ffering everything from melodramatic to comedic sets, Sunday’s spectacular performers awed audiences, succeeding as a bittersweet conclusion to the festival.
Most surprisingly comedic: Post Malone
Highlights: “Cooped Up,” “Circles,” “I Fall Apart”
Life pre-Malone isn’t worth living, though Post Malone himself might disagree. “I’ve come to play some s—ty music and get f—ed up,” the singer-rapper announced at the beginning of his set, to cheers and laughter. Rocking the massive Lands End stage in a Cameron Tucker t-shirt (style: graphic design is my passion), Malone burst on stage with self-deprecating lightheartedness and raw emotional intensity.
When Post Malone is playing, there’s a good chance you’re either throwing up outside at a frat party or having an unusually deep conversation with a stranger on a rooftop. His live performance reflected this parameter, his expansive energy ranging from raging to tearful.
Malone also followed through with this party theme in another traditional way — “Can I get another beer out here, man?” he would frequently ask someone offstage named Dennis. During “Saint-Tropez,” he balanced a red solo cup on head. And, every time Malone lit up, his audience did too.
And his show certainly sparked a high. His setlist flowed smoothly, interweaving more hype tracks with softer moments of sincerity. His straightforward, self-aware narration didn’t feel too rehearsed — it amused in a friendly, blasé way with just the right alloy of seriousness and humor. (“If you need to piss, do it now ‘cause this is the most boring part of the set,” he said, pulling out his guitar for acoustic versions of “Stay” and “Go Flex.”)
Malone switched between hoarse roaring and melodic crooning with ease, and in the most raw, growly parts of his set, the artist bent down hands-free and balanced his mic between only his mouth and the stage.
Fireworks, flames and f-bombs aside, Malone’s show felt strikingly modest, droll and, at times, unexpectedly affecting. Even if he isn’t on your Spotify Wrapped, you can’t help but vibe with his music — Post Malone is the pulse of a party.
— Taila Lee
Most theatrical: Mitski
Highlights: “A Pearl,” “Happy,” “First Love / Late Spring”
Mitski’s theatricality bubbles like a geyser from below — palpably pressurized, ready to erupt at any moment. One second, her jazz shoes gracefully hover above the floor; the next, she’s violently punching the ground. With her crystalline vocals and choreographed routines, Mitski brought an intimate, sad-girl energy to the Sutro stage.
As the sunny day waned into ebony dusk, the grassy hillsides assumed a voltaic glow, the rising smoke twirling and refracting the artificial lights. Even as Post Malone’s pyrotechnics crackled above the trees, the sad indie kids kept their eyes fixed on their patron saint. Mitski dazzled in deep blue drapery, an understated belt cinched around her waist. Her movements progressing from rigid to flowy, weightless to encumbered, she remained a sight to behold — elusive yet magnetizing all the same.
Mitski enacted an imagined partner dance during “First Love / Late Spring,” grasping the hand of her invisible partner as she pivoted across the stage. “Happy” began with feigned apathy before spiraling into an emotional whirlwind drenched in violet fog. Closing with “A Pearl,” the songstress left the crowd with feelings unresolved: anger, denial and vulnerability rolled into one, leaving behind only an aching emptiness.
“Thank you for connecting,” Mitski said at the end of her set. “Thank you for giving your hearts and your time.”
Mitski’s music may take a wrench to the washing machine heart, but it also has the power to repair and restore. Fans trickled away feeling seen and understood, their hearts glowing pink in the night.
— Lauren Harvey
Most seasoned: Weezer
Highlights: “Africa,” “Island in the Sun,” “Buddy Holly”
When it comes to Weezer, the music speaks for itself.
While Green Day opted for a gimmicky spectacle, Weezer breezed through song after song with few words in between. Playing hits from “Hash Pipe” to “Beverly Hills,” the band electrified the Lands End stage with grungy guitar riffs and endearingly dorky charm. Before “Island in the Sun,” Rivers Cuomo joked that it was “not Inside Lands,” his voice humorously intonating the intentionally unoriginal joke.
Weezer’s original songs hold lasting power with their quirky, catchy compositions. During fan favorite “Buddy Holly,” the band married all it does best: goofy synths, unforgettable memories and delightful self-awareness. However, its cover songs also managed to steal the show. From Metallica’s abrasive “Enter Sandman” to Toto’s celebrated “Africa,” Weezer lent the classics new life with its evergreen charm. Cuomo even ran to the back to bang on a giant drum during “Africa” — his face straight, but his body language conveying nothing but excitement.
Together on stage, the members of Weezer proved incredibly in sync. Time has only made them more seasoned, more masterful in front of a crowd. Whether it’s the early ’90s or 2022, Weezer knows how to put on a show.
— Lauren Harvey
Most melodramatic: Dominic Fike
Highlights: “Babydoll,” “Frisky,” “3 Nights”
Dominic Fike doesn’t give a damn about his reputation, but he was able to enchant the raucous Sunday crowd at Lands End nonetheless.
Opening with a very rockstar, scream-sang rendition of “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Fike stunned San Francisco with his illustrious hits both old and new. Through “West Coast Collective” and “Babydoll,” Fike’s gravelly voice gave him a melodramatic edge that surged the crowd’s cheers higher.
Fike displayed his full vocal range with strong spitting of rap-like lyrics and strumming his vocal cords with drawn-out high notes such as in “Frisky.” In both formats, his voice was melodic and mellifluous, ready to shift with the mood pouring out from his lyrics.
Picking a guitar on stage, Fike remained unfazed by the tumultuous crowd’s adoration. Leaning into the microphone and shutting his eyes, Fike crooned “The Kiss of Venus,” a song he noted he was lucky to sing alongside Beatle Paul McCartney. His honeyed performance flaunted the genre-defying, era-transcending starpower of Fike.
Fike jumped fervidly around a range of emotions, assisted greatly by his tremendously talented bassist, Sean Sobash. “Falling Asleep” triumphed as the lovingly, excitedly emo high point of his show, bringing a splash of Weezer-esque enthusiasm to his indie-heavy set.
Throughout his funky performance, Fike’s face remained sedate and laidback, allowing his confidently clamorous artistry to wash over Outside Lands. From rough and scratchy flourishes emblematic of rock performances to up-beat crowd pleasing pop beats such as “3 Nights,” Fike was gratuitous with his act in all the best ways, highlighting his irrefutable vocal and instrumental talents.
— Katherine Shok
Most comforting: Griff
Highlights: “Head on Fire,” “Shade of Yellow,” “Black Hole”
Griff claims she has a heart of stone, but she glistens on stage like a golden ray of sunshine. Bringing her “bedroom beats” to the Twin Peaks stage, the British singer-songwriter dazzled with her comfortingly warm energy.
From winning the 2021 Brit Awards’ Rising Star prize and opening for Ed Sheeran, Griff has gone a long way with the tracks she recorded in her childhood bedroom. As one of her first American festivals however, Outside Lands presented the challenge of connecting with an unfamiliar crowd — but Griff was more than ready to rise to the occasion.
Before “1,000,000 X Better,” she taught lyrics to the crowd through a fun-loving call and response. During “Shade of Yellow,” she playfully played the piano with one hand and held the mic with the other, showing off her multifaceted DIY talent with effortless grace. Her energy sunny and voice crystal clear, she managed to reach each and every member of the grass-stained crowd. By the end of her set, even those who didn’t know her couldn’t help but sing along.
— Lauren Harvey
Most bouncy: Jelani Aryeh
Highlights: “From These Heights,” “Stella Brown,” “Angels”
Small but passionate audiences highlight the intimacy of the Panhandle stage. Before feel-good indie rock artist Jelani Aryeh even hit the stage, the ardent audience hyped up, flirted with and showered love on the individual members of his backing indie boy band.
Entering with an emotional bang, Aryeh poured the same love out for his fans with “From These Heights.” Wearing a delightful light blue crop top and sunflower yellow trousers, Aryeh energetically danced during instrumentals, standing right at the end of the stage to reach out to adoring crowd members.
Despite this show being his first onstage appearance in San Francisco, Aryeh appeared to be right at home performing. He serenely leaned into his impassioned tunes such as “Overexposed,” sat with his legs hanging off of the stage amid “Daunt” and, as his band elated the audience with epic guitar riffs, Aryeh threw in just the right amount of sass and sparkle that left the entire Panhandle floored.
— Katherine Shok
Most likely to put you to sleep then wake you back up: Wet Leg
Highlights: “Oh No,” “Ur Mum,” “Angelica”
Wet Leg’s imaginative discography feels like the personification of the idiom “can’t quite place my finger on it.” There’s something outlandish yet painstakingly familiar about the duo’s music — so when the British indie rock duo emerged on Sutro stage with “Being in Love,” it was no surprise that they pulsed with a curiously offbeat vivacity.
Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers traded verses without friction, and as one led the mic, the other would twirl across the stage on guitar. Benign, muttered verses slowly built up with uneasiness, then exploded into extravagant and indignant choruses. Some fluttery songs bled together, making the set lag here and there, but the duo would always boomerang back to loud, volatile rapture (see the practiced “longest and loudest scream” at the end of “Ur Mum”).
Wet Leg’s quirky alternative music has a way of putting listeners at ease, then immediately snapping them out of the relaxed trance with a shriek, scream or eccentric story. Describing their home Isle of Wight as beautiful but boring, the duo prefaced its unreleased song “I Want to Be Abducted (By a UFO)” with a monologue about an escapist fantasy filled with aliens and spaceships — and indeed, it was difficult to not be pulled into Wet Leg’s mesmerizing orbit. Beam me up, count me in.
— Taila Lee
Most groovy: The Backseat Lovers
Highlights: “Watch Your Mouth,” “Maple Syrup,” “Growing/Dying”
When it comes to The Backseat Lovers, the music takes the wheel. It started with a single movement — a pluck on the guitar, an accent on the drum — before accelerating into a breezy, high-speed ride.
Lead singer Josh Harmon stood center stage, arms tense and hair flowing as his raspy vocals textured folksy, indie-rock jams. A single strum would send electricity pulsing through his body, tightening his limbs and jolting his frame as he exhaled notes in single, heartfelt breaths. Guitarist Jonas Swanson and bassist KJ Ward kept their heads down, focused on their craft, yet they came together with beautiful synchrony. Along with drummer Juice Welch, the four musicians spoke a collective, nonverbal language that united and enlivened the stage.
Though their lyrics are poetic, their instrumental interludes are even more so. They’re wild and spontaneous — meant to evoke a feeling rather than any distinct progression of chords. While The Backseat Lovers did not begin with their typical “Intro Jam,” they lengthened “Maple Syrup” into a gritty, unsweetened groove.
Much to the crowd’s delight, they announced the upcoming release of their new album, introducing their new matured sound with “Growing/Dying.” It looks like The Backseat Lovers won’t be taking their feet off the gas anytime soon.
— Lauren Harvey
Most slutty: Kim Petras
Highlights: “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” “Heart to Break,” “Icy”
Oh me, oh my — only at a Kim Petras show would crowd members be stripping, clicking their heels, twerking and making out.
With a dash of rapture and splash of cheekiness, Petras’ set dripped with vivacious, brazen sensuality. Her well-named EP Slut Pop composed the first half of the pop star’s set, her seven back-to-back songs gloriously blatant and erotic. During the call and response of “Throat Goat,” an audience member excitedly waved a “SLAY” folding fan, but it wasn’t enough to turn down the show’s heat.
Glitz, glam and giggly joy defined Petras’ fearless show. From quintessential girl group style choreo to the irony of her neon camo top, the pop star served splendid camp at Outside Lands. After presenting Slut Pop in its carefree entirety, Petras honored her OGs with powerhouse performances of “Got My Number” and “Can’t Do Better,” later pausing to compliment outfits she spotted in the stylish crowd.
Petras made hearts sparkle like champagne during her cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” which she assured audiences she had covered long before “Stranger Things.” Although no one can beat the transcendence of Bush’s original track, Petras’ emotional rendition was solid and spellbinding.
Ending unexpectedly but pleasantly with titty-themed fan favorite “Coconuts,” Petras raised her mic in farewell. She skipped off stage with a broad smile and one final demand: “Let’s get f—ed up!”
— Taila Lee
Most likely to give the best petty pep talk: Baby Tate
Highlights: “Dancing Queen,” “PEDI,” “I Am”
Reciting affirmations with Baby Tate hits different.
Leaping onto the stage with an instantly iconic blue hair bob, the rapper didn’t hesitate to dial up the energy at Panhandle with her touring DJ, Sky Jetta. The stage, while charming, was too small of a scale for Baby Tate’s high enthusiasm — as she spit her raps with lightning speed and unrivaled sass, her crowd quickly multiplied.
“Where are my dancing queens at?” “Who’s the pettiest person you know?” “What even is love?” Baby Tate prefaced many songs with an inquiry, granting uplifting answers in her following performance. Some answers were straightforward and lyrical, while others were illustrative hand gestures that warranted cheers (see “Rainbow Cadillac” and “Slut Him Out”).
At one point in the show, Baby Tate’s eyes flicked down to the space between the stage and barricade, then back up to an audience with a sly smile. It wasn’t long before she leapt down to the space, bridging the gap between her mic and her enthralled fans — she assured them she was healthy, wealthy, rich and definitely that b—.
Baby Tate’s magnetic stage presence easily drew in watchers, but it was her heartfelt honesty that made the show especially memorable. When Baby Tate discussed the importance of self-love between theatrics, it didn’t feel gimmicky or overdone; it felt sincere.
— Taila Lee