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Outside Lands: The Best Local Acts

Through the foggy haze of talented musicianship at Outside Lands, there are a few standout highlights that just happen to be from our wonderful Bay Area. We’re not saying that the local talent here is the only thing worth seeing, but we are saying it’s a damn good reason to go. We have an excess of artists in these parts, and we’re thankful for each and every one of them. Here are our picks for the best local bands at Outside Lands.

The Dodos: These San Francisco natives have a huge cult following. They greatly represent the indie influx we have here in the City, but their humble attitude, unique instrumental approach, and Meric Long’s self-proclaimed love for pop makes them our top choice in the way of Bay Area bands.

Zion I/AmpLive: Bringing it big and representing for the new wave of hip-hop coming out of Oakland, AmpLive is collaborating with some impressively different genres all while keeping it close to his socially conscious roots in Zion I. MC Zumbi isn’t anything to frown at either, his soul-touching, critical rhymes far surpass any of his peers today.

Street Sweeper Social Club: We may not be able to claim Tom Morello as our own, but we do have close ties to The Coup’s, Boots Riley. Hailing from Oakland, Boots Riley’s take on political hip-hop prevalent in the early 90s is still very much alive in his latest band installment.

John Vanderslice: Quite possibly one of the very founders of the SF indie scene, Mr. Vanderslice does it all. From constantly recording to producing and promoting local break-throughs, this guy never stops. For all that he’s done for music and artists in the San Francisco community, John Vanderslice is one of our favorite Bay Area musicians, no question about it.

The Morning Benders: Their head-bopping pop tunes have the ability to turn any frown upside down. We predict big plans for this Berkeley-based band in the future.

Groundation: This gigantic nine-piece reggae band calls Sonoma home, but has barely laid their head there in almost a decade. They’ve been constantly touring the world for almost 10 years. The result? Probably one of the most recognized American reggae bands out there. Their discussion forums are a wealth of knowledge on anything from Rastafarianism to alternative fuels. Check them all out here.

Big Light: This SF-based indie psych-rock band cites influences like Pavement and The Beatles. The timeless appeal of that 60s-70s era of rock directly applies to Big Light. We expect big things from them in the future.

Raphael Saadiq: Most famously known for his debut in Tony! Toni! Toné!, Saadiq is more than just a boy in a blues band. The Oakland native has won Grammys for producing major artists and some of his very own material on his own record label, Pookie Entertainment. Check him out for some classic rhythm and blues.

Vin Sol: This SF born and bred DJ spins at almost every big event that the City has to offer. Seemingly booked solid, Vin Sol brings the club jams to life with his approach to remixes.