10 Ones to Catch at Outside Lands 2021 (Who Aren’t Headlining)

Truth be told, Outside Lands is my favorite festival, and not just because you can dress in layers (although that definitely plays a large part in it). Taking place annually in San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Park, walking into the festival feels like walking into another world. Plus, since it doubles as a food festival, they have gourmet corn dogs. What else could you ask for?

Well, for starters, I suppose you could ask for an amazing continued return to live music, as 2021's Outside Lands will feature the likes of The Strokes, Tyler, the Creator, Lizzo, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, ZHU, Young Thug, and so, so much more. And this year's festival is set to be one for the ages, taking place over Halloween weekend for the first and possibly last time. 

For those of you who are still putting the finishing touches on their Halloween fits, we decided to save you the added pressure of combing through the undercard for the best acts to see who aren't headlining. These are our 10 ones to catch at Outside Lands 2021. 

Caroline Polachek

When & Where: Sunday, 2:10 pm at Twin Peaks

Where would the world be without the ethereal and intensely vulnerable pop magic of Caroline Polachek? Releasing her critically-lauded magnum opus Pang in 2019 in all its surrealist gothic glory, Polachek cemented herself as a lasting pop tour de force - singular in her experimental, mesmerizing approach. Simply put, a pre-Pang world is one I would not want to return to. 

Dijon

When & Where: Saturday, 2:00 pm at Twin Peaks

Despite its humble origins, originating from a small county outside of Baltimore, Maryland, Dijon is a project that feels incalculable in emotional richness and depth. Encapsulating a uniquely DIY approach, the now Los Angeles-based artist unfurls vulnerable, heart-rending, and beautiful lyrical bouts of catharsis atop a shifting bedrock of experimental R&B and folk. The effect is a sonic signature wholly unique to Dijon, brimming with life, and one that is best experienced live.  

Q

When & Where: Friday, 4:35 pm at Panhandle

Q is soul music in its purest, most heart-rending form. It's a lesson in vulnerability that plays out in real-time, becoming more concrete in shape from his self-produced 2018 debut Thoughts to his most recent work, 2021's mesmerizing and cosmic The Shave Experiment. A series of journal entries scored by some of the most transfixing soul of recent memory, let Q's deeply moving meditations take you from Golden Gate Park to another dimension.

Yung Bae

When & Where: Friday, 3:45 pm at Twin Peaks

If all you want to do is dance and feel the sun shine down on your face, look no further than Yung Bae. Pulling from neo-disco, city pop, future funk, and more, the Portland native combines the novel and nostalgic to deliver an intoxicating cocktail of the past and what's up next. Currently teasing a highly-anticipated album via of a series of singles that have featured the likes of Channel Tres, Pink Sweat$, Sam Fischer, and more, Outside Lands is set to be one of the first places to witness the next chapter of Yung Bae.

Remi Wolf

When & Where: Friday, 2:40 pm at Sutro

Hot off the heels of a debut album, Juno, and a year that witnessed a breakout viral moment for the one-of-a-kind artist, Bay Area native Remi Wolf is set to make a long-awaited return home with a performance for the ages. Embodying a musical approach akin to scattering varied textured paints at the wall with reckless abandon, the genre-skirting artist's music plays out like an infectious Jackson Pollock splatter of rapturous hooks, abstract lyricism, and euphoric sonics. Equal parts indie dance party and substantial food for the soul, Wolf's set is not to be missed.

Sofía Valdés

When & Where: Friday, 12:45 pm at Twin Peaks

Sofía Valdés is an emerging voice rooted in transcontinental self-exploration. Born and raised in Panama and educated in the US and Liverpool, UK, her dreamlike brand of pop speaks to a new generation of artists - ones left free to explore the expanse present between genres and languages. It's a sentiment that comes to life on her debut EP, Ventura, a six-song collection of sonic daydreams, ethereal and striking in their simplistic beauty.

Goth Babe

When & Where: Sunday, 3:10 pm at Sutro

The sublime project of Griff Washburn, Goth Babe runs directly counter to the cannibalizing rise and grind at all costs industry that is the music industry. Currently living off the grid in his 1996 Ford F-250 and lovely pup Sadie, when he's not surfing up and down the coast of the Pacific Northwest, he's making music not for fame or to climb to "the top" but for the fun of it. The result is a project that feels practically wrapped in sonic sunshine, capturing the lackadaisical sound of a transient life lived on the West Coast.

Bartees Strange

When & Where: Friday, 1:20 pm at Sutro

Live Forever. It's not the just title of Bartees Strange's explosive debut album but a sentiment that reverberates throughout every moment of its sprawling run. An experiment in artistic scope, Strange's critically-acclaimed debut navigates everything from post-punk abstraction, moments of acoustic tenderness, to droning, soulful minimalism. It's a testament not just to the range of Strange's idiosyncratic vision but his conviction for his artistry to reflect every part of his kaleidoscopic self.

Buscabulla

When & Where: Friday, 3:00 pm at Panhandle

Progression is often thought of in terms of linearity. That to advance we must be moving ever forward. It is the antithesis of experimental pop duo Buscabulla's debut album, Regressa. Written in response to the duo's return to their native Puerto Rico following the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Maria in 2018, Buscabulla's debut arrived as a project marked by a poignant sense of loss and grief. Yet in that loss arrived a bittersweet revelation, a chance moment for self-awakening, the opportunity to learn that to return home is not synonymous with regression.

boy pablo

When & Where: Friday, 5:40 pm at Sutro

boy pablo has come a long since his breakout viral single "Everytime" was the YouTube algorithm's favorite music video of 2017. Spending the better part of the last few years honing his particular brand of woozy, lovesick indie pop-rock, his debut album, 2020's Wachito Rico, cemented himself as so much more than the Internet's favorite bedroom pop hero. Juxtaposing a sound that speaks to nostalgic lovelorn records with the distinctive outlook of a raised online generation, boy pablo's live shows are bursting at the seams with life and emotional catharsis.

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