San Francisco’s highly anticipated Outside Lands Music Festival returned for its 9th year this past weekend. From the cozy San Francisco fog & cool weather to the tall, luscious trees surrounding Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands is probably the only summer music festival where layers instead of crop tops are the appropriate festival attire. With over 210,000 avid fans in attendance, there were nothing but happy vibes felt throughout the festival.
This year’s musical lineup included big name artists like Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Chance the Rapper, Lana Del Rey, and even Bay Area hip-hop legends, E-40 and Warren G. The festival also brings together the city’s best food, drinks, and art, giving you a taste of the Bay Area culture with areas like WineLands, Choco Lands and Beer Land. With so much to do and see, its hard to sum up our Outside Lands experience. Nonetheless, here are some of our favorite moments from Outside Lands 2016.
We kicked off the first day of Outside Lands with electronic pop duo, Marian Hill. Consisting of Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd, Marian Hill meld together different musical genres to create their unique, cool sound. “We tend to go with electronic R&B. There’s influences of hip-hop in the beats, jazz & blues in the melody, pop and R&B in the harmony, and a lot of electronics in the sound production,” Marian Hill says post-gig when describing their sound. As for the creative process of the duo, as well as their debut album, Jeremy reveals:
“We write very collaboratively, writing and arguing about lyrics and melodies. I’ll make the skeleton of the beat and from there, we sit and listen. We brainstorm, “what do we want this song to be about,” and it often just comes from the music. For our debut album, we really wanted to explore where our sound could go and have it feel like a full representation of who we are as artists. we had like 30-40 songs but we chopped it all down to the best ones. I think we came up with something really cool where each song is its own world.”
Performing songs off their debut full-length record, ACT ONE, as well as their hit songs like “Got It” and “One Time”, Marian Hill did not disappoint. My favorite parts were hands down all the sax solos incorporated throughout their set. Thanks to their bass heavy songs combined with Sam’s soulful vocals, its no surprise the Philadelphian duo has blown up. Marian Hill will be touring this fall starting in September in support of their debut album, ACT ONE.
After a long five-year hiatus, I was really excited to see LCD Soundsystem back together on stage. The electronic rockers closed Friday night by playing every song a fan could ask for. James Murphy howled his way through glitchy tunes like “Tribulations” and “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” which were my favorites. I was really mesmerized by the massive disco ball ascending down during their set that seemed to shine throughout the whole park. Overall, LCD Soundsystem was nothing but epic as they ended the night with “Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends.”
The Heineken House
If you needed your house music fix, the Heineken House was the place to go. The ear- blasting bass and cool, trippy visuals that encompassed the bumping dance floor made it feel like you were at a completely different festival. My favorite sets at the Heineken House were Redlight and Motion Potion’s Radiohead Set. On Friday, UK house artist Redlight spun a fun, solid set that kept me on my toes.
Motion Potion’s Radiohead Remix set was another cool set I’m fortunate to have witnessed. It was really mind-blowing and amazing to hear these iconic Radiohead songs reimagined into these banging dance remixes. Working on this Radiohead remix project for a while now, Motion Potion goes to show how talented and versatile he is as a DJ/producer.
Jauz at the Gastro Magic Show
Gastro Magic was a culinary & music cross over stage at Outside Lands that highlighted local food. This year, they had a Shark Bites show featuring Jauz with Mother of Pearl & Guittard Chocolate Company. Honestly, I thought Jauz was going to show us his cooking skills. Instead the Bay Area native was cooking up beats at the GastroMagic stage, giving everyone a taste of his signature “wuub” dish while a few bartenders mixed up drinks alongside him and threw chocolate. Not going to lie, it was pretty lit.
It’s really hard to put into words what seeing Radiohead was like and to be honest, I’m still trying to comprehend the whole thing. The English band was Outside Lands very first headliner back in 2008 and being in the crowd amongst hardcore fans anxiously waiting for Radiohead was another experience in itself. Playing under a thick layer of fog at the Lands End stage on Saturday night, Radiohead proved why they’re one of the most influential bands of our time. It was hard to not be overwhelmed by the beauty of the band’s compositions as well as of Thom Yorke’s captivating voice. The hypnotic lighting and video displays during their set only added to their surreal performance. There’s a certain level of expectation that comes along with seeing a band like Radiohead live, but no matter the era or style they perform, the English band never sounds less than iconic. From opening with A Moon Shaped Pool’s “Burn the Witch” to reviving deeper cuts like Ok Computer’s “Let Down” and Kid A’s “Idioteque”, it was such an honor to watch Radiohead, as proficient musicians and masters of their craft, share their discography. The band closed the night with Thom Yorke leading the crowd as everyone sang the outro of “Karma Police.” For a minute there, I truly lost myself.
RÜFÜS DU SOL
After obsessing over their sophomore album, Bloom, this past year, I knew I had to see RÜFÜS. Their whole set was basically an epic dance party. Performing songs like “You were Right” and “Like an Animal,” every person in the crowd was singing the words. To be honest, the Australian trio deserved a bigger stage and a longer set at Outside Lands. With such a large crowd excited to see RÜFÜS, it would have been nice to see them perform at the Twin Peaks stage.
Outside Lands has become more than just a music festival. For Bay Area locals, there’s something special about seeing your favorite musical artists right in the middle of Golden Gate Park. The free-spirited vibe is so infectious at Outside Lands; its no surprise it has grown in popularity over the years as one of the best summer music festivals. I can only imagine what’s in store for Outside Lands when it celebrates its 10th year next summer.