jamie xx, Illenium, Tycho, Father John Misty, Carly Rae Jepsen, Chromeo, The Internet, Gryffin, The Growlers, Tash Sultana, Broken Social Scene, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Daniel Caesar, Perfume Genius, Goldlink, Chicano Batman, Jessie Reyez, LP, Sabrina Claudio, Margo Price, Kelela, Claptone, The Mountain Goats, Lauv, Lizzo, Whethan, Smokepurpp, Quinn XCII, Poolside, Bahamas, CUCO, Amen Dunes, Shannon and the Clams, Aquilo and many more.

The festival’s culinary program, meanwhile, will continue to expand in 2018, with access to more than 200 menu items from some of the Bay Area’s top restaurants that you’ll be able to pair with hundreds of Northern Californian wines and beers and a collection of the region’s best cocktail bars. Taste of the Bay Area, Wine Lands, Beer Lands, The Back Wine, Cocktail Magic and GastroMagic are all back as well, so there’s plenty to be excited about in regard to the unique food and drink experiences that Outside Lands has to offer (and stayed tuned for the full food and drink lineup coming soon).

Moreover, adding to the overall experience will be Outsider Art, Eco Lands and The Barbary, which is named in honor of SF’s Barbary Coast district and features some of the best comedy and cabaret around. The environment has long been an important cause for Outside Lands, and its organizers aren’t afraid to say that after contributing more than $20 million to the SF Recreation & Park Department and rather remarkably turning 91 percent of 2017’s waste into reusable, recyclable and compostable materials.

Outside Lands has delivered seven consecutive sellouts since 2011, so you won’t want to wait on getting your tickets when they go on sale here this Thursday, April 5th at 10 a.m. PT. Plus, for the first time ever, the fest is offering fans the option for a three-day GA and VIP layaway plan that will allow them to pay for their passes in four installments. After last year saw an increase in ticket prices, three-day GA passes will start once again at $375 while VIP passes will be available for $795.

UPDATE (June 5th): Outside Lands has revealed its daily lineups for 2018, with The Weeknd gracing the stage Friday, Florence + the Machine playing Saturday and Janet Jackson closing down the festival Sunday. See the daily schedules below before single-day tickets go on sale for $149.50 (GA) and $345 (VIP) this Thursday, June 7th at 10 a.m. PT here.

Outside Lands 2018 - daily lineups

If you’re excited for Outside Lands now, make sure to check out our coverage from 2017 here.

Outside Lands 2017

Splash House 2016: One wet and wild weekend

Splash House 2016 - Weekend 2Photos by Anastasia Velicescu, Jesse Fulton, Jose Negrete & Quinn Tucket for Goldenvoice // Written by Jansen Granflor //

Splash House //
The Saguaro & The Riviera – Palm Springs, CA
August 12th-14th, 2016 //

Now in its third year and hosting its fifth overall event, Splash House combines the pools of The Saguaro and The Riviera for two weekends each summer. We drove from Orange County to Palm Springs last weekend to watch it all go down at the festival’s second edition in 2016.

There were also official after parties on Friday and Saturday night at the Palm Springs Air Museum, which trade pools and bare skin for shorts and shoes with laces for an intimate “dancing under the stars” experience. We spoke with festivalgoers as far north as the Bay Area, as far south as San Diego and as far east as Arizona who all made the journey for two days and three nights of excruciating heat, refreshing pools and unquestionably one of the most talented lineups of underground electronic artists.


Splash House 2016 - Weekend 2

Our weekend began at the Palm Springs Air Museum last Friday night with the weather just below 100 degrees and the excitement building for Australian alternative dance group RÜFÜS DU SOL, who performed at the Santa Monica Pier (read our review of the show here) the night before. It was also the only “live band” set we caught all weekend. A constant breeze provided a comfortable atmosphere we would not experience again until the following evening, as DJ duo Hotel Garuda played warmed up the crowd with remixes of “Ultraviolence” by Lana Del Rey and “Begging for Thread” by Banks, before the night culminated with the Sydney group doling out a number of hits, including “Like An Animal” & “Say a Prayer for Me”. However, for those who used Uber to get to the party, the night inevitably ended on a sour note (see what we mean below).

Splash House 2016 - Weekend 2 - Uber surge charge

Turning to Saturday, festivalgoers slowly trickled into the Saguaro’s pool area before 3 p.m., and two hours later, the place was jam-packed and it was close to being a fire hazard an hour later. Unofficial Splash House resident DJ Viceroy treated those present to the same poolside, “summertime-all-the-time” tunes he normally plays, although one could argue they worked better at Splash House than anywhere else in the world. From there, UK “hypnodance” duo Psychemagik kept the vibe going and transitioned into their remix/rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”, which proved to be the first of numerous iconic moments that could be attributed to an oldie-but-goodie.

We subsequently made the trek to The Riviera, which had a much larger capacity and created a raw atmosphere with a soundtrack that featured EDM-infused trap, dubstep and hip-hop through the late afternoon and early evening. If the Saguaro was supposed to be the fest’s underground house music stage, The Riviera was the main stage with thumping, big-room bass, as the artists performed right beside the deep end (go figure) of The Riviera’s massive, expansive pool .

Scottish producer extraordinaire Hudson Mohawke had the ratchets grinding to “Pony” by Ginuwine at the end of his sundown set (just another iconic moment of the weekend set to a timeless masterpiece), while British duo Snakehips gave the party new life with a remix of The Weeknd’s “Wanderlust” early on in their headlining slot. Right before 9 p.m., Snakehips played their smash hit “All My Friends” feat. Tinashe and Chance the Rapper, which was a bit of life-imitating art considering the song is about wasting another night with all your friends by getting, well, wasted of course, which was clearly what the crowd at The Riviera had been up to all night.

Splash House 2016 - Weekend 2

Saturday night’s action at the Palm Springs Air Museum featured music from two very busy deep-house artists — Germany’s Claptone and North London’s Chris Lake — playing for what felt like a much smaller audience than the previous night. The 100-degree heat at midnight could have been a significant factor, or it could have simply been the lineup, as one overseer for the venue told us how she loved RÜFÜS DU SOL the night before but could care less about the “techno” that was blaring in the background. As the evening progressed, Lake inevitably dropped his deep-house remix of Calvin Harris’ “How Deep is Your Love”, an absolute banger and an anthem for a sub-genre that has withstood the EDM boom-and-bust over the last few years. As the hottest Saturday in recent memory finally came to an end, Claptone closed with a flawless set that included his Beatport-topping remixes of “Liquid Spirit” by Gregory Porter and “Omen” by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith before finishing with his original track “No Eyes” that foreshadowed a night of much-needed sleep.

On Sunday at The Saguaro’s pool, French record label Partyfine’s funk ambassador Jean Tonique made his appearance, with London’s Marcus Marr following in what ultimately became my personal favorite set of the weekend. Marr brought the funk early and then worked in some dark bass lines before ending with an extended piano-intro version of Prince’s 1979 single “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, which had 99.98 percent of the crowd thoroughly enjoying the last few hours that were left of Splash House.

Over at The Riviera, an absolutely bonkers DJ roster of DFA Records’ The Juan Maclean, LA hometown heroes DJ Dodger Stadium (aka DJDS, who recently worked on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo), up-and-coming DJ/producer Jesse Rose (who has blessed the LA underground scene throughout 2016), Australian remix champ Cassian (who was a last-minute sub for a sick Chris Malinchak) and festival headliner Gorgon City (who has seemingly played every continent in the world this past year) all took the stage at one point.

Splash House 2016 - Weekend 2

The dedicated partygoers at The Riviera’s pool on Sunday night were not ready to stop when the music was cut off shortly after 9 p.m., which might have been why a $10 impromptu after party was announced by Splash House’s promoters earlier in the day. Coincidentally enough, Sabastion, one-half of LA-based DJ duo Strange Club, told me late on Friday night, “I don’t do the day parties, just the (night parties at the Air Museum) and house parties in the area.” In a way then, it was only fitting that an artist whom Splash House handpicked was the last to hit the decks when it was all said and done.

We also ventured over to “All Day Disco” at The Riviera’s Tiki Pool on Sunday afternoon to catch Alex Harrington, a local DJ who moved to the Coachella Valley area 11 years ago after living in Northern California and was recently recognized as the “Best Club DJ” by Coachella Valley Weekly. Since relocating to the desert, Harrington has seen Splash House grow from a “one-weekend, regionally-known event to a festival that reaches people around the world,” and mentioned that artists are allowed to play whatever style suits them, so he made sure to keep reading the people in the pool to figure out what would keep them moving.

Harrington ended our interview with his own personal hopes that events like Splash House could raise the profile of the area and attract bigger artists in the future, and considering the festival sold out at 5,000 guests per day, all of whom lodged, ate, drank and partied in Palm Springs, we wouldn’t expect anything less than a bigger and better edition in 2017.

Outside Lands 2016: Top sets, awards & what we overheard at Golden Gate Park

Outside Lands 2016Photos by Norm de Veyra & James Pawlish // Written by Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 5th-7th, 2016 //

Celebrating its ninth annual year as Northern California’s premier music, comedy, food and arts festival, Outside Lands took over Golden Gate Park last weekend and entertained crowds of more than 60,000 attendees each day with a massive roster of world-renowned talent. This year’s highlights surmounted all previous editions and exceeded the expectations of the most veteran festivalgoers.

Beyond the daily artist lineups, mouth-watering fare and unparalleled comedy showcases, Outside Lands kicked it up a notch in 2016, playing to what seemed like a more refined crowd on a local and national level. The festival’s organizers created an environment that appealed to both novices and seasoned attendees, with convenience being the key factor and a running theme that helped establish a flow to the fairgrounds that was unattainable in past years.

The fest also worked with PayPal to set up an option for cashless transactions by uploading “Bison Bucks” to your wristband, creating a seamless navigation of all the food/beverage and merchandise options. Furthermore, the debut of additional boutique concessions at Oyster Lands and Cocktail Lands provided a reprieve from the long lines at food trucks, booths and beer stands for the mature palette.

Even the structure and pace of this year’s Outside Lands schedule felt more conducive to less park-length traversing, with each stage focusing more on specific genres and demographics. There are still certain aspects that could use improvement, such as an increased availability of trash receptacles, bathroom options and crowd control at the festival’s entrance, but the issues that Outside Lands faced this year were no different or more overbearing than any other large-scale production.

Now nine years on the circuit, the Bay Area’s premiere destination for festival revelers has definitely matured to an impressive standard in the live music business. As Outside Lands continues to set the bar high thanks to its innovative features, top-notch billing and overall experience, here are our favorite moments from 2016.

Outside Lands 2016 - LCD Soundsystem


LCD Soundsystem

TOP SETS:

Headliner: LCD Soundsystem

Hip-Hop: Anderson .Paak

Pop: Grimes

Singer-Songwriter: Lana Del Rey

Rock: Foals

EDM: Zedd

Jazz: Kamasi Washington

Experimental: Air

Breakthrough artist: Jidenna

Local act: Down and Outlaws

Heineken Dome: Warren G & E-40 (pop-up performance)

Outside Lands 2016 - Chance the Rapper


Chance the Rapper

OUTSIDE LANDS 2016 AWARDS:

Biggest Crowd: Chance the Rapper

In one of the few transcendent moments of the weekend, a set that had everyone throughout the fairgrounds hyped into an anticipatory frenzy, Chance the Rapper performed at the Lands End stage on Sunday afternoon for easily the largest crowd of the entire weekend. Even those who stood their ground through Third Eye Blind’s preceding set felt the drastic change in both crowd size and personal space as the Polo Fields flooded and temperatures rose. Even though Chance could have used this to his advantage and conducted an explosive show, igniting the tightly configured crowd into a combustive state, he instead took his fans “to church” with a spiritually centered gospel set, making sure everyone was attentive and of course, that “his part” resonated among the masses.

Honorable Mention: Lana Del Rey, J. Cole

Most Magical Outside Lands Moment: Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind coming into Outside Lands was, “Who were Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem?” For those who knew, it was, “How in the hell were the Muppets going to fill a Sunday slot on the main stage?” Because the band had never played a show of such magnitude or outside the context of a TV/film studio, no one had any clue what to expect during this early-afternoon slot. Though some festivalgoers (mistakenly) decided to forego the experience altogether, those present will not forget the incredible feat that Another Planet Entertainment and Jim Henson Enterprises were able to pull off for what was one of the most emotionally nostalgic, blissfully complex and once-in-a-lifetime festival performances maybe ever. The Muppet house band both effortlessly managed to pluck the heartstrings of multiple generations of fans while delivering the most conceptually beautiful “love letter” to the city of SF, blanketing the grounds in a sea of love and collective euphoria for a brief, yet unforgettable moment. Relive the full performance here.

Honorable Mention: Big Boi’s set at Heineken Dome (pop-up performance), Jason Isabel performing with Ryan Adams

Outside Lands 2016

Funniest Stage Banter: Ryan Adams and The Shining

Known to be quite the comedian with his sassy stage banter and on-the-spot ad libs, Ryan Adams and his backing band, The Shining, catered to the Bay Area audience by revisiting a moment from his 2014 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass set with a rousing reprise of “3 Balloons”. He not only called out his attending family’s and audience members’ concert etiquette faux pas, but he also mentioned his annoyance with the bass of Major Lazer’s simultaneous set as well as referenced the standout beacon of this year’s festival, which was hoisted up by a group of super fans watching from the crowd. Check out it here.

Honorable Mention: Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, Lionel Richie

Most Jaw-Dropping Performance: Peaches

For those familiar with the raunchy revelry that a Peaches show entails, we were front and center when the pro-sex powerhouse took the Panhandle stage on Saturday. As for novice audience members or anyone really within the general vicinity during the set, this festival performance was one that frontwoman Merrill Nisker was determined to make sure would be burned into our Outside Lands memories for life. Somewhat of a crossbreed between live sex show and avant-garde performance art, Peaches paired hard-hitting bass lines with spitfire lyrics and a stage show of elaborately X-rated costumes and choreography that left the crowd on one hand speechless and on the other frantically screaming for more.

Honorable Mention: Grimes, The Claypool Lennon Delirium

Best GastroMagic Moment: Skew It on the Bar B with Big Boi, Animal’s Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo and State Bird’s Stuart Brioza

On the third and final day of Outside Lands, most attendees were camped out at their favorite stage, decompressing from the first two days of excitement and settling in to watch the final performances of the weekend. But if you happened to be one of the few wandering through the Choco Lands overpass or happened to remember Big Boi’s scheduled performance at the GastroMagic stage, you were in for a treat. Those present in the intimate crowd not only got a mini set of both Outkast and solo hits from the vivacious emcee, but they also got samples of some of the most sought-after BBQ shrimp in the Bay Area while listening to remixed versions of each song that incorporated the word “shrimp” into every chorus. Hilariously ridiculous and insanely delicious, those present may never hear those songs performed the same way again. In fact, we’re still giggling and singing “I like the way you shrimp” days later.

Honorable Mention: Beignets and Bounce Brunch (with Big Freedia and Brenda’s Soul Food), Shark Bites (with Jauz, Mother of Pearl and Guittard Chocolate Company)

Outside Lands 2016 - Big Grams


Sarah Barthel of Big Grams

Most “Thirst-Inducing” Performers of the Weekend: Big Gram’s Sarah Barthel, Miguel

Worst Decisions of the Weekend: The girl who climbed the windmill during J. Cole’s set and fell (watch here), deciding to bring a bag with you to the festival

Best Totems: The Red Balloon

Honorable Mention: Rick & Morty, Stranger Things Dustin

Biggest Festival Wear Trend of 2016: Hipster Bandito

Honorable Mention: Animal-themed onesies, flower crowns/bedazzled body parts

Best “Taste of the Bay” Menu Item: Bacon Bacon CA BBQ Bacon Burritos

Best Adult Beverage: Elixir’s Whatamelon Cocktail

Best Non-Alcoholic Nectar of the Gods: Straw’s Basil Strawberry Lemonade

Best Festival Feature: Cocktail Lands

Best Way to Waste Time Between Sets: PayPal Video Game Arcade

Outside Lands 2016 - Radiohead


Radiohead

OVERHEARD AT OUTSIDE LANDS 2016:

The best directly stated and heard in passing at the festival.

“An empty bag is still a bag!” – crowd members policing the “no-bag” entry lines to the festival

“Is this the Trail of Tears section of Outside Lands?” – crowd members while passing through Choco Lands

“I’m in the Upside Down …” – Day 3 entry ways to the festival

“Hurry up, run! The flower crowns are coming, the flower crowns are coming!” – crowd members exiting the Twin Peaks stage area before Lana Del Rey

“I must’ve missed the goth/bandito appropriation memo …” – in reference to this year’s style trends

“Meet me at the Red Balloon!” – various lost attendees throughout the grounds

“Tits out for Radiohead!” – an ambitious crowd member on Saturday night

“Jesus, Rachel!” – in reference to “basic bitch” behavior/clothing choices throughout the weekend

“I be on that shrimp tonight, straight up on that shrimp tonight, I be on that straight up on that, I be on that shrimp tonight.” – Big Boi during his GastroMagic performance

“Mmmm, porcini doughnuts …” (Homer Simpson voice) – mimicking nearby food vendors

“Who even is Lionel Richie … oh, Nicole Richies’ dad?!” – mortifyingly clueless audience member

“We’re all Diana Ross!” – Lionel Richie in reference to his “special guest”

“We’re all gonna die, whatcha’ gonna do about it?” – Sufjan Stevens contemplating life on stage

“This is the best moment of my life, can I live in an LCD set?” – enthused crowd member

“I’d follow you to hell …” – a member of a large group attempting to traverse the grounds

“But my mom and dad are in there …” – festivalgoers attempting to jump the line entering the festival

“You know San Francisco has totally changed, like I went back to my place on the pier and it was taken over by sea lions, like totally gentrified!” – Janus during Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem’s set