Review & Photos | Outside Lands | Saturday

Words by: Eric Podolsky
Images by: Joe Russo and Susan Weiand

Outside Lands - Day Two :: 08.09.14 :: Golden Gate Park :: San Francisco, CA

Read Eric's reviews of Saturday's acts after the gallery and head here for Friday coverage.

1. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | 7:55-9:55 | Lands End Stage

With all the young, hungry talent gracing the stages this year, it was a real treat to have Petty and Co. swoop in and show us how to deliver an epic festival set. The first thing that hit me was how freaking awesome Petty's voice is — I had forgotten that this man is effortless cool incarnate, his drawling, amiable delivery satisfying in all the right ways. Songs like “Into The Great Wide Open” filled the big field majestically, and in between the sing-along hits there were plenty of big, loose, simmering jams that hit just the right spot at the end of the day, with guitarist Mike Campbell's endlessly inventive licks leading the way. The raunchy new song “U Get Me High” fit right in with the best of the Heartbreakers' catalog, and “Learning to Fly” showed us that these guys are masters of dynamics when they dropped the bottom out of the song, leaving us floating in the ether with sparse piano twinklings, gorgeous and free. Petty hit home for many when he acknowledged the anniversary of Jerry Garcia's passing with a spot-on, loving take on “Friend of the Devil” that saw Campbell squeeze out his best liquid Jerry licks. It's clear that Campbell can play whatever the hell he wants—jazzy melodies, shredding arena rock and blues breakdowns are delivered with equal skill. Hit after hit after hit closed out the night, with two of his most flawless, timeless songs as an encore: “You Wreck Me” and “American Girl.” Petty is a living legend, and it was a privilege to spend a night with him in the park.

2. Haim | 4:30-5:30 | Lands End Stage

These three sisters Haim have gotten very big very fast, and this raunchy, arena rock- sized performance proved that there's a good reason for this. These girls are no fluke — they can rock out good and hard, and take plenty of mean, extended guitar solos in the process. Led by lead vocalist and guitarist Danielle Haim, the band played their catchy pop tunes raw and woolly, changing up the arrangements considerably from their clean studio versions. “If I Could Change Your Mind” had a breathless abandon to it, and “Honey & I” was given a heavy, minimalist, White Stripes-like rock stomp. Asking the crowd if they could “jam for a bit,” they delivered a snarling, Sabbath-worthy take of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac's “Oh Well,” with Danielle crushing the guitar like it was 1970. The fact that these girls switch things up and keep it interesting is testament to their chops, and they deserve every bit of adoration that the passionate crowd threw at them during this set. Expect to be seeing a lot more of these ladies soon enough.

Head to Page Two for Susan's photos and another highlight from Eric.

Keep reading Eric's review after the gallery.

3. Local Natives | 3:00-4:00 | Lands End Stage

These guys filled the main stage well with a slew of concise, anthemic dream-pop tunes, making for the first memorable set of the day for me. Songs like “You & I” were hypnotic and pleasant, washing over us with swelling, grand climaxes. Lead singer Taylor Rice and company deliver great harmonies reminiscent of Dr. Dog, and the unhurried, mid- tempo pace of the set fit the afternoon vibe well. Things picked up near the end of the set with some soaring, grand vocals in “Airplanes,” before the pulsing “Sun Hands” took us on an eerie journey into some freak-out feedback chaos before bringing it all back home with some heavy riffing to close the set on a powerful note. Having never heard of these guys before this set, Local Natives is my discovery of the weekend. That's the beauty of these big festivals — having your eyes opened to new music you wouldn't be exposed to otherwise.

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