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Outside Lands Artists as Muni Map: Must-See Acts for 2013 

Wednesday, Aug 7 2013
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Download our Muni map of Outside Lands acts


utside Lands 2013 has nearly 90 musical acts on the bill. What are the relationships between them? Well, let's try an experiment: What if each one was a Muni metro stop, somewhere along a line that represents its genre. Your headliners, acts with large catalogs that meld a number of styles, would span a number of these lines. Each line would branch out in its own direction, some roughly parallel, and others intersecting in interesting ways. So if you squint a little bit, the acts of Outside Lands 2013 roughly fit onto a metro map of the city where they'll all perform, with the biggest ones concentrated in the center. Here's our list of recommended stops in Golden Gate Park this weekend.

FUNK/SOUL/HIP-HOP, FROM BLUES TO MODERN R&B

D'Angelo: Smooth-as-hell R&B singer D'Angelo is back after a long time out of the spotlight. His mere presence makes this one of the most anticipated sets of the festival, and also its best moment for baby-making. Friday, 6:05 p.m. on the Sutro stage.

Bombino: Among the many talented purveyors of African desert blues — a hypnotic strain of guitar music from the Sahara — Bombino is a standout. His latest album, Nomad, was produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and melds hip-swaying rhythms with a little rock 'n' roll muscle. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. on the Panhandle stage.

ROCK (ROOTS), FROM NOSTALGIC TO ORIGINAL

Paul McCartney: As big a no-brainer as they come, Macca will easily put on one of the best sets of the festival. You'll have to sit through some solo material, but the payoff will be hearing an original Beatle roll out tunes like "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Let it Be." Friday, 7:10 p.m. on the Lands End stage.

Kurt Vile: No, he isn't stoned — Phillytown's freakiest long-hair just loves meandering guitars, daydreamy reverb, and hints of '70s album rock. Vile's latest album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, is his finest yet, making this an excellent time to see him live. Sunday, 2:30 p.m. on the Sutro stage.

POP, FROM BEDROOM/ELECTRONIC TO MAINSTREAM

Hall & Oates: We aren't being ironic, and you won't be either when the synth lines that open "Private Eyes" tumble out into Golden Gate Park. Hall & Oates admittedly deal in a brand of hypermelodic '80s pop that now sounds a little cheesy. But they're so good that it can't help but be enjoyed sincerely. Sunday, 4:20 p.m. on the Lands End stage.

Jessie Ware: You may know Jessie Ware's smoky, melancholic voice from her work with SBTRKT. Even if you don't, check her out — the British singer makes sultry, hyper-modern electronic pop, with beats as subtly captivating as her voice. Friday, 3:25 p.m. on the Sutro stage.

FOLK/COUNTRY/AMERICANA, FROM INVETERATE TO CONTEMPORARY

Willie Nelson: Even at age 80, Willie's still got all the qualities that make him a legend: A huge catalog of classic songs, a generous demeanor, and a whip-tight band. Spark a joint and do your country-hippie godfather proud. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. on the Sutro stage.

Thao Nguyen: San Francisco folk-rocker Thao Nguyen is a local luminary. Her album We the Common won acclaim from just about everywhere for its taut production and brave, socially aware songwriting. Thankfully Thao is as tuneful as she is smart. Saturday, 4:40 p.m. on the Sutro stage.

DANCE/ELECTRONIC MUSIC, FROM SAMPLE-BASED TO LIVE

A-Trak: Alain Macklovitch was a DJ prodigy long before he became Kanye West's touring selecter and a dance-music celeb in his own right. A co-founder of L.A.'s iconic Fool's Gold Records, the man known as A-Trak is as accomplished as DJs come. Sunday, 5:10 p.m. on the Twin Peaks stage.

Chromatics: Chromatics' blend of spare beats, icy synths, and breathy vocals isn't rare these days, but it is uncommon for a group to meld those elements as tastefully — and beautifully — as this Portland outfit. Given the success of the dance-pop group, it's strange to recall that it once specialized in noisy, punk-indebted rock. Friday, 7:50 p.m. on the Panhandle stage.

ROCK (MODERN), FROM BRAINY TO AGGRESSIVE

Vampire Weekend: If it was once possible to write off the young kings of New York prep-rock as ultra-coiffed hype beneficiaries, that time is over. Vampire Weekend's latest album, Modern Vampires of the City, is a masterpiece, full of yearning harmonies, devastating lyrics, and sonic cues taken from all over the pop-rock map. Sunday, 5 p.m. on the Lands End stage.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Still among the finest purveyors of new-millennium New York rock, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have only gotten darker and weirder as the years have gone on. New album Mosquito doesn't quite have the ruthless kick of earlier work, but Karen O's notorious onstage antics will help remedy that. Saturday, 6:30 p.m. on the Lands End stage.

Nine Inch Nails: The vehicle Trent Reznor used to bring industrial music to the '90s rock mainstream is back, and in fine form. Come to hear alt-era classics like "Closer" and "Head Like a Hole," but stay for "Came Back Haunted" and other previews of the new album, Hesitation Marks, which is out Sept. 3. Saturday, 8:25 p.m. on the Lands End stage.

The Men: Burly, chaotic, primitive, and very loud rock is the specialty of this Brooklyn outfit. The Men are somewhat notorious for their bruising live shows, but the songs are good enough to make them worth checking out. Friday, 3:05 p.m. on the Panhandle stage.

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Ian S. Port

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