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 Sunday’s schedule:
Lee Fields and the Expressions (Lands End Stage 12:10 p.m.)
Much like his fellow soul singers Charles Bradley, Bettye LaVette and the late Sharon Jones, gritty R&B shouter Lee Fields delivers impassioned, heart-on-the-sleeve vocals that hearken back to the music’s classic ’60s era. Fields started his recording career in 1969 and has shared stages with such notables as Kool & the Gang and O.V. Wright, but he has gotten far more fame with his more modern work. While a sonic and physical resemblance to James Brown earned him the nickname “Little J.B.” — he even provided some vocals for the Brown biopic Get On Up — Fields also recalls legendary Stax belter Otis Redding when he digs into the kind of seductive soul ballads heard on his more recent recordings for the Truth and Soul imprint.
Marco Benevento (Panhandle Stage 1:20 p.m.)
Keyboard phenom Benevento first came to fame in the early 2000s as half of the jazzy, jam-oriented pair the Benevento-Russo Duo with drummer Joe Russo, becoming a popular festival attraction with their inventive improvisation. While he has also worked with both Russo (in his Grateful Dead tribute group) and Phish members Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio, for most of the past decade, Benevento has been exploring a creative intersection of jazz, pop and indie-rock on a string of adventurous albums for the Royal Potato Family imprint. Live, the keyboardist frequently brings an arsenal of vintage analog synths and other keyboards to augment his already effect-laden acoustic piano playing.
Kamaiyah (Twin Peaks Stage 2 p.m.)
Oakland native Kamaiyah has only released one mixtape under her name, but she has already become one of the best known rising MCs in the Bay Area thanks to high-profile collaborations with the likes of Drake and YG. The release of her debut single “How Does It Feel” blew Kamaiyah up late in 2015, just months before the mixtape A Good Night in the Ghetto earned her positive reviews from Pitchfork and NPR. Last year, Kamaiyah single-handedly kept the Treasure Island Music Festival going as inclement weather and flight delays threatened to derail the fest, performing an extended set on the wind and rain lashed stage.
Action Bronson (Sutro Stage 5:10 p.m.)
Queens-based MC Action Bronson initially was headed for a culinary career as a rising NYC chef with his own online cooking show before a leg injury led him to re-evaluate his career options and pursue rapping full time. Teaming with a variety of well-regarded producers for his early mixtape efforts (among them Tommy Mas and Statik Selectah), Bronson established himself as a lyrical powerhouse and by 2012 was signed to a management deal and label contract with Warner Brothers. Though the record deal never panned out, Bronson did manage his first collaboration with producer/DJ the Alchemist on their acclaimed mixtape Rare Chandeliers. More mixtapes and Bronson’s Vice food/travel show “F–k That’s Delicious” which features Alchemist along with longtime friends Meyhem Lauren and Big Body Bes exploring different countries and cuisines further elevated the rapper’s name recognition. His forthcoming album Blue Chips 7000 will serve as a follow-up to his proper 2015 debut effort Mr. Wonderful.