live music

Outside Lands, two weeks later

A little late to the party with this post, because it turns out August is a busy month! And September will be even more busy! A good problem to have, I suppose. Anyway, here are some thoughts on OSL2015:

Choco Lands: Melted chocolate in a cup. I had it. Euphoria ensued.

ChocoLandsFood: I really do give kudos to OSL for having a huge variety of food options, especially during a time when I was experimenting with cutting down on gluten (yes, I was one of those people). Luckily, San Francisco loves been gluten-free, so I had no problem eating stuff like teriyaki chicken, tamales, and a bomb-diggity baked potato. Update: I kind of failed at the new diet, but I do think that while it lasted, it made me more alert and less headachey. Now I’m back to being sleepy and headachey, I guess.

D’Angelo: Fun fact: I’ve yelled “VANGUAAAARD!” more times at D’Angelo shows than at DCI shows (bring it back, Vanguard!). Seriously though, D was incredible. His band—they’re called The Vanguard, in case you didn’t know—is SO GOOD. The highlight of the show was the band killin’em on “Sugah Daddy,” taking cues from D’Angelo a la James Brown: he’d hold up one finger for one hit, two fingers for two hits, etc. At the end he went “forty-seven and a half!” and they knocked out forty-seven and a half perfect hits in unison. It looked like they were all having so much fun, which in turn pumped up the crowd even more. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the weekend…all those suckafishes at Mumford & Sons don’t know what they missed. Looks like after this show and the one in Amsterdam, I am now officially a D’Liever.

EltonElton John: Elton’s sparkly jacket said it all: “FANTASTIC.” By Sunday night, I feel like all of the obnoxious scantily-clad teenagers had left and there was not one person around me who I wanted to punch in the face (which is an aggressive way of saying I really enjoyed the crowd). We were in a great spot too, not too packed in, but still close enough to see. Danced and sang along to pretty much every Elton classic you can think of (except “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” sadly). What can I say, the man’s still got it, and impressively so. I also appreciate the amount of camera time his auxiliary percussionist got; I’m so glad his excellent tambourine technique didn’t go unnoticed! My favorite part was when someone in the crowd released an astronaut balloon and it floated away into the sky as Elton sang “Rocketman.” A great ending to the festival.

Kendrick Lamar: Spent the few minutes before Kendrick checking DCI scores (crazy finals night win by BD!). Maybe that should’ve been an indicator, but I spent the next 45 minutes feeling very out of place. Can’t deny Kendrick’s insane talent and ability to hype up a crowd, but it was too intense for me. He played at the Twin Peaks Stage, which is narrow and tiny compared to the main Lands End Stage. I was getting pretty claustrophobic and anxious, so halfway through the set we decided to head out, and spent 10 minutes pushing through an endless swarm of people just to get some breathing space. Wish I could’ve stayed for the whole thing but if I had, I probably would’ve had a meltdown.

Libations: I had zero alcohol at the festival because even one glass of wine would make me have to pee continuously for an hour, and have you seen the line for the porta-potties?? The lemonade was good, though.

A bunch of Mac DeMarco fans looking like Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco: Mac’s show was entertaining, even without the rampant crowd surfing and Top Gun theme (some of my favorite parts from last year’s Fillmore show). I like Mac because he and his band seem like a bunch of chill, goofy dudes you’d hang out with in high school or college, who happen to make really cool music. They also play a mean Steely Dan cover.

St. Vincent: You know that “hearts-for-eyes” emoji? That’s how I felt throughout St. Vincent’s entire performance. I am in awe of her music and her badassery. And I love the “show” part of her show: the dance moves, funky outfits, and choreography. I hope I get to see her in concert again sometime.

Totems: By “totems” I mean the the inflatables and hand-crafted signs that are all over music festivals, used so that groups don’t lose their friends when they go to the bathroom or get beer. Good ones included a unicorn head, an extremely realistic looking baby doll, and a giant picture of Jeff Goldblum.

Weather: Unexpectedly nice on Friday. Foggy and cold the rest of the time, but you’ll be proud to know that I wasn’t even mad about it. Probably because I was rocking my “I Like Cats” sweatshirt just like all the other San Francisco hipsters with cat-related clothing.

Wristbands: Scratchy.

In addition to the acts mentioned above, I caught pieces of First Aid Kit (they love Gram & Emmylou, so I love them), Nate Reuss (from fun. and the Format), Wilco, and Tame Impala. Missed Mumford & Sons, Sam Smith, and Billy Idol, and I’m totally ok with that. In fact, I left OSL this year feeling much more satisfied than last time. Maybe it was because I was just better prepared, and also because I could walk to and from the festival instead of dealing with a cluster of MUNIs and Ubers and Lyfts. But mostly I think it’s because I got to see everyone I wanted to see (and more), and they were all awesome. My one regret is not going early enough on Sunday to catch St. Paul & the Broken Bones. Those guys are amazing, just from what I’ve seen on video, and I really really hope I can catch their live show soon.

Ugh, so good. SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC OUT THERE.

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