In case you missed the memo, TikTok has been crushing it lately. After capturing Americans’ attention with viral dance crazes, comedic memes, how-to clips and straight-to-camera rants—the vertical video streaming platform is giving Instagram a run for their money.
Musicians have also gone TikTok crazy over the past couple of years. And that includes many scheduled to take the stage at Outside Lands.
Many performers use the platform in the most basic way—sharing clips of music videos, live performances and pulling back the curtain on life backstage. But a handful of artists on this year’s lineup are true TikTok prodigies. Some have mastered the art of turning mundane daily moments into entrancing, artful loops. Others put on clinics in sartorial savvy. Still others are just delightfully weird. And a couple have actually decided to disconnect from the platform completely.
Read on for handful of the most innovative and off-the-wall accounts to follow before heading into the foggy expanse of Golden Gate Park this weekend.
Cool, noncomittal and almost catlike in her bid for attention, Kali Uchis' TikTok is a thinly veiled lifestyle account, replete with diamond encrusted rosaries, luxury tour buses and skyline swimming pools at sunset. We see her emerging from a black SUV in a baby pink sweatsuit, silver hoops, bedazzled Jackie O sunglasses and a pair of crocs. She admires her hourglass figure in the reflection of a laundromat washing machine, feeds apple slices to a pet bunny and threatens the life of Selena Quintanilla’s killer with a pair of lethally sculpted coffin nails. Kali Uchis' appeal to vengeance is ostensibly a joke but it feels compellingly real. That is, of course, the secret to any hot girl content. Just as she says in her viral TikTok audio (repurposed in over 212,000 videos), “Um… yeah.” She takes the Twin Peaks Stage on Saturday at 8:55 p.m.
Baby Tate takes more risks. She sports duck nails encrusted with letters and rhinestones and wears wide-brimmed faux fur hats in hot pink and turquoise. Whether smoking hookah in a neon orange baseball cap or answering fan mail in her pajamas, she has the confidence to meet the lens of her iPhone camera without reserve, pretense or makeup. Baby Tate is a far more prolific content creator than most of her hot girl peerage, with over 500 posts, and her engagement is also closest to the original vision of the platform. She lip-syncs, leans into her comedic bits and delights in self-revelatory filters which perform tarot readings, answer questions like “Which Bible character are you?” and provide LGBTQ+ vibe checks (Baby Tate got an affirming 100%). She performs on the Panhandle Stage on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Jack Harlow, by contrast, is just pretty-boy nonsense. What else can be said about a username like “missionaryjack”? He films himself wearing wife-beater tank tops in bed, throws up his hands to the beat of a song just to watch his biceps flex. His lips would be perpetually pouty if only they were fuller. In one of his videos, he appears on a candlelit dinner date with an empty chair, the idea being that any one of his 5.4 million subscribers could be the lucky girl to fill it. At the center of this heartthrob-hopeful’s social media presence is the curious fact that he can’t really rap, but whatever he lacks in artistry he more than makes up for in hair product. Harlow plays the Lands End Stage on Saturday at 6:40 p.m.
The 100 Gecs’ TikTok page might just be as out there as their music, which blends blown-out distortion, cranked-up autotune and trunk-rattling bass drops with early-2000s internet aesthetics. Scrolling through their feed you’ll find a number of low-light, first-person clips which seem to exist simply to unsettle viewers. There’s a metronome slowly ticking away, the sound of its clicking becoming increasingly more distorted. Then there’s a disembodied pair of hands working in unison to crack their knuckles. Each of these posts is presented without comment, leaving the viewer to interpret the uncanny strangeness however they will. At times, the page feels more like a 15-year-old boy’s “shit-post” meme page than a social media account aimed at promoting a band. But given how the St. Louis hyperpop duo seems to prize the weird and random above all else, it’s pretty much par for the course. 100 Gecs play the Twin Peaks Stage on Sunday at 4:55 p.m.
Peter Martin, who produces bone-dry, oddball sketch comedy as Petey, is almost always good for a laugh. His simple TikTok clips—in which he plays all the characters—usually center around some kind of banal conflict. In one video, two Peteys struggle to figure out how to share a single beer. But did you know he also makes music? Petey’s music is a mixture of indie rock, punk, emo and electro pop reminiscent of the 2010s. His Spotify channel currently boasts nearly 270,000 monthly listeners, though he is poised to gain more when he plays the Sutro stage on Sunday at 1:20 p.m.
Oliver Tree Nickell (better known as just Oliver Tree) is a musician and a producer, a singer and a songwriter, a “professional scooter rider” and an Andy Kaufman-esque provocateur who thrills fans with his weird hair, eccentric fashion and on-stage fist fights. In short, his persona is ideal for TikTok, where he has 12.5 million followers. Tree’s antics—gross-out gags, reality TV spoofs and plenty of horsing around—will be familiar to fans of Adult Swim, Jackass and CollegeHumor. But long before he he popped up on Diplo’s radar or landed a major label record deal with Atlantic, Nickell was just a kid from Santa Cruz who spent his free time producing beats in between classes at San Francisco State. This weekend he returns to the Bay Area to play the Lands End Stage on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Comical, choreographed and occasionally provocative, TikTok has given us glimpses into the lives of some of the biggest names at Outside Lands. But the platform isn’t all viral dance trends and cutesy voice overs.
In early May, SZA announced she was deleting TikTok for her mental health. The Grammy Award-winning R&B singer alleged that the platform was no longer serving her and denounced internet culture more generally as “demonic.” SZA isn’t the only artist in the Outside Lands lineup with reservations about TikTok. Some of this year’s most sought-after indie acts—including Mitski, Faye Webster, Best Coast, and Rostam—have avoided the platform altogether. SZA takes the Lands End Stage on Friday at 8:55 p.m.
Nick Veronin, Blue Fay and Ximena Loeza contributed additional reporting for this story.
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