10 Acts to See at Outside Lands 2023

Lolla this weekend, Outside Lands next! We’re excited to head to San Francisco for our first ever Outside Lands. Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, Odesza, Lana Del Rey, The 1975, Megan Thee Stallion, and Zedd lead the lineup with some of our favorite artists to watch, including Samia, Ethel Cain, NIKI, and more.

Below are a list of undercards we think you should check out this year: 

King Isis, Panhandle Stage, 12-12:40pm
Genre: Alt Pop
RIYL: Hemlocke Springs, The 1975, Sudan Archives

Not to be confused with model and television personality Isis King, Oakland’s own King Isis is making their festival debut at Outside Lands this year, following the quiet success of their debut EP, scales, which dropped this past March via Dirty Hit.

King Isis comes from a line of professional musicians: their grandmother was one the first Black opera singer in Chicago. Their classical training background certainly pops up in their music in unique ways, making King Isis an artist to watch this year and into 2024. – Kristin

Nation of Language, Sutro Stage, 1:15-2p
Genre: Indie pop
RIYL: Future Islands, New Order, Dirty Projectors

Due to release their third album in September, Brooklyn-based synthpop trio Nation of Language is set to have a major finish to 2023. With endorsements from legends like Reggie Watts and music video appearances from Jimmi Simpson and Kevin Morby, their profile is quickly rising.

Their music is propulsive and playful, in conversation with the 80s revival while resisting the pastiche. My personal favorite, “Sole Obsession,” is one of the most replay-friendly tracks of 2023. 

Their performance at Outside Lands is set to be a dance-fueled celebration of their career thus far – with, of course, a couple new tracks thrown in the mix.  – Emma

Samia, Panhandle Stage, 6:10-6:50pm
Genre: Indie Pop
RIYL: Tommy Lefroy, Soccer Mommy, Lucy Dacus

I first heard Samia on one of the sad girl playlists that Spotify always embarrassingly serves up to me, and seem to make up a majority of my music tastes. Alongside a sea of my favorite artists, like Phoebe Bridgers, Lorde and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” era-Taylor Swift, Samia was able to stick out through her sickly sweet voice, deeply emotive lyrics and music that you can’t seem to get out of your head all day (and don’t really ever want to).
The best reason to stop by Samia’s set?

The singer is coming off of the best year of her career so far. Honey released earlier this year, is an easy contender for top album of the year. The singer’s set is definitely worth it, if only to say “I was there” when looking back at this golden era of Samia’s career. – Erin

Ethel Cain, Sutro Stage, 2:30-3:20 pm
Genre: Indie pop
RIYL: Lana del Rey, Weyes Blood, Julien Baker

At her first Coachella performance, Ethel Cain wore a custom Givenchy cheerleader outfit designed to emulate her mother’s own uniform, which appeared in the music video for “American Teenager.”

The incessantly narrative-focused Cain brings the stories behind her music to her live performances, and her Outside Lands set will be no different. With bangers like “American Teenager” and hypnotizing ballads like “Sun-Bleached Flies,” her performances are full-bodied ventures into the American Gothic landscape she writes about, and there’s nothing more thrilling than going on that ride with her. – Emma

Yaya Bey, Panhandle Stage, 12:55-1:25 pm and Toyota Music Den, 3-3:40pm
Genre: R&B
RIYL: Cleo Sol, SZA, Joy Crookes

With the experience of making music with her dad, 90s rapper Grand Daddy I.U, when she was a kid, Yaya Bey knows that the most important aspect of music is storytelling. She intertwines elements of soul, R&B, spoken word, jazz, and afrobeats in perfect defiance. Yaya Bey celebrates womanhood and Blackness in her music while leaving space for spiritual and generational pain.

Her 2022 album, Remember Your North Star, is a showcase of love for her community and personal growth through artistry. Yaya Bey’s rich voice, accompanied by a soulful arraignment, makes for a commanding performance. Be sure to catch the ever-evolving Yaya Bey on Friday at the Music Den by Toyota or Panhandle stage. – Meleah

No Vacation, Lands End Stage, 12-12:45pm
Genre: Indie Rock
RIYL: boy pablo, Far Caspian, RICEWINE
This San Francisco trio is a pleasant surprise on this year’s lineup, as they haven’t been known to show up on a lot of other festival posters, and I hope they get to play to a broad audience that will bring new listeners and fans.

No Vacation feels like a fun-loving project, with feel-good music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but that still delivers quality lyrics and production. Sab, Nat and Harrison have been making music together for over 8 years, and they seem to have found a creative common ground that has kept the band alive and constantly progressing musically, with the same three people from the beginning, which I think adds onto the magic surrounding the band. – Javi

TOPS, Panhandle Stage, 3:10-3:50pm
Genre: Indie Rock/Pop
RIYL: Tennis, Yumi Zouma, Wild Nothing

Canadian-band TOPS Has been making music since 2011, which makes me sad that I have been missing out on them for nearly half of my life. The band’s chill vibes bring together an interesting mix of genres: punk, rock, lo-fi and pop to create a sound that’s truly all their own. 

If you’re looking for a chill late-afternoon set to enjoy with a blanket and a beer, I definitely suggest this band. – Kristin

Venus & The Flytraps, Panhandle Stage, 1:15-1:50pm
Genre: Pop
RIYL: Samia, Kid Sistr, Chappell Roan

Indie Pop duo Cece Tomé and Bea Bitter make up Venus & The Flytraps, a new(ish) duo who are making waves with their DIY sound that has landed them opening slots for Sun Room and Samia. With less than 3k followers on Instagram and 38k monthly listeners on Spotify, this is the truest opportunity to see a band before they absolutely explore on the scene in just a couple years.

As far as I know, this is only the band’s second festival performance coming off Bonnaroo, so definitely take advantage of getting there early.
– Kristin

Holly Humberstone, Twin Peaks Stage, 1:55-2:40pm
Genre: Alt Pop
RIYL: Phoebe Bridger, Lizzy McAlpine, Gracie Abrams

The self-proclaimed self-exposer, Holly Humberstone, is an artist I’ve been watching steadily grow in popularity since 2020. It’s her gentle voice and adolescent vulnerability captured in earworm-y hooks that have kept her music in rotation. There are few artists that I’ve found without a skip in their discography and Holly is one of them.

She’s set to release her debut album, Paint My Bedroom Black, in October on Friday the 13th (which entirely fits her aesthetic) and it will likely explore maturing themes, and hopefully solidify her place at the alt pop table. If you’re lucky, you may catch some unreleased tracks at her Outside Lands set, or she’ll play her skip-less discography to-date. It’s a win-win! – Meleah

Inhaler, Twin Peaks Stage, 3:25-4:10pm
Genre: Indie Rock
The Strokes, Sam Fender, Blossoms

I know we’re getting to a point where adding Inhaler to a “ones to watch” type of list is not going to make sense anymore, but I’m gonna do it while I can! The project led by Eli Hewson has taken the alt/indie world by storm in the last couple of years, and every single festival on the planet seems to want them on their lineup.

The quartet has not only gained an adoring fanbase, but also a growing audience that includes people of all demographics, from teenage girls to grown adults. Their music brings a nostalgic energy in the studio and also when performing live, and it should be a must-watch for anyone having the chance to see them. – Javi

Check out our previous festival coverage here.

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