Outside Lands presented its eighth annual extravaganza at San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park this past weekend, hosting 70 acts over three days, further solidifying the massive outdoor festival’s reputation as Northern California’s answer to Coachella. Besides main stage headliners like Sir Elton John, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith, and Kendrick Lamar, there were plenty of dance and electronic artists, including Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Green Velvet & Claude VonStroke, Caribou, Porter Robinson, Classixx, Odesza and more.
We wandered across the grounds, navigating all eight stages for all three days so that we could gather the essential tracks that rocked Outside Lands 2015. Check ’em out below.
RL Grime — “Kingpin”
On Friday afternoon, the West Coast massive made a strong showing for RL Grime. A cheer went up as he took the Twin Peaks stage in the late afternoon sunshine. From the start, the LA resident controlled the crowd with cuts like “Golden State” from his 2014 album VOID.
“It’s so good to be back in the Bay,” he said between tracks as he lead the packed crowd on an hour-long ride across classic rave bits, recent trap hits, a bouncy bootleg of Tove Lo’s “Habits,” hip-hop snippets from Drake, Missy Elliott and more. In the midst of his diverse, high-energy set, RL dropped his Big Sean-featuring single “Kingpin,” which was an instant crowd-pleaser.
Porter Robinson – “Flicker”
Following RL Grime, Porter Robinson brought his Worlds live experience to Golden Gate Park. Featuring classic Japanese anime, electric colors and pixelated electronica, the Carolina native took the crowd on a slow-rolling trip. Although many selections from the album stood out, including “Sad Machine” and “Fresh Static Snow,” it was his melodic Worlds track “Flicker” that proved the perfect companion to the sunset behind the mammoth pines.
Amon Tobin – “Slowly”
The uninitiated hoping for the EDM drop may have been disappointed by Amon Tobin’s Isam 2.0. But what the UK veteran lacked in build up, he made up for with an intense, immersive live show. Tobin started out by creating a somber mood with “Journeyman,” then raised the energy with tracks like “Bedtime Stories” and “Lost & Found,” but ultimately it was “Slowly” that won everybody over. An essential, mindbending trip, yet again.
Jonas Rathsman – “Wolfsbane”
Judging from the crowd at the House dome Saturday evening, the secret’s out about Jonas Rathsman. The Swedish Disclosure affiliate delivered a seamless hour-long set of refined deep house, keeping the energy up and rewarding us by delivering “Wolfsbane” right on cue.
Classixx – “Holding On”
Later in the evening, Classixx played the smaller Panhandle Stage to a packed lawn. The LA duo delivered blissed-out house vibes with tracks like “I’ll Get You” and “Dominoes,” but it was their 2013 single “Holding On” that captured the twilight, inspiring many in the crowd to sing its refrain back to the stage.
Hot Chip – “Flutes”
Hot Chip brought live dance vibes to the Lands End main stage on Sunday’s muggy, overcast afternoon. After warming up the crowd and drawing in more onlookers with hits like “One Night Stand” and “Night And Day,” the UK band delivered a standout moment with their 2012 single “Flutes,” taken from their fifth album In Our Heads. We can still hear it now.
Odesza – “Say My Name”
The West Coast rave crowd came out in full force for Seattle duo Odesza as the Twin Peaks stage filled to capacity. Odesza responded in kind, delivering their unique brand of slow-rolling breakbeat and deep house vibes displayed on their 2014 sophomore release In Return. Building to a blissful crescendo, favorites like their remix of ZHU’s “Faded,” and their stellar single “Say My Name,” made the most noise.
Caribou – “Sun”
As Dan Snaith stepped onstage at Twin Peaks, a roar went up from the crowd, and he waved back with a warm smile. The band has clearly come a long way. Dressed in all-white, the band launched straight into favorites like “Our Love”, “Odessa” and “Can’t Do Without You,” all of which were incredible. Yet, it was the psychedelic chant, “Sun” that really whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Catching Snaith and company was definitely one of the most memorable highlights of the festival.
Claude VonStroke – “Barumph”
Together as DJ super-duo Get Real, Green Velvet and Claude VonStroke did some serious party-rocking while closing out the Panhandle stage on Sunday night. The US house veterans appeared to be having a fun time playfully one-upping each other on the decks, one record on, one record off. For his part, CVS stuck to the crowd-pleasing Dirtybird canon of booty-shaking cuts like “Barumph.”
Green Velvet, Harvard Bass – “Lazer Beams”
Green Velvet responded with a salvo of his own – his quirky 2012 collab with Harvard Bass, “Lazer Beams” – just one volley in a perfectly matched set of bass-heavy jams and classic acid house.
Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso – “Dream Bigger”
After Get Real, it was Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso’s turn to showcase their head-to-head skills, closing the three-day weekend on the dance-centric Twin Peaks stage. The Swedish duo brought the whole arsenal; main-stage-ready progressive house, insane visuals and plenty of awe-inspiring pyrotechnics. Alongside the usual festival fist-pumpers, they had some surprises, like Skrillex and Dillon Francis’ latest single, “Burn Up The Dance,” snippets of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for the SF faithful, and Tove Lo’s “Habits,” but ultimately, the track that killed it was their Daft Punk-reminiscent stormer “Dream Bigger,” featuring Pharrell Williams. See you in 2016.