Author Archives: treeswingers

Outside Lands 2012: Sunday Recap

Jack Blue. (Brian Valdizno/treeswingers)

The last day of any music festival often serves a time of reflection. Looking back, one can often be perplexed how a weekend can move so fast. At the same time, we all know that our bodies were looking to the last note of Stevie Wonder’s keyboard, so that we could bike, walk or bus home and curl up in bed  and sleep.

Looking back, the 2012 edition of Outside Lands had its definite improvements. The inclusion of atypical headliners Metallica and Wonder was a major coup, while props can also be handed to the stage setups which permitted little overlap or sound clashes. The little things helped, too. Valet bike parking was a major plus, while the free shuttles did their best to minimize driving and traffic. As for the questionable goings-on, one wonders why festival organizers proceeded to place a four-story scaffolding smack dab in the the middle of views of the main stage. Crowds seemed nearly unmanageable this year, with some sets–see: Alabama Shakes–unaccessible, leaving plenty of festival-goers to channel their inner ingenuity into off-road, fence-collapsing excursions.

Can someone do something about that dust for next year?

Shortcomings aside, Outside Lands 2012 is in the books–a figment of our memories to be brought up at family dinners with grandchildren 50 years from now want to see how crazy grandma or grandpa were in their prime. “When I was your age, I ate these mushrooms just before Sigur Rós and let me tell you…”

Sunday, Outside Lands’ final episode, gave us plenty of nostalgic moments for future use. From City and Colour’s country-tinged jams in the sunlight of the Sutro Stage to Santigold’s dancers shaking their asses off, there was a moment for everyone. Also, who knows if someone like the great Stevie Wonder will ever perform in the city of San Francisco again? Now that’s special.

Here are some reviews from Sunday’s acts below the break:

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Outside Lands 2012: Saturday Recap

Where’s Waldo? (Brian Valdizno/treeswingers)

Saturday may have been the only time in the history of mankind when someone could go from sucking in the helium-powered tunes of Passion Pit to being sprayed by the froth of Metallica frontman James Hetfield within the span of an hour.

By all accounts, Day Two at Outside Land was exquisitely random– a mindfuck of genres and sounds that screwed up any chance of us piecing together a cohesive narrative. Well, shit. 

For organizers, their diverse offerings served an exact purpose: attract the most amount of people to Golden Gate Park as possible. Saturday’s crowds were a testament to that as elbow room became wrist room, health conscious San Franciscans nearly rioted due to a tofu shortage and traffic-jammed PortaPotties sent humans scurrying to relieve themselves on everything from bushes to art displays. Careful what you end up leaning against on Sunday.

Saturday’s crowds were unbearable–think, N-Judah at 5:30 after work on a Friday… during a nuclear explosion. The music, however, was a different story. Sure it was random, but quality was apparent throughout, from the early indie rock chain of Tame Impala and Portugal. the Man to the parlor crooning of Norah Jones. Geographer, decked out in all black and playing their hometown’s biggest festival for the first time were particularly impressive, drawing a huge crowd during an early set on the Twin Peaks stage.

Below are some recaps from Saturday’s performances:

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Outside Lands 2012: Friday Recap

Justice saves. (Brian Validzno/treeswingers)

Attendees had to choose wisely on the first day of Outside Lands 2012. Sure, the musical skill of indie acts like Of Monsters and Men and Andrew Bird were uncontested, but as the sunlight disappeared, people began to converge on any set that turned up the heat. Casual passersby delved into the hardcore moshing throngs at the sets of Foo Fighters and Die Antwoord just for the exercise. And the extended jam sessions of Neil Young & Crazy Horse turned the Polo Fields into an outdoor interpretative dance studio.

The main topic of texts and conversation: it was cold. At Outside Lands, temperature wasn’t measured by thermometers but the length of the line at Philz Coffee. Native San Franciscans chuckled at the hapless out-of-towners who believed the sunshine in the city weather report applied to Golden Gate Park. Not so much. The frigid wind tunnel between main stages encouraged race-walking between acts and swaddled Eskimo became the official festival outfit.

The only way to survive the chill was to huddle for warmth with the at-capacity-crowd. Solid reviews of the first four years had their effect, and for the first time, all three days of the festival were sold out in advance. Friday was already buzzing in the early afternoon and the typical after work influx in the evening signaled that this festival will be packed for the rest of the weekend.

The sold-out crowd was no more apparent than during the exodus at closing time. The two venue exits have always been mildly asphyxiating at night, but Friday some impatient attendees (read: drunk men) weren’t deterred by chain-link fences. Jacked up on Justice, men-turned-eight-year-old-boys scaled PortaPotties and hopped over to freedom while another crowd uprooted a fence and went scrambling army-style underneath. From what we saw, there were no trampling or toppled toilets but as the weekend progresses, who knows what’ll happen. So what we’re really saying is, don’t use the john at exit time.

Here is a recap of some of Friday’s acts:

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Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival 2012 Preview

We love you SF. Josh Ritter at Outside Lands 2011. (Kris Cheng/treeswingers)

After trekking from the Coachella Valley to the Columbia River Gorge, it’s nice every once in a while to roll out of bed and walk over to a festival in your own backyard. Since its inception in 2008, Outside Lands Music and Arts Fetival has been our hometown getaway, the festival where we didn’t have to worry about pitching tents or showering.

In that sense, San Francisco’s three-day affair has always been a little more relaxed. There’s plenty of time to catch a gourmet arepa before laying out on the grass to soak in the rays in the presence of Al Green–who dominated 2010–or taste wine while The Roots funk around, like last year.

Though forecasts for the weekend’s weather say sunny and 70, few promises are more fickle than the San Francisco climate, which can and will assault you with fog and wind at a moment’s notice. Jackets are a must, as are walking shoes–the journey from the Land’s End stage to Twin Peaks can take a while, and we’ve had plenty of laughs at those who’ve lost heels in Golden Gate Park’s mud.

As always, 2012′s lineup is just as eclectic as years past (after all, San Franciscans are open-minded). Metallica’s fire and brimstone are balanced by Sigur Ros’ sugar and Hopelandic. Bands like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand are revived from their late-noughties stupor, while Jack White continues his solo dealings. And don’t forget the main event on Sunday night as Stevie Wonder battles with Skrillex to close out the festival. Go easy on him, Stevie.

Here are some of the acts we’re looking forward to at 2012′s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.

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2012 Sasquatch! Music Festival: Monday

Sunsquatch. (Erin Flanagan/treeswingers)

After 420 minutes spent walking from camp ground to concert, four hours of sleep per night and a grand total of zero showers, our final day in the Gorge was certainly tinged with fatigue. For some it was less Sasqautch! and more Sasquatch, exclamation point optional.

One man knew just how to wash that tiredness right out of his hair. As we entered the festival, he was sitting fully-clothed on a fixture in a nearby pond, attracting a crowd of onlookers and some very disgruntled security personnel. He then stood up, spread his arms triumphantly, and dove backwards into the water. Exultant, he proceeded to do a lap of victory, trailed by a beleaguered doggy-paddling crowd-control employee. With this brave soul’s inspiring performance in mind, we were off toward the first band of the day.

Read our reviews from Monday below…

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