So, you’re going to Outside Lands. You have an outfit of the warmest clothes you’ll ever wear to a festival, your portable phone charger that you got as a free giveaway last year that will probably tap out halfway through the weekend, and your clear bag. Now all you need is a lineup. Get inspired with Arthur and Danica’s list of must-see bands below.
Mac DeMarco: Sutro Stage – 8 pm – 9:10 pm
DeMarco is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His music sits somewhere between indie-rock, psychedelic rock, and yacht rock. Mac describes his music as “jizz jazz,” which almost starts to make sense once you listen to his records. His lazy style and lo-fi aesthetic oftentimes remind me of something you might have heard on a 70’s AM soft rock station. While that may sound absolutely terrible to me on paper, Demarco’s musicianship, playful personality, and penchant for creating plain old fun songs make him a must see. Mac DeMarco is a force to be reckoned with, albeit the most chill, laid-back force in the history of forces. This is the act I am most excited to see at this year’s OSL. – AB
Shannon and the Clams: Twin Peaks Stage – 12:40 pm – 1:20 pm
Hailing from the sunny side of the Bay – Oakland – Shannon & the Clams have established themselves as one of the most popular local bands. Their throwback 50’s and 60’s doo-wop sound incorporates elements of punk, garage psych, and rockabilly. I think the best description of their sound that I have ever read is “a prom band in 1964 getting dosed with acid and having the sweetest lovelorn freak-out.” Sold! – AB
Michelle Wolf: The Barbary Tent – Friday 2:45 pm – 3:40 pm, Saturday 7:05 pm – 8:10 pm
2018 is the year that everyone was introduced to Michelle Wolf, thanks in part to her news-making verbal takedowns as the headliner at this year’s Correspondents Dinner, as well as her late night show on Netflix, The Break with Michelle Wolf. Wolf has carried the momentum from her stints on The Daily Show and her hilarious HBO special Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady, to becoming one of the most sought-after comics in the country. Michelle always has fresh, timely material, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on seeing one of the best comics today at the peak of their game. – AB
Pro tip: The Barbary Tent has limited space, so get there early!
Beck: Twin Peaks – 8:40 pm – 9:55 pm
So excited to see Beck at Outside Lands for the second time! I was blown away by his set a couple years ago and have been a fan for a long time. I’ve been obsessed with his latest release Colors and ready to hear some new songs live this Friday! Plus he helped compose the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and I always secretly hope he plays some songs from it. Beck, if you’re reading this… don’t let me down. – DL
Broken Social Scene: Lands End Stage – 3:35 pm – 4:25 pm
For indie-kids growing up in the early 2000’s, this was THE band. Although I was not a fan of their music early on, their work has definitely grown on me over the years. Broken Social Scene was of the first indie-bands to really take advantage of the early days of file sharing which was only the beginning for the pioneering act. Part band, part music collective, Broken Social Scene can at times be as few as 6 members and as many as 19 depending on the weather. Associated act and frequent collaborator Fiest may be the most well-known out of the bunch, but most of the musicians in the group simultaneously front other bands. Their rich, genre-bending, and at times orchestral sound, can probably be described best as comforting chaos, and despite seeing them in late 2017 at the Fox, I can’t wait to be wrapped up in their blanket of chaos again. – AB
Pro tip: Stay for CHVRCHES set right after at 4:55 pm.
Knox Fortune: Panhandle Stage – 3:00 pm – 3:40 pm
Kevin Rhomberg, a.k.a. Knox Fortune, is not your typical indie-pop singer. For years Rhomberg has been a silent force in the Chicago hip-hop scene, producing a number of songs for many of the rising stars in the genre. In 2016 Rhomberg began experimenting as a singer and landed a feature on Chance the Rappers’ album Coloring Book, which earned him a Grammy. By 2017 Rhomberg had released his first full-length album Paradise, garnering him all sorts of attention and landing him a spot on the holy trinity of music festivals in 2018: Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Outside Lands. Now if only someone could get him to shave off his tiny mustache. – AB
Bon Iver: Lands End – 6:25 pm – 7:40 pm
Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver has made a complete 180 from his original sound to now. His most recent album 22, A Million was a crazy experimental ride and, if his performance is anything like the last time he was in the Bay Area at The Fox, we’re in for a treat. He had local artist Francis and the Lights join him onstage for a dance number. It was incredible. Looking forward to what Bon Iver has up his sleeve for us this Saturday! – DL
Cuco: Sutro Stage – 2:20 pm – 3:05 pm
One of the most buzzed about artists online over the past year, Cuco has rapidly risen to prominence thanks to his delightfully romantic version of dream pop. The 19 year-old singer/song-writer is on his way to stardom after sparking a bidding war between several record labels after racking up 10 of millions of Spotify plays over the last year. Despite the success, Cuco still makes music from his bedroom…at his parents house, which speaks to the honesty and humility that you find in his lyrics. I was lucky enough to catch his headlining set at The Chapel as part of this year’s Noise Pop Festival and I was blown away not just by his performance, but also by the absolute rabidity of his fans, several of whom I witnessed crying at the mere sight of him. Remember 2018 as the year of Cuco-mania. – AB
BORNS: Lands End Stage – 3:20 pm – 4:10 pm
The 26-year-old indie-pop star has been making serious noise on the internet for several years now with his unique take on the pop-alt-psych-electro blend. You have probably unknowingly heard a BØRNS song or two – a few of his songs have been used in nationwide campaigns, including the ever-so-catchy and upbeat “Electric Love” off of his 2015 album Dopamine. BORNS puts on a hell-of-a live show, almost Bowie-like at times, and it’s always a marvel to witness his falsetto pulled off live. – AB
Pro Tip: Get there early and catch Rainbow Kitten Surprise on the same stage at 2 pm.
Mattson 2: Cocktail Magic Stage – Friday 5:45 pm – 6:25 pm, Saturday 3:05 – 3:55 pm, Sunday 4:10 pm – 4:55 pm
The Mattson 2 are a jazzy, surf rock duo of twin brothers, Jared and Jonathan Mattson, who are making some serious waves. They recently released an album in collaboration with Toro y Moi named Star Stuff, which is absolutely worth a listen or 50. – AB
Portugal. The Man: Lands End – 6:10 pm – 7:20 pm
One of my all-time favorite bands, Portugal. The Man. never lets me down. I’ve loved them since the beginning and enjoy how different each one of their albums sound. From the acoustic-leaning The Mountain In The Cloud to the funkier Woodstock, this band’s got an incredible ear and are super talented. Originally from Alaska, they made their way down to Portland and grace us with their presence in the Bay this Sunday. Seriously- don’t miss these guys! – DL