For all the songs by Future about abusing painkillers and depressants, his Saturday Outside Lands performance was so high-energy and cleanly executed that the Atlanta rapper either has to be lying (because who wants to hear an album about gym reps and green juice?), or he simply has superhuman stamina.
Though booked at the same time as headliner Florence + the Machine, Future's set at the Twin Peaks stage packed just as large of a crowd, if not bigger. Future wasted no time getting to his hits, getting the crowd jumping with his triumphant hook on Ace Hood's "Bugatti." He then quickly shifted gears to "Thought It Was a Drought," the ode to fast money and prescription cough syrup, with thousands singing along to the infamous line about infidelity in Gucci flip-flops.
While more novice rappers often over-rely on vocal backing tracks and yell into the mic, Future's voice sounded rich and full throughout his 75-minute set. Future is a pioneer of the contemporary trap style currently ruling radio, and listeners often associate him with Autotune. But in reality, his unique delivery comes from his lilting inflection and vocal range, projected from the diaphragm like someone who really knows how to sing.
Future's set was the highpoint of day two of Outside Lands, which felt somewhat lackluster between Friday's exhilarating opening day and Sunday's stacked bill of Janet Jackson, Janelle Monae, The Internet and James Blake. Saturday's heavy hitters included indie rock and pop stalwarts Bon Iver and CHVRCHES, who've both been fixtures of festival lineups for years. Their sets harked back to the old guard of Outside Lands, when white and mostly male musicians dominated the lineup.
There were a couple other disappointments: the schedule didn't emphasize that Jamie xx, the producer, vocalist and guitarist from The xx, would play a DJ set during the day's penultimate time slot; audience members murmured in confusion, having expected a live show. And "Crew" rapper Goldlink canceled his set due to travel issues. (San Francisco rapper Berner filled the slot at short notice, however, with a fun performance bursting with Bay Area pride.)
All of which set the conditions for Future to jolt the audience awake from the low-key afternoon. With his bold stage presence and expert command of the mic, Future focused the majority of his set on songs from DS2, the album that elevated him from cult artist to rap's favorite antihero. Washes of pink and blue projected on the screen as Future commanded the stage from a tunnel-like cylinder with light projections that looked like slime-green lightning.
Though Future's current fame and wealth is far removed from the trap houses he once knew, he's stayed stubbornly consistent in his lyrical content over the years—and that's because fans want lean-sipping Future, the Future of drug abuse, risky sex and depression. During "Stick Talk," the mostly white and affluent crowd shouted along like they were right alongside him in the trenches.
Lizzo Took Outside Lands to the Church of Girl Power and Self-Love
Minneapolis singer Lizzo brings a gospel delivery to twerk-worthy trap beats, and on the Lands End stage on Saturday, she preached a message of self-love and acceptance. Dressed in a flouncy tulle leotard, she reminded audience members of their personal power between tracks: "You should hire me as your motivational speaker," she implored jokingly, "I'll wake up and pop out of the closet like, 'Good morning, bitch! You're beautiful!"
During her closing song, "Good As Hell," she busted out a bottle of Patrón during the line "All the big fights, long nights / That you've been through / I got a bottle of tequila / That I've been savin' for you." Lizzo is like a best friend who always understands—it's no wonder her words resonate with a generation of women attempting to break free from old standards of beauty and sexual purity, and trying to embrace the messiness that makes them unique.
SOB x RBE Brought Vallejo Out to Golden Gate Park
Along with Lizzo and Future, SOB x RBE, the boisterous Vallejo rap group, were one of Saturday's emotional high points. Similarly to Caleborate the day before, they brought out an enthusiastic hometown crowd that sang along to every word of breakout hits "Anti" and "Lane Switching," as well as deeper cuts like the Eazy-E–sampling "Calvin Cambridge."
While the four-piece was mesmerizing with their aggressive flows, spat at a rapid clip, their set turned into a real party when Nef the Pharaoh turned up to perform his "Bling Blaow" featuring SOB's Slimmy B. The crew also brought out Lil Sheik and a posse of hype men, who all turned up with the audience, visibly ecstatic to go from Vallejo's underground scene to the big stage.
More photos below.
Correction: This article originally mentioned that Father John Misty was on Saturday's Outside Lands lineup, when he actually performed on Friday Aug. 10.