Nestled in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s annual Outside Lands Music Festival plays host to an always impressive roster of world-class musicians and top-shelf local fooderies, vendors and artists. It’s also one of the biggest and most anticipated weekends of the year for San Franpsycho. While bracing ourselves for the gargantuan festival is no small task, Outside Lands never fails to deliver a damn good time and refreshing reminder that we’re fortunate as hell to call San Francisco home.
Somehow another epic Outside Lands is already in our wake, and as we readjust to our everyday schedules, picking up the shattered pieces from an exhausting yet overwhelmingly jovial festival weekend, it’s only natural in the midst of a multi-day hangover to ponder “was it worth it?” Well, at San Franpsycho, no matter the severity of the hangover, the answer is always a resounding fuck yes. There’s no overstating what a privilege it is to play a role in a festival as ambitious and ever-evolving as Outside Lands, and humbling to watch our presence grow with it each year.
We not only debuted our brand new Fall Collection at our booth, but also created a couple of awesome collaboration tees with our longtime friends Slightly Stoopid and Iration—both of whom absolutely killed it at the festival. We owe a thanks to all of the amazing bands who cruised by our booth for a meet & greet and walked away with some rad new SFP gear. The guys of Twin Peaks in particular were one of our favorite musical discoveries of the weekend.
limited Slightly Stoopid & Iration collaborations—soon to be available online
This year we decided to focus our music recap on a handful of our favorite upcoming artists. We’re talking about the acts written in small font on the poster; the artists brimming with potential and enough star power to one day headline festivals in their own right. We’re lookin’ at you HEARTWATCH, METZ, The Sam Chase, Sky Ferreira, and WATERS. Read up below and get familiar.
The Sam Chase
The festival’s opening act irrevocably set the bar high. Local San Franciscan—and longtime friend of San Franpsycho—Sam Chase, backed by his troupe The Untraditional, fanned the festival’s kindling embers from the Panhandle Stage. The band of eight (featuring a stand-up bassist, banjo player, female vocalist, cellist, violinist, drummer, and of course frontman and ringleader Sam) embody the whiskey-blooded folk sound your angsty grandparents used to love. With the self-proclaimed pipes of a “nun on the lam with a mouthful of cigarettes,” Sam’s booming weathered voice adds a tinge of rock and roll to his upbeat songs, and a sense of lonely yet reassuring melancholy to his slower ones. Every band member holds a sense of agency and vitality, working their respective instruments mechanically as frontman Sam strums his guitar—also known as “The Knuckle”—and belts his anthemic lyrics to captivated bystanders. On this particular Friday morning. their trumpet player jumped from the stage to play amongst the crowd, while Sam conducted an audience sing along to the chorus of their bar-stomping romp of a song, “Carry My Bones,”—all of which reinforced my decision to start my day with a beer in one hand, and a flask of Evan Williams in my inner jacket pocket. —Tyler Blomstrom
San Francisco’s rising stars HEARTWATCH have been gaining momentum for a couple of years now, jamming it out in just about every local venue fit for an indie pop band. Claire is the kind of front woman you can’t help but love. All smiles and boundless energy, she exudes a natural enthusiasm and confidence on stage, vibing hard to every track and effortlessly pumping up the crowd. You get the feeling there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing, and the rest of the band is on the same page. Armed with an assortment of super clean feel-good tracks adored by both critics and casual listeners, it’s not difficult to imagine a band of this quality gaining legions of fans worldwide—which is what made Saturday’s set so special. HEARTWATCH’s major festival debut was a straight up blast. Their expertly compiled set of new and old goodies highlighted the band’s impressive songwriting range and penchant for emanating endless good vibes. Shoutout to the epic sunflower gang lighting up the crowd. We’re lucky to claim HEARTWATCH as a hometown act and it would be selfish not to share them with everyone else. Cheers to a bright-ass future, HEARTWATCH. San Franpsycho loves you. —KT
photo via James Nagel
WATERS exhumed OSL attendees from their mid-day slump with a high-energy set marked by their blissful alternative pop sound. Led by longtime musician and SF local Van Pierszalowski (ex-frontman of Port O’Brien), the band is currently paving its way to the top with the release of WATERS’ first full-length record, What’s Real. With flowers adorning the stage and their equipment, WATERS washed a wave of sheer jubilance over the crowd, while simultaneously shrouding us in candy as keyboardist Sara DaMert dropkicked and ripped open piñatas from the stage. With every song of their set sounding like a chart-topping banger—including a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”—and the band’s vast domination of the entire stage, we’ve chalked up WATERS as a must-see act for all. —TB
photo via Carolina Nava
Shotgunned beers and a burger for breakfast. Sunday started the same as any other day with one exception: fuckin’ METZ, man. And while I’d been looking forward to METZ all weekend, they certainly exceeded all expectations as they shook the very bedrock of Outside Lands during their early afternoon set. Hailing from Toronto, METZ is that wastey, noisey punk rock band you can’t get enough of. Offering a up harder, louder sound than the majority of the OSL lineup, METZ brought together all the misfits of the festival aggressively, and invasively. With gear beat to shit, eclectic bass tones, driving percussions, and a poignant guitar tone blown out by front man Alex Edkins’ bruised vocals, METZ is bringing forth something different to the mainstream, similarly paralleling Nirvana. —TB
photo via Mallory Turner
The media’s relationship with Sky Ferreira frustrates me. One moment they’re singing her praises as a self-aware artist and singular voice in pop; the next they’re undermining said praise by digging up any vague semblance of controversy even remotely involving her to churn out kitschy clickbait headlines. If you’re gonna champion Sky as an artist, maybe it’s best to pump the breaks on so jarringly pivoting the spotlight from her immensely impressive growth as a songwriter in the name of tiresome tabloid-oriented web traffic. /end rant
(but seriously: support, DON’T UNDERMINE, the artists you love—how is this a complicated concept?)
So Sky and the boys tore it up at the Sutro stage. I’ve already archived it into my stockpile of favorite OSL memories. I last saw them at the Independent in November when they were wrapping up a year and a half of extensive touring. While the music was stellar, crowd interaction was minimal (one of Sky’s only comments was a bemused deadpan: “This is the oldest crowd I’ve ever played for.”), and it’s hardly a stretch to describe their daytime OSL performance as blissful and buoyant in comparison. It’s such a pleasure witnessing one of your favorite singers rip through a killer festival set without missing a note, surrounded by a crowd of kindred spirits echoing every lyric back while dancing their asses off (and in Golden Gate Park, no less). Sky does not get enough credit for her phenomenal range and precision as a vocalist. It was so awesome seeing her so visibly stoked and comfortable on stage, owning her status as one of pop’s most talented and refreshingly vulnerable artists. Saturday’s set was all about relishing the music, not bullshit, and I had a grin slapped across my face the entire time. —KT