Our fearless correspondents Andrew Dalton, Katie Baker, and Ramona Emerson are back at the Outside Lands music festival today, because they are tough as hell. You can follow their live updates on twitter @SFAppealOL or by keeping an eye on our homepage, where we’ve got a widget going of their and others’ (@ us @sfappeal to add your feed) tweets from the show.
You can read their wrapups from Saturday below, and check out Andrew’s photo gallery (above) for some selected shots from the day.
Crowd & Logistics:
There seemed to be a lot of people there, but it never felt very crowded until the very end when people started getting grumpy. The only person I saw relieving themselves in the bushes was some old guy in the VIP area, so I think he was just trying to keep the spirit of Jerry alive. I couldn’t pick out a majority of any major subculture either: deadheads to burners to cougars to otters to hipsters to hot topicers all seemed to have properly apportioned populations… something something San Francisco something melting pot.
Anyway, I did have one awkward generation-gap moment when I headed towards the Lands End Stage to get a photo of deadhead catnip band Further and I realized literally everyone under 30 was headed in the opposite direction.
I ate a surprising amount of free food because PR people apparently figured out a long time ago that if you put nice food in the press tent, media people will tweet about it all afternoon. We had ceviche from a certain local seafood restaurant chain at one point and it was delicious. Finger sandwiches abound, and the beer and wine didn’t hurt either. I think Katie bought a sausage.
I never felt like I was missing something and I never felt rushed, but that might be because I only wanted to check out half the bands. Dawes was a pleasure to start us off early and I think the Panhandle stage might actually be my favorite spot*.
This was the second time I’ve seen Gogol Bordello in the park and it is impossible for them to have a bad show. After hearing he and his band put on a legendary show at The Independent Friday night, I was kind of excited to see Levon Helm, but the band seemed more suited to a Hardly Strictly Bluegrass type crowd. (I did enjoy their take on Long Black Veil though.)
My Morning Jacket got heads nodding and I think frontman Jim James wins the award for Artist Who Looks the Most Like a Puppy. Speaking of puppies, Cat Power was pretty great too, working through a mix of originals and almost completely rebuilt covers.
The thing about the Panhandle Stage was, of course, a metaphor for my choice of neighborhood (the stage’s namesake) which (like the stage) lines up socially and geographically between polar opposites: The Strokes (a Mission jukebox) and Further (the rest of the city). It seemed odd to schedule these two bands to end at the same time, but it makes sense, actually: Further needs the time to noodle on while The Strokes built up a shorter set and powered through.
I powered through too, and enjoyed the fact that I could walk home.
In many ways Outside Lands is the quintessential San Francisco music festival. This is not only because there was a farmers market smack in the middle of the tents and Nazi-like attendants surveying recycling areas, but because the acts and the people who come to see them are as segregated as SF neighborhoods. When else would a Phil Lesh fan, a Strokes fan, and a Bassnectar fan even be in the same room?
Although I fit into none of those categories, particularly (note to concert organizers: you need to be a very special person to want to dance your heart out to techno before 5pm) I had a great time on Saturday. I loved Dawes’ soulful Americana twang, Gogol Bordello’s beats, Cat Power provided a nice breather for Ramona and me to sit on a grassy knoll and talk about our feelings, and The Strokes were way more fun than I had expected (not that I don’t like The Strokes, I just don’t think I’ve thought about them since High School).
I can’t wait to see Edward Sharpe, Phoenix, Chromeo, and more Sunday!
Things I learned:
1. The VIP section is lame, but if you want to sneak in just stride in with purpose.
2. You can subsist solely on the refreshments from the Chase lounge. Srsly, I’m thinking about switching banks, those guys are my new best friends.
3.San Francisco really lends itself well to music festivals because there is nothing our city residents love more – regardless of whether one is an aging hippie or pseudo indie kid- than dressing up and running around a park in the fog while slightly drunk.
It might be about time for the backlash against the backlash against Outside Lands. This event was never billed as Cirque du Soleil, MTV Unplugged or the second coming of Jesus. It’s a large outdoor music festival and therefore has live music (some that you like and some that you don’t) good overpriced food (I would recommend the chicken apple sausage from somewhere), a lot of young people (some who are idiots and some not) a general sense of eco-consciousness (witness the 12-year-olds gathering plastic cups for money) and it’s all in a lovely field in the middle of Golden Gate Park.
The weather is whatever, but as Katie said, “It’s not about the weather,” which is true. I personally prefer a nice cool field to a blistering hot dust bowl, but that’s my northern upbringing talking, and it should probably shut up now.
We arrived around noon to get our passes, and I was hoping to get in quickly to see Freelance Whales, that idea was abandoned when we saw that the media check-in line was literally 4 times as long as the other will-call lines, which makes you wonder, when everyone is media, what happens to people who stand in media check-in lines? Answer: they turn into assholes who think they work at Rolling Stone (okay that’s only me).
Saw Katie’s friends’ band Dawes on the little stage in Speedway Meadows. They were good, kind of Americana/alt country style and playing their hearts out to a mid-size group of adoring fans (people singing along). At this point I had the revelation that being a lead singer was probably the most joyous profession imaginable.
The Chase Freedom Lounge free food and drink extravaganza was great. Sandwiches cut into bite-size pieces, and beer and wine from some company called Foggy Bridge, which seems to make wine exclusively for OSL.
Snuck (ie walked) into VIP tent and it was not all we had imagined. Just chairs, and an overpriced bar and decorations like it had been a competition on HG Design Star.
Cat Power was good, and Katie and I tried to see how long we could sit on the ground before people freaked out and trampled us (when the Strokes came on).
The Strokes were fun. We kept saying we wanted to leave, and would walk two feet and then be overcome by the urge to dance. Finally, we did leave and joined the mass of people headed out of the park.
We were passed by four 5-Fultons before deciding to hitch a ride with some 18-year-old girls from Vasalia, who definitely did not want us to ride with them, but were to polite to say so. We were on their way, and helped them find the freeway so felt we had been indispensable enough to not have to pay them.
All photos: Andrew Dalton for the Appeal