If Lollapalooza is the Betty to Coachella’s Veronica, Outside Lands could very well be the Eli Manning to their New England Patriots. This year’s Outside Lands lineup is arguably the best of the fests, where perennial headliners like Jack White and Foo Fighters don’t fit the last-set-of-the-night criteria of being rock gods for a minimum of 30 years. Tonight, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, tomorrow, Metallica, and Sunday, Stevie Wonder, not to mention the Food and Wine Festival going on in conjuction with the music. Join me for the third leg of the music festival Triple Crown.
11 am – It’s the summer and it’s 50 degrees in San Francisco. Everyone is dressed like they’re on Deadliest Catch.
11:15 am – The line to get into the festival.
11:30 am – San Francisco is so hipster, the leaves on the trees grow plaid. The streets are overrun with skinny-capri’d youth just blindly walking around in circles because they’re already over everything around them. The group standing next to me are already talking about how cool the bands are playing Outside Lands 2016.
12:10 pm – White Denim – horrible fashion choice, awesome hard-driving, boozy rock band. Allman Brothers guitars in button-down shirts. Frenetic and laid-back at the same time, like when Jesse got hooked on speed in that one episode of Saved By The Bell. “I’m so excited! I’m so scared!”
12:20 pm – For Nico’s sake, their service better suck.
12:56 pm – At Outside Lands you will eat better than you normally do. Gourmet funnel cakes with fun. Waffles with Wallpaper! Skillets with Skrillex! Pheasant under glass with a white truffle reduction with the Foo Fighters! (Because Dave Grohl has a very particular palette.)
1:00 pm – Quintessential California rockers, PAPA, who are probably playing in the background at some point during every TV show Josh Schwartz has ever made. Everyone in the crowd is very upset The O.C. is off the air.
1:20 pm – Randomly walked by the StubHub tent to catch an intimate set with Tennis. Lilting, wispy, pixie vocals with accompaniments like a Hawaiian sunset.
1:40 pm – Sharon Van Etten – everything about her music is cool. Her voice is subtly sultry, haunting, and powerful. She’d be who Claire Danes grew up to be on My So Called Life.
2 pm – Yup.
2:40 pm – Ah, how do you describe comedian/beatboxer/lyricist/Counting Crows hairdo aficionado Reggie Watts? Amazeballs. He makes up all his songs as he goes along. Multi-genre stream of conscious comedy. Huge crowd. No idea how to get through the crowd to get to Jukebox The Ghost.
3:20 pm – New York indie-pop trio Jukebox The Ghost. Probably the catchiest songs I’ve heard at the fest. Very Billy Joel-like melodies, summers at the boardwalk mentalities. Like Hall and Oates, They Might Be Giants, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (they both cover Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”) and old-school Barenaked Ladies and Blues Traveler? You’ll love these guys. It’s like a Vampire Weekend but you don’t hate them. Check out their video for their fantastic song “Somebody.” No one is having more fun than they are right now.
3:50 pm – Caught Fitz and the Tantrums covering “Sweet Dreams” on the way to the press tent for a Reggie
Watts press conference.
4:00 pm – It’s Ranger Dave! The Outside Lands mascot! (Don’t know if he’s being paid by the festival to dress up as the mascot or if he’s just batshit crazy/on mushrooms. Either way it makes for great pictures.)
4:30 pm – People just got the memo.
4:40 pm – So many people for Beck, the set would be over if you tried to walk from the first person in the crowd to the last. Beck live is like, well, Beck live. If you’re not a Beck fan, see him in concert. You’ll get it. And he’s playing “Loser,” even after 20 years, he’s still getting crazy with the Cheese Whiz. Over 75% of the crowd at Outside Lands are younger than that song.
5:30 pm – Die Antwoord, South African hardcore “Zeff-style” rock/rap trio. Still have no idea if it’s real or the band is joking the audience.
All I know is that from their first Internet sensation video “Enter The Ninja” to now, they’ve crafted some ridiculously good songs with crazy beats. Yo-landi Vi$$er is a mix of Lil Kim, the Chippettes, and Hellraiser.
Ninja raps in Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon boxers.
According to DJ Hi Tek in the very first song, he’ll fuck you in the ass you punk ass white boy. “I Rub My Dick On Expensive Shit” is another great song. And inspiring, I just rub my dick on everything in IKEA.
This girl is a huge fan. And has probably won more knife fights than you.
Whoops. That might leave a mark.
6:30 pm – Foo Fighters from the press tent. Still bizarre that they’re not headlining. Dave Grohl could walk out, fart on a napkin, and walk away and I would still consider it one of the top 5 concerts I’ve seen. The dude’s a showman.
7:00 pm – It’s summer. It’s California, and I can see my breath. WTF.
8:00 pm – Neil Young and Crazy Horse from the press tent. A lot (more) sex and drugs amongst San Fran’s youth tonight because all of their parents are here.
8:40 pm – Neil Young has spent the last twenty minutes playing the same note over and over again. Not sure if this is intentional or if the band is having a stroke.