Best of the Best at Outside Lands 2015

Best of the Best at Outside Lands 2015
Musician D'Angelo performs at the Sutro Stage during day 1 of the 2015 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by: FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

We’re here to give you the inside scoop on Outside Lands, one of today’s premier music and arts fests. Every August Outside Lands brings a diverse lineup of artists – from well-known greats to little-known gems – to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for one jam-packed, fun-filled weekend. Between marquee headliners, colorful costumes, and far-out foods, there’s almost too much awesome for one list. That’s why we’re breaking down the best of everything that tens of thousands of screaming fans witnessed earlier this month.

Most Memorable Performance
Sir Elton John

elton john outside lands
Elton John performs during the Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
(Photo credit: Tim Mosenfelder, Photo source: Getty)

The rocket man soared to new heights during his performance and reminded us why he’s one of the best in the biz. Audiences couldn’t help but sing and sway along to classics like “Candle in the Wind”, “Bennie and the Jets”, and “Tiny Dancer”.


Most Fun Show
DJ Mustard

DJ Mustard got Sunday going in a big way by spinning a funky selection of experimental hip hop beats. For thousands of festival-goers trying to shake off the cobwebs from mind-blowing Friday and Sunday lineups, this was the perfect rallying cry.


Most Underrated
St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Not many people have heard of St. Paul and The Broken Bones, but that won’t last for long. This soulful seven-piece band has all the horn-driven southern soul that audiences swoon for, and emotive vocalist Paul Janeway has killer pipes and charisma for days.


Biggest Draw
Kendrick Lamar

Not surprisingly, hip hop heavyweight Kendrick Lamar knocked out one of the best sets at the festival—attracting thousands in the process. His legend continued to grow as the prodigy dropped bomb beats and spat rapid-fire rhymes long after his allotted set-time had expired.


Most Talented
Sam Smith

The ever-humble Sam Smith praised his favorite U.S. city (San Francisco) and a personal idol (Elton John) before he proceeded to put everyone else to shame with his strikingly soulful vocals.


Best Surprise Performance
Del the Funky Homosapien joins G-Eazy

Rising rapper/producer G-Eazy thrilled hometown fans when he brought fellow Oakland hip hop heavyweights Del the Funky Homosapien on stage to rap over a cover of The Gorillaz’s “Clint Eastwood”.


Best Cover
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe “Hang Me up to Dry” & Billy Idol “L.A. Woman”

Karl Denson @ #outsidelands #OSL2015 #ColdWarKids Hang Me Up to Dry

A video posted by grantstoner43 (@grantstoner43) on

The NorCal-SoCal rivalry is no big secret, and Billy Idol turned conventions on their head by changing The Door’s “L.A. Woman” into “San Fran Woman”. But Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe also scored high marks with their funky cover of Cold War Kids’ indie rock hit “Hang Me up to Dry”.


Biggest Disappointment
Kendrick Lamar mentioning Dr. Dre

ranger dave knows we gon’ be alright since he heard king @kendricklamar say so. (📷: @jorgphoto) #outsidelands

A photo posted by ranger dave (@outside_lands) on

Lamar talked about the process of working on Dr. Dre’s most recent album Compton, leading fans to cheer for the OG himself to come out. It almost derailed the prodigious young rapper’s momentum, but he brought it all home when he tore into his closing number “Alright”.


Best Costume
Sir Elton John

A fan dresses up as Sir Elton John at Outside Lands 2015
A fan dresses up as the style icon Sir Elton John at Outside Lands 2015

The king of flamboyant style dressed to impress, but this fan might have one-upped the icon: just check out his brilliant blue blazer and papier mache recreation of the rocket man’s mug.


Weirdest Food
“The Ringmaster”

The Ringmaster
“The Ringmaster”

Vendor Straw offered this ground beef behemoth known as “The Ringmaster”—a cheeseburger between two donuts instead of the traditional bun. Slightly terrifying? Yes. Totally worth it? You’d better believe it.


Best Totem
Riley Curry (Steph Curry’s daughter)

Riley_Curry_totem Steph Curry is a Bay Area hero, bringing home the city’s first NBA Championship in 40 years. But his daughter Riley stole the spotlight during postgame press conferences, becoming the perfect toddler for San Franciscans to immortalize in totem form. Good luck losing that cute face in a crowd.


Biggest Comeback
D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Musician D'Angelo performs at the Sutro Stage during day 1 of the 2015 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by: FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
Musician D’Angelo performs at the Sutro Stage during day 1 of the 2015 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by: FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

Neo-soul has never sounded better than when D’Angelo and the Vanguard took the stage on night one. The singer-songwriter is back with his first album since 2000’s Voodoo, and all the funky horns, boogie beats, and soulful vocals picked up right where they left off for fans. The crowd couldn’t contain itself as he worked through old favorites and selections from his new masterpiece Black Messiah.


Best Blast from the Past
Billy Idol

The clouds parted on Saturday for ‘80s new wave icon Billy Idol. The sneering singer took the stage with the same bravado that made him an icon in the early MTV era, nailing hits like “Mony Mony”, “White Wedding”, and “Rebel Yell”.


Fiercest Female
St. Vincent

Recent Grammy winner St. Vincent has been on a roll, and the leather-clad rocker showed San Francisco who’s the boss. With her savage riffs and superhuman vocals, she wowed yet another festival audience this month.


Happiest Moment
Smiling balloon during Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges Outside Lands

Leon Bridges has been breathing new life into ‘60s soul sounds with his debut album Coming Home. His sunny vibes and classic feel wowed the San Francisco crowd, and we caught this smiling balloon nodding in agreement.


Best After Party
The Knocks DJ set at Mezzanine Electronic duo

The Knocks kept the party raging well into the wee-hours of the morning with their afterhours set, remixing massive hits and dropping badass beats for everyone at Mezzanine.


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