I am so incredibly lucky to have an amazingly laid back festival in my backyard every year. I walk 15 minutes to Golden Gate Park and every year I have the time of my life listening to live music for 3 days straight!
Don’t get me wrong the headliners were epic, but I was almost more excited for the little guys earlier in the day. Those shows tend to be less crowded and the artists give off a lot of their personality. Some of you who also follow me on Facebook may have seen my updates from Outside Lands, but here’s a more in depth highlight of what went down.
I was running a little late Friday AM so when I got to the festival, Whitney had played a few songs by the time I arrived, though I could hear them since Sutro stage was close to the check in gate. I don’t think they played Dave’s Song (which is my favorite) but they played basically their whole album. This is still my album of the year.
I’ve seen these guys a few times and every time they come to town they bring it. They are filled with so much energy and passion I am always in shock. Yannis of course crowd surfed which is always a crowd pleaser. Lucky for my friend, she got to meet all the members (but two) exploring the festival grounds.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats:
I knew they were going to be amazing live! Their style and tightness as a band is incredibly unique. They got the crowd moving. Thank you to Nathaniel for using his soap box to make sure that hate doesn’t win this year.
We’re so lucky in SF that we have such a strong music scene (though some people will say its dead). Outside Lands is notorious for bringing in those local bands to the festival circuit. In high school I was introduced to Rogue Wave (from Oakland) so high school me was pretty stoked to be seeing them. But when they brought out Mike Deni from Geographer (shout out to #teamgeographer) to sing “Ocean” as well as play some drums young adult me was pretty stoked! That was such a pleasant surprise!
Where to even begin with Kevin Morby! His music speaks to me not only because he is a blonde Bob Dylan, but because we are both tantalized souls. He was not much for talking, playing almost the entire set without banter, but he really brought the psych rock vibe to the Panhandle stage. Experiencing Harlem River live, and I mean truly experiencing it as it flowed from his being to mine, was life changing. 9+ minutes of a literal musical journey front row with Kevin is unlike anything I could have ever imagined. Plus shout out to his female bassist. What. A. Boss.
I’ve seen the Lord before and yup they certainly brought it again! Having played their first gig 6 years ago to the day, this day was super special not just for us but also for them. Folk infused rock with the Lord is definitely the way I want to spend all afternoons in the park.
The Last Shadow Puppets:
This was the most surprising set. I’ve listened to their new album and its good but omg its even better live. Top that off with the most objectifying commentary I will ever make and you’ve got a recipe for success. Holy shit Alex Turner is hot as fuck. I mean, you can’t come out on a Sunny Saturday in a leather Jacket, white tee and tight ass jeans and not get my engine revving. Then play me music and cover Bowie. Someone please get me a cigarette (and I don’t even smoke).
The Oh Hellos:
This band, comprised of the Texan sibling duos, was such a good way to start the day off Their amazing stage presence was undeniable as they opened up with so much energy. Their rich harmonies and deep lyrics were just what I needed in the morning.
The Muppets Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem:
I had to seriously convince friends to see them with me, but I think it’s safe to say that they are glad I did! One of my favorite bars in the city is called Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem so I for sure was not missing this set. How often do puppets tour at a music festival. Not to mention, these puppets have some serious roots in the San Francisco culture. Top it off with some amazing covers (The Mowglis, Beatles and Edward Sharpe to name a few) and a live choir from Oakland. Mind blown.
Amazing! Even their sound check sounded amazing. Plus, these guys are super funny and sarcastic. They made fun of third eye blind who was playing at the same time as them and the lead singer was supporting their very own merch. Also, let me just mention that their drummer is a friggin’ beast and totally mesmerizing. He may or may not have been on coke (that’s how intense he was).
Let me just start by saying I have not missed a single show these guys have played in SF since I heard about them. Their set time conflicted with Major Lazer but I made the executive decision (against my friends judgement) to go to Rufus because well, they are Australian and well, Australia lol. I was front and center the whole time, met new friends and danced by butt off! I turned around and they had drawn quite the crowd. I can’t wait to see them again in November.
I was honestly about ready to end my day at this point, but Ryan Adams is so soothing I decided that it would be a nice “come down”. Plus, the alternative was continuing on with Major Lazer and honestly, I wasn’t sure I could party that hard anymore. Aside from the crowd being small and the vibe being chill, the best part was the Outside Lands original he played making fun of Major Lazer. I mean, he sang it on the spot and it was pretty legit!