This Day 1 of Outside Lands Music Festival review will not be about Paul McCartney. Okay, well beyond the next two sentences–this overview will not be about the legendary Beatles seventy years old singer because I didn’t have to see him. After thirty minutes of his set, his sullen cheekbones and pop contrived chord progressions we’re enough for me to get the gist: the man is a legend, but I wasn’t sticking around for “Hey Jude.” By the time he mentioned the “strange smell” (come’on Paul–it’s called ‘marijuana,’ Sajay Gupta was just talking about it on CNN) I was back tracking towards the food trucks.
Because food, wine, micro-beers and the chance to catch some premiering U.K. singers at 3pm on a Friday afternoon is why I attended Day 1 of Outside Lands. With The Heavy and Jessie Ware, fans were treated to a taste of some bigger name bands overseas getting their footing in the U.S. It wasn’t until The Heavy played “How You Like Me Now” the title track from the film The Fighter that the crowd began to bob their heads and dance in acknowledgement “Oh these guys!” But with Jessie Ware the dispersed crowd packed closer in. Her gentle rise to popularity seemed to lift off after A$AP Rocky remixed her “Wildest Moments.” Eager fans were treated to a fun and engaging set, as the singer joked with the crowd between songs and seemed honestly excited by her warm reception. Midway through a song, a beach ball drifted increasingly closer to the stage before being directed away. “I was going to kick that shit,” Ware joked as the song concluded. “I was going to hit it on the beat too!”
Photo of Jessie Ware
Following Ware, Rhye took the stage. The smooth male (yes, male) singer sounds so much like Sade. Like the aforementioned singer, his controlled and muted projection comes across like a quiet whisper in your ear. Live, it’s truly astonishing watching a man sing in such a feminine tone.
And then I moved on to the other treat of Outside Lands: the food. From “sardine chips” served by The Rich Table, to hockey puck sized chocolate (milk or dark) peanut butter cups–Outside Lands has the best food options of any music festival in the U.S. Quickly devouring a fried chicken sandwich which coleslaw prepared by Straw Restaurant, we nibbled on Wise Sons’ pastrimi nacho, which was a deconstructed Reuben on french fries (think about that, is your mouth watering yet?).
Another perk was the noticeable minimized massive crowds, which the exception of the aforementioned Mr. McCartney’s set, fans didn’t have to wait long for food, beer or even the bathrooms (well, the bathroom lines always feel long after your fourth $8 beer).
And onwards to Day 2…