Outside Lands 2014: Who To See and Who To Skip

This weekend, more than thirty acts a day will spread out over seven stages in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. With everyone from Chromeo to Cut Copy vying for our attention, we’re making the tough choices celebrity death match style ahead of time (and, you know, before we’re legally incapable of making any good choices, either). Here’s our list of this year’s most rugged band-to-band showdowns, and our picks of who comes out on top.

Friday, August 8th

Chromeo (5:05-6:05, Lands End) vs. Grouplove (5:15-6:05, Twin Peaks)

Grouplove is rad, but nostalgia will bring us to Chromeo’s blink-and-you-missed-it set at the Lands End stage. It also doesn’t hurt that Chromeo’s new record, White Women, shows the Canadian duo in classic (if not exactly groundbreaking) disco-revival form.

Disclosure (6:35-7:35, Lands End) vs. Tegan and Sara (6:50-7:50, Twin Peaks)

Festival wisdom might have you dancing straight through Chromeo and English DJ team Disclosure’s set at Lands End, but in the interest of rehydrating, we’re gonna take a breather at Twin Peaks for mellow indie-pop mainstays Tegan and Sara, who are out in support of last year’s Heartthrob.

Kanye West (8:20-10:00, Lands End) vs. Arctic Monkeys (8:40-9:55, Twin Peaks)

Call us purists, but we believe pub rock belongs in a pub. Go see Kanye. For such a control freak, he brings an arena-ready live performance that still, somehow, might show you something you haven’t seen before.

Saturday, August 9th

Dum Dum Girls (12:20-1:10, Lands End) vs. Nocona (12:00-12:40, Panhandle)

Dum Dum Girls have this one all the way. A little shoegaze to shake off your hangover and ease into the festival’s biggest day.

Christopher Owens (2:30-3:30, Sutro) vs. Jagwar Ma (2:05-2:55, Twin Peaks)

Chris Owens is hard not to like, and his debut solo record, Lysandre, makes for haunting headphones music. But if the sun is shining and your buzz is going Saturday afternoon, your better bet for a memorable, attention-sustaining performance is Australian psych rockers Jagwar Ma.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (7:55-9:55, Lands End) vs. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (8:40-9:55, Twin Peaks)

Come on. Macklemore would skip the Macklemore show to see Tom Petty singing a capella on a milk crate in the Tenderloin, let alone in all his main-stage glory with The Heartbreakers.

Sunday, August 10th

CHVRCHES (3:10-4:10, Lands End) vs. Jenny Lewis (3:50-4:50, Sutro)

Churches has buzz to burn, but something tells us their featherweight synth pop will float right over the crowd at the Lands End stage. Jenny Lewis, meanwhile, has the chops and easygoing irreverence to win over any crowd.

Spoon (4:40-5:40, Lands End) vs. Lykke Li (5:05-5:55, Twin Peaks)

We’re big fans of Lykke Li’s early-summer hit, “No Rest for the Wicked,” but Austin veterans Spoon–soon to be out with a new record,They Want My Soul — get the nod out of pure joy at hearing their first new music in nearly five years.

*(If you took our advice and checked out Jenny Lewis at the Sutro stage, don’t feel bad about cutting out a few minutes early so you can double back to Lands End for Spoon. She’d understand.)

The Flaming Lips (6:10-7:20, Lands End) vs. Cut Copy (6:40-7:40, Twin Peaks)

While Sunday night’s headliners are The Killers and Tiesto, the day’s fan favorites will definitely be The Flaming Lips and Cut Copy. It breaks our hearts to choose between these legendary live acts, but we’ll give the edge to Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, whose ego alone will compel him to close out the festival in style.

About the author: Spencer Shawcross is a freelance writer in San Francisco. He hearts the TL and its many music venues.

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