The 2015 Outside Lands Music Festival is coming up on August 7-9 in San Francisco, and Rock Cellar Magazine will be there!
We’ve spent the past week or so evaluating the lineup and picking out some under-the-radar bands worth checking out if you’ll be there and are trying to figure out how to spend your afternoons at Golden Gate Park before headliners Elton John, Mumford & Sons, the Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Wilco and others cap off each night.
Without further ado, here are some of our picks for can’t-miss bands:
The Family Crest – Lands End Stage – 12:30 PM
The Family Crest‘s Beneath the Brine was used in a promotional video for this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, and with good reason: the ensemble’s blend of string instrument, passionate vocals and melodies will make for a pretty dynamic start to the weekend’s festivities at Golden Gate Park.
The Sam Chase – Panhandle Stage – 12 PM
San Francisco local band The Sam Chase will kick off the Panhandle Stage with their whimsical style of string-led alternative/folk sure to delight passers-by. Here’s their 2013 album Will Never Die, which you can stream via Spotify:
Broods – Twin Peaks Stage – 12:45 PM
New Zealand indie/pop duo Broods have the honor of starting the Twin Peaks Stage’s activities at Outside Lands, and they’ll probably have a decently-sized crowd considering their alluring musical sensibilities.
Strand of Oaks – Sutro Stage – 1:10 PM, Speedy Ortiz – Panhandle – 1:30 PM
The one o’clock hour will be tough. Strand of Oaks will take the stage at 1:10, just twenty minutes before Speedy Ortiz does the same at the Panhandle. If you can make it to catch parts of both sets, you’ll be able to catch both energetic bands. Strand of Oaks, the project of singer/songwriter Timothy Showalter, released a record in 2014 titled HEAL, and it’s worthy of some attention:
Over at the Panhandle, Massachusetts-based indie/rock/alternative outfit Speedy Ortiz will introduce themselves to the Outside Lands crowd with some songs from their excellent 2015 album Foil Deer. The band’s throwback style calls to mind iconic alt/rock bands of the 1990s while also having enough uniqueness – led by vocalist Sadie Dupuis – to stand out from the pack.
The Revivalists – Panhandle – 2:55 PM
Okay, this one takes place well into the festival’s first day, but the Revivalists just released their debut LP Men Amongst Mountains and will be celebrating with a slot on the Panhandle Friday afternoon opposite First Aid Kid on the Lands End Stage. If you won’t be watching First Aid Kid, these gentlemen definitely deserve your attention. Just try listening to Men Amonst Mountains without moving your feet…their groovy, funky approach to indie/pop/rock can’t be missed.
HEARTWATCH – Panhandle – 12 PM
Fresh off the release of their debut EP Wind House, HEARTWATCH (formerly known as the Tropics) will delight a hometown crowd when they open the Panhandle Stage on Saturday.
Hurray for the Riff Raff – Sutro – 12:20 PM
Singer/songwriter Alynda Lee Segarr will bring her folksy approach to the Sutro Stage a little after noon on Saturday. Segarr burst onto the scene with the attention-getting 2012 debut Look Out Mama, blending original songs with well-chosen covers.
Misterwives – Lands End – 1 PM
2015 has been a big year for New Yorks’ Misterwives, as their most recent album Our Own House helped put them on the map in the indie/rock scene. Boasting some infectious melodies and instrumentation, not to mention singer Mandy Lee, don’t be surprised if Misterwives have one of the weekend’s ‘surprise’ sets.
Fantastic Negrito – Panhandle – 2:55 PM
Singer/songwriter Xavier Dphrepaulezz will take the Panhandle stage by storm on Saturday afternoon as Fantastic Negrito, his music project that just released his Deluxe EP in July. There’s a rawness and earnestness to his bluesy, soul-on-his-sleeve music. Take a listen below, and be sure to watch him on Saturday!
Shakey Graves – Lands End Stage – 12:20 PM
Austin, Texas-based singer/songwriter Alejandro Rose-Garcia goes by his stage name Shakey Graves, and he’ll kick things off on the Lands End stage on Sunday. With music that straddles the line between blues, rock and country, there’s something in his material that ought to appeal to festival-goers of all backgrounds and interests. Take a listen to his 2014 album And the War Came for proof:
METZ – Panhandle Stage – 1:20 PM
Those looking for a dash of Sub Pop Records will have to make their way to the Panhandle on Sunday afternoon for METZ. Often considered a ‘noise-rock’ band, METZ just released a highly-regarded new album called II and will be looking to light things up on the Panhandle Stage with their buzzy, fuzzy and engaging brand of alt/post-rock/grunge.
James Bay – Sutro Stage – 2:05 PM
Closing out our look at some of the can’t-miss acts taking the stage at Outside Lands during the first few hours of the festival each day is James Bay. A musical troubadour, Bay seems to be on the cusp of super-stardom, and it isn’t hard to see why. He’s released a few EPs over the past few years that have garnered attention among the music circle, so plan on making it to his set on Sunday lest you miss out on your opportunity to see him play before he commands bigger stages.
Of course, this list is just a sampling of some of the great acts Outside Lands will offer this year…see you on the polo fields! Check below for more about the fest.