Ohana Festival reveals updated 2021 lineup with Brandi Carlile, Spoon, Black Pumas & more

Ohana Festival - 2021 lineup

Ohana Festival //
Doheny State Beach – Dana Point, CA
September 24th-26th, 2021 //

Oh how we have missed you, live music! If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything over the past 15 months, it’s that the concert experience should never be taken for granted.

But with U.S. vaccinations increasing and summer right around the corner, music festivals are preparing to make their return all over the country, including up and down California, which has the lowest COVID-19 infection rate in the country now.

So why not escape to Doheny State Beach for a long weekend this September where you can rock out to Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder and Kings of Leon at Ohana Festival?

The three-day event founded by Vedder five years ago had already announced a 2020 lineup just days before the festival circuit was quickly shut down and now it has updated that roster, swapping in Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, indie-rock veterans Spoon, psych-soul duo Black Pumas, LA punk rockers The Regrettes, Long Beach’s very own Cold War Kids, Salt Lake City four-piece The Backseat Lovers and TikTok sensation Sky McCreery for originally announced acts like The Pretenders, Dermot Kennedy, EOB, Broken Social Scene, Gangs of Youth, Inhaler and Ethan Gruska.

As you can see from the poster above, Ohana Fest has delivered another largely rock-leaning bill after an excellent showing in 2019 headlined by The Strokes, Vedder and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but this year also boasts one of its strongest undercards with My Morning Jacket, Maggie Rogers, Sharon Van Etten, Durand Jones & The Indications, Mac Demarco, Wild Belle and Real Estate all worthy of catching down in Dana Point.

UPDATE (September 23rd): Just a little more than 24 hours before they were supposed to take the stage, Kings of Leon have canceled their headlining performance on Friday due to a family emergency. In their absence, My Morning Jacket will play an extended set and Vedder will close out the fest’s first day with an additional appearance.

Three-day GA and Sunday single-day tickets are already sold out, but single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday can still be purchased here for $138.50 plus fees. Don’t wait before it’s too late, Ohana fam!

Our favorite performances from 2017

Best live shows of 2017 - The xx, Miguel, Moderat & Coldplay

2017, where the hell did you go? It just felt like the other day that we were ringing in a new year, and yet, here we are again as we plow straight ahead into 2018.

But before we officially put a bow on 2017, it’s time for us to revisit the past 12 months at Showbams. This year, we had the opportunity to capture many amazing moments in live music, and while we couldn’t pay homage to every single performance we witnessed, we made a conscious effort to include a wide range of talent spread across the industry.

Whittling down our list, though, was not that easy. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists, DJs and bands (in alphabetical order) whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

21 Savage, The Accidentals, Action Bronson, Alice Cooper, Alina Baraz, alt-J, Amber Mark, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Animal Collective, Atlas Genius, The Avalanches, The Band Perry, Beach Slang, Belle and Sebastian, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Bleachers, Blonde Redhead, Bob Moses, Car Seat Headrest, Cate Le Bon, Cigarettes After Sex, Circles Around the Sun, City of Caterpillar, The Coathangers, Claude VonStroke, Chris Robinson, Con Brio, Conor Oberst, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Crystal Castles, The Crystal Method, Daniel Caesar, Dawes, Dead Meadow, Deafheaven, Deep Purple, Diet Cig, DIIV, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. Dog, Dr. Octagon, Duke Dumont, Eagles of Death Metal, Electric Guest, Emancipator, Emily King, Empire of the Sun, Foxygen, Future Islands, Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Gatecreeper, Girl Talk, Gone Is Gone, Grizzly Bear, Gucci Mane, Hamilton Leithauser, Hazel English, Hinds, The Hip Replacements, Hiss Golden Messenger, How to Dress Well, Iggy Pop, Isaiah Rashad, Jack Johnson, Jagwar Ma, Jamestown Revival, Jamie Isaac, Jay 305, Jen Cloher, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Jessie Ware, Jim James, JR JR, Julie Byrne, Julien Baker, Justice, Karen Elson, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, KAYTRANADA, Kelis, K. Flay, Khalid, Khruangbin, Kilo Kish, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Kurt Vile, La Femme, LANY, Lauv, L.A. Witch, Lettuce, Lil Yachty, Little Dragon, Lo Moon, Lorde, Lord Huron, Miike Snow, Milky Chance, Minus the Bear, Mister Heavenly, MØ, Mondo Cozmo, Neon Indian, Nicki Bluhm, Norah Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, NVO, Oh Sees, OK Go, Once and Future Band, Pallbearer, The Palms, Passion Pit, Peaches, Perfume Genius, Petit Biscuit, Phoebe Bridgers, Playboi Carti, Pond, Porcelain Raft, PRAYERS, The Radio Dept., Real Estate, The Revivalists, Royal Blood, Sampha, ScHoolboy Q, Sheer Mag, serpentwithfeet, Silversun Pickups, Sleep, Sleigh Bells, SOFI TUKKER, Solange, Spiritualized, Styles P, Sunflower Beam, Talib Kweli, Tank and The Bangas, Tash Sultana, Tei Shi, Temples, Tennis, Tennyson, Thou, Thundercat, TOBACCO, Touché Amoré, Tool, Tove Lo, Travis Scott, Twin Peaks, Ty Segall, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vagabon, Vance Joy, Vic Mensa, Warpaint, Weezer, White Fence, Woods, YG, Young the Giant.

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our favorite performances from 2017.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2017

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2017:


Best of 2017 - Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

Date: February 1st
Location: Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles

Yet, in just four years, Run the Jewels have already reached hip-hop’s mountaintop with their politically charged lyrics and hard-hitting beats. Just take last Wednesday’s sold-out show in LA for example. With the duo’s third studio album still only a few weeks old, 5,000 or so fans poured into the spacious Shrine Expo Hall to watch El-P and Killer Mike fuck shit up (for lack of a better term). And that’s exactly what they did after opening sets from The Gaslamp Killer, Nick Hook, Gangasta Boo and CUZ. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - BADBADNOTGOOD

BADBADNOTGOOD

Date: February 23rd
Location: The Fillmore – San Francisco

As one of the bands to take the coveted headlining spot for NoisePop25, BADBADNOTGOOD seemed as — perhaps more — excited as all of the fans who made it to their sold-out show at The Fillmore. Combining consummate instrumentation with classic MC-style showmanship led by drummer Alexander Sowinski, the Canadian jazz-rock quartet has mastered the art of keeping the audience guessing where they’re going. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by James Pawlish


Best of 2017 - Spoon

Spoon

Date: March 7th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

In total, Spoon performed five songs from the new record, including “First Caress” to open a brief encore that left us eager for more. But as the five-piece rocked “Rainy Taxi” from 2014’s They Want My Soul to close, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is one band I never should have slept on. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Larry Hirshowitz


Best of 2017 - Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós

Date: April 8th
Location: Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA

Now a trio, Sigur Rós have been delivering goosebumps for over two decades — and it’s a delight to hear Jónsi’s voice-as-an-instrument this clear, this powerful and as confident as ever. It would be a wonderful treat to check in on this outfit every 5-10 years going forward and realize they are still going strong. -Mike Frash, photo by James Nagel


Best of 2017 - DREAMCAR

DREAMCAR

Date: April 9th
Location: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco

Fresh off a stop at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre the night before, Adams showcased some older favorites and a slew of new tunes from his 16th and latest studio album Prisoner, which came out in February. SoCal fans were treated to some extended full-band jamming, a couple of solo acoustic performances and Adams’ usual witty banter over the course of the evening.
-Jared Stossel, photo by Jared Stossel


Best of 2017 - A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle

Date: April 13th
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

In the world of rock supergroups, there are few that have sprung up in the last few decades that can hold a candle to A Perfect Circle. From the onset, APC have been a powerhouse on the senses, combining members from bands such as Tool, The Smashing Pumpkins, Failure, Primus and more over the years. Their body of work has been met with high praise across the board, and they have been able to solidify themselves as one of the most unique and tenured groupings out there, as opposed to bands like Zwan and Velvet Revolver. -Andrew Pohl, photo by Mike Rosati


Best of 2017 - Radiohead

Radiohead

Date: April 14th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Yes, the sound problems (all three instances) put a real damper on what was easily one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend. This was the third time Goldenvoice called on Radiohead to headline Coachella, and for one of rock’s most important bands over the last 30 years, it certainly wasn’t a charm as the saying goes. In that moment, it was pretty hard not to feel bad for Thom Yorke, who could only make light of the situation by cracking a joke even if it wasn’t supposed to be one — or so he claimed. But Radiohead more than made up for it with a masterful setlist that opened with A Moon Shaped Pool cuts “Daydreaming”, “Desert Island Disk” and “Ful Stop” before circling back to older hits such as “Everything in Its Right Place”, “There There”, “Idioteque” and even “Creep”. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2017 - Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Date: April 16th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

All hail, King Kendrick! Or should we say “Kung Fu Kenny?” The Compton rapper reached hip-hop’s mountaintop more than two years ago with his Grammy-winning masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, but headlining Coachella was still on his to-do list. In fact, it was only the second time he had ever been booked to perform at Coachella after being listed on the last line of the 2012 poster. Closing out the fest is no short order for any artist, let alone one who dropped his new album less than 48 hours before taking the stage, but K-Dot lived up to the billing with a show that provoked as much thought as it entertained. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2017 - The xx

The xx

Date: April 17th
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

Playfully alluding to their material’s emotional sentiment, Romy Madley Croft (vocals, guitar) and Oliver Sim (bass, vocals) managed to entrance all of us with their tension-filled gazes and syncopated dance moves. Prolonging vocal arrangements, especially during their accelerated live interpretation of “Infinity”, were also stunning to witness. About halfway through the set, Jamie Smith (beats, MPC, production), aka Jamie xx, took the lead and transformed the room into a giant disco party thanks to an onslaught of consecutive dance hits before finishing with “Loud Places” from his 2015 solo LP In Colour. -Molly Kish, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2017 - Moderat

Moderat

Date: April 20th
Location: Mayan Theater – Los Angeles

Moderat subsequently circled back to III, performing “Intruder” before exiting the stage to a rousing applause. Yet, when the house lights didn’t come on right away, the suspense began to build once again. Less than a minute later, the three-piece reemerged, giving the audience more than its money’s worth. Two-encore shows are usually reserved for high-profile groups with extensive catalogs like Radiohead, but Moderat have never played by any rules. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

Date: May 9th
Location: The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Los Angeles

The Lips, of course, made sure to play that song, and even though it was without Watts, it still proved to be an unforgettable moment due to the fact that Coyne rode a life-size unicorn from one end of the stage to the other as he belted out lines like “Yeah, there should be unicorns / The ones with the purple eyes / It should be loud as fuck / Hope the swans don’t die” to open the tune while wearing a big smile across his face. If that’s not psychedelic to you, then I don’t know what is. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Date: June 3rd
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

Fresh off a stop at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre the night before, Adams showcased some older favorites and a slew of new tunes from his 16th and latest studio album Prisoner, which came out in February. SoCal fans were treated to some extended full-band jamming, a couple of solo acoustic performances and Adams’ usual witty banter over the course of the evening.
-Stephanie Port, photo by Stephanie Port


Best of 2017 - Jay Som

Jay Som

Date: June 17th
Location: Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco

Melina Duterte’s band goes by the name Jay Som and hails from Oakland. Do yourself a favor and remember this name: Jay Som. The Polyvinyl-signed songstress bathed the crowd at the Potrero Stage in her dreamy vocals and inanely catchy tunes that appeal to a wide-range of music fan; her songs could feel just as viable in the 90’s college rock area as they do today. Highlights from the set included a vibe-soaked rendition of “Baybee” as well as “The Bus Song”, arguably the artist’s first real “hit.” -Kevin Quandt, photo by Emmeline Munson


Best of 2017- AIR

AIR

Date: June 23rd
Location: The Masonic – San Francisco

AIR’s live performances focus on capturing the crisp, detailed production style that the duo has honed over two decades. It’s a vibrant, textured sound. Centered around acoustic guitar, synthesizers and the breathy timbre of the duo’s immaculate harmonized vocals, the use of live drums helped round out the contrast between both the artificial and acoustic sounds in songs like “Cherry Blossom Girl”. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Steve Carlson


Best of 2017 - PLANETARIUM

PLANETARIUM

Date: July 21st
Location: Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland

PLANETARIUM’s music, which channels Stevens’ reflections on astronomy, science and even the intricacies of human consciousness, is a fusion of styles from all four band members that evokes feelings of unity. The group’s performance was accompanied by otherworldly visuals that filled the backdrop as it traversed the Solar System with quite a few emotionally charged songs inspired by the planets and other celestial bodies like “Neptune” and “Jupiter”. -Norm de Veyra, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2017 - The Drums

The Drums

Date: July 21st
Location: The Fillmore – San Francisco

By the time The Drums took the stage, the intimate venue was packed to the brim with fans. The Brooklyn outfit made as much of an impression as it did when frontman Jonathan Pierce and company exploded onto the scene in 2009 with their initial EP Summertime! From then on, it became glaringly obvious with their eccentric band members and seemingly effortless style that they possessed an energetic presence. And at their SF show, it didn’t take long for the capacity crowd to fall into a groove as the venue’s whole atmosphere lit up. -Jacqueline Moore, photo by Jacqueline Moore


Best of 2017 - Miguel

Miguel

Date: July 23rd
Location: Annenberg Space for Photography – Los Angeles

Once the sun set and Miguel stepped onstage, the audience was transported somewhere else entirely. Born and raised in LA, the 31-year-old’s silky-smooth voice floated through the cool evening breeze over the twinkle lights in the trees, giving the impression of an island retreat rather than a concert in the park. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

Date: August 5th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

Granduciel’s raspy voice, as well as his driving (no pun intended) guitar rhythms and reverb-laden riffs, are largely what separates The War on Drugs from the rest in a crowded indie-rock scene, but the sum of the band’s parts — Charlie Hall (drums), David Hartley (bass), Anthony LaMarca (guitar, keyboards), Robbie Bennett (keyboards) and finally Jon Natchez (saxophone, keyboards) — also creates a sound that while familiar, still feels uniquely different. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Larry Hirshowitz


Best of 2017 - Gorillaz

Gorillaz

Date: August 11th
Location: Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

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. -Molly Kish, photo by James Pawlish


Best of 2017 - Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

Date: August 12th
Location: Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

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. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Marc Fong


Best of 2017 - J.I.D

J.I.D

Date: September 9th
Location: Day N Night Fest, Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

While the headliners thrilled as expected, it was at the side “Day” and “Night” stages where the festival’s biggest highlights were generated. J.I.D, the rising Atlanta rapper who is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint, absolutely thrilled during his set. Dazzling with his rapid-fire and agile flow, J.I.D showed off his ability to command a crowd with songs such as “General” and “EdEddnEddy” before jumping into the crowd for the tempo-changing hit “Never” that left the crowd chanting for “one more song!” -Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - SZA

SZA

Date: September 9th
Location: Day N Night Fest, Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

Saturday, meanwhile, featured the vintage gospel spirit and warm vibes that have elevated Chicago emcee Chance the Rapper to superstardom. Earlier in the day, SZA, this summer’s breakout star, delivered her first festival performance since the release of her well-received debut album Ctrl. Swaying, spinning and singing her raw emotions and shortcomings while coming of age, the Top Dawg Entertainment songstress didn’t disappoint. -Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - Bonobo

Bonobo (Live)

Date: September 27th
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

The real reason things felt different this time around, though, was the music. Extending and reimagining his tracks for easily one of the largest crowds he has ever performed in front of, Bonobo followed an uplifting opening set from Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses with an array of soothing sounds that paired beautifully with his lighting setup and entrancing stage production in the same way Scott Hansen (aka Tycho) creates an awe-inspiring audio-visual experience during his live-band performances. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - Coldplay

Coldplay

Date: October 4th
Location: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA

Coldplay took the stage shortly before 9 p.m. as a video montage of fans who introduced them as “the biggest band in the world” played onstage. While I’m pretty sure there are a few other artists or groups from their side of the pond (ehem, U2) who might take issue with that claim, they certainly did nothing during their electric, almost two-hour performance to dissuade that sort of thinking. Chris Martin and company, in fact, wasted no time getting down to business, flooding the stadium with confetti and firing off pyrotechnics at a steady clip while opening with “A Head Full of Dreams” and subsequently all throughout the night. -Steve Carlson, photo by Steve Carlson


Best of 2017 - Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene

Date: October 26th
Location: Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland

Here’s the thing about BSS — after 15 years, the web of musicians that makes up the collective have created their own individual projects, from Metric to Stars to Feist to Do Make Say Think to Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. And while many of the band’s members who have gone on to find success in their own solo careers didn’t happen to join the group on this particular tour, the sense of professionalism built into the BSS live experience remains prevalent. Every person who stepped onstage demonstrated consummate abilities in their own realms, never missing a beat or a note. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Norm de Veyra

Best of 2017 - Jim James

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

MusicfestNW boasts Iggy Pop & Beck as headliners on its 2017 lineup

MusicfestNW - 2017 lineup

MusicfestNW //
Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Portland, OR
August 26th-27th, 2017 //

After seeing a sold-out crowd of 20,000 occupy Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park last year, MusicfestNW is back this August for its fourth edition with Iggy Pop and Beck topping the bill.

The two-day music festival, whose official name is “MusicfestNW Presents Project Pabst,” will also feature performances by Father John Misty, Nas, Die Antwoord, Spoon, FIDLAR, Whitney, Pup, Noname, Filthy Friends, San Fermin and more.

Incorporating music, art, hands-on interactive elements and food/beer at “non-festival” prices, Project Pabst offers music fans a unique festival experience that lets them play old-school and new-school video games in the PBRcade and create pressings of vinyl recordings on the spot at the Pabst Wax.

Early-bird tickets for the 21-and-over event can be purchased here starting this Friday, April 7th. Single-day passes will be available for $55 before going up to $65, and weekend passes will begin at $85 before increasing to $99.

Outside Lands 2017: Lineup locks, likely acts & long shots

Outside Lands 2016

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

Now that Ranger Dave has dusted off his uniform and is once again prepping for duty, we can speculate who will be performing at Golden Gate Park this August for a very special 10th year of Outside Lands. As festival season draws near with Coachella less than two weeks away, it’s time for us to make some predictions regarding this year’s OSL lineup. So while you work on that summer tan, we’ve got all the deets on who you can expect to see in SF in a few months.

If you have a lead or opinion, drop us a comment below.


Outside Lands 2016

Lock It In

Metallica – Ranger Dave basically confirmed the news via Twitter with his “nothing else matters” tweet, which has since been deleted. No worries, we have a screenshot of it here.

Empire of the Sun – Ranger Dave made it fairly obvious with this tweet.

Maggie Rogers – Another Ranger Dave tweet provides the clue for this 22-year-old singer-songwriter, whose “Color Song” is buzzy AF.

Francis and the Lights – See Ranger Dave’s tweet, and their hit single “Friends” features close collaborator Bon Iver, too.

The Temper Trap and/or Shovels & Rope – See Ranger Dave’s tweet, which sounds like a reference to The Temper Trap song “Miracle” but could also be referring to Shovels & Rope’s 2016 LP Little Seeds (the South Carolina duo also have a big gap in its tour schedule between July and August).

Sofi Tukker – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. The New York duo’s 2016 EP Soft Animals is its first and only release so far.

Action Bronson – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. We’re calling it his “Fuck, That’s Delicious: Outside Lands Edition.”

Rag’n’Bone Man – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. The English singer-songwriter included “Lay My Body Down” as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of his debut studio album Human, which he released in February on Columbia Records.

Future Islands – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. “A Dream of You And Me” is the second single off the Baltimore band’s 2014 LP Singles.

Ice-T – See Ranger Dave’s tweet referencing his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster. But could this instead signal the return of Body Count (Ice-T’s longstanding metal band)?


Outside Lands 2016 - Big Freedia

Seems Likely

Arcade Fire – Awake yee gentle Canadian giants! 2011 marks the last time we saw AF top the lineup, and with new material to showcase this year, we expect — but can’t guarantee — OSL to be their banner West Coast festival slot now that we know they’re not playing Coachella or FYF Fest in LA.

The Weeknd – Abel’s tour gap in August, coupled with headlining appearances at Bonnaroo (which often shares a headliner with OSL) and then Lollapalooza, seem to lead to the obvious for his debut at Another Planet Entertainment’s premier event.

alt-J – With no Bay Area dates scheduled and a show in LA at the Shrine Auditorium on August 9th, a return to OSL seems all the more likely for these gentlemen from Leeds.

Lorde – The 20-year-old New Zealand pop star is hitting a ton of festivals this year in support of her forthcoming album Melodrama, including Coachella, JazzFest, Governor’s Ball, FPSF, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Rock Werchter, OpenAir St. Gallen, Fuji Rock, Lollapalooza and last but not least, Osheaga (for now). OSL would definitely be the cherry on top for an impressive festival run in 2017, though.

Fleet Foxes – The Seattle indie-folk giant fronted by Robin Pecknold is back with its first LP in six years this June, and with some down time in August and no Bay Area show on the tour schedule yet, OSL looks like a strong possibility.

Justice – The French electro masters are hitting the festival circuit rather hard, and the recent debut of their live show has the buzz-o-meter reaching critical mass. Having them close things out on the Twin Peaks stage Saturday would be ideal for launching fans into the wild night.

Wiz Khalifa – The Pittsburgh emcee has a new album coming out in 2017 and no Bay Area date scheduled. He’s also playing Lollapalooza the weekend before, making OSL a definite possibility for his NorCal tour stop.

The Avett Brothers – The Avetts are in California the week of OSL to play San Diego on August 10th and LA on August 11th, and the only next stop that makes sense would be SF. There’s this, too.

Cage the Elephant – They’re conveniently skipping SF yet hitting Sacramento this month as the only Northern California stop on their current U.S. tour that includes slots at Lollapalooza and Osheaga already lined up. OSL seems like a logical choice considering the 2017 Grammy winners last played the fest in 2009.

Young the Giant – These guys haven’t played OSL since 2013 and have a week off before heading north to play Seattle on August 11th. Plus, there’s this.

Grouplove – The colorful LA outfit is making the festival rounds this summer and playing Lollapalooza the weekend before OSL. With roughly a three-week gap in their tour schedule, there’s a solid chance they’ll be performing in Golden Gate Park — and this tweet only helps matters honestly.

Vance Joy – The Australian singer-songwriter doesn’t have a lot of 2017 tour dates booked right now, but there is this.

Warpaint – The all-female rockers recently announced more tour dates concluding at Lollapalooza. With no Bay Area appearance scheduled, even around Coachella’s two weekends, there’s a strong likelihood for their inclusion on the bill. There’s also this.

Spoon – Britt Daniel and company are touring the U.S. this summer in support of their newest full length Hot Thoughts and have a 10-day gap in their schedule, with the weekend of August 11th-13th conveniently open and preceding shows in LA as well as Colorado. Plus, with no Bay Area date scheduled yet, it only makes sense that the Austin group would return to OSL after its last appearance in 2014.

Little Dragon – The Swedish electronic band is playing shows up and down California this month to go along with its performances at Coachella, but none are in SF shockingly enough. They also don’t have any tour dates scheduled in August yet. And there’s this.

Electric Guest – The LA-based band led by one-time Berkeley native Asa Taccone was a big highlight at Noise Pop this year, but according to one Reddit user, they’ll be back in SF this August and their schedule is wide open after early May.


Outside Lands 2016

Looking Plausible

Gorillaz – Could OSL really be Gorillaz’s first U.S. date in almost seven years? The Damon Albarn-led group recently announced that they’ll be performing at Festival d’été de Québec (Quebec City Summer Festival) in Quebec City on July 15th.

The Who – Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend still put on a killer show, and their residency in Las Vegas around OSL time has led to this rumor circulating as they’d truly hit the classic rock billing perfectly. Plus, we think this move would fit all too well.

Queens of the Stone Age – Josh Homme and his sidekicks are making their live return this summer, and it seems incredibly possible that they’ll be back in the Bay in August as one of the festival’s sub-headliners. After all, their set would lead into Metallica quite nicely, right?


Outside Lands 2016

Long Shot (but could happen)

Eric Clapton – While he likely has an exclusive contract with MSG for his bi-coastal shows (his LA dates at The Forum have been postponed until September due to illness), could he end his tour in Golden Gate Park?

Daft Punk – And, of course, your obligatory Daft Punk inclusion, especially after this year’s April Fools’ joke.

Outside Lands 2016

  • Spoon give us plenty of ‘Hot Thoughts’ during their private show at Apogee Studio

    SpoonPhotos by Larry Hirshowitz // Written by Josh Herwitt //

    Spoon //
    Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA
    March 7th, 2017 //

    I don’t know why, but Spoon are one of those bands I’ve never given enough of a chance. I suppose I could chalk it up to the fact that there are too many options out there these days, that the market is simply too oversaturated, though it’s not as if I hadn’t heard of or known about them.

    In fact, I even own some older Spoon albums like 2005’s Gimme Fiction and 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. But that still wasn’t enough for me to ever dive deep into their catalog and get hooked. In more recent times, they’ve been that band with the “Cherry Bomb” song in that ubiquitous Dr. Pepper Cherry commercial to me. It’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve taken more of an interest after hearing what the group has shared so far from its upcoming ninth LP Hot Thoughts.

    I’d like to think it didn’t take me nearly 25 years to come around to Spoon’s unique sound that borders somewhere between indie rock and psychedelic rock (call it psychedelic indie rock if you want), but that’s unfortunately not the case. I can’t call myself a fan yet, but as it’s often said, there’s no better time to start than now, right?

    Spoon


    Spoon & KCRW DJ Anne Litt (center)

    My curiosity in the Austin outfit took me to Santa Monica on a Tuesday night, where it was playing a private show for KCRW’s Apogee Sessions less than 24 hours after performing in front of a capacity crowd at The Observatory in Santa Ana for its second U.S. show of 2017. Apogee Studio has been home to a number of special performances over the years, one of which was The Avett Brothers in September (read our review here), but this one felt extra special due to the fact that we were hearing songs that hadn’t been officially released yet.

    Hot Thoughts won’t drop until next week — March 17th to be exact — but KCRW DJ Anne Litt assured us before they hit the stage that just like every Spoon album that had come before it, this one really was “the masterpiece.” Less than three years have passed since Spoon put out their last studio album They Want My Soul, long enough for frontman and founding member Britt Daniel to leave Los Angeles and return to his home state of Texas. Daniel, who serves as the band’s primary songwriter, has watched Spoon go through a bevy of lineup changes over the years, including the recent departure of multi-instrumentalist Eric Harvey, but through it all, drummer Jim Eno has remained his partner in crime. It’s essentially why Daniel decided to move back to Austin, where Eno’s studio Public Hi-Fi is located and some of the tracks for Hot Thoughts were laid down. And along the way, they’ve added several talented players like Rob Pope (bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Alex Fischel (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals) and Gerardo Larios (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), with the latter signing on to replace Harvey as a touring member earlier this year.

    At the center of it all, though, is and always has been Daniel, and as Spoon kicked things off with a new tune called “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” before seguing into the title track from their forthcoming effort, it was easy to see why he remains the band’s guiding force. After he won us over with another Hot Thoughts track entitled “I Ain’t the One”, Daniel sat down with Litt for a few minutes to discuss the writing and recording process for the album. For those of us lucky enough to be in the room, it was a chance to learn more about what makes him tick. In total, Spoon performed five songs from the new record, including “First Caress” to open a brief encore that left us eager for more. But as the five-piece rocked “Rainy Taxi” from 2014’s They Want My Soul to close, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is one band I should have never slept on.

    Setlist:
    Do I Have to Talk You Into It
    Hot Thoughts
    Inside Out
    The Beast and Dragon, Adored
    I Saw the Light
    I Ain’t the One
    Rent I Pay
    Can I Sit Next to You
    Do You
    Small Stakes
    My Mathematical Mind

    Encore:
    First Caress (Live debut)
    Rainy Taxi

    Spoon

    Sasquatch! continues to reign supreme as the Pacific Northwest’s premier music festival

    Sasquatch! Music FestivalPhotos by Pedro Paredes // Written by Nik Crossman //

    Sasquatch! Music Festival //
    Gorge Amphitheatre – Quincy, WA
    May 22nd-25th, 2015 //

    2015 marked the 14th successful year of Sasquatch! Music Festival thanks to a hunch followed by a Pacific Northwest concert promoter. Back in 2002, when the U.S. festival scene was an infant, Adam Zacks decided to try his luck with an untapped market and bring the festival experience to the Pacific Northwest. The single-day festival sold out its first year, quickly validating Zacks’ hunch and setting the stage for one of the world’s most unique festival experiences.

    Embracing the culture of the Pacific Northwest, Sasquatch! caters to the growing breed of indie-centric fans caring just as much about the festival experience (if not more) than the music itself. Over the last 14 years, Sasquatch! has become a “must-do” for festivalgoers and continues to impress with a stellar lineup playing against the majestic backdrop of The Gorge.

    So, when I fell into tickets the week before the festival, I jumped at the opportunity to see some of my favorite bands jam out at Mother Nature’s cathedral. Having no campsite and no ride to/from the festival, I posted a Hail Mary message on the Sasquatch! Facebook page, asking a bunch of strangers to take me in as one of their own … and it worked! That’s when I realized Sasquatch! is more than the music — it’s coming together as a community to lend a hand and help a fellow human.

    The two-hour drive from Seattle to The Gorge wet the appetite for the alluring landscapes to come. My two new friends and I arrived Friday afternoon, just in time to set up camp and catch the sun fall behind the mountainous horizon.

    Sasquatch! - Little Dragon


    Little Dragon

    Friday

    Kicking off the festival, Friday’s lineup included the sounds of Ought, Mother Mother, Gogol Bordello, Action Bronson, Angel Olsen, AlunaGeorge, Little Dragon, Of Monsters and Men, Sleater-Kinney and of course, Flume, the 23-year-old Australian DJ/producer who has been taking the electronic music scene by storm since dropping his debut album in 2012. Despite a little rain early Friday night, the festival was in full swing and the energy inside the grounds built on itself with each performance. The unique sound of Little Dragon had the crowd flowing together, sprinkling in rumors and heightened anticipation for SBTRK‘s set on Sunday night. “Will Little Dragon come out for ‘Wildfire’?!” By the time Flume dropped his first beat at the Bigfoot Stage, the energy was palpable and everyone could feel why this young DJ was chosen to close out Friday night.

    Sasquatch! -  Modest Mouse


    Modest Mouse

    Saturday

    With the loving melodies of Milo Green rushing over the Bigfoot State by mid-day, Twenty One Pilots picked up the tempo with an animated performance on the Sasquatch Stage, where the dynamic duo commanded their early-day crowd. Sylvan Esso threw down a Bigfoot dance party when their hit “Coffee” ignited the entire crowd to dance along with the ever-so-strange Amelia Meath on stage. Chromeo‘s love for themselves may only be surpassed by the massive turnout the funky duo brought to Sasquatch! main stage early in the evening. Their funk-tastic sound and vibrant stage presence was perfectly timed to set the stage for following acts like Glass Animals, Kiesza, Modest Mouse, ODESZA and Spoon. Kiesza took the El Chupacabra tent by stormy lights and surprisingly produced more vigor into the crowd than the Seattle duo ODESZA, who seemed to play a more mellow version of themselves than most are familiar with. Just down the hill from ODESZA, 22-year-old rock band Spoon spilled heavy guitar riffs over the crowd and presented an alternative ending to Saturday’s electronic scene. For the second night in a row, Sasquatch! closed out the night with a young, up-and-coming electronic act, staying true to their committed mix bag of new and established performers.

    Sasquatch! - St. Vincent


    St. Vincent

    Sunday

    Milky Chance wooed the crowd at the Sasquatch Stage in the late afternoon on Sunday with their unique electro-folk-reggae sounds, lead vocalists Clemens Rehbein’s deep, melodic vocals and the magnificent backdrop of The Gorge. Shortly after Milky Chance stirred the crowd, the unlikely future of rap, Kate Tempest, lived up to her reputation as a force to be reckoned with while showering the crowd with positive affirmations. The sun started setting behind The Gorge while the idiosyncratic St. Vincent moved so distinctly across the stage like an elegant robot, convincing the crowd they made the right choice. The sultry vixen Lana Del Rey attracted one of the largest crowds to the Sasquatch Stage on Sunday night. While Del Rey is not as active as some of her siren peers, her presence was not lacking. Captivating the masses while her white dress blew in the wind, Del Rey abandoned the stage to walk among her amorous fans before leaving her set early to pass the spotlight to an epic instrumental jam session by her band. Madeon, the 21-year-old child prodigy, proved himself once again in the El Chupacabra late on Sunday night when he led the crowd on a fantastic journey of impeccable mashups and psychedelic lights.

    Sasquatch! - Slow Magic


    Slow Magic

    Monday

    Monday was the last day of the four-day festival, and the crowds started to thin between the intermittent rain clouds playing hide and seek with the sun. Monday was also the day of drums, at least in the El Chupacabra. Armed only with a wolf mask, laptop and two drumsticks, Slow Magic kicked off the night in the Spanish-flavored tent with a one-of-a-kind experience. With his rare combination of synth and live drumming, Slow Magic is re-imagining electronic music as we know it. Not far behind the solo drumming DJ were the three-piece veterans The Glitch Mob. The trio conquered the stage with their new musical element “The Blade,” which combines both lights and instruments into something that looks like it came out of a space-age movie scene. Drumming their way into the bones of the crowd, The Glitch Mob elicited some of the most hands-in-the-air praise I saw all weekend. They closed out Sasquatch! with a bang, literally.

    Sasquatch! Music Festival

    Camping

    The Sasquatch! campgrounds were far from organized, which presents pros and cons, pending what you’re after. The grueling trek from general camping to the grounds made going to the festival more of a commitment than many appreciated. After a few journeys to and from, premium camping seemed well worth the investment. The wheel-and-spoke layout of the grounds made it easy to find other campsites and stumble into the food trucks for a late-night zombie dog. The camping community itself was friendly and full of love for each other, inviting neighbors to play beer darts and other awesome lawn games.

    Sasquatch! Music Festival

    Activities

    Despite the loving nature of the campers, the Sasquatch! campgrounds lacked the festival-sponsored activities so many of us have come to appreciate and expect like morning yoga classes at Coachella and personal development workshops at Lightning in a Bottle (LIB). The Sasquatch! community inside the grounds attempted to provide this outlet with a vintage arcade, self-defense demonstrations and community dance parties, but they fell short relative to other festivals. One could also argue the lack of art installations throughout the Sasquatch! grounds presents an area of improvement for the festival. That is, until they’re reminded of the natural art blanketing all of The Gorge. Well done, Mother Nature!

    Sasquatch! Music Festival

    Sustainability

    While LIB has been dubbed as “The Greenest Festival in America,” you’d think all festivals would have a strong commitment to sustainably responsible business practices by now. This was an oversight for Sasquatch!, as recycling bins were nowhere to be found and trash cans were often overflowing — a pretty easy, yet significant improvement that needs to be made.

    The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2014

    St. Vincent at Fox Theatre Oakland // Showbams' Photo of the Year, by Pedro


    St. Vincent at Fox Theater Oakland // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Pedro Paredes

    Ah, year-end lists — they’re an exercise in subjectivity and personal experience if there has ever been one. But what better way is there to learn from each other and discover some great new music while capping off the year and beginning anew?

    So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2014.

    The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2014
    Showbams’ Top 50 Albums of 2014

    Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2014:


    Darkside at The Fillmore

    Darkside at The Fillmore // Photo by James Nagel

    Mike Frash // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Darkside at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – January 24th
    Looking at my top five shows list for 2014, it appears I favor the weird, ya know, the good weird. This Darkside performance, the only SF show ever (for now) since Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington have put the project on indefinite hold, had patrons at The Fillmore in SF breathing and moving in unison. There was a magical feeling in the air as the hybrid of electronic and organic played out wonderfully with the duo tipping their hat to the past and setting a new standard for the brave new future of live music.

    2. Panda Bear at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – May 22nd
    3. tUnE-yArDs at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – June 6th
    4. Phish at MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV – October 31st
    5. Volcano Choir at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – January 21st

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
    Ever since Jamie and Mikey blew my mind performing Run the Jewels almost in its entirety at The Independent in August of 2013, I’ve been a loyal RTJ soldier. And without taking a break, El Producto and Killer Mike stepped it up to an even higher plateau with their production precision, an uncanny balance of fun and intense, while lyrically honing more on the important issues of our time. Sensing the unstoppable momentum, Run the Jewels are already heading back into the studio for Run the Jewels 3. When Mike was recently asked if they’d continue to name their albums numerically, he said “Why not?!? Zeppelin did it!” Exactly. Say it with me now: Festival headliners circa 2016?

    2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
    3. D’Angelo – Black Messiah
    4. Aphex TwinSyro
    5. The Antlers – Familiars

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All the Way Down”
    This is country music turned on its head, while staying mostly true to the hallmarks of the genre. Lyrically subversive while instrumentally emotive to the core, this song kept me coming back throughout 2014. It’s positive message of love winning over all else is certainly timeless, but when was the last time you heard a country tune tell a story of mind over matter transcendence? “There’s a gateway in our minds that leads somewhere out there, far beyond this place / Where reptile aliens made of light, cut you up and pull out all your pain.” Stirgill Simpson is as progressive as you can get within the realm of Americana, urging the listener to both think and feel.

    2. St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”
    3. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
    4. FKA twigs – “Two Weeks”
    5. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” feat. Kendrick Lamar


    Nine Inch Nails

    Nine Inch Nails // Photo by Rob Sheridan for NIN.com

    Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO – July 21st
    What a dream come true. Having the opportunity to see two of my favorite childhood bands at one of the best venues in the country would be hard to beat any year, let alone in 2014. Sharing the bill with Soundgarden on this tour, Trent Reznor made the most of a minimalist stage setup and trimmed-down lineup of sidekicks. Of the four shows (Red Rocks, Chula Vista, Irvine and Hollywood) I saw on this tour, this one felt particularly special. If this was one of the last times I ever got to see Nine Inch Nails perform live, it was a night I will never forget.

    2. Jack White at The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – June 10th
    3. Cinquanta featuring Puscifer, A Perfect Circle and Failure at The Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – May 10th
    4. Queens of the Stone Age at The Forum – Los Angeles, CA – October 31st
    5. Tool at Valley View Casino Center – San Diego, CA – March 16th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. The Black KeysTurn Blue
    Akron’s favorite rockers answered the call this year, following up their Grammy-winning album El Camino with arguably their most ambitious effort to date — especially when you consider the turmoil that surrounded Dan Auerbach’s life at the time of its recording. Over the last five years, the Keys have become one of rock’s biggest bands, but they haven’t stopped taking risks as a result. Turn Blue dabbles in a myriad of styles, from the psychedelic sound of Pink Floyd on its opening track “Weight of Love” to the hip-hop groove on “10 Lovers.” For as many critics as they have, Auerbach and Patrick Carney have come a long way since their early years as strictly a blues duo.

    2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
    3. Jack WhiteLazaretto
    4. Aphex TwinSyro
    5. Death from Above 1979The Physical World

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Jack White – “High Ball Stepper”
    Jack White seems to be on another level these days. The former White Stripe has grown into one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most exciting talents, and this blues-heavy, instrumental track showcases that better than any other offering on Lazaretto. White’s ferocious guitar riffs dominate the tune, taking listeners on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. And when he plays “High Ball Stepper” live, the song takes on a new whole life of its own.

    2. Foo Fighters – “Something for Nothing”
    3. Interpol – “All the Rage Back Home”
    4. TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot”
    5. Tycho – “Awake”


    Jack White at BGCA // Photo by

    Jack White at Bill Graham Civic // Photo by David James Swanson

    Steven Wandrey // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Jack White at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco, CA – August 22nd
    From the dramatic curtain drop that slammed into high-octane rock, this show never let off the gas. Even with a bum ankle, Jack White stalked the stage and held power over the crowd. When the slowest moments of a show are White Stripes ballads that you’re giddy to hear and the other half of the show is headbanging, guitar-slinging rock, it’s easy to see how this show cemented itself as the best of 2014.

    2. Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor at The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – May 6th
    3. The War on Drugs at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – April 1st
    4. Run the Jewels at Mezzanine – San Francisco, CA – November 14th
    5. Duck Sauce at Outside Lands Music Festival – August 9th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!
    This album makes me feel like I’m actually traveling through the underworld to the land of the dead. From front to back, the first thing that caught me about this album was its consistent message. Steven Ellison has an inviting sense of storytelling that’s infused with hip-hop but touches on an array of different music styles, involving a star-studded cast of guests, including Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Snoop Dog. I have a feeling Flying Lotus is on the forefront of creative hip-hop and that this album will prove to be influential down the line. More importantly, I just love listening to it. Taking wild turns from frenetic to serene, listening to this album from start to finish is a journey.

    2. Aphex TwinSyro
    3. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
    4. Future IslandsSingles
    5. Tweedy – Sukierae

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Run the Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
    The minimalist production and deep, rumbling bass frequencies have helped this track become my No. 1 listened to on the album and also No. 1 for the year. The complimentary flow that El-P and Killer Mike have together is on display in this track. This cut has infected my brain like a virus (the good kind?), and I just can’t get enough.

    2. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
    3. Sam Smith – “I’m Not the Only One”
    4. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
    5. Perfume Genius – “Queen”


    Future Islands at The Chapel // Photo by

    Future Islands at The Chapel // Photo by Pedro Paredes

    Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Future Islands at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 12th
    It’s been a banner year for the Baltimore darlings we have grown to love as Future Islands. Breaking through the underground touring circuit to being a highly sought-after festival act was quick and clean as the passionate stage performance of Samuel Harrington could not be ignored by growing audiences. A packed Gobi Tent was eating from the frontman’s palm as Herrington poured himself out on stage, belting out a set heavy on new tracks and old favorites. It was a pivotal point where both the band and audience knew that Future Islands had arrived at the next stage of their career.

    2. The Cure at BottleRock Napa Valley – Napa, CA – May 30th
    3. Phish at MGM Grand Arena – Las Vegas, NV – October 31st
    4. Connan Mockasin at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – May 15th
    5. Deerhoof at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – November 18th 

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream 
    Adam Granduciel had one helluva 2014 to brag about. His third studio album Lost in the Dream was an overwhelming success, and all for good reason as the lush waves of rock swell over the listener like a warm Christmas sweater, just less ugly than the one you wore to that one party. “Under the Pressure” opens this release in epic fashion and does not let up from there. Guitar rock is not dead!

    2. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
    3. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
    4. D’Angelo – Black Messiah 
    5. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent  

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
    Steven Ellison’s left-field meditation on death, as demonstrated on 2014’s release You’re Dead!, is not for everyone and is more about the full album than the sum of its parts (tracks). However, there is one shining beacon of a collaboration that could not be cast aside in the form of “Never Catch Me”. The partnership of one of the hottest MCs with one of the most sought-after producers was meant to be a brutally infectious slice of off-kilter street music. 

    2. Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”
    3. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
    4. Beck – “Blue Moon”
    5. Ariel Pink – “Put Your Number in My Phone”


    Ryan Adams at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014

    Ryan Adams at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 // Photo by Pedro Paredes

    Pete Mauch // Los Angeles

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Phish at MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV – October 31st
    Phish has made the tradition of covering other artists albums on Halloween, and this year they completely outdid themselves by covering essentially an album of only narrative and spooky sounds. The Disney-produced album The Thrilling and Chilling Sounds of the Taunted House was turned into a rock opera of sorts as Trey and company worked through completely new songs based off just minimal sounds, but the night didn’t just end there. The band played this rock opera sandwiched between two very strong sets of original Phish songs that could have held its own alone.

    2. Lettuce’s Late Night in Red Barn at Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – May 22nd
    3. Future Islands at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 12th
    4. Ryan Adams at The Fox Theater Pomona – Pomona, CA – October 11th
    5. Todd Terje at FYF Fest – Los Angeles – August 24th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
    When someone as prolific as Ryan Adams puts out a new record, you buy that record and you listen intently. The songs in his first self-titled album may seem simple at first listen, but they stay with you in the back of your mind until you just can’t take it and you re-listen again and again. This is exactly how what I’ve been doing the past few months since the release. Songs like “Gimme Something Good” and “Am I Safe” prove once again that Adams is still on top of his game.

    2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
    3. moe. – No Guts, No Glory
    4. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
    5. Greensky Bluegrass – If Sorrows Swim

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
    “People change / You know but some people never do / You know when people change, they gain a piece but they lose one too.” These lyrics are so uplifting and real, and the music to accompany these amazing lyrics ties the emotion perfectly together.

    2. The War on Drugs – “Under the Pressure”
    3. The Barr Brothers – “Come in the Water”
    4. Temples – “Shelter Song”
    5. Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”


    Old Crow Medicine Show at The Regency // Photo by Pedro Paredes

    Old Crow Medicine Show at The Regency // Photo by Pedro Paredes

    Pedro Paredes // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Darkside at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – January 24th
    The album Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington put together in 2013 was a delight for the ears, but with the show they played at The Fillmore, they were going after every sense in your body. Jaar once said that Darkside’s music was more experiential rather than musical, and they surely succeeded in delivering one of the best musical experiences to all the lucky attendants on that cold January night.

    2. Future Islands at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – April 10th
    3. St. Vincent at The Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – March 22nd
    4. James Blake at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – December 7th
    5. Old Crow Medicine Show at The Masonic – San Francisco, CA – September 20th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. BeckMorning Phase
    Beck’s Morning Phase follows the same breezy style as Sea Change, but the latter’s serenity seems to come from darker places. Morning Phase is, as the title suggests, a bit brighter and sets the tone for all the good things yet to come.

    2. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
    3. Real EstateAtlas
    4. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
    5. Perfume Genius – Too Bright

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. alt-J – “Nara”
    It is hard to isolate “Nara” as the best song of Alt-J’s latest album This is All Yours since the story told in it is not exclusive to that song and it comes back in different sections of the album (as well as in some of the musical arrangements). But “Nara”, a song about love, deserves to be listened again and again. The 2:58 mark is bliss to my ears.

    2. tUnE-yArDs – “Water Fountain”
    3. Run the Jewels – “Love Again”
    4. Perfume Genius – “Fool”
    5. Angel Olsen – “Hi-Five”


    St. Vincent at Fox Theater Oakland // Photo by

    St. Vincent at Fox Theater Oakland // Photo by Pedro Paredes

    Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden at Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA – August 24th
    I had never seen either band live before and based on my experience, it was like they had never broken up or aged since the ’90s. Amazing stage/light shows to go along with what was hands down my most eagerly anticipated show of the year.

    2. Cibo Matto at Slim’s – San Francisco, CA – February 26th
    3. American Football at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – December 12th
    4. Failure at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – May 14th
    5. Crosses at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – March 30th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. St. VincentSt. Vincent
    This album comes off like a chameleon, with many shifts but always staying very characteristically St. Vincent. I feel that she is one of the more important artists to come around over the last few years, and I am excited to see what she does next.

    2. Nothing – Guilty of Everything
    3. BeckMorning Phase
    4. Fugazi – First Demo
    5. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Spoon – “Do You”
    Spoon have a knack for throwing a good toe tapper in their albums. This song is short and sweet, and you cannot help but get caught up in its infectiousness.  

    2. Ryan Adams – “Give Me Something Good”
    3. St. Vincent – “Prince Johnny”
    4. TV on the Radio – “Could You”
    5. Nothing – “Bent Nail”


    Arcade Fire at Shoreline Amphitheater // Photo by Justin Yee

    Arcade Fire at Shoreline Amphitheater // Photo by Justin Yee

    Justin Yee // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1) Future Islands at South by Southwest (Cheer Up Charlie’s) – Austin, TX – March 13th
    2) Arcade Fire at Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA – July 30th
    3) Chromeo at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – April 12th
    4) James Blake at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – December 7th
    5) Outkast at Treasure Island Music Festival – San Francisco, CA – October 18th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1) Future IslandsSingles
    2) The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
    3) ODESZA – In Return
    4) Flying LotusYou’re Dead!
    5) CaribouOur Love

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1) Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
    2) Chromeo – “Come Alive” feat. Toro y Moi
    3) Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” feat. Kendrick Lamar
    4) Chet Faker – “1998”
    5) Mac Demarco – “Let Her Go”


    James Blake at The Chapel //

    James Blake at The Chapel // Photo by Pedro Paredes

    Eric Shaden // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. James Blake at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – December 7th
    I feel bad telling friends about how great this show was since so few people were able to get tickets. An intimate venue hosting such a phenomenal artist was a no-brainer for my top pick. James covered hits from his albums as well as debuted new tracks and an incredible interlude of house jams. I just wish more friends could have seen this!

    2. Chromeo at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – April 12th
    3. Todd Terje at FYF Fest – Los Angeles, CA – August 24th
    4. tUnE-yArDs at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – June 6th
    5. Holy Ghost! at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – San Francisco, CA – April 30th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
    What else can be said about this album that hasn’t been covered already? An outstanding sequel to Run the Jewels that expands on the original with top-notch production and punishing delivery from El-P and Killer Mike. Without a doubt my top choice of the year.

    2. Syd Arthur – A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble
    3. D’Angelo – Black Messiah 
    4. Sinkane – Mean Love
    5. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. D’Angelo – “Sugah Daddy”
    I imagine D’Angelo coming back with his long-awaited album in December showed which writers/blogs/etc. wrote their “Best of the Year” lists early. His style of soulful R&B is sorely needed, and “Sugah Daddy” is my favorite from the album. Looking forward to his tour in 2015!

    2. Caribou – “Our Love”
    3. Aphex Twin – “minipops 67 [120.2]”
    4. Jungle – “Time”
    5. Jamie xx – “Sleep Sound”


    High Sierra Music Festival // Photo by Benjamin Wallen

    High Sierra Music Festival // Photo by Benjamin Wallen

    Benjamin Wallen // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA – July 2nd-5th
    2. Paul McCartney at Candlestick Farewell – Candlestick Park – San Francisco, CA – August 14th
    3. Jamestown Revival at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – November 28th
    4. The String Cheese Incident at Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – April 24th
    5. Greensky Bluegrass at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – November 14th


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    Scott Martin // San Jose

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. California Roots Music Festival at Monterey Fairgrounds – Monterey, CA – May 23rd-25th
    2. Rival Sons, Soft White Sixties & Sir Madam at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – September 25th
    3. The Pimps of Joytime at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – February 15th
    4. Caravan Palace & Rosin Coven at The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA – April 16th
    5. Jackie Greene at The Catalyst Club – Santa Cruz, CA – March 26th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. Bears Den – Islands
    2. Milky Chance – Sadnecessary
    3. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
    4. Mighty Oaks – Howl
    5. Solstafir – Otta

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Bears Den – “Agape”
    2. Bears Den – “Isaac”
    3. Milky Chance – “Down by the River”
    4. Mighty Oaks – “The Great Northwest”
    5. Crosses – “Bitches Brew”


    MIA at BFD // Photo by Marc Fong

    MIA at BFD // Photo by Marc Fong

    Nikki DeMartini // San Francisco

    Top 5 Shows of 2014
    1. MIA at Shoreline Amphitheatre for BFD 2014 – Mountain View, CA – June 1st
    It had been four years since I saw MIA live and even though I’d prefer to see her play her own show rather than a set at a music festival, I was super excited to see her at BFD last summer. It was the first time in nearly 10 years that my cousin and I went to LIFE105’s annual summer show together. We lucked out and upgraded our tickets just in time to see MIA’s performance. Both of us were out of our seats, singing and dancing along to every song as soon as her set started. I was beside myself as MIA herself made her way off the stage, up into the seats of the venue and stopped near our row to spit lyrics as fans gathered and danced around her, myself included. I still can’t believe I danced with MIA!

    2. OK Go at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – July 16th
    3. Die Antwoord at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – May 22nd
    4. Sylvan Esso at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – June 6th
    5. MS MR at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – April 15th

    Top 5 Albums of 2014
    1. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
    When I covered Sylvan Esso at The Fillmore earlier this year (when they opened for tUnE-yArDs), I had no idea who they were but ended up leaving the show a fan. Their self-titled debut album is an uplifting mix of danceable electropop tracks and indie rock that’s easy to lose yourself in. Their sparkly, layered and melodic sounds translate well whether you’re listening to the album or seeing them live. Sylvan Esso is one of three albums I bought in 2014, and it’s been on repeat ever since I picked it up.

    2. Glass Animals – Zaba
    3. Die Antwoord – Donker Mag
    4. Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
    5. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

    Top 5 Songs of 2014
    1. Tove Lo – “Habits (Stay High)”
    I really enjoy the simple percussion-driven melody and voluptuous vocals of Tove Lo’s hit single “Habits (Stay High)”. The subtle, yet engaging buildup to her belting, emotionally-charged lyrics has me singing along and turning it up every time I hear it on the radio. While it is very catchy, it’s not a super dancey song. However, it is a great go-to for karaoke. 

    2. Die Antwoord – “Rat Trap 666”
    3. Sylvan Esso – “Hey Mami”
    4. First Aid Kit – “My Silver Lining”
    5. The Dead Weather – “Buzzkill(er)”

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    Showbams’ Top 50 albums of 2014

    Best-albums-2014-coverBy Mike Frash, Josh Herwitt, Molly Kish, Steve Wandrey & Kevin Quandt //

    Showbams presents the Top 50 albums released in 2014 (yes, all of 2014) that we just can’t stop listening to.

    These are the albums that made us double-take upon first listen, while also being auditory art pieces that we continue to spin as we head into 2015. They are the bundles of songs that innovated and inspired us more than the rest, signifying musical progression, defining our time with a soundtrack that challenges traditional expectations, while boldly trekking into new frontiers of pop music.

    Because as music continues to become more accessible, the bridge between independent and mainstream gets shorter each year.

    The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2014
    Showbams’ Top 50 Albums of 2014

    Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2014:


    1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2

    run-the-jewelsSo often sequels don’t deliver, but ascending hip-hop stars Killer Mike and El-P have simply progressed their brilliance as Run The Jewels one year removed from their first official collaboration. From the top of RTJ2, Michael Render manages to set a higher bar for pumped-up aggression, there’s more social activism laced throughout, more special guests that only add to the fuck boy-crushing populist mentality. And compared to RTJ1, there are more stand-alone gems that are primed for remixing and cultural integration. The sequencing is superb, and El and Mike are having more fun than ever as they tour the world and snowball momentum with their brand of hardcore, yet intricate rap that contains shades of weird. Like a championship baseball team, the songs in the two hole through cleanup hitter offer the biggest impact, wreaking instant classics upon us with masterful experimental production from El-P that emits new, subtle surprises the more you listen. As the album unfolds, tales of police brutality (“Early”), introspection and personal improvement (“Crown”), along with over the top raunch (“Love Again”) prove RTJ2 shines in every moment in a variety of ways through multiple lanes of success. -Mike Frash


    2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

    war-on-drugs-lost-in-dream-album-coverWhen a truly inspired artist borrows from the past while looking to the future, the outcome can be something fully new and exciting, which is what we have here. The brilliance of Adam Granduciel lies in his delivery, both musically and lyrically, crooning about the sometimes-not-so-simple intricacies of existence. Life, love and everything else in between can be tricky, yet Granduciel calmly assures us that things can work out.

    Granduciel knows how to structure albums with the best of them — this acutely demonstrated via the nine-minute, sprawling opener “Under the Pressure”. First single “Red Eyes” keeps on a similar path as we sink deeper in, bobbing along to the pounding drum machine that has been a constant over the years for the Philly-based band. “Disappearing” takes us soaring above the clouds as we hear new, thrilling piano instrumentation with warm bass lines, creating a sense of weightlessness and flight. An extremely strong finishing track, “In Reverse” perfectly captures the fleeting minutes on this release before jarring us back into a slightly crueler reality. The long play of this record is so rewarding, and it grows with hopes that more can be brought into the light. Oh, and that the state rock ‘n’ roll is just fine. -Kevin Quandt


    3. D’Angelo and the VanguardBlack Messiah

    dangelo-black-messiahThere’s an intentional off-kilter spontaneity and cohesive force at the center of D’Angelo’s first album in 15 years, Black Messiah. The percussive and vocal syncopation here makes the off-beat feel natural — layered vocals get treated with filters and are multi-tracked to lend an unfamiliar presence to the back-and-forth vocal pitch shifts D’Angelo employs from line to line.

    The end product is a record that possesses its own musical language, telling stories that are incredibly meaningful, but achieve balance between serious and playful, while always being sexy. The confusing, driving funk of the first two cuts give way to “The Charade”, which manages to hit a rare aural sweat spot of ultra-pleasurability. But then “Sugah Daddy” follows as an unplanned Sunday in the park, with vocal scats skipping along to the breezy song’s pacing. D’Angelo arguably can now join the ranks of the all-time great R&B/soul artists with the delivery of his long-awaited third record. -MF


    4. Future IslandsSingles

    Future IslandSingles jumps right out of the gates, showing its cards early, presenting the listener with Future Island’s trademark new-school, new-wave sound. Samuel Herring’s vocals are stunning as he pitches and growls through tales of the tougher side of love. It’s pretty, gripping and powerful while also holding certain pop sentiments, lending to an overall lightness while being arresting. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” is a quintessential slice of the emotion this band has become well known for both onstage and in the studio. “Doves” balances all the elements nicely, shining a light on the top-notch production featured on Singles. -KQ


    5. Aphex TwinSyro

    FINAL MASTER SYRO DIGIPAK.inddRichard D. James has been practically an enigma for the last decade plus, hiding out in a small Scottish village of 300 and releasing no new music as Aphex Twin since 2006. But the long layoff hasn’t changed the fact that he remains one of the most unique and influential electronic producers in the game today. Some of James’ best material on Syro comes early on, from his club-oriented mixes like “minipops 67 [120.2]” to the techno funk ­he crafts on the ensuing “XMAS_EVET10 [120]” and “produk 29 [101].” These aren’t beats designed to make you sweat your ass off — if anything, the cerebral nature of James’ work makes him the ultimate antithesis of the current EDM scene. -Josh Herwitt


    6. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!

    Flylo_youre_deadOn Flying Lotus’s latest record You’re Dead!, the Los Angeles producer forgoes the acid kool-aide test for a cyanide kool-aide dive straight into a fourth dimensional confrontation with the afterlife. You’re Dead masterfully trips through the journey of the soul into the next episode with sun-scorched psychedelia, 8-bit snapshots of g-funk and gorgeously redemptive jazz. The cold transition between the frantic jazz freak out of Kendrick Lamar featuring “Never Catch Me” and the cooled-out West Coast bounce of Snoop Dogg and FlyLo alter-ego Captain Murphy’s “Dead Man’s Tetris” highlights the producer’s prolific ability to craft varying hip-hop textures. FlyLo fully buries his new album’s death aesthetic through ecstatic, free-form layers of acid jazz and sprawling EDM planes of sound. -John Venanzi, Community Review


    7. St. VincentSt. Vincent

    St. VincentAnnie Clark ups the electronic ante on her fourth studio album. Branching out of her experimental indie-pop compositions, she embraces more cohesive arrangements that ironically focus her creativity on deconstructed production and sound obstruction. Both equally impressive in sound quality and sass, the opening tracks “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse” set the tone for the rest of the records’ exciting stylistic shifts and the intriguing unveiling of Clark’s gritty rock goddess persona. “Digital Witness” is a spot-on snapshot of our brave new 21st century day-to-day reality. Unapologetic, raw and sonically genius, St. Vincent is Clark’s breakthrough moment, and she appears to be doing it all with ease. -Molly Kish


    8. Mac DeMarcoSalad Days

    Mac DemarcoMac DeMarco’s signature style is here. It’s still fresh and in ways stronger than ever; it’s more pointed, focused and accessible. DeMarco is able to write in a way that allows the listener to easily empathize with him, as he turns his issues into ones that most of us have dealt with at some point. In “Chamber of Reflection”, it’s easy to really feel a sense of solitude. “Goodbye Weekend” sounds like a stoney Sunday afternoon coming to a soothing end. Every track has a personality of its own while holding up the overall ethos of the album. This album is lighthearted enough for multiples listens in a row with its breezy beach vibe, but also easily induces deep thoughts with its many lyrical gems. -Steve Wandrey


    9. CaribouOur Love

    our-loveWhat we have here is one of the most addictive albums of 2014. Our Love keeps deep house in its front pocket with steady beats per minute and an introspective mantra-centric lyrical conceit, but it’s also exploratory in nature, finding success in consistently building toward intense, euphoric plateaus. A steady flow of pleasant sounds ascend into impacting transcendence with “Can’t Do Without You”, “Silver” and “Your Love Will Set You Free”, and you must give Snaith extra credit for the masterful pacing and song-to-song flow — there is never a “skip ahead” moment. Like many classic albums, it opens up if you give it more time to radiate around your head, and listening to it becomes more pleasurable over time, even though it is mostly presented in poetic simplicity. -MF


    10. Sun Kil MoonBenji

    Sun Kil MoonBenji must be interpreted as a concept album about death, but more importantly, it’s about the importance details related to memory. For example, the title is taken from what seems like a throw-away line toward the end of the breathtaking “Micheline”. It’s powerful, visceral storytelling that is self-reflexive and biographical, yet so relatable that it compels personal introspection from the listener’s own experiences. Mark Kozelek’s lyrics are the centerpiece of the listening experience — they are so deep and resonant that the instrumentals and production are absorbed secondarily, although the stripped-down approach is intentional and noteworthy. Built around obsessing about the state of human demise — and the randomness of it — it’s easy to join Kozelek’s dire state of mind hours or days after listening. -MF


    11. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
    12. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
    13. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
    14. Spoon – They Want My Soul
    15. Ariel Pink – pom pom
    16. Beck – Morning Phase
    17. Jack White – Lazaretto
    18. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
    19. Tycho — Awake
    20. TV on the Radio – Seeds

    21. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
    22. Tweedy – Sukierae
    23. Jungle – Jungle
    24. Temples – Sun Structures
    25. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
    26. Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World
    27. Ty Segall – Manipulator
    28. The Antlers – Familiars
    29. Real Estate – Atlas
    30. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

    31. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
    32. Interpol – El Pintor
    33. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
    34. Swans – To Be Kind
    35. Strand of Oaks – HEAL
    36. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent
    37. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
    38. Phantogram – Voices
    39. Broken Bells – After the Disco
    40. SOHN – Tremors

    41. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
    42. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
    43. Karen O — Crush Songs
    44. Chet Faker – Built on Glass
    45. Woods – With Light and with Love
    46. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
    47. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
    48. Mark McGuire – Along The Way
    49. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
    50. Adult Jazz – Gist Is

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    10.future-islands

    4.st-vincent

    12.Ryan Adams

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    Spoon

    Tycho

    TVOTR

    Temples

    8.tune-yards

    Real-Estate

    Interpol

    alt-J

    Outside Lands Day 3: Flume draws massive crowd, inspires tree dancing

    Outside-Lands-2014_post
    Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash //

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

    When we wrote about Flume possibly playing Outside Lands this year in our artist rumors article, we mentioned the Australian DJ could headline this year, a divisive point that got some folks questioning our claim. Based on the crowd that showed up and the high level of sustained excitement on Sunday, that possibility isn’t too far away for Harley Streten. Sure, CHVRCHES’ cancelling their set caused some massive swelling at the east end of the festival for Flume, but many of the disappointed must have found a new favorite.

    Australian producer Harley Streten weaved together a crowd-pleasing set that had a saturated Twin Peaks field bouncing along with hands up for the duration, all in the 3 p.m. hour on Sunday. In the past year, Flume’s set has become more sophisticated, led by a restrained approach that intermingles hip-hop, trap, R&B and rap. The drops are inverted in their intensity compared to traditional EDM, offering slight delays and unpredictable syncopation.

    Flume has helped to create and capitalize off music’s popular trend toward marrying dance music and hip-hop, and his ability to curate a festival-sized mega party cannot be questioned at this point. Fortune favors the bold …

    Add in remixes, including Major Lazer’s “Get Free” & Lorde’s “Tennis Court”, while throwing back to Friday with a rework of Disclosure’s “You & Me” and “Insane” with Killer Mike’s verses, and even the uninitiated were pulled into the excitement. Streten was also able to bring in “Touched” by What So Not, his new duo with Emoh Instead.

    And did I mention how packed it was? Twenty minutes before Flume was to start there was nowhere to go. Some folks had to resort to tree dancing … for mostly hilarious results (watch the video above). While the conservationist in me says raging out a tree for an hour isn’t right, it was pretty funny — but not to Ranger Dave. According to a user on a Reddit thread titled FLUME FUCKING KILLED IT, “Apparently he got fined, and just posted his ticket on Facebook.” So think twice before trying this next year.

    Some shows, per usual, were very crowed this year. Perhaps too crowded. Atmosphere’s show on Saturday left no room to breath. Capital Cities looked really packed. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis easily outdrew Tom Petty. So, would you pay a little more money if Outside Lands sold less tickets? Or do you prefer the masses like penguins huddling to keep warm in the winter, or maybe just going to where the crowds aren’t.

    Tiesto - Crowded

    Woods are the most quintessential California band that is not from here — they call Brooklyn home. The group curates the Woodsist Festival down the road in Big Sur, their most famous song before this year was “Cali in a Cup”, and they felt right at home in the confines of Golden Gate Park early Sunday. When they played their new song “With Light And With Love” — one of the best songs of 2014 — the spirit of the Grateful Dead performances from the late ‘60s felt present on what used to be Speedway Meadow.

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    Jenny Lewis, sporting a snazzy technicolor dream-coat that matches her new album cover for The Voyager, delighted with a slew of new cuts from the record along with some Rilo Kiley joints.

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    • A buzzy yet not overwhelming crowd came together for Spoon, who released their addictive new record They Want My Soul the Tuesday before Outside Lands. There are a bunch of future classics to be found in the new material that was played, including “Inside Out”, “Do You” & “Outlier”, and the new jams mixed in seamlessly with songs such as “I Turn My Camera On” and “I Summon You”. Britt Daniel looked inspired after four years on break from Spoon with Divine Fits. Watch for Spoon to have a big year, and give the new album a listen if you haven’t yet.

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    • You certainly can’t say The Flaming Lips aren’t trying. They seem to change from year to year, and when the Lips form a set that centers around Wayne Coyne’s voice as they did at Outside Lands, it can feel uninspired at times and triumphant at others, but our heroic muscle man gives 100 percent the entire time amongst psychedelic spectacle. Their Halloween show from 2013 in SF made my top 10 shows list last year because they took the opposite approach with Coyne’s voice, modulating it into an electronic instrument, and gone were the hyper happy Yoshimi songs, the cheerleaders, the confetti cannons and human hamster ball. All of it. Instead, the Halloween show was a glorious drone-filled, psychedelic freak out, reflecting the studio work they’d released the past two years.

    Coyne and company realize a festival set is different than a normal show, so they have tried to find middle ground. The Flaming Lips leader wore a muscle body suit as if he was skinned, the cheerleaders are now put in rainbow, sun and earth costumes, while songs like “Do You Realize?” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” were played with a dystopic, bleak tone. So, by having a setlist of lighter hits that were played through a jarring lens, nobody got what they really wanted. On a positive note, the Flaming Lips are keeping it weirder than ever, and many of the extended whiffs of Pink Floyd’s languid guitar hit the spot.

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    • We weren’t that excited about The Killers or Tiësto to finish the festival, but we’re ready to eat our hat. I went to Tiësto since I firmly believe it’s best to say goodbye with a dance party, leaving it all on the field. The Dutch DJ was far less anthemic than anticipated, dropping some surprisingly powerful bass that speaks to his progressive nature behind the dials. Lands End was going bonkers. The overall reaction to The Killers from various press and social media websites has been very positive — Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly Presents have got their fingers on the pulse of what works for entertaining the masses at Outside Lands. We’re already looking forward to the schedule for year No. 8 in 2015.

    What was your favorite act on Sunday? Did you see the dude in the tree at Flume? Tell us your story below.

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