This weekend San Francisco hosted the first-ever Outside Lands Festival. We’re still nursing hangovers from a long summer of fests, so in our stead we sent Heather of I Am Fuel You Are Friends to take it in, and take some photos. So, take it away, Heather…
The inaugural Outside Lands Festival took over San Francisco’s rambling Golden Gate Park this weekend, with Radiohead playing the first after-dark concert ever on those historic fields. Amidst thick fog and cypress trees, they transfixed the Friday crowd in a dazzling show of lights and breathtaking sound. But logistics sometimes overwhelmed the first-time festival — like when the sound vanished for thirty interminable seconds during Radiohead’s set. Twice. How to disappear completely, indeed. Some of us worried that we had finally, tragically gone deaf after too much concertgoing, while an unruffled Radiohead continued to play nobly, joking afterwards that someone spilled beer onto the cord.
Saturday started out strong and boasted the most varied lineup, and in the span of three hours the festival was rocked by Oakland band The Coup, NYC’s Liars and Regina Spektor, Cake, and SF’s own Matt Nathanson. By Sunday the crowds were weary but the music was still full tilt. Bon Iver packed the Presidio second-stage meadows and gave a rousing, jawdropping performance. The grass was jammed with folks all the way back to the Heineken tents, and both hillsides covered with people singing along and cheering to the opening chords of “Skinny Love.”
Broken Social Scene devolved into the glorious musical orgy that we adore, with guest appearances from pretty much every Canadian indie musician in a five-state radius. Rogue Wave rocked the tiny Panhandle stage nestled in between recycle booth and voter registration center, with drummer Pat Spurgeon back to furiously rocking out the percussive backbone to their songs after his successful kindney transplant last year. By the time Wilco took the Twin Peaks stage, the sun was slipping behind the trees and the first year festival was drawing to a weary, beer-soaked, satisfying close. There are some logistical issues to be worked out for next year, but Outside Lands has the potential to totally be the destination for your next roadtrip come 2009.
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
THE FELICE BROTHERS
GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS