San Francisco again brought us to the home of the music festival, with the second year of the recent super weekend, Outside Lands 2009. Set in Golden Gate Park, was the scene of three days of some of the biggest acts in current circulation. Throughout my journey, I saw old friends, made new ones, and got a few pleasant surprises along the way. Seeing as there was so much going on, I’ll give you all the highlights of my perspective whilst among the trees and thumping music rushing through them.
Upon getting there, I waiting for quite a while to get my press pass, which was interesting, because we were all supposed to have a press meeting to talk about the rules and have any questions answered regarding the festival. The biggest question was who actually attended that meeting, as all of us were there more than an hour into the first acts of the weekend.
Making my way to the press tent after a simple-at-first (but later tiring and arduous) walk, I got to catch the last few songs of Autolux, which while seemingly light music, was quite appropriate for the main stage scene. The three-piece shoe gaze band from Los Angeles wore it well, with Carla Azar being particularly entertaining to hear on the drums. They played most of their 2004 album, Future Perfect, to the delight of me and everyone else. The easiest way I can describe them, was almost to have a hypnotic trait to them.
After the set, I stumbled into the Artist Lounge to see what the entire hubbub was about. After talking to a young bearded gentleman for a few minutes, I asked if he was an artist performing today (not a stupid question, as friends of performers were in their as well), and he said “yeah, I’m in the band Silversun Pickups” with a smile. I laughed despite myself and introduced myself. I took myself back to the idea of meeting an artist, but not knowing them by face, as was the case when I spoke with Aidan from Wolfmother at Epicenter a few weeks prior.
After a few words, I returned to the press tent, only to run into the members of The Duke Spirit; a hip band from the UK that just finished a supporting tour with Incubus. A few of the band members talked with me about the state of music, and the realities of a touring band. I won’t get too specific, but sometimes the managing staff can apparently turn people away from a band that are otherwise great people and musicians. Such was the case I discovered for the publicist for Incubus. Apparently press was simply not an option for the entire band, but instead only Ben Kenney and Chris Kilmore could come out to play. I talked with them before their set about the first time I ran into them, and had a few good laughs before they had to run off to the main stage.
When the band got onstage, singer Brandon Boyd claimed to be sick, but damned if they boy can’t sing no matter what the ailment he has. Onstage with him was a bottle of wine, as he told us that the boys in the band said the best way to get over sickness is to drink it away, and drink away he did.
I really wished that the band was going to play at least a few of their unreleased songs from the latest and greatest hits album, Monuments and Melodies, but alas, it was not so. However, here’s the setlist:
- Pardon Me
- Nice to Know You
- Anna Molly
- Love Hurts
- Under My Umbrella
- Are You In?
- A Kiss to Send Us Off
- Wish You Were Here
- Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover)
The guys played the hell out of this set, even though they didn’t play everything that I wanted them to play. I still took time in-between shots to make sure I sang along to every song. Incubus is one of the bands that I know all the words to all of their songs. Yes, I’m a fanboy. Brandon Boyd’s stage presence just seems so welcoming and warm (albeit mainly for the ladies) with his mannerisms. I’m actually surprised that they didn’t play Pantomime, as it’s the definition of the man.
Friday’s heat was intense, but by the time Thievery Corporation came on at the Twin Peaks stage, it was turning into a perfect summer night. Sure Pearl Jam was going to rock the main stage, but I was in the mood to dance with the Frisco locals. While I don’t have the exact set list down, I was damn sure that the night got pumpin’ with the dance hit, Sound the Alarm.
I loved Twin Peaks stage, because it seemed to be in the perfect spot for the perfect sound. The bass had my head hurting later that night, but it was great to get the blood flowing all night. The duo brought out tons of guests to sing most of their latest album, Radio Retaliation. While not on the main stage like at Coachella, this was even better, as there was more of an intimate feel to the performance.
I felt like this was an acceptable end to my evening, with sore feet, and a long way back to where I was staying. Sure Pearl Jam was playing, but I guess I’m not as diehard as some would like for them.
I was at this point I learned what a bitch the public transportation was. After walking about 4 miles, I finally managed to catch a bus back to the SFSU campus to get a good night sleep for the next day’s festivities.
Thank you to Brett, Patti, David, and all the cool people who made it a great day. Check out the full picture gallery, and look out for day two’s review in the next couple days! Or just skip ahead to day 2 and day 3 here!
Until next time my friends,