Today, Outside Lands announced their daily schedules for the 2014 festival, and as suspected, the set times are rife with conflicts and transitions that will prove pretty tricky to navigate, especially considering that this fest has gotten pretty crowded in recent years.
Here are the top six scheduling conflicts that will warrant some thought, and our suggestions as to who will be the best choice for your time.
FRIDAY: Holy Ghost! versus Warpaint
Oh boy, let’s just jump right into it, shall we? Holy Ghost! already has a handful of San Francisco shows under their belt, though some have been pricy (i.e. New Years Eve) or not really available to the general public (i.e. their appearance at Ticketfly’s Holiday Party) so at first glance, this might seem like a good time to see them. However, Warpaint is currently working on new material, released a killer album earlier this year, and does a mean Duran Duran cover. Plus, if you’re going to hear some psychedelia by Warpaint, let it be in the highly psychedelic Golden Gate Park.
Our choice: Warpaint
FRIDAY: Disclosure versus Tegan & Sara and Bear Hands
Bear Hands are seeing some pretty substantial success, fueled by songs like “Giants” (which hit #8 on Billboard’s alt chart) and the type of intuition that comes from both getting born from punk roots and rubbing elbows with the likes of MGMT. No one is arguing that they’re not great performers, and many critics are saying this is their time.
Tegan & Sara, likewise, are by no means newbies to performing—they’ve been on stage since they were teenagers, despite still being pretty young. By their own confession, their sound is changing as they grow up, so if you’re a long-time fan of theirs, surely catch their set. If not, take comfort in the fact that Rolling Stone called their last album “the most commercial of their career.”
On the other hand, if you have a strong disposition towards Disclosure or you caught them play the Greek earlier this year, this may already be an easy decision for you—and if that’s you, good for you dude—but for the rest of us, we’ve got quite a problem on our hands. Disclosure’s Settle was massively successful, and launched not only their career in the U.S. but also one of little ole Sam Smith, one of the greatest crooners of our generation (yeah, I went there).
Now, if you’re not aware of just how big Disclosure is blowing up to be, consider that they were rumored to be working with Madonna and it was so seemingly credible that no one even flinched.
Our choice: Disclosure, if you haven’t already seen them live. You can catch Bear Hands at their sanctioned Outside Lands night show.
FRIDAY: Kanye West versus Arctic Monkeys
Uggggghhhhhh, this was a decision we really didn’t want to have to make.
Kanye is pretty divisive, so if you’re not a fan, then you can pretty easily move along from this one.
Alternately, if you’re a fan of Kanye’s music, or just a fan of whatever it is that is going on there in his self-described “art world” then this is kind of tough.
Arctic Monkeys are huge in the UK. They’re the first indie label band to release five consecutive #1 albums over there, and they’ve been nominated for the Mercury Prize a handful of times. They’re high energy, super fun, and you’re going to have a good time if you opt to see this set.
However, Kanye’s sets are known for their over-the-top production and their capability to turn a show into a larger than life, transcendental spectacle. As Vice writer Ernest Baker best sums it up, “This is a guy who’s onstage comparing himself to Walt Disney and Steve Jobs and Ralph Lauren and Tupac Shakur in front of 18,000 people. It invades your psyche.”
Our choice: Kanye, provided he doesn’t go on another misplaced fashion industry tirade.
SATURDAY: Local Natives versus a handful of local bands
As much as we love Tycho and Finish Ticket, they’re local and they play San Francisco fairly frequently.
Christopher Owens is also local, but his band Girls spurred some exceptional music (not to mention the fact that it introduced us to drummer Darren Weiss, whose band PAPA is pretty great). On his own, he released Lysandre, which further brought us into his interesting mind, and he’s finally releasing a follow up this year with A New Testament. Chances are the new material will be pretty good, and worth the listen live.
Local Natives, on the other hand, released one of the best albums of 2013 in Hummingbird and sold out the Fox Oakland like it was nothing. Even if you did catch them in Oakland, it’s worth it to catch them again.
Our choice: The beginning of Christopher Owens’ set, and then Local Natives.
SUNDAY: CHVRCHES, Jenny Lewis, and Spoon versus Flume, Courtney Barnett and Lykke Li
Oh God, this is going to be tough.
Ultimately, chances are you are heavily invested in one or two of these bands, and you will plan around those sets. Good for you.
If not, we will offer you this: see Lykke Li. Her new I Never Learn is an incredible album, and it will be worth it to see her sing it live.
Our choice: Flume, Courtney Barnett and Lykke Li.
SUNDAY: The Killers versus Tiësto
This one is actually fairly simple. This show is on Sunday night. This will be your last bite of Outside Lands—what do you want to be your last memory of this year’s festival?
Our choice: Your choice!