SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While the big main-stage headliners are always a major draw to any outdoor festival, veteran Outside Lands attendees know that sometimes the best moments of the festivals can be had earlier in the day, especially at the smaller stages.
Here’s a list of some recommended acts to catch during the course of Saturday’s schedule:
Motion Potion (The House 12 p.m.)
Equally renowned as a party starter, remixer and a tireless concert/event promoter, Motion Potion (aka Robbie Kowol) got his start as a funky rare groove DJ during the ’90s and has ably evolved into one of San Francisco’s foremost breakbeat merchants. Whether delivering one of his signature spotlight sets featuring a single artist (Talking Heads, James Brown, P-Funk and this year’s Saturday headliners, Radiohead) or keeping the dance floor filled during one of his genre-busting festival appearances at Bonnaroo or Electric Forest, Motion Potion has a knack for giving the audience exactly what it wants.
Fantastic Negrito (Twin Peaks Stage 12:40 p.m.)
The onetime Oakland street performer Xavier Dphrepaulezz took a long, circuitous route to his current success fronting Fantastic Negrito. Dphrepaulezz was being groomed by Interscope Records for MTV success in the ’90s as a Prince-influenced neo-funk singer before a car crash that left him in a coma for weeks sidelined his career. He later explored a style of funk-infused punk before eventually settling on his current gospel/blues-drenched incarnation that earned Fantastic Negrito the top spot in the NPR Tiny Desk Concert competition last year. While a misunderstanding with SFPD that led to Dphrepaulezz being arrested for scalping derailed his appearance at Outside Lands in 2015, the group has been on a tear ever since with show-stopping performances at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and this year’s BottleRock Festival as well as an appearance on the hit Fox show Empire. The group’s official debut album The Last Days of Oakland was issued this summer to heaps of well-deserved praise.
Rogue Wave (Sutro Stage 1:15 p.m.)
Veteran Bay Area indie rockers Rogue Wave, the creative outlet for principle songwriter Zach Rogue, was founded when the leader lost his job in the early 2000s during the burst of the first dot-com bubble. Teamed with longtime drummer Patrick Spurgeon, Rogue and the band put out two albums on Sub Pop Records and were the subject of the acclaimed 2009 documentary D Tour that explored the challenges of life on the road for Spurgeon as a kidney patient awaiting a transplant. The quartet recently released its sixth album (and first for new label Easy Sound Recording Company), Delusions of Grand Fur.
Ibeyi (Sutro Stage 2:35 p.m.)
The twin daughters of Cuban conguero Miguel “Anga” Diaz, Lisa and Naomi Diaz create a stripped-down, minimalist style of modern gospel/soul as Ibeyi (pronounced “ee-bey-ee”). Employing percussion, piano and electronics, the two woman draw deeply on their father’s Yorùbán culture, incorporating elements of ancient African spirituals into the spare, soulful songs that got them signed to XL Recordings. Label boss Richard Russell produced their acclaimed self-titled debut album.
Con Brio (Panhandle Stage 4:30 p.m.)
Fronted by electrifying lead singer Ziek McCarter, San Francisco funk outfit Con Brio has been scorching stages at home and abroad for the past three years. Paying homage to a range of R&B influences including Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown and Michael Jackson — McCarter’s acrobatic stage presence garners frequent comparisons to the latter two legends — the septet deftly combines fiery soul salvation with a heartfelt social conscience in the songs heard on their new self-released debut Paradise, recorded and produced by longtime Beastie Boys collaborator Mario Caldato Jr.