Since 2008, concert-goers in the Bay Area and beyond have carefully planned out their Outside Lands itineraries. With numerous music stages, the Barbary comedy tent, wacky culinary stage, pop-up performances (that throw a wrench into everyone’s carefully sculpted, laminated schedules), not to mention mini golf, food, beer, wine, art and more, it’s hard to figure out where to be and when.
The San Francisco music festival consistently hosts an impressive bill with noteworthy headliners that cater to every kind of music lover. Radiohead, Elton John, Kanye West and Paul McCartney have headlined the three-day extravaganza for the past nine years.
Gorillaz, Metallica and The Who top the lineup in this 10th anniversary year. But big names aside, Outside Lands also features dozens of up-and-coming artists worth discovering. Because earlier parts of the day can seem like a great unknown at a big festival like Outside Lands, RIFF has gathered a list of not-to-miss acts to get you out of bed and jumpstart each festival day.
Friday, Aug. 11
Porches — Sutro Stage — 12:25 to 1:10 p.m.
Porches is the moniker of Aaron Maine, who’s like a chameleon when it comes to sound. His first album mixes broody lyrics with easygoing indie riffs, while his second embraces ambient, synth-driven beats. Pulling off both styles solidly, Porches is the perfect way to set the mood for a cool day one.
Noname — Panhandle Stage — 4:30 to 5:10 p.m.
Poetry meets R&B when it comes to Noname, a Chicago-based rapper and slam poet. Born Fatimah Warner, her lyrics narrate dark anecdotes of life in the Windy City, while the backing instrumentals recall the sounds of Teebs and Nujabes. Noname makes the juxtaposition flow gracefully, as if her words and beats were slow dancing together.
Kali Uchis — Twin Peaks Stage — 2:05 to 2:55 p.m.
Some might recognize Kali Uchis from her feature on the long-awaited Gorillaz album, Humanz. But her own work is worth checking out. Although young in age, Uchis has the voice of an old soul. She combines bluesy vocal stylings with indie pop instrumentals, citing artists from Billie Holiday to Tyler the Creator as influences.
Saturday, Aug. 12
Muna — Twin Peaks Stage — 12:40 to 1:25 p.m.
Muna takes epic ’80s electro and throws in some edge. The all-girl trio’s sound screams a tough, tell-it-how-it-is attitude that will surely have you rocking your head in unison.
Foxygen — Panhandle Stage — 6:20 to 7:00 p.m.
Indie duo Foxygen takes on a different sound for every album. So far, they’ve tackled styles like ’60s psychedelic pop, hazy shoegaze, glam rock and everything in between. Sometimes inconsistency can be seen as off-putting, but Foxygen’s constant experimentation is intriguing enough to follow.
Real Estate — Sutro Stage — 2:30 to 3:20 p.m.
Real Estate is a band from New Jersey, but they sound like they come from a dream. With hazy vocals and riffs that have a math rock twinkle, Real Estate’s style is perfect to get lost in.
Bomba Estéreo — Panhandle Stage — 8:05 to 8:50 p.m.
Bomba Esteréo knows how to party. Hailing from Bogota, Colombia, the duo blends traditional champeta melodies with reggae and electronic pop. The end result is fiery, undeniably danceable tunes.
Sunday, Aug. 13
The She’s — Panhandle Stage — 12:00 to 12:40 p.m.
Representing Bay Area talent, The She’s are a fourpiece that channel some seriously retro sounds. Mixing surf pop, bright harmonies and sometimes lighthearted, sometimes lovesick lyrics, The She’s capture the thrills of youth and sunny days. They’re a spot-on soundtrack for the summer.
Lee Fields and the Expressions — Lands End Stage — 12:10 to 1:00 p.m.
Lee Fields has been active in soul music since the ’60s. Fields and The Expressions, house band for label Truth & Soul Records, create a smooth, lush blend of vocals, horns and keys.
How to Dress Well — Panhandle Stage — 5:55 to 6:35 p.m.
How to Dress Well hooked critics when Tom Krell, the Colorado musician behind the music, would post his EPs for free on his blog. Four studio releases later, and How to Dress Well flaunts a consistent sound that’s as hip as the moniker suggests. Krell pairs soulful vocals with ambient beats to create his signature style.