Outside Lands, San Francisco’s premier summer music festival, will return to Golden Gate Park August 9-11.
Put on by Another Planet Entertainment — the same company that manages UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, Oakland’s Fox Theater and San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium — the Outside Lands festival has been a Bay Area staple since its inception in 2008. Now in its 12th year, the festival will once again feature a diverse group of artists that belong to genres ranging from folk, pop, hip-hop, EDM and more.
Such an exhaustive lineup might be intimidating to someone not too well versed in music. Below is a guide to some of the artists, in order of appearance in the lineup, to look out for among the crowd of talented singers, instrumentalists, rappers and producers.
Perhaps the most celebrated musician of 2018, Atlanta rapper, actor, comedian, director, producer, singer and writer Donald Glover, who performs music under the moniker Childish Gambino, became a worldwide sensation with his smash hit “This is America” this past summer. “America” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart upon its release and its accompanying music video became part of a larger national conversation because of its thought-provoking, politically-charged visuals. Gambino has been known for his exceptional live performances, especially in the context of his exclusive biennial weekend-long PHAROS concert experience, wherein he debuts new music. Hot on the heels of his successful 2018 run, Gambino might decide to preview more unreleased tracks during his headlining set at Outside Lands.
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Oxnard, California singer, rapper and drummer Anderson .Paak is an endlessly energetic, gleefully charismatic, multitalented musician and performer who has earned a reputation for himself as a phenomenal live act. His victory-lap set at the SF Masonic with the Free Nationals, his backing band, lived up to the hype this past February. Expect nothing less from .Paak at his marquee performance this August — this set will likely include material from his upcoming album Ventura, set to release April 12.
Country iconoclast Kacey Musgraves has taken the nation by storm with her phenomenal album Golden Hour, which won the 2019 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Where the annual Grammy Awards typically fail to consider quality over quantity of units sold when it comes to the songs and albums awarded by its voting panel, the Recording Academy made an uncharacteristically fair choice with this year’s award. Golden Hour is a fun, danceable, sentimental, psychedelic and boundary-pushing body of work that deserves to be recognized and sounds equally as enchanting when performed live. Kacey Musgraves is an enigma of the country music industry, whose live vocals mirror the quality of her studio-recorded voice. She is sure to make for an unforgettable performance at Outside Lands.
Denzel Curry is a Floridian rapper whose live energy is nearly unmatched in the rap game. His stage presence is fully immersive; the atmosphere at any Denzel Curry show, whether it be at a tour stop or at a festival, is always a high-octane, entrancing experience. His core fans come out in droves to his shows, somehow screaming Curry’s fast-paced raps back at him in unison while simultaneously moshing from the beginning to the end of each song. Curry is one of the most commanding live performers in music today, and his relatively low position on the lineup is a surprise. Regardless of his spot on the lineup poster, he is guaranteed to deliver Outside Lands audiences an awe-inspiring set.
“A Korean-American underground house DJ from New York” is the most basic way to define Yaeji. She is a mesmerizing artist who speaks and sings equal parts Korean and English over her breezy and booming electronic instrumentals.Yaeji’s music exemplifies range — the ambient “Feel it Out” sounds entirely different from yet exactly similar to the loud, attention-grabbing “raingurl.” In the same way artists like Kaytranada and Metro Boomin have production styles that stand out to the listener, Yaeji maintains a weird but incredible consistency among her songs and projects. Her set is the most unpredictable on this list. It could be a soothing break between endless mosh pits, the most intense set of the night, or perhaps both.
Oakland native D’Andre Sams, also known as ALLBLACK, is one of the most ear-catching rappers from the Bay Area today. He has an impeccable ability to flow over the rolling high-tempo beats characteristic of Bay Area rap music. 2 Minute Drills, ALLBLACK’s collaborative effort with up-and-coming Connecticut producer Kenny Beats, continues on and succeeds at this formula. The title track itself gives shoutouts to Bay Area landmarks such as East 14th Street, Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood and the Berkeley Hills. Although his music is incredibly localized, he is hopping on tracks with rappers like YG, Blueface and Bay Area star G-Eazy on their collaborative “West Coast (Remix).” His set at Outside Lands will be a must-see homecoming show and a rare opportunity to witness a rising local star on his way up to mainstream popularity.
Justin Sidhu covers music. Contact him at [email protected].