Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Outside Lands 2012

Here's just a few highlights of a long, wonderful three day weekend spent in Golden Gate Park with some of the most talented artists and a crowd of bazillions.
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.
Santigold plays Outside Lands

We LOVE Santigold

Caftan Chicks
Over the course of five years running and a full three days of weather to contend with, Outside Lands has developed its own subculture as any real Festival should. These caftan ladies were a wonderful fashion shock at the Amadou & Mariam show, which had everyone dancing their asses off.

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. Amadou & Miriam @ Outside Lands
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.
Bomba Estereo @ Outside Lands
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.

Winelands
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!

Fried Chicken Sandwich & a Beer @ OLF

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.

Die Antwoord!
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.
Enter Skrillex
Apologies from Skrillex, I'm sure, to the epileptics in the audience.
Skrillex Lasers
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.
Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands
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.

Beautiful Evolution

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