Outside Lands – Day 2 2012 Outside Lands – Day 2 2012

Words by Aaron Lavine

Photos By Paige K. Parsons, courtesy of Ice Cream Man
(http://www.parsons.org) // (http://www.icecreamman.com)

Metallica ran roughshod over the entire festival.  That needs to go right up front.  They blew the figurative roof off of Golden Gate Park.  A chronological review of Day Two of Outside Lands isn’t going to cut it here.  Thee Oh Sees need to be mentioned on top here too for their mind-warping, priapism-inducing psych/garage/punk aural assault.  The higher ups eighty-sixed my plan to dedicate 5,000 words a piece to each of these sets, but they deserve it.  Back to your regularly scheduled program:

 

PORTUGAL. THE MAN

Psych pop rockers Portugal. The Man, with a relatively newly revamped roster, were tighter and brought a whole lot more muscle than I remembered from previous shows.  What I had thought was going to be a ho-hum early set turned out to impress.  Despite that, I joined in the mass exodus to the Sutro stage to see if rising stars, The Alabama Shakes, could live up to the hype.

 

ALABAMA SHAKES

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The Alabama Shakes drew a huge crowd to the smaller Sutro stage; it seemed like a much bigger crowd than Portugal. The Man on the main stage.  It was nuts to butts crowded, even 100 yards back.  It seemed like everyone of the 65,000 festival-goers were jammed into Lindley Meadow.  I liked their set, I liked it a lot.  But I don’t think they lived up to the hype.  It wasn’t all their fault.  There were too many people for the peripheral Sutro stage, and it was hard to hear from the back half of the crowd, which happened to be especially chatty.  (Quick aside—shut the fuck up and watch the music!  Seriously.  Shut the fuck up.  Talking about the band or festival is one thing, but that shit about work/school/girlfriend/VD/curing cancer can all wait.  And while were at it, what’s with all the fucking blankets? Suck it up and stand, you’re ruining it for the rest of us.  One more thing: the flags so your friends can find you—totally out of control, there are too many of you idiots out there now.  Cut that shit out too).

 

With only one album under their belt, the Alabama Shakes just don’t have enough truly good songs to hold that sort of crowd’s attention for an entire set, and there seemed to be a substantial thinning out of the crowd by the time they finished.  Those who stuck around were treated to a strong finish as Brittany  Howard and company closed with a terrific run through of their hit “You Ain’t Alone” and a rollicking 50’s-ish growling rocker, “Heavy Chevy.”

 

BIG BOI

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Photos by Alexis Curran

After last year’s fiasco, Big Boi got things off to a good start: the DJ opened up his laptop, and it worked.  After clearing that hurdle, Big Boi treated the crowd to a fun set, full of both solo material and Outkast hits.  The sound wasn’t great, particularly towards the back of the crowd, but he had people bouncing and shaking their booties through the entire set.  He even got the too-cool white girl who was 20 years too old for her neon orange framed lensless glasses (assuming there’s an acceptable age for that look) to make it go clap like she was a Big Freedia back up dancer.  I like the way you move, sweetheart.

 
Dr. Dog
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Photos by Alexis Curran

THEE OH SEES

From the first notes of San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees psychedelic garage art punk, accompanied by lead singer/guitarist/wildman John Dwyer’s shrieking falsetto caterwauling and baritone grunting, the crowd was captivated.  Some of them were simultaneously confused, but everybody’s attention was riveted to the stage.  Thee Oh Sees don’t let their fans off easy.  Their music can be challenging.  They make the sort of music that grows and that you love more and more on each listen.  Dwyer and the rest of the band—Brigid Dawson, Mike Shoun, and Petey Dammit—might be geniuses or they might be on the lunatic fringe, or maybe even both at the same time.

 

Thee Oh Sees thrashed through their Outside Lands set, inspiring crowd-surfing and light moshing.  The band joined in the party as Dwyer, guitar in hand, picked up a Corona using only his mouth and tipped his head back to finish it off before spitting the foamy bottle out onto the stage.  He went on to later use his guitar as a bottle opener.

 

Their set was weird, wild, kick-ass and inspired.  Thee Oh Sees are one of my favorite bands, precisely because of live shows like this.  If you missed this one, they’re on the road with their new album Putrifiers II (coming out in September), go check them out.

THE KILLS
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I love the Kills.  Unfortunately, they were going up against Thee Oh Sees, so I only caught the tail end of their set.  At every festival, there are going to be some difficult decisions.  Thee Oh Sees vs. The Kills was my Sophie’s Choice for Outside Lands.  In the end, I think it worked out for the better.  My girlfriend probably would have left me if she had to stand there and listen to me talk about how drop-dead sexy singer Alison Mosshart is for an hour (she really is though).

 

METALLICA
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I’ll be honest, I don’t like Metallica all that much.  So believe me when I tell you that they fucking killed it last night.  They came out swinging, and by the end of the night, they even had the hipsters who thought they were only there ironically head-banging and stomping all over the park.

 

Metallica did not fuck around.  Fireworks! Lasers! 30 foot flames shooting up from behind the top of the stage! You could feel the heat from 200 feet away.  A heavy fog settled over the Polo Field as Metallica began to play, which occasionally combined with the smoke from the fireworks to shroud the band from view, leaving only their music to tear through the darkness.

 

Along with “Enter Sandman,” the crowd favorite was clearly the band’s encore “Seek and Destroy” off of their seminal debut album Kill ‘Em All, which had everybody singing along with the chorus.  Take a note Neil Young: it’s a festival, it isn’t just hardcore fans out there.  Deep cuts are great, but play the hits. Metallica gave the people what they wanted and sent everyone home satisfied and still singing “Seek and Destroy” a capella as they headed out to their cars.  Great end to a great day at Outside Lands.

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A special thanks to the incomparable photographer Paige K. Parsons and the always frosty Ice Cream Man. We encourage you all to check out their sites.
(http://www.parsons.org) // (http://www.icecreamman.com)



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