6 non-headliner Outside Lands performers you should check out
The headliners of any music festival are, by definition, the biggest draw for audiences. But the most popular performers usually don't play until nightfall, meaning there's plenty of time to explore the grounds and check out musicians further down on the lineup poster.
Here are six acts playing at Outside Lands in San Francisco, California, this weekend that are known for putting on spectacular shows -- font size on the poster be damned.
Set time: Friday, 4:45, Lands End Stage
There's probably no better endorsement for the talents of Swedish electronic band Little Dragon than the impressive list of talent they've collaborated with. Big Boi, Flume, De La Soul, Mac Miller and fellow Outside Lands performers Gorillaz and Kaytranada are just some of the acts who've asked Little Dragon lead singer Yukimi Nagano to grace their recordings.
It's no wonder, as Nagano's sugary-sweet voice shines over the strands of R&B, electronic and indie that infiltrate Little Dragon's carefully crafted songs. With five albums now under their belt following the release of "Season High" in April, Little Dragon has a hefty catalog of dancefloor tunes and slow jams to warm up Outside Lands attendees as they trickle into Golden Gate Park and shake off the work week.
Set time: Friday, 6:50, Twin Peaks Stage
Future Islands is famous for providing in-your-face performances led by frontman Samuel T. Herring, whose unmistakable voice, boundless energy and guttural yelps provide a spine-tingling edginess to the band's blend of rock and synthpop.
Their time slot doesn't do them any favors, overlapping with legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest and indie folk outfit Fleet Foxes, whose fans are undoubtedly eager to see them after a six-year gap between albums. But anyone who wanders within earshot of Future Islands will likely be compelled to see out their whole set. Just check out how pumped David Letterman was after witnessing the Late Show rendition of "Seasons (Waiting on You)" that vaulted Future Islands -- and Herring, in particular -- to viral stardom.
S U R V I V E
Set time: Saturday, 4:35, Panhandle Stage
This experimental synth quartet has released three albums worth of retro, horror-tinged soundscapes since forming in 2009. But their profile received a significant boost when two of the group's members (Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein) scored the soundtrack for Netflix's sci-fi smash hit Stranger Things.
Expect a dark, instrumental performance full of heavy drum beats and menacing synth grooves true to the tense nature of that Grammy-nominated soundtrack. It's just too bad S U R V I V E is playing before sunset, because their sound is best taken in during the dark surroundings of nighttime.
Set time: Saturday, 7:05, Twin Peaks Stage
A late addition to the lineup, Claude VonStroke is an alias created in 2005 by DIRTYBIRD record label founder Barclay Crenshaw. Over the past dozen years, he's become one of the most renowned producers, DJs and label heads on the planet -- DIRTYBIRD was just named Mixmag's Label of the Decade in July.
"Papa Claude" never disappoints on the decks, consistently treating audiences to a mix of funky, upbeat house tunes that often reflect his Motown roots as a Detroit native. He'll undoubtedly lay down the perfect grooves to get down to as the sun sets on Saturday.
Set time: Saturday, 8:05, Panhandle Stage
Bomba Estéreo literally translates to "stereo bomb," which is Colombian slang for an awesome party. And that's exactly what this electro-tropical band puts on every time they take the stage.
The crew's infectious stage presence makes it impossible to not dance along to their uptempo anthems, even if you have two left feet and don't know a lick of Spanish. After all, "Despacito" became the first primary Spanish-language song to hit No. 1 in the U.S. this year -- why not celebrate by watching a Hispanic act that's way more fun in concert? It's the perfect Saturday night alternative for someone who doesn't want to headbang to headliner Metallica.
Set time: Sunday, 3:30, Twin Peaks Stage
SOFI TUKKER (Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern) rose to prominence with their 2016 single "Drinkee," a jungle-pop track sung in Portuguese by Hawley-Weld and backed by bongo drums, cowbells and distorted electric guitar. That might not sound like a formula for a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording -- especially coming from an American pair -- but SOFI TUKKER doesn't channel the same vibe as most male DJ/female vocalist duos populating the indie electronic scene.
These two are already a huge hit abroad, having reached the top of the Spotify and iTunes charts in Italy, Australia, Cyprus, Hungary, Turkey, Latvia, Costa Rica and other countries. Their animated shows are worth shaking off your Sunday scaries and/or hangover to head out to Golden Gate Park relatively early and start your final day of Outside Lands right.