What I Learned:
1. Golden Gate Park can get really dusty!
2. Even the hard-to-please media folk were rocking out to Arcade Fire at the press tent.
3. Namu’s Korean Tacos are a delicious “fuck you” to the tacos-being-trendy movement.
4. Even though there were a ton of people for her set, a lot more should know about Julieta Venegas.
5. There is no way anyone who attended all three days of the festival are going to be functional come Monday.
Quotes from OL:
“To have this festival and Treasure Island, to have them thriving along with Noisepop, it’s nice to know that we can kind of have that voice because I think we deserve it because there is so much great music here and it deserves that national voice… If Outside Lands is successful, then it reinforces what I think people on a national level should be aware of.” -Zach Rogue of Release the Sunbird
“Something really special happened and something clicked where the wine, the food, and the music came together in a way that I haven’t seen and I think that we’ve sort of hit our groove now and stamped it as a food/wine/music food festival for years to come.” -Ari Feingold, Curator for A Taste of the Bay Area and Food Truck Forest
“It’s an edible arcade of goodness. There’s unbelievable music here and so the fact that we can have all of these other great experiences framed out in this gorgeous, beautiful park on a beautiful day like today… I’ve been referring to it as a 3D experience; all the sensibilities are covered.” -Peter Eastlake, Curator for Wine Lands
“I don’t know if we’ll be back here but I hope so! I really liked it here.” -Nic Offer, of !!!
Like Jerry Springer, singing on his lofty director’s chair and administering snippets of advice, I leave you with these: if you go to Outside Lands, prepare for insanely large crowds but also insanely amazing food, beverages and music. Despite having the usual nonchalantly hipster vibe that is inherently San Francisco, Outside Lands provided a nice haven for the mainly positive aspects of our beloved Bay Area. It’s exciting to see it go from shaky attendance to a booming festival but also a little scary. Plan wisely, Outside Lands, and provide a bit better accommodations and possibly widen the space you’re in, lest your successes crush you.
Hunter Mulich, who also took all our photos from this event
An easy Sunday afternoon with zero fog and breezy tunes; the perfect way to send off Outside Lands.
The tUnE-yArDs take vocal ability to the next level. Looping and layering harmonic yodels, adding sax, percussion and a little face paint here and there to create something spectacular.
Soon after brought Mavis Staples, who has 60 years of singing experience in those soulful lungs. She had a surprise for her surprisingly small, and young, audience: Win Butler of Arcade Fire, who accompanied her through a cover of The Band’s song ”The Weight.”
During the afternoon, Major Lazer picked up the energy a bit. I mean a lot. The entire gulf of the Twin Peaks stage went up in a flame of flailing limbs. There were no lights, even their hype duo kept the theatrics mellow, just a lot of adrenaline and a steady supply of thumping bass.
That carried over to Sweden’s Little Dragon, which is the perfect way of describing front woman Yukimi Nagano. Her feisty attitude comes through her voice, and her eyes, and the way she seductively slinks across the stage. Delicious.
Soon the battle of the Canadians and every Outside Landers nightmare: Arcade Fire or Deadmau5? Arguably the heaviest of the heavy weights in their respective genre’s, the choice was clear to some, but not to all. Half way through either of their sets a good portion of both ends switched, while the more devoted could be seen contently singing, or raging, in the fronts.
Both stages offered perfect ways to end the weekend, in perfectly opposite ways. So cheers, Outside Lands, can’t wait to welcome you home next year.
While Sunday yielded, by all measures, a very stacked lineup (I saw seven bands in total), the bulk of my day was spent a) reminiscing about tUnE-YarDs – the first act I saw, and a memorable one, or b) waiting for Arcade Fire, the day’s major closer. Between those shining bookends, the most memorable event was a porchetta sandwich from Flour + Water, maybe the gradual accumulation of a sunburn.
tUnE-YarDs is not for everyone. The Oakland outfit’s frontwoman, Merrill Garbus, dishes out a serious smattering of unearthly vocalizing and her arrangements often veer strongly toward experimental, even dissonant jazz. So, I was expecting an intimate show (it was also early – 1:15). To my – and Garbus’ – surprise, an enormous crowd showed up to watch her sample, loop and stack her own voice, percussion and ukelele work into the stratosphere. “This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever got at a festival,” she beamed. I predict still greater masses in this singularly talented act’s future.
The remainder of the afternoon paled in comparison. !!! supplied the same old hookless dance marathons; Ty Segall delivered a series of two minute thrashers in a fun but stubbornly adolescent garagexcore performance. By the time Major Lazer’s music reached me (I was extremely far back; not my choice – the crowds were insane) it had lost all contours. Treble dissipated somewhere en route, and I received only a soupy bass pulse, accompanied by silly crowd-rousing antics. I feel I should reserve judgment, considering my non-ideal listening circumstances. Still, where I was standing (and a lot of people were stationed further back than me) the word “awful” seriously applies.
Thankfully, Arcade Fire emerged as the day’s saving grace. The band’s repertoire has by now become so strong, their live shows contain no filler – every song is a mass sing-along, or call-and-response. They covered just about everything, from Funeral’s “Neighborhood #1” (the realization that this song has been part of my indie consciousness for 7 years was startling) to The Suburbs’ “Sprawl II,” a disco-ey standout allowing Régine Chassagne to do her best Blondie impression and act silly in general. Arcade Fire is in so many ways the indie band that could – one of the few from the days when “indie” was thought to be a genre in itself that has survived long enough to mature into a stage as enormous as this one.
Then I, part of a solid mass of bodies, found myself spilt into an off-the-path wooded area, which I climbed through and out onto Lincoln Way.