The 25 best live music acts of 2015

Best Live Acts of 2015

Around this time last year, we shared our 25 favorite live performers of 2014 after spending the past 12 months covering many excellent bands, musicians and DJs. So, with 2015 almost in the books, we thought we would give the same exercise another try, except this year, we made the call to exclude any artists we named in 2014. What fun would it really be to list them two years in a row anyway?

In the end, it wasn’t an easy task whittling down our list to 25, but some tough decisions had to be made. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists and bands (in alphabetical order) who we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

AlunaGeorge, Ariel Pink, BADBADNOTGOOD, Bad Religion, Battles, Beirut, Belle and Sebastian, Big Grams, Billy Idol, Black Lips, The Black Keys, Blonde Redhead, BØRNS, BROODS, Built to Spill, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Chet Faker, Chromeo, City and Colour, Classixx, Cold War Kids, Dâm-Funk, Damien Rice, Death Cab for Cutie, Dengue Fever, Django Django, Dr. Dog, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Failure, The Flaming Lips, Flight Facilities, Goldroom, Glen Hansard, The Glitch Mob, Gorgon City, Holly Herndon, Interpol, Israel Nash, James Bay, Jeff Tweedy, Jenny Lewis, The Jesus and Mary Chain, JMSN, Jose Gonzalez, Jurassic 5, Kanye West, Kindness, King Tuff, Marina and the Diamonds, Miami Horror, Milky Chance, Modest Mouse, Morrissey, MS MR, Les Sins, Lotus, Natalie Prass, Neon Indian, ODESZA, Of Montreal, Oneohtrix Point Never, Panda Bear, Penguin Prison, Phantogram, Portugal. The Man, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Purity Ring, Ratatat, Royal Blood, San Fermin, Shlohmo, Slow Magic, SOHN, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, STRFKR, Surfer Blood, Talib Kweli, Tame Impala, Tennis, Toro y Moi, Tycho, Umphrey’s McGee, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vintage Trouble, Vulfpeck, Widespread Panic, YACHT.

Now, without further ado, The Bam Team presents our 25 favorite live performers of 2015.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2015

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2015:


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #25 - Lord Huron

25. Lord Huron

The audience reacted with just as much enthusiasm during classic Lord Huron tunes as they did in hearing brand-new material, especially during fan favorites like “She Lit a Fire” and back-to-back rockabilly-tinged jams “The World Ender” and “Fool for Love”. At this point, the crowd had not only warmed up to Lord Huron’s infectious stage presence, but also gave into their buoyant vibes as mini dance parties broke out throughout the venue. -Molly Kish, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #24 - Puscifer

24. Puscifer

Maynard James Keenan and friends have established themselves as not just a group of musicians who play songs on stage, but rather an assemblage of entertainers that provide their viewers and fans with something they may not have ever seen before — a true experience. Paying homage to the likes of Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd and the glory days of the rock opera, Puscifer have a very special way of combining their music with a stage show that offers so much more than just music. -Scotland Miller, photo by Mike Rosati


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #23 - Viet Cong

23. Viet Cong

Once the appetizer had been digested, Viet Cong were taking the stage and beginning a theme of quirky banter that eased the crowd into the blistering set as opposed to bombardment. Within the first few chords, it was evident that continued time on the road found the band at the peak of perfection. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Diana Cordero


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #22 - Kate Tempest

22. Kate Tempest

This decade will likely be known for the death of “genre,” the end of how groups have been contained into categories like R&B or rap since the birth of record labels. And with dance music on the rise, digitized conventions are creeping into pop, rap and indie music on the regular. With music more accessible than ever and for free, listeners are willing to experiment with their auditory material — and amalgamation is the natural result. Tempest represents this change as much or more than anyone as we enter the smack-dab middle of this decade. And that includes Kanye West, Sylvan Esso or Run the Jewels. -Mike Frash, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #21 - Deerhunter

21. Deerhunter

Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox talked about how he decided on the way over to the island that he wouldn’t play many songs, how he took ayahuasca on Saturday night in LA and he was surprised at how reserved the TIMF audience was. He said we were “polite like the Japanese.” Bradford, that’s what we call “respect” — and you’ve earned it. -Mike Frash, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #20 - Faith No More

20. Faith No More

It can be hard to know what to expect from a crew like Faith No More and their eccentric, yet prolific members. The entire stage was dressed in white, from the curtains to the amplifiers to the mic stands. Lining the entire length of the stage and any flat surface that would support them were thousands of dollars worth of beautiful, fresh flowers. The abundance of purples and pinks, reds and yellows created a very comfortable and soothing, yet incredibly eerie feeling as to what was about to happen next. Once the setup was complete and the lights dropped, the crowd was let in to the stark contrast that is the weird world of Faith No More. -Scotland Miller, photo by Greg Ramar


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #19 - Sufjan Stevens

19. Sufjan Stevens

Stevens spoke of the need for community in the throes of grief, and the audience ably did their part to help him through this very public grieving process. At the end of the main set, a young woman crashed the stage to offer a bemused Sufjan something (a hug? words of love and encouragement?), and it seemed wholly appropriate, as if the audience needed in some small way to collectively reach out to the man after he bared his soul so openly. -Steve Carlson, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #18 - Allen Stone

18. Allen Stone

In many ways, Stone’s ideological stance on technology shapes not only his set as a performer but also his fan base. Watching an Allen Stone show, one can feel certain that all pretenses will be left at the door and those surrounding you will be committing their full attention to the music. Midway through Stone’s set, the venue was completely under his charismatic spell. The audience actively followed the Seattle-born frontman’s lead as he prompted a group participation “2-step” and rolled through crowd favorites from his self-titled LP and latest album Radius. -Molly Kish, photo by Tom Dellinger


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #17 - The Kills

17. The Kills

Mosshart, tall and slender, strutted her way through just about all of it, displaying a bravado that exudes both sex and confidence, while Hince handled his axe like a bona fide rock star, eventually playing some slide guitar during the gritty, blues-infused track “Pots and Pans” that got the crowd roaring after it was over. After all, it’s that blues/garage-rock overlap, along with the chemistry exhibited between Mosshart and Hince onstage, that makes The Kills such a captivating rock ‘n’ roll act to see live these days. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #16 - The Chemical Brothers

16. The Chemical Brothers

Directly following their dramatic entrance to a recording of Junior Parker’s epic “Tomorrow Never Knows”, the duo kicked off their career-spanning set with crowd favorite “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” from 1999’s Surrender. They launched into a full-blown frenzy from that moment on, and the UK dance legends went hard (no pun intended) throughout the rest of their two-hour performance, debuting live remixes of new material from their 2015 release Born in the Echoes while interspersing nostalgia-inducing EDM classics off their seven previous albums. -Molly Kish, photo by Justin Yee


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #15 - Eagles of Death Metal

15. Eagles of Death Metal

EODM have the perfect style as a rock band, one that takes itself just seriously enough. As a whole, they are a hard, fast and tightly-wound production, with their silly lyrics and even sillier frontman bringing a perfect balance to what you want to see at a rock show. Closing with “Speaking in Tongues”, EODM walked off the stage at the Great American Music Hall knowing that they had accomplished what they came to do — to prove that rock ain’t dead. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Mike Rosati


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #14 - Florence + the Machine

14. Florence + the Machine

Welch lapped around the inside ring of the bowl, stopping briefly at the sound stage. What a cool moment. -James Nagel, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #13 - Sturgill Simpson

13. Sturgill Simpson

Simpson has stage presence, that is without a doubt. The conviction of his voice bolsters his words as he describes a life of highs and lows, trials and tribulations. This was evident on renditions of songs like “Turtles All the Way Down”. If there is a song to capture your attention and convince you of Simpson’s talents as a songwriter, this is one of them. Just like that of his predecessors, he writes music that goes against the grain of popular country music. It may be defined as “outlaw country,” but I personally feel it is music that resonates with a wider audience than that of its counterparts. -Kory Thibeault, photo by Kory Thibeault


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #12 - alt-j

12. alt-J

The 2012 Mercury Prize winners echoed a semblance to that of Sigur Rós or Volcano Choir, leaving audience members entranced in a near-altered state while observing the foursome. The biggest fan responses erupted during the band’s singalong favorites “Breezeblocks”, “Fitzpleasure” and their token cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day”. -Molly Kish, photo by Mike Rosati


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #11 - Hot Chip

11. 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. -Molly Kish, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #10 - Dan Deacon

10. Dan Deacon

One of the toughest things to do in the world of electronic music is to sound organic, to imbue a sense of heart into the digitized nature of ones and zeroes. The Baltimore native accomplishes this through his hilarious and improvisational free-form, stand-up comedy, which thrives on wandering non sequiturs. And he mirrors this by adapting his insane-train of sound to meet and exceed the energy in the room. The “America” suite finished off the show with an extended doom metal quality that gave a sense that no aesthetic boundaries can contain Deacon’s sense of musical exploration. -Mike Frash, photo by Pedro Paredes


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - FKA twigs

9. FKA twigs

British singer-songwriter Tahliah Debrett Barnett, better known as FKA twigs, has been all the rage lately after performing at Coachella in April, and she closed out FYF in style, donning an elaborate burgundy- and gold-colored robe for her Sunday night set. Just the week before, the 27-year-old fiancée of actor/musician Robert Pattinson released her brand-new EP M3LL155X, and with it receiving high marks from a number of music outlets, there were quite a few fans who stuck around after 11:30 p.m. on a “school night” to watch her perform some of them, including the opening track “Figure 8”, “In Time” and “Glass & Patron”. FKA twigs might be one of the most compelling live acts out there right now, and after scheduling Purity Ring to close out The Lawn the night before, FYF seemed to make a point of letting women rule that stage in the late-night hours this year. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #8 - Empire of the Sun

8. Empire of the Sun

As Steele belted out “Alive”, the hit single off the band’s sophomore studio album Ice on the Dune, to close things out, he brought the audience to a transcendent place of exhilaration. Crowd members embraced and danced amongst a like-minded family of people lost in the moment, even if it involved intergalactic creatures dancing in colored smoke and a crowned Emperor playing without his bandmate on stage. EOTS shows are a special kind of magic that regardless of the material’s absurd nature, translate into an experience unlike anything else. -Molly Kish, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #7 - My Morning Jacket

7. My Morning Jacket

Though it was more than understandable to see the band play a large majority of The Waterfall for its first performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl in almost four years, there were plenty of other deep cuts mixed in over the next two hours, from “Bermuda Highway” to “Mahgeetah” to “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2”. After all, it’s no secret that My Morning Jacket have always been good to their most loyal and dedicated fans, and in once again taking song requests as part of their “Spontaneous Curation Series,” they made sure to dig up many of the classics from their seminal album Z, including “Wordless Chorus” and “Off the Record” one after the other in the middle of a loaded, four-song encore. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #6 - Jamie xx

6. Jamie xx

Throughout his tour, Smith has refused to compromise his individual style for the sake of appeasing either extreme of his now commercially hybrid audience. Whereas those familiar with his early XL Records mixtapes were satiated by his intermingling of Gil Scott-Heron and Idris Muhammad samples between hits, his newfound post-In Colour fans experienced equally breathtaking moments with the crowd hitting peak energy levels during the encore chorus of “Loud Places” amidst the glow of a warped-speed, neon-green strobe light. Other notable moments included the near-religious choral drop of “Gosh” that escalated the packed house to spiritual levels of enthusiasm, bathed in the glowing sparkle of Smith’s staggeringly iridescent ceiling to floor disco ball and stage lights. -Molly Kish, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #5 - Elton John

5. Elton John

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. -Nik Crossman, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #4 - Father John Misty

4. Father John Misty

Father John (Sassypants) Misty has his festival game on point, and he has progressed his I Love You, Honeybear songs into epic plateaus since premiering them in the Santa Cruz mountains last February. He spewed banter like an Stephen Colbert-esque contrarian, saying, “Look at these suckers with their hair blowing all over the place.” And as he approached the mic for more improv-snark later on, Tillman paused to say, “Sorry, I have nothing to say. Ha.” FJM was speechless for once, but granted, it might have been set up for “Bored in the USA”, a song that should be considered an American classic at this point. -Mike Frash, photo by Pedro Paredes


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #3 - Kendrick Lamar

3. Kendrick Lamar

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. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #2 - Caribou

2. Caribou

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. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Justin Yee


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 - D'Angelo & The Vanguard #1

1. D’Angelo & The Vanguard

One of the most anticipated sets of the entire weekend was none other than D’Angelo’s — and for good reason. The R&B/neo-soul singer-songwriter hadn’t put out an album in 14 years until he suddenly dropped his 2014 masterpiece Black Messiah last December, so you knew that getting the rare opportunity to see Michael Eugene Archer work a crowd at FYF would be something special. Sounding more like a youthful James Brown than a wannabe Prince (we still don’t totally understand where those comparisons are coming from), D’Angelo and his eight-piece backing band The Vanguard took the audience for a ride as they doled out new and old hits. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt

Outside Lands 2015 - Dan Deacon

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Glen Hansard casts a spell on his SF fans

Glen HansardBy Benjamin Wallen //

Glen Hansard with Aoife O’Donovan //
The Masonic – San Francisco
November 10th, 2015 //

Glen Hansard is a gem. I first discovered his music in the film “Once” as many Americans did, and I quickly became enamored with it. The music to “Once” was the first soundtrack I had bought in years, and I played it regularly on repeat.

Hansard’s gentle music felt so very real, far more real than so much of the American music that came out at the time of “Once”. Authenticity oozes from Hansard’s music, and seeing him at The Masonic, my first show there since the remodel, was a real treat.

Opening the show was Aoife O’Donovan, a singer and guitar player in the folk-rock realm. A spotlight and a guitar was all she needed to command the crowd’s attention with her soft, pillowy voice warming everyone up. The sound at The Masonic was on point for O’Donovan’s set and really showcased the venue’s acoustics. Since the show, I have been falling backwards into O’Donovan’s other work, which includes the music she creates with the Boston-based progressive bluegrass/string band Crooked Still.

Hansard took the stage with a single light blasting from aside the stage. The mood inside the room was haunting and somber as he sang with no mic, summoning the crowd to a silence. Last time I saw someone with this much power was Bonnie Raitt singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in 2013.

Glen Hansard

I am a sucker for Irish music and the voice that comes with it. I found out about The Clancy Brothers, the influential Irish folk group popular during the 60’s, while watching a Bob Dylan documentary that convinced me to listen to more folk and Irish music. There is something about the Irish that is incredibly welcoming. After visiting Ireland a few years back, I fell in love with the rolling hills, the pubs and the people. My first night waiting in a lobby for a friend had my first encounter with a drunken Irishmen. I couldn’t understand a word he said, but it was a magical moment between the number of laughs and smiles that came from both of us in that fun, yet challenging conversation. There is no doubt a great amount of love to an Irish laugh.

Listening to Hansard and his band is a soul smile. His ability to play music with delicacy and power is astounding. The night was beyond magical. The Masonic was the perfect venue for Hansard and his band. The vibe onstage felt as though you were standing on the corner in Dublin watching a street band playing music at night under street lights.

It is easy to say magic when you speak of music, but there is something also hauntingly exhausting about Hansard’s music. You can feel both the struggle and the hope dancing around, but it feels so good. You don’t ever feel alone while listening to his ballads. He must be seen live. You can listen to his music constantly at home, but that feeling you will take away from his live show will stay with you for days and weeks, like a warm sweater of good.

WIN TICKETS: Outside Lands 2014 night shows

Outside Lands fansWritten by Molly Kish //

This weekend in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Bay Area will celebrate the seventh annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. After each day at the grounds, post-festival activities are being scattered throughout the electrified 7×7 cityscape, and we have your tickets for some of the best after-parties happening all weekend long!

View the 2014 festival schedule and create your custom grid to share with friends!
View our 2014 beer/artist pairings!

Win-2-Tickets

CONTEST CLOSED.

Winners will be picked at random and notified by email. Your email will be kept private — we will share your email with no one.


THURSDAY, AUGUST 7TH

Those Darlins

Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

It’s going to be a dual-headliner, Nashville rock throw down Thursday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. With Those Darlins founding members meeting at the Southern Girl’s Rock & Roll Camp in Tennessee, country roots run deep in the musical history of this band. Formed in 2006, releasing their alt-country debut in 2009, the band fluctuates between traditional southern instrumentation, rockabilly and garage rock. Partners on the bill, fellow Nashville natives and six piece rock band Diarrhea Planet complement the foursome perfectly with their explosive guitar shredding, pop-laden “drunken sing-along” spectacle of a performance. Fresh off of touring their volatile live show to this past year’s South By Southwest, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and various other festival stages (we reviewed their inspiring show at The Indy in 2013), the band brings their energetic ensemble to Brick and Mortar Music Hall for another exclusive night show only performance. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 18+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Thursday, August 7th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Thursday, August 7th at Noon.

Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Two separate OL acts for the price of one! Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands, both performing day one of the festival, will be headlining The Independent in a one-off warm up session on Thursday night. Cronin, having released his self-titled debut in 2011, has had a busy few years questioning long term relationships, moving to San Francisco, touring and recording with musical counterpart Ty Segall, forming his own band and releasing his sophomore album MCII as a Merge Records artist. A multi-instrumentalist, Cronin’s gritty garage rock sound blends perfectly with co-headliner Bear Hands’ post-punk influenced indie rock. Fresh off the release of their second studio album, Distraction, Bear Hands’ “New York buzz band” reputation precedes them, gaining the group national attention on several music blogs and entertainment websites. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 21+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Friday, August 8th at The Independent in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Friday, August 8th at Noon.

Glen Hansard

Glen Hansard @ Fox Theater Oakland // Buy Tickets

Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist Glen Hansard will headline the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday night with Sean Hayes opening the show. A founding member of The Frames and half of the critically-acclaimed duo The Swell Season, Hansard has been creating seminal folk rock internationally for more than a decade. Gaining attention in the states initially for his role in the 1991 film The Commitments, Hansard recorded his first solo album in 2006 with the help of Czech singer and multi-instrumentalist Marketa Irglova, whom he would go on to co-star with in the 2006 Sundance winner Once and form The Swell Season together that same year. Hansard has since then recorded and produced various songs on film scores and compilations, lent opening support for Eddie Vedder’s U.S. solo tour, guest starred on American prime-time sitcoms and released his solo debut Rhythm and Repose in 2012. Hansard is not performing at Outside Lands this year, so this performance at the Fox is an exclusive after-party date! Be sure to grab your tickets here.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Thursday, August 7th at the Fox Theater Oakland by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Thursday, August 7th at Noon.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 8TH

The Soul Rebels

The Soul Rebels @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Bringing the NOLA funk to Friday’s Outside Lands festival lineup, The Soul Rebels plan to keep the party going well into the evening at Brick & Mortar Music Hall that evening. Fate brought together original members Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc when they met as percussionists in Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band. Although trained in New Orleans jazz fundamentals, the two opted to take the traditional brass band sound they were raised on to the next level, incorporating their love for contemporary R&B, funk and hip hop. Branching off in a new direction, the duo left to form their own group, quickly winning over local audiences and officially being christened the “Soul Rebels” backstage before their opening slot for the Neville Brothers, by Cyril Neville himself. Since then the band has released several full lengths albums, set up a residency at Uptown NOLA club Le Bon Temps, have become a staple act at festivals throughout the globe and most recently released a mixtape Power=Power, premiered by Noisey, including brass band renditions of Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, Daft Punk and more. Easily the most funky of post festival Friday night festivities, this show will be the dance party of the weekend. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 18+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Friday, August 8th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Friday, August 8th at Noon.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH

Gold Panda

Gold Panda @ Mezzanine // Buy Tickets

Multi-faceted producer Gold Panda returns to Mezzanine on Friday night with his genre-bending take on electronic music. With the rise of producers such as Flying Lotus and Flume, many other similar artists are breaking out to larger crowds and stages as forward-leaning electronica garners a new level of popularity and appreciation. Gold Panda represents a vast amalgam of electronic music, borrowing influences from all over the world to weave an upbeat, futuristic tapestry. His latest release Half of Where You Live has been critically hailed as his third stab at a comprehensive full-length album. Tracks like “Brazil” demonstrate his use of South American rhythms in a contemporary manner while consistently maintaining a dance beat. There are no ‘drops’ or huge frills to his dance ethic, but rather a rapturing, constant beat that listeners can lose themselves in rather easily. Ghostly International only signs the finest in contemporary dance music, so it’s no surprise that Gold Panda reps the prolific label. Teamed with local opener Doseone, this after party will keep the positive energy flowing from Saturday night straight into Gold Panda’s festival set that closes out the weekend on Sunday. Purchase tickets for the only electronic night show announced for Saturday here. 21+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Saturday, August 9th at Mezzanine in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Saturday, August 9th at Noon.

Woods

Woods @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Brooklyn-based Americana, neo-psychadelia outfit Woods will be headlining Saturday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall ahead of their festival set on the final day of OL. The trio have released eight albums since their formation in 2005, which have garnered them both critical acclaim across the board. Dubbed “pop shamanism”, the band is currently on tour celebrating the release of their new album, With Light and with Love, exploring “expanded sonic palettes” heavy with percussion, altered vocals and experimental guitar riffs. Their latest release on their self-run record label, Woodsist, is described as distinctly different from their previous work, “showcasing a more sophisticated brand of contemporary drug music,” relatable to the Beatles iconic Magical Mystery Tour, catering to a “new age of searchers, of Don Juan and Animal Chin alike.” Easily the biggest head trip of the OSL night show options, if you’re looking to get weird Saturday night, you’re going to want to buy your tickets here. 21+ only.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Woods.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Saturday, August 9th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Saturday, August 9th at Noon.


Outside Lands 2014 night shows: Keep it going ’til the AM

Girls-on-Fire-Main-Stage-TimWritten by Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

We’re only a few weeks away from one of the most anticipated summer festivals of the 2014 season. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival has announced their official schedule for this year’s five consecutive evenings of night shows. In case you missed this past weekend’s announcement or weren’t privy to the ticket holder password, fret not — we’ve got you covered with our rundown of after-parties and links for you to win or purchase your tickets. The party does not have to stop on the polo field!

View the 2014 schedule and create your custom grid to share with friends!
View our 2014 beer/artist pairings!


Phosphorescent

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6TH

Phosphorescent @ The Independent // SOLD OUT: Win tickets via Do 415

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, aka Phosphorescent, kicks off this year’s lineup of OL night shows with a sold out performance Wednesday night at The Independent. A follow up to last year’s show at the Indy with his five piece band, the Alabama native returns to the venue, bringing his mix of “western ballads and swelling jams” to the intimate venue. On tour promoting his most recent record Muchacho, one can expect to hear standout tracks from this critically acclaimed 2013 release. A perfect Wednesday night warm up for Houck’s Friday set, hardcore fans will be starting their weekend early, and we recommend you do the same!


THURSDAY, AUGUST 7TH

Typhoon @ CA Academy of Sciences // Buy Tickets

Comprised of twelve singers, songwriters and multi-talented instrumentalists, this small army of a band will be bringing their impressive live show to the CA Academy of Sciences on Thursday night. A band whose sound is characterized by their complicated arrangements and articulate orchestration, Typhoon’s catalogue of work ranges from “sea shanties, to country western and Eastern European inspired songs.” Across the board they cover various styles, meld multiple genres and produce thematically dense work, focusing heavily on lead singer-songwriter Kyle Morton’s struggles with mortality and finding strength through personal relationships. A beautiful setting to catch an equally stunning set, grab your tickets here to take part in this OL edition of Nightlife.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Typhoon.

Glen Hansard @ The Fox Theater // Buy Tickets

Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist Glen Hansard will headline the Fox Theater Oakland with opener Sean Hayes on Thursday night as well. Founding member of The Frames and half of the critically acclaimed duo, The Swell Season, Hansard has been creating seminal folk rock internationally for well over a decade. Gaining attention in the states initially for his role in the 1991 film The Commitments, Hansard recorded his first solo album in 2006 with help from Czech singer and mutli-instrumentalist Marketa Irglova, whom he would go on to co-star with in the 2006 Sundance Festival World Cinema Audience Award winning film Once and form the band The Swell Season within the same year. Hansard has since recorded and produced various songs on film scores and compilations, leant opening support for Eddie Vedder’s solo American tour, guest starred on American primetime sitcoms and released his solo debut Rhythm and Repose in 2012. NOT PERFORMING AT THE FESTIVAL, this performance is an exclusive night show only date! Grab tickets to this limited OL affair right here.

Diarrhea-Planet

Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

It’s going to be a dual-headliner, Nashville rock throw down Thursday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. With Those Darlins founding members meeting at the Southern Girl’s Rock & Roll Camp in Tennessee, country roots run deep in the musical history of this band. Formed in 2006, releasing their alt-country debut in 2009, the band fluctuates between traditional southern instrumentation, rockabilly and garage rock. Partners on the bill, fellow Nashville natives and six piece rock band Diarrhea Planet complement the foursome perfectly with their explosive guitar shredding, pop-laden “drunken sing-along” spectacle of a performance. Fresh off of touring their volatile live show to this past year’s South By Southwest, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and various other festival stages (we reviewed their inspiring show at The Indy in 2013), the band brings their energetic ensemble to Brick and Mortar Music Hall for another exclusive night show only performance. Be sure to grab your tix here.

Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Two separate OL acts for the price of one! Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands, both performing day one of the festival, will be headlining The Independent in a one-off warm up session on Thursday night. Cronin, having released his self-titled debut in 2011, has had a busy few years questioning long term relationships, moving to San Francisco, touring and recording with musical counterpart Ty Segall, forming his own band and releasing his sophomore album MCII as a Merge Records artist. A multi-instrumentalist, Cronin’s gritty garage rock sound blends perfectly with co-headliner Bear Hands’ post-punk influenced indie rock. Fresh off the release of their second studio album, Distraction, Bear Hands’ “New York buzz band” reputation precedes them, gaining the group national attention on several music blogs and entertainment websites. Be sure to grab your tix here.


Soul-Rebels

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8TH

The Soul Rebels @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Bringing the NOLA funk to Friday’s Outside Lands festival lineup, The Soul Rebels plan to keep the party going well into the evening at Brick & Mortar Music Hall that evening. Fate brought together original members Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc when they met as percussionists in Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band. Although trained in New Orleans jazz fundamentals, the two opted to take the traditional brass band sound they were raised on to the next level, incorporating their love for contemporary R&B, funk and hip hop. Branching off in a new direction, the duo left to form their own group, quickly winning over local audiences and officially being christened the “Soul Rebels” backstage before their opening slot for the Neville Brothers, by Cyril Neville himself. Since then the band has released several full lengths albums, set up a residency at Uptown NOLA club Le Bon Temps, have become a staple act at festivals throughout the globe and most recently released a mixtape Power=Power, premiered by Noisey, including brass band renditions of Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, Daft Punk and more. Easily the most funky of post festival Friday night festivities, this show will be the dance party of the weekend. Be sure to grab your tickets here.

Death Cab for Cutie @ The Independent // SOLD OUT: Win tickets via Do415

Heavy hitters on Saturday’s OL bill, Death Cab for Cutie bring their iconic indie rock to The Independent for an extraordinarily intimate one night only performance. For 17+ years, DCFC have been impacting the modern shape of indie rock, becoming one of the most prominent mainstream alternative bands during this time. Recording a discography comprised of seven studio albums, five EPs, a demo and numerous side projects/solo efforts, DCFC has carved out a significant place in music history and remain a staple within the contemporary scene both through their continual contributions to music, film and live entertainment. Announcing via social media that they’re in the process of working on their eighth studio album, the group just celebrated the 10 year anniversary of their seminal 2003 album Transatlanticism and released a live album of material from their 2012 tour dates with Magik Magik Orchestra. This show will be one for the books and quite possibly the only time you’ll be able to catch this caliber of a band in a club-sized venue ever again. Register to win a pair of tix here.


The Killers

SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH

The Killers @ The Independent // SOLD OUT: Win tickets via Do 415

Headlining what is undoubtedly the biggest night annually in the SF music scene, The Killers will be playing to a sold-out crowd at The Independent on Saturday night, preceding their Sunday night closing set at Outside Lands. The Las Vegas foursome formed in 2001 and has become one of the largest names in alternative rock over the past decade with four hit studio albums. Selling over 25 million albums worldwide, the band has garnered mainstream success worldwide after performing in over 50 countries and headlining arenas on six continents. On the 10-year anniversary of their first show ever, The Killers released their greatest hits compilation Direct Hits last September and have been touring the festival circuit and selling out dates around the globe since then. This year’s OSL appearance will be their first at the festival and first show back in the Bay Area since playing the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last April. Tickets to their pre-festival, late-night show sold out minutes after their release, but there’s still a chance to win a pair of tickets to what easily will be one of the most coveted shows of this year’s summer concert calendar. Register to win a pair of tix here.

Gold Panda @ Mezzanine // Buy Tickets

Multi-faceted producer Gold Panda returns to Mezzanine on Friday night with his genre-bending take on electronic music. With the rise of producers such as Flying Lotus and Flume, many other similar artists are breaking out to larger crowds and stages as forward-leaning electronica garners a new level of popularity and appreciation. Gold Panda represents a vast amalgam of electronic music, borrowing influences from all over the world to weave an upbeat, futuristic tapestry. His latest release Half of Where You Live has been critically hailed as his third stab at a comprehensive full-length album. Tracks like “Brazil” demonstrate his use of South American rhythms in a contemporary manner while consistently maintaining a dance beat. There are no ‘drops’ or huge frills to his dance ethic, but rather a rapturing, constant beat that listeners can lose themselves in rather easily. Ghostly International only signs the finest in contemporary dance music, so it’s no surprise that Gold Panda reps the prolific label. Teamed with local opener Doseone, this after party will keep the positive energy flowing from Saturday night straight into Gold Panda’s festival set that closes out the weekend on Sunday. Purchase tickets for the only electronic night show announced for Saturday.

Woods @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

BK-based Americana neo-psychadelia outfit Woods will be headlining Saturday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall ahead of their festival set on the final day of OL. The trio have released eight albums since their formation in 2005, which have garnered them both critical acclaim across the board. Dubbed “pop shamanism”, the band is currently on tour celebrating the release of their new album, With Light and with Love, exploring “expanded sonic palettes” heavy with percussion, altered vocals and experimental guitar riffs. Their latest release on their self-run record label, Woodsist, is described as distinctly different from their previous work, “showcasing a more sophisticated brand of contemporary drug music,” relatable to the Beatles iconic Magical Mystery Tour, catering to a “new age of searchers, of Don Juan and Animal Chin alike.” Easily the biggest head trip of the OL night show options — if you’re looking to get weird Saturday night you’re going to want to buy tix here.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Woods.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 10TH

Deer Tick @ The Rickshaw Stop // Buy Tickets

The ever-rambunctious, consistently capricious, gut punching Americana enigma that is Deer Tick will be closing out the weekend after parties at Rickshaw Stop with help from fellow Saturday OL performers, The Districts. After years of touring with a rotation of band members and various name changes, Deer Tick officially formed and released their debut album War Elephant in 2007. Signing to Partisan Records in 2008, re-releasing their debut along with second and third albums to critical acclaim, the band took off running. On their fifth album Negativity in 2013, the band has aimed to “capture the raw and spontaneous kerosene blaze” of their live shows in their studio recordings. Exploring personal tragedies suffered throughout the recording process such as his father’s tax evasion prison sentence, the death of his uncle, a broken engagement, drug and alcohol abuse, etc., lead singer John McCauley brings brutal honesty to the stage that is an all-encompassing, sometimes tragic, explosive performance. Truly an incomparable performance, this show will be the one that punctuates the weekend with one, final, lasting impression.

Kool and the Gang SuperJam @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Last but not least, the Kool and the Gang SuperJam will be taking over The Independent Sunday night for a one-time only collaborative concert event, closing out the festival in proper fashion. Featuring members of the legendary funk outfit along with Eric Krasno, Adam Dietch, Nigel Hall, The Shady Horns and top secret special guests, this diverse group of musical luminaries will be on stage reimagining a variety of classic songs from Kool and the Gang. The Grammy Award-winning group have influenced three generations of musicians worldwide, selling over 70 million albums which earned collectively 2 Grammy’s, 7 AMA’s, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, 9 Top Ten Pop hits, 31 gold and platinum albums and the title of the longest running R&B group in the history of the genre. If there is one show where artists from Outside Lands would randomly decide to sit in on a performance, this would be the one. Can’t see yourself wanting to call it an evening on Sunday night? This show might be the best option for you. Be sure to buy your tix here.

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Outside Lands 2014: Lineup locks, likely acts & long shots

OSL_Windmill-Scene-by-Tim-HampsonPhotos by Tim Hampson // Written by Mike Frash & Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

As we inch towards springtime, leading to summer, and Coachella is within a month’s reach, some Bay Area music freaks (like us) begin to speculate about who is gonna be gracing those stages freckled throughout Golden Gate Park come August. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is set to return to SF on August 8th-10th.

The greatest indicators are the group’s touring schedules — Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal and Pickathon in Oregon have announced their schedules the weekend prior to Outside Lands (with Lollapalooza to still be announced). Squamish Valley Music Festival in British Columbia is the same weekend as Outside Lands, but Vancouver is close enough for artists to double dip.

Conversely, we can confirm some big acts that won’t be on the bill due to scheduling conflicts. But if this is even close to what the Outside Lands 2014 lineup looks like, the Bay Area should be in for a delicious, fog-enhanced treat.

UPDATE 4/7: The lineup has been announced!

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Lock It In (we think)

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: A new album on the way and a lack of dates out West makes him a solid candidate for top billing this year. Also, keep in mind that OSL has never repeated headliners, as well as the fact that Super Fly (Bonnaroo), who along with Another Planet Presents, handles the bulk of the booking.

Arctic Monkeys: [CONFIRMED] These festival stalwarts announced an extensive tour with a noticeable gap in the western demographic which leads to speculation that they’ll return for a sub-headlining set. Confirmed for August 10th at Osheaga.

Chromeo: [CONFIRMED] A Red Rocks date on August 5th is a good sign that these party starters are en route back to San Francisco for a possible Twin Peaks headlining spot. 

Modest Mouse: Confirmed for Osheaga, and with no California dates on the calendar for the recently announced tour, Modest Mouse is starting to look like a lock.

Cut Copy: [CONFIRMED] Cut Copy and Chromeo are on parallel tracks. Both will have played APE shows in the past year, and their tour buses are aligning toward the Bay in early August.

CHVRCHES: [CONFIRMED] Confirmed for Osheaga, it just makes sense that one of the the biggest breakout acts of 2013 will triumphantly return to the Bay after playing the Independent, Mezzanine & Fox Theater Oakland over the past year.

Flume: [CONFIRMED] It’s due time for this EDM heat-seeker to return to San Francisco, and what better place and time than Outside Lands. Flume’s popularity could land him Twin Peaks headlining duties.

Tycho: [CONFIRMED] Having become the darlings of Another Planet, what better progressive act to grace the bill than Tycho. Sold out shows in the coming weeks lend to a strong demand.

Foster the People: Performing at Squamish Valley Music Festival Friday lends a good possibility that Mark Foster and band will trek down to Golden Gate Park for a Sunday set. A slot at Osheaga Festival the weekend prior says they’ll be hitting many large events as they support their latest release Supermodel.

Iron & Wine and Glen Hansard: These two artists are booked to play Hollywood Bowl on August 10th, leading most savvy music aficionados to make the leap that these acts will be present.

Danny Brown: A lack of Bay Area dates coupled with spots on the ‘OSL crossover’ festival, Squamish, could mean we are in for a ‘Kush Koma’ with oddball, Danny Brown. 

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Likely To Appear

Elton John: The announcement of Sir Elton playing Bonnaroo has fueled this rumor nicely, even if questions of availability swirl. The main issue would be surrounding a clause with Caesars where John has a residency. However, this Vegas run ends in April, so it looks possible.

Green Day: These Bay Area legends have surprisingly never played Outside Lands, and it seems possible we’ll see them grace the main stage for a night with Billy Joe and company. 

Coldplay: New music on the way, coupled with scheduled appearances at South by Southwest is a clear sign that Chris Martin and lads are gearing up to re-dominate the world with their anthemic rock. Also, never headlined OSL.

Tiësto: [CONFIRMED] Ranger Dave likes to book some of the biggest names in the EDM world to ‘compete’ with headliners, attracting a slightly younger crowd to congregate at Twin Peaks on most evenings. Tiësto’s production would fit nicely into the bigness of past DJ spotlights.

Frank Ocean: Frankie is mounting his come back after a relatively quiet past few years. His billing on Bonnaroo fuels the speculation that Super Fly booked him, and other acts, for more than just Roo.

The Flaming Lips: [CONFIRMED] Wayne Coyne has had a busy past few months with a recent release and some serious Fall touring. Now, as summer looms, it appears the Lips will be omnipresent at summer festivals. Recent Another Planet shows coupled with Bonnaroo presence make these weirdo legends a likely booking.

Lorde: Has any act ever gone to sub-headliner status this quickly? Based on her popularity and the way she’s altered the pop landscape, Lorde deserves it. She’s confirmed to play Osheaga and her April dates at Fox Theater sold out immediately.

Chance the Rapper: No longer Chicago’s secret, Chancelor Bennett needs to get better acquainted with the Bay Area. There is a gap in his schedule, and the Acid Rapper is confirmed for Osheaga.

HAIM: [CONFIRMED] For being California girls, sisters Este, Danielle and Alana could show a bit more love to the Bay Area (They’ve played in England over 20 times). Their first ever show in the Bay was at Treasure Island Music Festival last year, and their fauxchella Fillmore dates were tough tickets to snag as they sold out in seconds.

Lykke Li: [CONFIRMED] Confirmed for Friday of Squamish, it’s very possible the breathtaking Swedish singer-songwriter could grace Outside Lands on Sunday.

Foxygen: Even though there has been turmoil (broken legs, inner-band conflict), the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic should come play “San Francisco” in it’s namesake. The group is confirmed for Pickathon as well.

Mikal Cronin: [CONFIRMED] The singer-songwriter has become quite the popular local musician and would be ideal for a showcase of SF rock. Booked for the Oregon Pickathon means he’ll be active around this time. 

Valerie June: [CONFIRMED] The American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is playing Pickathon and other West Coast dates prior to Outside Lands. June’s sound will fit nicely into the festival’s curation net.

On-The-Rail-Tim

It Could Happen

Kanye West: [CONFIRMED] As it appears OutKast will not be the infamous first hip-hop headliner, we look to Kanye West as an outside possibility as the debut of rap taking center stage one summer evening. Inclusion on Bonnaroo’s docket makes a reasonably strong start to an argument for Yeezy.

Eminem: Already a rumored headliner for Lollapalooza, Slim Shady has also booked a co-headlining date with Rihanna at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena the Thursday before Outside Lands while also confirmed for Squamish on Sunday the 10th. Starting to trend toward “likely”, should we be adding RiRi as a rumored headliner?

Tool: Already playing two SF shows in March, would it be that much of a surprise to see Tool headlining one night? Certainly they are big enough to handle top billing duties.

Pharrell Williams: A Ranger Dave’s “hat” tweet has led many to speculate the possibility of Williams’ presence on the festival grounds. Limited dates pepper his itinerary, so it’s anyone’s guess.

The Avett Brothers: Having not played the event in over five years and select festival appearances over the summer, one could make the argument that Avett will return. Bonnaroo booking also helps this case.

Kendrick Lamar: K-Dot’s touring schedule is open, but there are no obvious indicators an Outside Lands appearance will happen. But for a festival that’s usually short on hip hop & rap, it would be too fun to see the Outside Lands stage and surrounding area get crazy during “Backseat Freestyle”.

Gogol Bordello: The Gypsy-punk freaks are confirmed to play Osheaga, and they played Outside Lands in 2010. A return seems possible.

Jagwar Ma: [CONFIRMED] Being rather active in the festival realm in 2014, these party-starters can easily jump from Osheaga over to SF. A previous Another Planet-booked show at the Independent demonstrates there is communication present.
 
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Long Shots: Already booked elsewhere (don’t count on it)

OutKast: Andre 3000 and Big Boi might be playing over 40 festivals this year, but Outside Lands won’t be one of them. OutKast is confirmed for Flow Festival in Finland the same weekend as Outside Lands.

Arcade Fire: Win Butler and company are performing at Squamish Valley Music Festival, but they have a date set at Shoreline in July, and they headlined three years ago.

Jack Johnson
Queens of the Stone Age
Robert Plant
Santana
Neutral Milk Hotel
Janelle Monae
DARKSIDE
Mac Demarco

Twin-Peaks-Scene-Tim