Outside Lands 2013 – Day 3 Outside Lands 2013 – Day 3

Words by Aaron Levine, Photos by Ben Irwin

Outside Lands 2013 Coverage:
Outside Lands Day 1 Photos and Review
Outside Lands Day 2 Photos and Review
Outside Lands Day 3 Photos and Review

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DEAP VALLY

As we approached the stage where Deap Vally was playing, my friend Bill, who knew nothing of the band other than that they can’t spell for shit, said, “Oh, they’re like an all-female White Stripes—I can get behind that.” That’s a fair description, although the blues-rock rippers don’t have Jack White’s virtuosity.

The guitar parts are basic and elementary, primal and heavy on distortion, although singer and guitarist Lindsey Troy does occasionally do some interesting guitar work during her short solos. The drumming is to the point and propels their songs forward just like it should.

Troy’s voice alternates between pretty and gravelly, with a bourbon-soaked, cigarette-strained affect. She uses it to belt out numbers such as the crowd-pleasing, sex-positive feminist anthem “Walk of Shame” (spoiler: they’re cool with the sex, but seem to be incapable of shame). I was heart broken to learn that the girls in Deap Vally have better things to do than have breakfast with me, which is the real goddamned shame.

TROMBONE SHORTY

I’ll be the first to admit that I have more of a soft spot for New Orleans jazz than most people, but Trombone Shorty’s set (along with Willie Nelson’s) was the most fun I had all weekend.

Trombone Shorty, who despite being only 27 years old, has been a band leader for over 20 years. Take a minute and google “Trombone Shorty and Bo Diddley” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. His experience shows. He leads the shit out his band, like an orchestra conductor. And the whole band can really, really play.

Shorty, formally known as Troy Andrews, is not only a talented trombone player, but is also a terrific trumpet player, and has a great voice that he ought to use more.

In addition to playing a full complement of his own songs, Shorty also played covers of Green Day’s “Brain Stew,” and 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” Shorty’s trombone replaces the vocals in his funky, heavy version of “Brain Stew.” The highlight of the set may have come towards the end of this cover, as the baritone sax player tore through a solo that is best described as an atonal seizure — in a good way — before pantomiming stumbling off stage with what appeared to be genuine near-exhaustion.

Shorty’s whole show is one big freak-out to shake your ass to. Check it out every chance you get.

THE GRAVEL SPREADERS

Who knows what the hell is going on with the Gravel Spreaders? I discovered these guys in a little makeshift pavilion called “Dr. Flotsam’s Hellbrew Revue” while walking through the woods to the stages at Hellman Hollow.

The members of the band all look like face-painted, Depression-era, dirt farmer demons, and play blue-grassy versions of pop songs while leading the crowd through dusty approximations of square dancing.

In the 10 minutes that they held my attention, they performed Jane’s Addiction’s “Been Caught Stealin’” and Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” The Gravel Spreaders are a good, fun, band, and if it weren’t for the prospect of King Tuff playing 50 yards away, the novelty wouldn’t have worn off so quickly.

HALL AND OATES

I don’t get the recent Hall and Oates revival. It’s like a mass delusion that not only forgets that Hall and Oates sucked in the 80’s, but also ignores that they continue to go on sucking today.

Sure, their voices are pretty, and the saxophone parts are pretty bitching, but Hall and Oates are just no good. The synths are annoying, the lyrics are saccharine, and without Oates’s mustache, there’s really nothing to get excited about anymore. Pretty soon, another generation of music fans will try to figure out what the hell they were thinking when they decided they liked Hall and Oates, just as generations of music fans have done before.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND

“Meandering dogshit!” – Pinpoint Editor, Big Ben

Don’t argue with your boss.

WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY

Willie Nelson doesn’t fuck around. Even at 80 years old, Willie is so fired up to play that he took the stage 10 minutes early.

I could go on gushing about his set all day, but this portion of the set list ought to speak for itself: “Whisky River,” “Good-Hearted Woman,” “Nightlife,” “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “On the Road Again,” “Always on my Mind,” Hank Williams’s “Move it on Over,” “Georgia on my Mind,” “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” and “I Saw the Light.”

Willie, who was joined on stage by Bob Weir for a couple songs, played one of the best, most exuberant sets of the festival. He hasn’t lost a step over the course of his 60-plus-year career. Don’t sell Willie short because he’s 80, or because he’s country: the man is a national treasure.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

It really bums me out that music I grew up with is starting to show up on classic rock stations. RHCP were one of the first bands I noticed this with. It’s not their fault, but it’s I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that they are essentially a legacy act at this point, and one where Flea keeps his clothes on. Consistent with this, Anthony Kiedis joked that he was leasing John Oates’s mustache, but it was the kind of joke that’s funny because it’s mostly true.

Nonetheless, RHCP put on an energetic set, including hits like “Californication,” “Under the Bridge,” and “Dani California,” in addition to one of my favorites, their cover of “Higher Ground.” “Under the Bridge” prompted a sing-a-long, with a surprisingly big cheer for the “City of Angels” lyric, indicating that a lot of festival-goers must be making the trip up from Southern California.

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ funky, nostalgic performance was a fitting end to a musically diverse and impressive festival weekend.

Other artists of OSL 2013 – Day 1:

Kurt Vile and the Violators

The Head and the Heart



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