Santigold felt the love on Sunday, playing a brilliant set with two dancers, inviting folks on stage to dance and seemingly stunned by the adoration of the enormous crowd there to see her. She reminds me of a re-incarnate Donna Summer singing beloved dance music.
A&M from Mali, West Africa, had a terrific blend of Ethiopiques 60s African garage grooves and a rolling contemporary mix. They happened to play the westernmost Twin Peaks stage in Hellman Hollow, that had brief moments of sun. Very brief. Such is San Francisco's multitude of micro-climates. Even a single day of a festival can have various simultaneous weather. Whatever the temperature, Amadou & Mariam were hot, hot, hot.
As I left that show, I was drawn uncontrollably to the dance rap of the Colombian firecracker, Bomba Estereo. Not only was the singer infectious, but her band, especially the guitarist & keyboard guy (the one in the red shirt below) who rocked the keys like a South American Ira Kaplan, kept everyone delighted and dancing.
The non-stop music was leavened by relaxed moments for wine, beer, and a great array of food. Here's the Wineland tent representing a wealth of regional plonk.
A favorite local eatery called 4505 Meats was there, so I got not only my fill of their Best Burgers Ever but a really good fried chicken sandwich. They make everything from scratch, including the buns. If you see their both or truck out there, get in line people!
The theme for me this year was less classic rock and indie than dance and rave. On Friday, I was thrilled to see the South African group Die Antwoord put on a wildly fun show that not only engaged the mind, but also the funny bone, the crotch, and the ass. One of the top three shows for me at this year's Festival.
I skipped most of Stevie Wonder, who seemed preachy and working out his recent divorce & legal dramas as much as entertaining the crowd, for Skrillex. I was skeptical, and musically still am, but his 15-year old boy's wet dream of a light & laser show via Star Wars and clubland could not have been more dazzling.
Apologies from Skrillex, I'm sure, to the epileptics in the audience.
For my money (and ears) though, Sigur Ros owned the sonic night with their Saurday fog-draped show; all-encompassing Earth-sized chords, angelic vocal impressions, and cool Icelandic style. They competed on that evening with Metallica whose fireworks to our west seemed man-made and trying-too-hard when up against the supernatural, brilliant, glowing permafrost of Sigur Ros. I adore this band.
I could go on and on, and will post other memories of Outside Lands as they bubble up over the next weeks, but I'll leave you with this mural by Nate Van Dyke created during the Festival that encapsulates perfectly how I feel about this energizing musical event in Golden Gate Park. Outside Lands has had a beautiful evolution over these past five years. I'll be there next year with ears wide open.