Outside Lands 2017: Our 10th anniversary awards

Outside Lands 2017Photos by Marc Fong & James Pawlish // Written by Kevin Quandt & Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Outside Lands celebrated its 10th anniversary this August, and it was a weekend that we can definitively say had its share of ups, downs and unexpected twists. While many found plenty to gripe about, some took away a more positive experience, proving that music festivals and live music events are truly unpredictable even when you have some of the best in business at the helm. That said, the increasingly over-inflated market of music festivals right now can be volatile and may not be a cakewalk for concert promoters as more and more folks are drawn to large-scale events such as Lollapalooza, Coachella and Outside Lands.

Some stated that the 2017 edition of OSL lacked fireworks when the lineup dropped. Others said the lineup catered closer to the 25-35 demographic. There was no lack of opinions with regard to the acts that Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly booked, but it was clear they did have a vision and a bill that stood apart from the pack with a rare group of festival legends in The Who, Gorillaz and Metallica. Below those names led to further intrigue with the return of Queens of the Stone Age, Fleet Foxes and A Tribe Called Quest after a multiyear absence from the live arena.

But many now know that two out of those three sub-headliners were unable to perform for one reason or another, and while these sorts of things are generally out of anyone’s hands, they still take a toll on everyone involved in the days, hours and even minutes leading up to those highly anticipated sets. Alas, when you have such festival production pros who were backed by three insanely spot-on headliners, these bumps in the road can create something different than initially intended, yet equally satisfying.

So, without further ado, here are our awards from the 2017 edition of Outside Lands.


Outside Lands 2017 - Gorillaz


Gorillaz

Best three-time OSL performer: Hamilton Leithauser
One highlight this year was the debut of Hamilton Leithauser’s solo act on the Sutro Stage. Having played the festival in 2008 and 2012 with his primary outfit, The Walkmen, his set marked the rare occasion of an artist performing at Outside Lands for the third time, and while Leithauser did have to battle some minor sound issues, he rallied past them like the consummate professional that he is. Short of “Alexandra”, Leithauser exclusively dug into tracks from his collaborative album with fellow New Yorker Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend) by the name of I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. The spirited crooner still remains at the top of his game, and his vocal performance can’t be rivaled by even the best. One can only hope that this will not be Leithauser’s final time onstage at OSL as fans clamor to know what’s next from this crooning, indie god. -KQ

Best cameo’d performance of the weekend: Gorillaz
Easily one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, Gorillaz’s Humanz tour made its West Coast debut on Day 1 at OSL. After a six-year hiatus, expectations ran extremely high for this headlining performance. On previous tours, the band’s members had played second fiddle to the cartoon projections of their alter egos onstage, but everyone was visible this time around. Several collaborators from Gorillaz’s previous albums, including Kali Uchis, Yukimi Nagano and Del the Funky Homosapien, came out to join them, and the Damon Albarn-led group still pulled some even bigger surprises with cameos appearances from De la Soul and Pusha T. The two-hour set also saw Little Simz deliver a blistering performance of “Garage Palace” as well as a string of radio hits that included “Feel Good Inc.”, Clint Eastwood” and “Demon Daze”. With longtime fans and a new generation of contemporaries on hand, there was something truly special about seeing a packed crowd sing along with some cartoon legends. -MK

Best reason to sit in Golden Gate Park with your friends and listen to music: Real Estate
Real Estate continue to tour off this year’s stellar LP release, In Mind, and they demonstrated their live prowess at OSL with a sphincter-tight set of jangle pop. “Stained Glass” got the show started for the rather sizable crowd, which only grew over their allotted time. The Sutro Stage has become an ideal locale for mellower acts to play for slightly-more-seated audiences, and this set felt more loungey than others even though fan favorites “It’s Real” and “Green Aisles” punctuated a strong, breezy performance from Martin Courtney, Alex Bleeker and crew. -KQ

Most in need of performance pointers: KAYTRANADA
KAYTRANADA’s debut LP 99.9% was a highlight from 2016, and the Canadian producer has been continuing his victory lap with banner festival sets all around the world. While there’s no denying the infectious nature of his tracks like “Glowed Up” and “Got It Good” in a large-group setting, we yearn to get a little more out KAYTRA when he’s onstage. To be fair, he has loosened up a little and will toss a quick little dance move or hand gesture, but he still really doesn’t engage his audience much, whether it’s in the intimate confines of Mezzanine or in front of 25,000 strong at Outside Lands’ Twin Peaks Stage. Kay, like many others, was pretty stoked for A Tribe Called Quest to follow, but we all know how that ended. -KQ

Outside Lands 2017 - Cage the Elephant


Cage the Elephant

Next “big” rock headliner (TIE): Cage the Elephant and Royal Blood
While the cancellation of Queens of the Stone Age was a blow a week prior to the event, the replacement that was lined up more than delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll. Cage the Elephant are now being widely considered festival-headliner material, and frontman Matt Shultz is making a strong claim for that accolade as he continues to elevate his stage act to near-Mick Jagger levels of pomp and energy. “Come a Little Closer” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” received hearty sing-alongs from a decidedly youthful crowd as Cage have become a favorite of Generation Z.

But Cage did have some competition at OSL, and these guys are moving at a helluva pace for the crown. Royal Blood have been one of the hottest rock acts over the past few years. I mean, their first single wasn’t even released four years ago. Royal Blood quickly rose to fame in the UK, then set their sights on Europe and lately have become the new darlings of alt-rock radio here in the U.S. with one of their newest singles, “Lights Out”. The bass-and-drums duo make a serious racket for only two blokes onstage, but they put on a show that rivals any full-band act with four or five members. Similar to Cage, the kiddos were swirling up a decent little pit in front of the stage while Mike Kerr belted out an impressive setlist with minimal effort and contributed to the low end in a serious manner. -KQ

Best use of Thai funk in a group setting: Khruangbin
Sure, many think K-bin (short for “Khruangbin”) have Thai origins with their Thai name (which means “airplane”) and their Thai funk-infused groove rock. But this rising trio that met and formed in Texas have steadily built a following based around an infectious sound that feels home both on the dance floor and at the lounge. Mark Speer on guitar is a phenom to behold; his playing style, coupled with his tone, has a true lyrical quality that’s perfect for the trio, which opted to not have a lead vocalist. It was clear that the band, like many fans in attendance, were bummed about ATCQ’s sudden cancellation, so they decided to bring one of their classics, “Electric Relaxation”, to life as drummer Donald Johnson delivered the chorus. Many chuckled and grooved to the track before the band jumped back into a set that featured “Mr. White” and “The Infamous Bill”. We can only hope a sophomore LP is not too far off. -KQ

Best use of a festival billing for a greater purpose: Solange
After a weekend marred with schedule changes and cancellations, Solange was the festival’s saving grace on Day 3. Despite starting 15-20 minutes late, she descended upon the glowing stage in a choreographed flight pattern, followed by her backing band and team of dancers, and segued directly into a soulful montage of hits from 2016’s A Seat at the Table, extending each breakdown with some interpretive dance routines. An outstanding cover of Thundercat’s “Heartbreaks + Setbacks” was seamlessly woven midway into her set before leading into an all-out dance party with deep cuts from her 2012 LP True. Solange then took a minute to touch upon the events that were happening concurrently in Charlottesville. As the only artist on the OSL bill to do so, she addressed the tragedy and utilized the stage as a final public platform before deleting her Twitter account the next day. The evening ended in dramatic fashion with the power getting shut off and the performance concluding with the crowd singing the lyrics to “Rise” in the dark. -MK

Outside Lands 2017: Top 5 things to see, eat & drink

Outside LandsPhoto by James Pawlish // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Outside Lands returns this weekend for its 10th anniversary, and to get you ready for three fun-filled days in Golden Gate Park, we’ve outlined our top sets that you won’t want to miss, this year’s biggest scheduling conflicts, some potential guest appearances and the very best beverages to drink.

Also, don’t forget to create your own schedule here, and enter for a chance to GO4FREE to XXYYXX’s show this Saturday, August 12th at a secret location here.


Outside Lands 2017 - A Tribe Called Quest

TOP SETS NOT TO MISS

A Tribe Called Quest: While we see how this may be a controversial choice to top this list with the untimely passing of founding member Phife Dawg, it appears this may be the final time the Bay, or even the U.S., get to see the legendary hip-hop group perform. The group’s FYF Fest and Panorama performances featured multiple references to being the final ATCQ shows in those cities, so all the chatter about how extensive this “farewell tour” will be has reached a fevered pitch. Pro (Q)tip: Wanna hear Tribe’s popular hits? They’ll be featured at the end of their set.

Lorde: Sure, she has found herself toward the top of many festival lineups this year, and for good reason, as Lorde is one of the most popular artists out there right now, and her latest release Melodrama will surely be in top contention for Album of the Year. At only the age of 20, the singer’s recent sophomore success has also translated to the stage in impressive ways and will surely satiate the 18-25 demographic before The Who close out the event on Sunday.

Royal Blood: The unfortunate cancellation of Queens of the Stone Age has put a dampening on fans of all things rock, especially since Saturday was stacked in said department. Though some will be pleased with Cage the Elephant as the replacement, it does leave a glaring gap for many hoping to get another hour-plus of fist-banging rock and f’in roll. So, let’s longingly look to the upstart UK hard-rock duo that continues to make waves across the global festival circuit and delivers some amalgamation of Muse and The Black Keys. Expect to hear a solid smattering of tracks from their most excellent recent release How Did We Get So Dark?

Fleet Foxes: Has it really been six years since Robin Pecknold and band last played the Bay Area? Yup! A lot has changed in those years, but thankfully they are still producing their own unique brand of cool-kid folk and should fit in nicely for their premier performance in Golden Gate Park. We’ll be hearing many tracks for the first time live to go along with a different band lineup onstage. While no one who attends the event ever wishes for Karl the Fog, he could fit semi-decently into this set like during Sigur Rós in 2012.

The Who: The legendary rock bands of our parents’ generation are quickly folding up shop and The Who may be the next to wave a fond farewell. While many attendees have griped in various online forums about this closing headline slot, it seems only fitting considering that Sunday has become the fest’s more legacy-leaning day. Roger Daltery and Pete Townsend are backed by a killer band and have been churning out enigmatic setlists the past few years, so expect to hear all your favorites with a few rare gems.


Outside Lands 2017 - Gorillaz

SCHEDULING CONFLICTS, THOUGHTS & QUERIES

Friday

• Sub-headliner jumble: End of ATCQ vs. Future Islands vs. beginning of Fleet Foxes.

• alt-J vs. Gorillaz: There’s likely a fair amount of fan crossover between these two acts.

• “Bouncin’ for Beignets” moves to Friday afternoon from its previous weekend mid-day slot.

Saturday

• Royal Blood vs S U R V I V E: Seems like an odd conflict, but these artists are playing their first OSL this year and are some of 2017’s most buzzy acts.

• Anyone else notice that two-hour-and-35-minute gap after Kaytranada and Empire of the Sun? We did, too. Our bet is we’ll be getting either an EDM or hip-hop late addition. Does Afrojack fly up from Vegas for the day?

Sunday

• Solange will now be closing the Sutro stage. We surmise her set was on Saturday after Kaytranada before the shift.

• The Heineken Dome has a mystery set scheduled from 5:10-5:40 p.m. that’s billed as a “Pop-Up Guest Performance.” Our bet is DJ Qbert gets this slot as he’ll be onsite for his GastroMagic set earlier in the day.

• This will be the first time Another Planet has put three acts against each other in the form of The Who, Solange and Above & Beyond.


Outside Lands 2017 - Metallica

POTENTIAL GUEST APPEARANCES

• Little Dragon vocalist Yukimi Nagano comes out with Kaytranada to perform “BULLETS”.

• Lady Gaga with Metallica … remember this year’s Grammys?

• Del the Funky Homosapien joining Gorillaz for “Clint Eastwood”. He’ll be at the GastroMagic stage the next day for Kimchi 3030.

• Kali Uchis and Rag’n’Bone Man joining Gorillaz for their Humanz tracks.


Outside Lands 2017 - Cocktail Magic

BEST BEVERAGES TO DRINK

Fort Point Beer Company: Fort Point has been making waves from their Presidio location over the past few years but has recently started to see the brand grow out from the Bay. Their flagships Villager, a West Coast IPA, and KSA, a Kölsch style ale, will surely please the palate whether we get a typical foggy summer day or are blessed with clear skies.

Whitechapel (Cocktail Magic): You like gin? Yeah, us too. Well, all us are in for a treat as SF’s hottest gin bar will be serving up a few of their signature cocktails in the Mclaren Pass section of the fest. While it’s unlikely they’ll schlep over all 400 varieties of gin they offer at their Tenderloin brick-and-mortar, they’ll certainly offer some of the most complex cocktails offered at any major U.S. music festival.

Bushido’s “Way of the Warrior”: OSL wine curator Peter Eastlake knows his stuff, and while winos will find many of their favorites, it’s this sake debut that makes us a little excited. The can graphics feature some rad little samurai fox character while the contents display notes of raspberry and watermelon rind with a spicy finish. I mean, sake in a can? Yeah, I’ll take two … and arigatou.

Outside Lands - 2017 lineup

Outside Lands reveals its 2017 schedule

Outside Lands - 2017 schedule

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

One day after Outside Lands announced some stunning news that Saturday sub-headliner Queens of the Stone Age will not be performing this year “due to injury” (and then quickly replaced them with Cage the Elephant), the three-day festival has unveiled what every live music fan clamors for … set times!

Take a peek at the festival’s 2017 schedule for its 10th anniversary here and start making your plans for which artists you’ll be seeing at Golden Gate Park this August.

Of course, when it comes to scheduling conflicts, this year — just like every year at Outside Lands — isn’t void of them. For starters, festivalgoers on Friday will have to choose between Electric Guest/Tove Lo, Fleet Foxes/Future Islands and Gorillaz/alt-J, and that’s just Day 1.

Meanwhile, Saturday sees Warpaint and The Lemon Twigs pitted up against one another, along with Dawes vs. Thundercat, Royal Blood vs. S U R V I V E, Vance Joy vs. Kaytranada, Cage the Elephant vs. Foxygen, and Metallica vs. Empire of the Sun. Plus, there’s this …

Outside Lands 2017 - Saturday TBD

The question is, who will it be? Our money is on an EDM act (i.e. Afrojack, A-Trak, Tiësto), considering the festival has barely any superstar DJs performing this year besides English progressive-trance trio Above & Beyond, but anything’s still possible with a little less than two weeks to go.

And finally, Sunday offers its own set of difficult choices, with Bleachers and Maggie Rogers scheduled only 20 minutes apart (as well as James Vincent McMorrow and Sofi Tukker) and The Who, Solange and Above & Beyond all performing at the same time as they close down the fest.

But with so many quality options from top to bottom, you really can’t go wrong. So, keep that in mind when you’re stressing over who you should see. Whatever you do though, make sure to pick up a comfortable pair of running shoes before heading to the park and download the mobile app here.

Pumped for Outside Lands? Go back in time and check out our coverage from 2016 here.

Outside Lands - 2017 lineup

Outside Lands reveals 2017 lineup, headlined by Metallica, The Who & Gorillaz

Outside Lands - 2017 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Outside Lands is going BIG for its 10th anniversary.

The three-day music festival returns to Golden Gate Park this August with a lineup for the ages, headlined by Metallica, The Who and Gorillaz. All three headliners were mentioned among our OSL predictions this year, with Metallica pretty much becoming a sure bet last week after Ranger Dave’s not-so-subtle tweet.

Natives of the Bay, Metallica have been on the road in support of their 10th LP Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, and their headlining set at Outside Lands will come toward the tail end of their North American tour during a string of West Coast shows. The Who, on the other hand, have only a limited number of 2017 gigs planned right now, culminating with a six-night residency in Las Vegas that concludes on Friday, August 11th. With that said, we know then that Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and company will perform at OSL on Saturday or Sunday, with the latter being all the more likely. The festival, after all, has been known to schedule its “older” headliners for the Sunday night slot a la Lionel Ritchie (2016), Elton John (2015), Tom Petty (2014), Paul McCartney (2013) and Stevie Wonder (2012), and we expect The Who to get the same kind of treatment in 2017.

But for Gorillaz fans in the U.S., Outside Lands could be the one place to see the band perform this summer. The festival is one of two North American dates for the Damon Albarn-led group, which headlines its own Demon Dayz Festival in June before making a stop at Festival d’été de Québec in Quebec City a month later. The same could even be said for sub-headliner Queens of the Stone Age, considering that OSL is their first scheduled North American show this year. The same, however, definitely can’t be said for Lorde, who is making the festival rounds with Coachella, JazzFest, Governor’s Ball, FPSF, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Rock Werchter, OpenAir St. Gallen, Fuji Rock, Lollapalooza, Osheaga and now OSL all on her current tour schedule.

Other standout acts lined up for OSL this year include A Tribe Called Quest, alt-J, Above & Beyond, Fleet Foxes, Empire of the Sun, The Avett Brothers, Belle and Sebastian, Solange, Future Islands, ScHoolboy Q, Young the Giant, Rebelution, Vance Joy, Tove Lo, Bleachers, Little Dragon, Kaytranada, Action Bronson, Sleigh Bells, Royal Blood, Shovels & Rope, Dr. Octagon, Louis the Child, Thundercat, Dawes, Warpaint, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bomba Estéreo, Temples, Real Estate, RAC, James Vincent McMorrow, K.Flay, MUNA, Hamilton Leithauser, Sofi Tukker, Maggie Rogers, Foxygen, Goldroom, SOHN, Electric Guest, How to Dress Well, Hundred Waters, Noname and many more. Check out the poster above for the rest of this year’s bill.

Boasting six consecutive sellouts to date, Outside Lands is sure to do the same in 2017 and will once again include a full lineup of comedy performances in addition to its famed Beer Lands, Wine Lands and Choco Lands + Cheese Lands. Of course, you’d have a tough time finding much better food and drink at a music festival than what Outside Lands offers.

If you missed out on Eager Beaver tickets last Thursday, you can buy Outside Lands tickets starting this Thursday, April 6th at 10 a.m. It’s worth mentioning, though, that with the new lineup also comes increased ticket prices. Three-day GA passes are up to $375 and three-day VIP passes have climbed to $795. Shuttle passes and parking passes, meanwhile, will be sold for $48 and $255, respectively. And though the festival makes no mention of it yet, single-day tickets are usually sold at a later time.

UPDATE (June 6th): Outside Lands has unveiled its daily lineups for 2017, and not to pat ourselves on the back, but our predictions for which days the festival’s headliners would perform were right on point, with Gorillaz performing Friday, Metallica storming the stage Saturday and The Who closing things down Sunday. Check out the daily schedules below before single-day tickets go on sale this Thursday, June 8th at 10 a.m. PT.

Outside Lands 2017 - daily lineups

UPDATE (July 31st): Outside Lands has announced that Queens of the Stone Age, after all, will not perform this year “due to injury” and have been replaced by Cage the Elephant. No details on the “injury” have been released at this time.

UPDATE (August 1st): The festival has revealed the schedule for its 10th edition. Take a peek here and start mapping out who you’ll be seeing at Golden Gate Park.

Can’t wait for Outside Lands’ 10th edition? Check out our coverage from 2016 here.

Outside Lands 2016 - Beach House

PHOTOS: Rebelution at The Independent 2/25

Rebelution_posts

Photos by Susan J Weiand //

The Independent’s 10th Anniversary featuring Rebelution with Thrive and Brass Magic
The Independent – San Francisco
February 25th, 2014

Santa Barbara’s Rebelution performed at The Independent last week as part of the venue’s 10th anniversary celebration. The world-influenced reggae theme of the night was supported by Thrive and Brass Magic, and Susan Weiand was on the scene — view her snaps below.