Yes, it’s that time of year again. Outside Lands is about to begin, and with it, a slew of great acts you love — as well as a bunch of bands you may have never heard of before. I know that your instinct is to sleep in and show up just in time to let Third Eye Blind know that you do, in fact, believe in science. However, if you do, you are going to miss some of the best music in the festival. The lower part of the poster is where the good stuff hides, so, who knows — you may just stumble across the next Black Keys or Ellie Goulding, both past lower-poster-graduates.
The schedule is out NOW, so you can start planning your weekend. I do believe it’s in your best interest to include some of these acts:
1.) Anderson.Paak and The Free Nationals
Last year I went to a small festival called Oakland Music Festival, a street fair in Downtown Oakland. A little-known R&B singer named Anderson.Paak killed it in front of a small group of people that were still talking about his set months later. I wasn’t one of these people. I think I was trying to find tacos somewhere. I’ve regretted it ever since, and if you watch this clip, you’re definitely not going to miss him at OSL.
I was talking to somebody about this year’s line-up, someone who couldn’t attend the festival. Despite the schedule containing a lot of music that he likes, the one thing that really kills him is that he’s missing Vulfpeck. In a see of Duran Durans, Radioheads, Lionel Richies and such, this little funk band out of Ann Arbor, Michigan was his #1, and once you get caught in this groove, they are going to be your #1, too.
3.) Natalia LaFourcade
There are a lot of things to love out Outside Lands, but one of my favorite things is that they are entirely unafraid of reaching outside of the English language. They always bring out a surprise or two, and Natalia LaFourcade is an impressive one. Her voice is totally unique, and her music is in a world of its own.
4.) The Wombats
Time was, I loved The Wombats so much. They are the perfect dance rock band. I was so sad when they seemed to disappear not long after they had their hit “Let’s Dance To Joy Division.” We are so very lucky to have them back. Wear comfortable yet stylish shoes for this set.
5.) Dr Teeth & The Electric Mayhem
It just feels wrong to see the legendary Dr Teeth & The Electric Mayhem at the bottom of the calendar. They have been together since 1975. They’ve starred in three tv series, six movies, and have released dozens of albums. They really should be headlining. They even have a pub in the Mission District named after them! Sometimes things just aren’t fair.
6.) Kamasi Washington
This is the year that hip hop officially begins to recognize the important instrumentalists in the scene. Chance The Rapper’s trumpet player Donnie Trumpet puts out a hit solo record, and now Kendrick Lamar’s saxophonist Kamasi Washington is slowly becoming one of the biggest stars in any genre. Suddenly, all of the kids are listening to jazz like it’s rock ‘n roll.
Smith Westerns were a great power pop band that came out with a huge amount of hype, and disappeared almost as quickly as they came. I thought they were gone for good, until primary members Max Kakacek and Julian Elhrich quietly returned under the name Whitney. Once again, all is good in the world.
8.) The Oh Hellos
It’s easy to get sidetracked by the fiddle player’s mustache, but just let it go. This delicate folk rock collective is the perfect sound for enjoying a beer in Golden Gate Park on a sunny (or overcast — it’s SF after all) summer afternoon.
8.) Marian Hill
It’s very rare for me to encourage electronic music. Far too often the genre lacks personality, and, quite frankly, I just can’t relate to it. Marian Hill, however, adds that much needed humanity to the machines. She just feels more real than other artists that use laptops as their instrument. Plus, that horn riff on this track just sticks with you:
9.) Rogue Wave
Rogue Wave are Bay Area legends. These guys have been fighting the good fight for ages, putting out consistently great records for ages, and playing every room in the Bay Area multiple times over. If you haven’t seen Rogue Wave yet, I genuinely feel bad for you — mostly because it means that you don’t get out enough.
Wet are doing the kind of soul meets trip hop sound that feels like we’ve lost in the last few years. They freshened it up a bit, added a bit of energy, and basically made us feel OK that Dido seems to have retired.
Spinning Platters will be there from open to close all weekend long! Look out for coverage of the festivities on our Facebook page, and follow @friedoxygen on Instagram to enjoy blurry photos poorly taken with Dakin’s phone.