Day two of this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival was headlined by fog, mist and gusts of freezing wind, aka August in San Francisco. SFCritic photographer Fabian Molina and I took a divide-and-conquer approach on Saturday’s schedule to try to catch both the big shows and some of the more unique OSL experiences.
The Lands End Stage provided an incredibly solid lineup of artists including The Kooks, HAIM, Death Cab for Cutie and finally the legendary Tom Petty. Hailing from the UK, The Kooks surprised me right off the bat with their in-your-face rock that feels like a throwback to the 60s British invasion. I think HAIM surprised a few people themselves with how hard they shred. To see the unassuming sisters transform onstage into dynamos is quite the treat.
What can you say about Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers that hasn’t already been said? Sure they are getting up there in years, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them preform their massive catalogue of hits. A special moment came mid-set when they played “Friend of the Devil,” dedicating it to The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia on the 19th anniversary of his death. They ended what became a giant sing along with an extended “American Girl.” All-in-all, an incredible concert experience.
For the “thriftier” concertgoers, Macklemore dominated the Twin Peaks stage on the other side of the park. Fabian took in the show and was highly impressed at how emotional it got. During the middle of the set, there was a marriage proposal that pulled at your heartstrings, no matter who you were. But being Macklemore, he knew just how to bring the party back to the Outside Lands crowd.
Part of what makes OSL special is seeing fantastic acts with Bay Area roots come home. SF-based Tycho killed it as usual with his mellow beats and immersive visuals, the show is a must see for electronic music lovers. (We recently covered shows here and here.) I was thoroughly impressed with Bay Area natives Finish Ticket who brought high-energy rock to the Panhandle Stage and were genuinely grateful for all the love from the hometown fans. Check out their song “Tranquilize.”
Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp near the Panhandle Stage provided one of the most intimate experiences at the festival. I had the chance to see Nocona and a short set from SF-based The Brothers Comatose. Playing for a crowd of about 50 onlookers the bluegrass quintet, playing as a quartet, took requests and left the crowd hungry for their Sunday set.
Overall a very satisfying Saturday in the Park. Check out the photos by Fabian.