Though August might mean the solemn end of summer to most, Bay Area natives embrace the month as the welcome harbinger of Outside Lands. With the festival set to kick off this Friday, many of us are scrambling last-minute to assemble the perfect schedule – a painstakingly precise itinerary filled with high-energy performances, insane crowds, and gourmet corn dogs. For the indecisive and uncertain, let this list of must-see acts be your guiding light during the weekend’s festivities.
It’s been a minute since Maxo dropped his newest LP Weight of the World late last year – but having just dropped the long-awaited deluxe version, few artists on the lineup are as essential to see as this young rapper. From the triumphant horns of the Tyler-assisted “BIG PERSONA” to the downtempo ambiance of album closer “BELIEVE” with Don Toliver – the Houston rapper’s energy is just as infectious as it is massive, making him the perfect act to see if you’re looking to throw a few elbows. Having received co-signs from artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Travis Scott to A$AP Rocky and Freddie Gibbs – Maxo Kream’s ascension to hip-hop stardom is anything but accidental – and you can catch him live Saturday night.
If you’re not the ‘throwing elbows’ type, I can’t relate – but one thing we likely share is a love of downtempo R&B that makes us feel something. While most would be satisfied by just seeing SZA, real ones can’t be satiated so easily. Enter Jelani Aryeh, a genre-bending artist whose music borrows elements from indie-rock to R&B and hip-hop. With a wide range of influences, Jelani Aryeh is his own artist, and while I’d like to give recommendations on where to start, some things are best experienced first in person.
Though THE BLSSM might not have any vowels in their name, you can catch me saying “AAAH” and “OOOH” when they perform on Friday afternoon. If that didn’t make you laugh, then that’s fine, because I’m dead serious about how infectious their unique blend of forward-thinking indie pop and experimental music is. Whether you’ve been around since the “ANGEL FANGS” days, or you’ve been ensnared by the modern masterpiece that is “DIZZY” – fans old and new will converge in perfect harmony to celebrate one of pop’s best-kept secrets, and we hope to see you there.
Following the release of 2021’s HUES. I’ve been dying to see Unusual Demont live. Though my wish was technically granted during a Sparky Sunset Session – the Unusual Demont-shaped hole in my heart seemed to only grow. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder – but what grew inside me wasn’t a fondness, but rather a melancholic yearning for live alt-R&B vibes. Having just dropped the unforgettable banger “Sugar” (stream it now), you can catch me throwing it back Sunday afternoon when he takes the stage.
Since Outside Lands is a Bay Area festival, nobody deserves to be on this list like Larry June. In addition to being from San Fransisco, how many artists on the lineup can say they own a Bay Area boba spot? How many have songs about drinking magnesium water and driving down the five? Synthesizing old and new styles of Bay Area rap, Larry June proves NorCal’s undeniable timelessness while also pushing the culture forward with every release. Good Job Larry!
Have fun and stay safe – I’ll see you there! Remember to drink water and check on your friends all weekend long!