Photos And Review | Outside Lands Day Two | San Francisco

Words by: Eric Podolsky and Scott Bernstein

Images by: Joe Russo and Susan Weiand

Outside Lands - Day Two :: 08.10.13 :: Golden Gate Park :: San Francisco, CA

Full review below photo gallery!

Head here for thoughts and images from Day One.

Susan Weiand's Photos From Day Two:

Scott's Introduction:

I'm sure it's easy for Bay Area music fans to take having Outside Lands in your backyard for granted, but as someone from outside the area who attended the event for the first time last weekend I was blown away by the experience. You could tell fest organizers Another Planet and Superfly paid careful attention to every detail of the event from the power-packed lineup to the outstanding site design with interesting installations around every corner to the logistics of getting in and out - they do it "the right way." After a day of music in which I must've walked five miles between all the stages, concessions and installations, it was a treat to get out of the park around 10 p.m. each night to sleep in a comfortable bed and recharge my batteries for more of the same the next day. As a festival-goer who is beyond his camping days and not ready to shell out for the glamping/VIP options at the more rural festivals, the ability to sleep in a bed was a huge selling point.

[Photo by Joe Russo]

Outside Lands boasts four stages: two main stages, the beautiful off the beaten path Sutro Stage and the intimate, solar-powered Panhandle Stage. Both Eric and I are listing three musical highlights from each day and at least for me the decisions of which bands to feature were tough ones. Of the performances that just missed the cut for making my list of highlights, I was particularly impressed by James McCartney's Neil Young-meets-Neil Finn originals, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's hard-hitting and incredibly-infectious tunage and the massive sound (especially for a small band) of Milo Greene.

Outside Lands isn't without its faults, but in its six years those few issues remaining are mostly out of the control of the festival's organizers such as the long walks between stages (any chance of building a monorail?) that makes the decision of which band to see a major commitment. It's nearly impossible to jump around from stage-to-stage quickly, so you better be sure of your decision. Besides the music, one of the best things OSL has going for it is the food. Organizers bring a number of San Francisco's famed food trucks and vendors out to the park, giving attendees many options to choose from. Between the delicious Fried Mac & Cheese Sticks to a ridiculously good S'Mores Bar at a vendor in Choco Lands to Big Chef Tom's savory Pork Belly Burger Animal Style, I've never ate better at a music festival. All in all, Outside Lands '13 was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.

Read on for Eric and Scott's highlights from Day Two as well as Joe Russo's photos.

Joe Russo's Photos From Day Two:

Eric Podolsky's Saturday Highlights:

Nine Inch Nails – 8:25-9:55 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Susan Weiand]

Having recently resurrected Nine Inch Nails back after a four year hibernation, it wasn't entirely clear what type of show Trent Reznor would have in store for us. Did those years of movie soundtrack work take away his edge? The show began with a tense hush of just Reznor and a bare lightbulb on stage. Sonic layers and parts of the stage set were slowly added one by one, all building up to a huge drop of that trademark NIN industrial crunch, which hit that much harder due to Reznor's skillful ability to build tension. As the set went on, the music and the amazing, minimalistic light show got progressively more ferocious, and it became abundantly clear that Reznor has lost none of his soulful anguish. Delivering songs about isolation and loneliness in a mechanized world, he blew everyone away with artfully controlled and calculated anger. “Terrible Lie” featured a heavy build and frenzied, glitchy peak, while Reznor's passionate delivery in the heavy crunch of “Burn” and the punk-rock bliss-out of “Gave Up” had us feeling his pain. A “Head Like A Hole” closer whipped the crowd into a frenzied, nihilistic dance party before an encore of “Hurt” brought us all down to earth again. Reznor harbors a deep well of emotion, and his performance brought out feelings in us that don't often come out in everyday life. A truly powerful set.

Jurassic 5 – 5-6 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

When was the last time you've experienced some pure, unadulterated hip-hop? For me, I didn't realize how starved I was for it until this set of pure MC and DJ skills. J5 is a refreshingly ego-free hip-hop collective that rhymes and flows like few can these days. Trading off verses and finishing each other's lines like a true unit, these guys brought the old-school spirit, right down to a double DJ attack, scratching real vinyl. Tunes like “Concrete Schoolyard” and “Power in Numbers” brought the positive energy and infectious, effortless flow that had me bouncing like I hadn't in a long time. And no one will soon forget the epic DJ duel between Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark, which featured a scratch-off on a variety of custom-made, keytar-like turntable-guitars. It's sad that there aren't more hip-hop groups today that are as humble and fun-loving as these guys are.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 6:30-7:40 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Susan Weiand]

Parading around the stage with her face painted and dressed like a demented Joker, Karen O stole the afternoon with a set of sexual punk rock antics and a grimy, raw vocal performance. Often times screaming more than singing, her performance worked in the most rock 'n' roll way possible. The punked out club beat of “Heads Will Roll” and the fuzzy frenzy of “Date with the Night” were imbued with a fantastically sleazy, grating quality that the audience ate up. Clearly embracing the term “hot mess” with gusto, Karen O repeatedly stuck the mic in her mouth, and finished the set by sticking it down her shirt and pants. This was performance art at its finest, great entertainment from a real rock star. And the music was pretty great, too!

Read on for Scott's highlights from Day Two.

Scott Bernstein's Saturday Highlights:

The Mother Hips – 6:05-6:50 p.m. – Panhandle Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

Outside Lands organizers made sure the local flavor went beyond the food offerings by booking Bay Area favorites The Mother Hips. The addition of former Zappa band member Scott Thunes on bass has boosted this already exceptional live act to a whole new level. Thunes has an intense stage presence that combined with his otherworldly musicianship makes him a force to be reckoned with. The Hips attracted a big crowd of festival attendees who all seemed to know each other to Outside Lands' smallest stage. While old favorites "Esmerelda," "Rich Little Girl" and "White Falcon Fuzz" were played with aplomb, it was "Toughie," "Freed From A Prison" and "Song For J.B." off this year's Behind Beyond LP that showed The Mother Hips still have plenty left in the tank after more than 22 years together.

The Head And The Heart – 7:20-8:20 p.m. – Sutro Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

Between the long distances from stage-to-stage and lots of high-impact music, there's not much down time at Outside Lands. By the time The Head And The Heart hit the gorgeous Sutro Stage on Saturday night I needed a breather. The Sutro Stage is tucked away just below the main stage and surrounded by trees. There's a bit of a hill to the right of the stage in which attendees set up blankets to sit down and watch the music. The Head And The Heart's lush indie-pop was just what I needed at that particular point and I enjoyed every minute of the hour-long set while sitting on the hill with some friends. The Seattle-based band's harmonies were like an aural gut-punch that had me hanging on every note. "Down In The Valley" and "Lost In My Mind" were particular highlights of a set that didn't contain any lowlights.

Phoenix – 8:40-9:55 p.m. – Twin Peaks Stage

[Photo by Susan Weiand]

2013 has been the year that Phoenix has established themselves as a live act worthy of the headline slot at major festivals. All you had to do was look at the small size of the crowd for Nine Inch Nails at the main stage on Day Two of Outside Lands as compared to the masses who attended Phoenix's set at the same time on the smaller Twin Peaks Stage. If you tried to catch any of NIN's performance, it was near impossible to get anywhere close to the stage for Phoenix. The French electro-pop act made a statement with their 16-song set in Golden Gate Park. Always the show man, Phoenix lead singer Thomas Mars engaged the audience throughout the performance and even showed off his crowd-surfing skills. Many of the band's sets this year have featured most of the songs from the recently released Bankrupt! LP, so it was a treat to hear tunes like "Rally" off 2006's It's Never Been Like That, Alphabetical track "Run Run Run" and "Too Young" and "Funky Squaredance" (which was mixed with "If I Ever Feel Better") from 2000's United. However it was still "Lisztomania" and "1901" that made the massive crowd go wild unlike anything else Phoenix played on this night.


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