[Festival Review + Playlist] Take Us Back: Outside Lands 2014 Highlights through Photos & Songs


During the Gold Rush, the area where Golden Gate Park currently resides was referred to as the “Outside Lands,” a sprawling seemingly uninhabitable expanse, before being adopted by the city of San Francisco and developed into what is now the gorgeous western portion of the city. Today, Outside Lands carries a whole new meaning as the the premiere music festival of the Bay Area located in the heart of the park. Every event has a unique charm and, for OSL, the magic of San Francisco’s physical and cultural beauty is truly at its core. With breathtaking scenery, quality food/wine and the lingering remnants of the hippie movement, Outside Lands 2014 served as yet another reminder of why the area has become, and has for so long been, such a desirable destination even with its famously cold summer weather.

Just over two weeks have passed since we took our final steps out of what was the most popular OSL in the event’s history. In the days following a festival, the mundanity of everyday life can become particularly evident. Luckily, with concerts, there’s always an artist’s music to revive the excitement of your most memorable, albeit sometimes least remembered, moments. This year’s Outside Lands lineup featured an incredible diversity in artistic styles making for a broad range of experiences to look back on. Join us as we take revisit a dozen of our top highlights from the weekend through photos and songs.

Day 1:

1. An intimate set from Night Terrors of 1927 at the Toyota Soundwave Tent to kick things off.

Why we loved it: An emotional, heart-felt performance from one of the many quality bands making the festival rounds.


Jarrod Gorbel (left) and Blake Sennett of Night Terrors of 1927


’Night Terrors of 1927 – Always Take You Back’

2.  Grouploves outfits, dyed hair and incredible cover of Beyonce‘s “Drunk In Love.”

Why we loved it: An unreal energy and stage presence that takes the recorded music to a whole new level. The version of  “Drunk in Love” included below is their rendition featuring Ed Sheeran and Sia from VH1‘s Soundclash. “Hippy Hill” also carried a special significance given the history behind the part of Golden Gate Park with the same name.


Hannah Hooper of Grouplove rocking the full peacock bodysuit.


Christian Zucconi of Grouplove.



’Grouplove, Ed Sheeran & Sia – Drunk In Love (Cover)’

’Grouplove – Hippy Hill’

3. Holy Ghost! bringing the groove with “Say My Name” and the extended “Dumb Disco Ideas.”

Why we loved it: Playing on the main stage directly before the legendary Chromeo is no small feat, but the Brooklyn-based duo showed that they’ve got a unique, yet equally funky and danceable, style.


’Holy Ghost! – Say My Name’

’Holy Ghost! – Dumb Disco Ideas’

4. Kanye West letting the crowd know that he’s not a concierge and finishing his set out with “Blood on the Leaves.”

Why we loved it: Although this certainly wasn’t the best performance Kanye has put on, full of cutting songs off and corny speeches, its hard to deny the power of his music especially when the whole crowd knows every single word. When the audience showed some disappointment  about him cutting a song short, Kanye exclaimed, “I ain’t no concierge. I ain’t here to please you!” and, while this probably pissed quite a few people off, we found it hysterical. After abruptly interrupting “Blood on the Leaves” three consecutive times, he finally unleashed the Hudson Mohawke-crafted drop to close out Friday night.


’Kanye West – Blood on the Leaves’

Day 2:

5. Jagwar Ma delivering everything we expected and more.

Why we loved it: Very possibly our favorite show of the weekend, the Australian electronic rock outfit showed why they are one of the most promising up ‘n coming acts. Although Jagwar Ma’s style is completely different, their early, but packed sets on the festival circuit are reminiscent of Alt-J‘s meteoric rise last year.


’Jagwar Ma – Come Save Me’

6. HAIM‘s cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “Oh Well” and the overall awesomeness of the Haim sisters.

Why we loved it: We’ve seen HAIM several times already, but we are blown away over and over again by their ability to entertain. The band of sisters seriously rock out and provide just the right amount of strange banter in between songs adding hilarious context to the music, rather than lulling the audience. They’ve been playing their cover of “Oh Well” quite a bit on tour, and the recorded version below is from a BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge session. Of the tracks on their stellar debut, Days Are Gone, “My Song 5” might just be our favorite to see live–make sure to check out the outlandish video for the A$AP Ferg-featuring remix if you haven’t already.


Danielle Haim of HAIM


Alana Haim of HAIM


Este Haim of HAIM



’HAIM – Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac Cover)’
’HAIM – My Song 5’

7. Tycho opening his mesmerizing set with “L.”

Why we loved it: With a full band, Tycho’s live set truly brings their relaxing music to life highlighting its gorgeous subtleties. The audience was entranced, but also compelled to dance, as front-man Scott Hansen’s aesthetic vision crystallized through both the sounds and visuals, which he also designs himself.


Scott Hansen, the mastermind behind Tycho


Zac Brown (Guitar and Bass Guitar for Tycho)

’Tycho – L’
’Tycho – Spectre’

8. John Butler Trio performing the epic “Oceans.”

Why we loved it: We can say with confidence that you will never see anyone play the guitar the way John Butler strums his custom 11-string. In 2012, John Butler Trio put out an incredible video of their lead-man playing the 12-minute studio version of “Oceans” that has amassed over 10-million views to date. Even that recorded version, though, can not do justice to just how unbelievable Butler’s talents are as a performer.


’John Butler Trio – Oceans’

9. A sea of hip-hop hands at Atmosphere.

Why we loved it: Atmosphere always shows up to perform and, in front of a massive crowd, the Ryhmesayer‘s legends delivered a set full of fan favorites both old and new.


’Atmosphere – Sunshine’

’Atmosphere – Shoulda Known’

Day 3: 

10. Made in Heights soothing the Sunday hangover.

Why we loved it: The ethereal music of Sabzi and Kelsey Bulkin translates fabulously into a live performance bringing to mind other electronic duos driven by female vocalists such as Phantogram and Purity Ring. Aside from Bulkin’s unique voice, Made in Heights distinguish themselves with a lo-fi and down-tempo feel that elevates the listener to a state of cloud surfing.


Alexei Saba, aka Sabzi, and Kelsey Bulkin of Made in Heights



’Made in Heights
’Made in Heights – Skylark Interabang?!’

11. Flume delivering a performance deserving of a headline spot at 3PM, with the crowd to match.

Why we loved it: When Chvrches was forced to cancel their set last second, the masses flocked to the Twin Peaks stage for Flume. The Australian producer, who was clearly both overjoyed and a bit overwhelmed with the enormity of the crowd, powered through some early audio issues to prove why he will be a headliner in years to come gaining a handful of eager fans in the process.


’What So Not – Touched (Original)’
’Hermitude – HyperParadise (Flume Remix)’

12. The Killers cover of Otis Redding‘s “Dock of the Bay.”

Why we loved it: The Killers set was a non-stop barrage of hits, serving as a reminder of just how influential the band has been in the last decade. The words “the Bay” have a special context when said in San Francisco and the band did a fantastic job of weaving the Otis Redding cover into one of their many anthems, “Read My Mind.”


’The Killers – Read My Mind’

And, of course, the beautiful people of San Francisco:

Why we loved it: See for yourself. What’s not to love?

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Photo cred: All images, except for items 3, 4, 5, 8, 11 and 12, are courtesy of our talented friend Mike Lei. Links to other photo sources on their respective numbers.