If you did Day 1 at Outside Lands right, you may not be feeling great right now. You’re a head-pounding, filthy, tired mess, and your nose is full of dirty sand castle boogers. The soreness of walking god-knows-how-many miles is only a slight factor at this point, but it’d probably be a good idea to stretch. But after Day 1 you now know these things. They change it up a bit every year at Outside Lands, so it takes a day to get to know the best route to from the Sutro Stage to the Lands End Stage, to get scope out the best bathroom situation and to come to the decision that Day 2 should probably be a vodka day.
Friday was a fantastic day for music in Golden Gate Park, hell; it was just a fantastic day in the park, period. Any day where the sun is shining in this part of this city is a blessing and anyone who has lived near the park for any amount of time can count on one hand the number of times they’ve been able to wear short sleeves at night. Well, maybe that was just me and the bourbon. Nevertheless, the musicians, the festival, the people and the city came to play yesterday.
The Family Crest
Leon Bridges has really emerged as a soul music wunderkind over the last year and perhaps festival goers had caught on, or the fantastic fortune of time and place aided his sweet sweet voice, because I have never seen Sutro Stage so packed this early in the day. Either way the dude deserves it. He has been on heavy rotation for me leading up to Outside Lands and I couldn’t have been more anxious to get into the park to see his set. Unfortunately, transportation and people herding can add time to your precious little plans, but hearing Leon get sexy-like with his as I walked down into the meadow of the the Sutro Stage helped me get right where I needed to be.
First Aid Kit
I love the proximity of the Lands End and Sutro stages to one another. In one fell swoop I can squeeze into a port-a-pottie, grab a beer and check out First Aid Kit with ease, comfort and style. Ben told me I should check out First Aid Kit, but what he didn’t mention was how much this band brings the rock to the live stage. They still harmonize the shit out of everything, but plugged in and doing Ozzy covers is the kind of nuance that brings people to live shows and festivals like this.
Everyone agrees that George Ezra is extremely talented, and at whatever the fuck young-ass age he is, he is someone we are all excited to see and hear for years to come. My friend Baldwin made a pretty astute comparison to Paolo Nutini, who we saw last year at Outside Lands-which is not a bad thing at all, however, there was a hint of disappointment in her observation, and I don’t disagree with that feeling.
I really wanted to see the entirety of the St. Vincent set, but sometimes it’s tough to break away from a good time, and I’m kind of an optimistic lush who wants to do all the fun things. Compromises are part of the festival experience, so I was able to catch the second-half of the set, although not close enough to fully satisfy the giggly, nervous, rock & roll crush I (and every other music-dork) have on Annie Clark. What I did see was St. Vincent fully own the gigantic polo field that the Lands End Stage sits at the end of with technical guitar magic and voice to match.
D’Angelo and The Vanguard
I had been introduced to D’Angelo by jazz-nerd friends back in college when Voodoo came out; so not to sound all “I was up on this before liking D’Angelo became socially relevant,” I’ve just been listening to the dude for a long time. Brown Sugar and Voodoo are special to me, and when he emerged from his mystical soul-savant gypsy cave two years ago with his band The Vanguard, every D’Angelo event became appointment viewing for me, and I know I wasn’t the only one. Sure, D’Angelo and The Vanguard were great last night, but you could feel with each member of that crowd how special this experience was. That is what I will never forget. Just as the band took the stage, I turned to my buddy Riley next to me, and in the same way you have to say something you’re experiencing so intensely you just can’t keep inside you any longer, I shouted to him, “we’re seeing D’Angelo in Golden Gate Park right now!” That’s what I want all live music experiences to be, an expression of love you feel so hard you can’t contain it.
There is nothing I could say in words that would describe how phenomenal the musicianship was, how tight each note was, the seamlessness of each transition, the funky driving bass, the sexy spanish guitar was or what an absolute genius D’Angelo is. Just know that if you were there, whether you were feeling it the same way or not, we all witnessed something special.
Mumford and Sons
I’m admittedly not a fan of Mumford and Sons, but if the timing makes sense, why not go check out some live music; that’s why we’re here, right? Well, it kinda saddens me to have to end my Day 1 review on a negative note (yup), so at the risk of having Ben edit this out, I’ll let my friend Alli describe it for me, “they sound like The Fray fucked Coldplay.” There you go.
Mumford and Sons phot by Andrew Rowley