By Dave Pehling
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 Friday’s schedule:
Dr. Octagon (Lands End Stage 2:05 p.m.)
Hailed as a psychedelic hip-hop masterpiece when it came out in 1996, Dr. Octagonecologyst was the sole album produced by the collaboration between Bronx-raised founder of the Ultramagnetic MCs “Kool Keith” Thornton, producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura and turntable sensei Richard “DJ Qbert” Quitevis. With Thornton taking on the persona of the titular intergalactic (and homicidal) surgeon from Jupiter and weaving his surreal, non sequitur-filled tales of sex, violence and space travel over the Automator’s futuristic, cinematic beats, the album was hailed by critics and embraced by fans that ranged from hip-hop heads looking for something outside of the gangsta norm to alternative-rock enthusiasts who found appeal in the album’s twisted humor and unique sonic vistas. Earlier this year, Dr. Octagon reunited for it’s first proper live performances ever, debuting at the Independent for a historic show last March that showed — despite the passage of two decades — the group could recreate it’s bizarre sonic alchemy onstage.
Kali Uchs (Twin Peaks Stage 2:05 p.m.)
A rising vocal talent who was born in Colombia but raised in Virginia, Uchs has been catching ears ever since the release of her mixtape Drunken Babble in 2012. After cultivating an early interest in music (she studied both saxophone and piano as a child before moving on to music production in high school), the singer produced her jazzy, eclectic tape when she was only 18. Since then, Uchs has worked with Snoop Dog, Tyler the Creator and Diplo in addition to touring with throwback soul singer Leon Bridges. Chances are she may make an appearance on the Lands End Stage Friday night to perform her feature song “She’s My Collar” with Gorillaz.
Shovels & Rope (Sutro Stage 4:20 p.m.)
The Charleston, NC-based husband-and-wife folk duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst didn’t intend to start a group together when they released Shovels & Rope as a collaborative effort under both their names, but the success of the album eventually convinced them otherwise. The creative partnership has produced a steady stream of music and the acclaimed documentary The Ballad of Shovels and Rope which depicted the duo’s quest to write and record their breakout effort O’ Be Joyful. The pair has released four albums since first coming together, including last year’s first effort for noted Americana imprint New West Records entitled Little Seeds.
Fleet Foxes (Sutro Stage 7:10 p.m.)
Seattle indie-folk act Fleet Foxes hasn’t been the most prolific of groups (they’ve only put out a total of three albums in nearly a decade since releasing their eponymous 2008 debut through Sub Pop Records), but their shimmering vocal harmonies and principle songwriter Robin Pecknold’s knack for writing spellbinding tunes that echo the sounds of Bob Dylan and Neil Young have helped build a fervent following willing to tolerate extended breaks. The 2012 departure of drummer Josh Tillman (who would emerge as an equally popular figure in his Father John Misty guise) and Pecknold taking time to pursue an undergraduate degree at Colombia University in New York may have delayed the group, but Fleet Foxes have earned rave reviews for their new Nonesuch Records effort, the more experimental and ambitious Crack-Up.