The lineup for this 11th year of Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is packed with talent, with some familiar faces as well as rising artists making their festival debut. There are too many great acts to fit on this list, but here’s a slice of 11 performances we are looking forward to this year including Odesza, Lizzo, Tash Sultana and Daniel Caesar.
1. DANIEL CAESAR - Twin Peaks - Saturday (3:45pm)
Coming in at only 23 years old, Toronto native and R&B crooner Daniel Caesar is set to bring Outside Lands one of its most soulful, beautiful harmonized performances in its 11-year history.
Rising to critical acclaim following the release of his debut LP Freudian in 2017, Caesar has captured the attention of fans and fellow artists with songs like “Get You,“ “Best Part” and “Japanese Denim” that simultaneously tug at your musical soul and arouse a desire to groove.
Caesar is set to kick off his set at the Twin Peaks stage at 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
2. ODESZA - Lands End - Friday (6:25pm)
Fresh off the heels of Lollapalooza last weekend, the electrifying duo ODESZA is sure to deliver a dance-driven dream at Outside Lands. It will be a daydream as the indie-electro band's set ends at 7:40 p.m., missing sunset by a half-hour, but the soothing synths and shimmering percussion will charm you without the need for light show magic. You’ll reach “Higher Ground” — just one of many stunning songs on their latest album — in more ways than one.
3. TASH SULTANA - Sutro - Sunday (6:15pm)
Watching Tash Sultana perform feels like walking into a temple to music.
While most artists often say they use music to channel their thoughts and desires, music seems to have found its own outlet through Sultana.
With the aid of an impressive array of effect pedals, drum pads, keyboards, looping pedals and the occasional trumpet, the 23-year-old Australian busker turned world-touring solo act bounces energetically across the stage melding genres of rock, reggae and psychedelia before your very eyes.
But Sultana’s music transcends the everyday one-woman-band act in how she wields her voice, from explosions of emotion to tender moments of vulnerability.
Strap in and get ready to go to musical church at the Sutro stage at 6:15 p.m. Sunday.
4. GOGO PENGUIN - Panhandle - Saturday (4:35pm)
Arguably the most technically accomplished musicians to step foot in the festival this year, GoGo Penguin blurs the line between acoustic and electronic music. But once you start listening, you honestly won’t give a damn what genre you’re listening to.
With the simple building blocks of a piano, bass and drum set, the Manchester-based trio is able to turn minimalism into a journey through soundscapes of traditional jazz, trip-hop, electronica, ethereal folk, world and psychedelia.
Do yourself a favor: put on their 2018 album A Humdrum Star, sit back and enjoy the ride.
See the real deal at the Panhandle Stage at 4:35 p.m. Saturday.
5. JANELLE MONÁE - Lands End - Sunday (4:40pm)
The political, the queer, the tension with tech: San Francisco and Janelle Monáe just work. The empowering activist superstar has shed her android persona from previous years to present herself, pansexual and free, in her latest album Dirty Computer with sizzling beats, sharp raps, historical speeches, silky harmonies and more. See her lead the charge to “fem the future” at 4:40 p.m. Sunday on Lands End stage.
6. LIZZO - Lands End - Saturday (2:20pm)
Smart, energetic, and fierce, alternative hip-hop artist Lizzo will get you grooving to her sassy raps early afternoon Saturday at Lands End Stage. Her songs resonate with body positivity, self-love, and feminism, with a high energy that you can’t help but celebrate. Booming bass, gospel, ambience and synth pop all come together to stunning effect.
7. FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - Lands End - Saturday (8:25pm)
As one of this year’s headliners, the vocal powerhouse Florence Welch and company will rock the foundations of Lands End stage at the close of Saturday. From drums to harps, their sound creates a dynamic energy of cathedral-sized magnitude that’s thrilling to hear live. The baroque rock band’s latest album, High As Hope, addresses existential turmoil both global and personal, with songs to Florence’s sister as an apology (“Grace”) as well as to coping with world events in 2016 (“100 Years”).
8. CALEBORATE - Panhandle - Friday (4:30pm)
The 25-year-old hip-hop philosopher Caleborate knows the streets of Berkeley, and the streets of Berkeley know him, particularly students. With tight beats and an easy flow, his raps are grounded in the hard-knock reality he lives in, with lines like “Sallie Mae keep calling like I want to know her feelings” in “Kale” and “I was working double-overtime up at Levi’s / Then go to school and catch the bus 3 times” in “August 28th.” But what might best capture the essence of how he lives in his music is this: “No, not rapper, what I do is way bigger.” Hear him spin out power from words at 4:30 p.m. Friday on Panhandle Stage.
9. THE WEEKND - Lands End - Friday (8:25pm)
The Grammy-winning, 28-year-old Canadian artist pushes his songs to the edges of R&B, bringing indie and electronic into the mix. His lush vocals, at times falsetto, flow over dance-heavy beats with many lyrics about heaven-to-hell relationship drama. “Call Out My Name,” “Starboy” and “Can’t Feel My Face” are just some of his popular hits from three different albums, reflecting The Weeknd’s dynamic scope over time. Feel the layers of his musical euphoria at 8:25 p.m. Friday at Lands End stage.
10. JAMIE xx - Sutro - Saturday (7:35pm)
Jamie xx, from the English indie pop band The xx, plays off his multiple talents as remixer and musician to make his electronic dance music a dazzling experience of beats and beauty. His debut solo album In Colour features sprightly synth sirens, ghostly howls, thumping drums and percussive landscapes that can’t help but keep you mesmerized. You can catch him at the Sutro Stage at 7:35 p.m. Saturday.
11. JANET JACKSON - Lands End - Sunday (8:05pm)
Pop icon, inspiration, superstar: there aren’t enough words to describe Janet Jackson. Her music carries influences from over 30 years, embracing Motown, pop, electronic, funk, R&B and neo-soul with her whispery charm and rhythmic freedom. Her latest album Unbreakable sounds like an upbeat, get-well letter to a broken America, but there’s also some reflection on her own struggles, especially with the songs “After You Fall” and “Broken Hearts Heal” likely referencing her brother Michael. Janet Jackson will grace the Lands End stage to bring Outside Lands to a dynamic and uplifting conclusion Sunday at 8:05 p.m.
By Spencer Tierney and Will Houston