Outside Lands 2021: 13 acts to catch on Halloween weekend

Outside Lands will be held over Halloween weekend this year for the first time ever.

Coincidentally, it also happens to be the 13th go-around the festival.

Spooky, right?

Well, only if you consider three days of good times and good music at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to be frightening.

Most fans are counting the days until the return of the festival, which missed 2020 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help with the planning, we’ve come up with a roundup of some of the most intriguing acts during the festival run, Oct. 29-31.

We figure that most of the attendees will already know about the biggest names on the bill — including headliners Lizzo, the Strokes and Tame Impala — so we decided to devote our list to highlighting some of the lesser-known talents. And there are some real gems among them.

Here are 13 Halloween weekend treats for Outside Lands. Remember that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test are required to get in. Masks are strongly encouraged. For more information, visit sfoutsidelands.com.

Day One (Oct. 29)

Shilan (12 noon, Panhandle stage)

The Indiana native got to hang with mentor Bebe Rexha backstage at Outside Lands in 2019. Two years later, this promising newcomer gets to actually take the stage and perform her own set at the festival. And it’s one you likely don’t want to miss. Shilan is a terrific soul singer, blessed with a voice that somehow manages to sound both fresh and familiar at the same time.

Drama (5:20 p.m., Sutro stage)

The Chicago duo — consisting of producer Na’el Shehade and vocalist Via Rosa — has made quite an impression with its 2020 debut album “Dance Without Me” (as well as the two prior EPs), drawing fans in with a lovely, dynamic mix of jazz, R&B, pop, house and world music. Rosa reportedly spent a lot of time spinning Sade in her formative years and, listening to “Dance Without Me,” we can definitely say that was time well spent.

Remi Wolf (2:40 p.m., Sutro)

The Bay Area native has a fascinating back story, which includes auditioning for “American Idol” while still at Palo Alto High School and competing in alpine (downhill) skiing for two years at the Youth Olympic Games. These days, she’s focusing on her music career, which is coming along quite nicely after the release of three EPs in three years. The soul-pop artist just released her debut full-length, “Juno.”

The Hu (1:15 p.m., Lands End stage)

Wikipedia says that the Hu should “not to be confused with The Who or The Guess Who.” Umm, yeah, that’s not likely to happen. Far from being a classic-rock act decades removed from its prime, the Hu is a Mongolian folk-metal-rock band that is operating at the top of its game in 2021. Plus, the band plays the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle) and tumur khuur (jaw harp), which is definitely not something you’ll get from Pete Townshend and company. This should be one of the best sets of the entire weekend.

Day Two (Oct. 30)

Hinds (1:10 p.m., Lands End)

We’ve been fans of these Spaniards ever since we caught them at the 2016 South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, where they turned heads with their powerful indie-rock sounds. The Madrid-born quartet has only gotten better since then, following up on the promising 2016 debut “Leave Me Alone” with two more top-notch full-lengths — 2018’s “I Don’t Run” and 2020’s “The Prettiest Curse.”

24kGoldn (6:55 p.m., Twin Peaks stage)

After graduating from Lowell High School in 2018, the San Francisco native went on to attend the University of Southern California — which he’d announce to the world with the song “I Go to USC.” Yet, he’d leave the school after his freshman year, making his departure very public with the 2019 EP “Dropped Outta College.” These days, he’s one of the hottest young rappers in the game and boasts a number of platinum-selling singles, including the 2020 chart-topper “Mood.”

Rexx Life Raj (12:45 p.m., Twin Peaks)

The Berkeley native knows a thing or two about football, having played guard on some of those terrific Boise State University teams — including the one that won the Fiesta Bowl in 2010. He’s an also an ace in the hip-hop arena, with a number of acclaimed EPs and full-length releases to his credit. Over the years, he’s collaborated with the likes of Kehlani, G-Eazy, Russ, Bas, Mozzy and Lecrae.

ODIE (4:35 p.m., Panhandle)

Another Bay Area-raised hip-hop talent, although he was born in Toronto, ODIE has managed to collect more than 60 million streams with such songs as “Little Lies,” “Story” and “North Face.” This rising star, who draws from rock, soul, gospel and other styles in his hip-hop foundation, has had his music featured on Netflix’s “Dear White People,” HBO’s “Insecure” and other TV series.

Noga Erez (1:55 p.m., Sutro)

The Tel Aviv singer-songwriter-producer makes wonderfully compelling electro-pop music, built on an avant-garde mix of EDM, dance pop, soul, hip-hop and experimental music. It’s no surprise that she’s been compared to such talents as Bjork, M.I.A. and Grimes. Yet, we also hear bits of Missy Elliott and David Byrne in her music. One listen to “End of the Road” — the amazing single off the sophomore full-length “Kids” — and we’ll think you’ll be convinced that Erez definitely deserves to be on your radar.

Day Three (Oct. 31)

Cannons (1:55 p.m., Lands End)

As the story goes, childhood friends Ryan Clapham and Paul Davis had been trying to start a band for years — and had little to show for it. Then they met vocalist Michelle Joy and something clicked. The result is Cannons, the superb Los Angeles indie-pop outfit that got its start in 2013 and has since released two full-length albums and three EPs. Some might recognize the band from the Netflix original series “Never Have I Ever,” which featured the band’s dreamy lo-fi electro-pop number “Fire for You.”

Scarypoolparty (4:25 p.m., Panhandle)

Besides boasting the most-Halloween-appropriate stage name of any act on the bill, Alejandro Aranda is perhaps best known for competing on the 17th season of “American Idol” in 2019. He finished second, right behind Laine Hardy, and then quickly went on to establish himself as a successful solo artist. The vocalist convincingly mixes several different styles and genres, from alt-R&B to indie-rock, on his three albums.

Boy Pablo (5:40 p.m., Sutro)

Norway native Nicolas Muñoz has drawn rave reviews for his indie-pop project Boy Pablo, which got its start in 2015 and has since produced two EPs and one full-length. He’s won two Spellemannprisen awards, which are considered by many to be the Norwegian Grammy Awards.

Caroline Polachek (2:10 p.m., Twin Peaks)

Some people still might not recognize the name, but there’s a really good chance they’ve heard some of the music she’s helped create. She boasts an amazing resume of production and songwriting credits, which includes work with Beyonce, Travis Scott, Fischerspooner and Solange. Her solo career is going quite well these days, thanks to the critically acclaimed “Pang” — which is her third full-length overall and her first under her own name.

 

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Author: Jim Harrington

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