Review & Photos | Outside Lands | Sunday

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

Outside Lands - Day Three :: 08.10.14 :: Golden Gate Park :: San Francisco, CA

Read Eric's Sunday highlights after the gallery and head here for Friday coverage and here for Saturday coverage.

1. Jenny Lewis | 3:50-4:50 | Sutro Stage

While the hordes of EDM kids packed into the Twin Peaks stage across the park to bump to Flume, I chose the soulful singer-songwriter route with an uplifting set by Jenny Lewis and her tight, clean band of pros. Decked in a pantsuit with a rainbow on the jacket, Lewis started things off with a sing-along of the infectiously catchy “Silver Lining,” which immediately pulled everyone in with its chorus, giving us that open and free feeling that festivals are good for. As her gorgeously full voice rang out across Lindley Meadow, Lewis delivered one great melody after the next, which drew me in more with every expertly-crafted tune. And make no mistake, this set was all about her hooky songs and their great lyrics. “The Moneymaker” brought out the funky rock with some bumping, minimalist grooves, “The New You” told us a tale about a troubled metalhead with some pedal steel adding a warm country tinge, and “Acid Tongue” brought things down with a warm acoustic tale about tripping. Everything about this set was tight — each fantastic song was just the right length, and the band didn't play one wasted note. Lewis closed the satisfying set with “Love U Forever,” a song with an earworm chorus so familiar-sounding that I thought it was a Heart cover. In a day filled with male bands, Lewis totally won me over with her fantastic songs and golden voice.

2. The Flaming Lips | 6:10-7:20 | Lands End Stage

With the drony, dark, feedback-laced albums that The Flaming Lips have been dropping as of late, I expected a dark set from Wayne Coyne and company, but the band instead chose to go with a crowd-pleasing festival set of melodic, fairyland-on-acid Yoshimi-era songs. No matter, things were still plenty weird, with Coyne doing his very best to unsettle us with bizarre costumes and props. The inflatable outfits were at their freakiest this time around (aliens, butterflies, suns and rainbows, oh my!), and Coyne's spandex muscle skin suit and diva makeup certainly inspired a few double takes. And though the sing-songy tunes like “Race For The Prize” and “Do You Realize?” were happy in that coming-up-on-psychedelics type way, the music itself contained underlying threads of uneasy darkness that made you feel like the happy trip could go bad at any moment. The Lips are masters of fucking with you like that — there were just enough slow, rolling, Floyd-ian psychedelic jams to untether you as you tried to figure out just what the hell was going on onstage (Coyne was cooing a fake baby in his arms at one point). A dirty, distorted, epic take on “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” closed the set with appropriate grandiosity, and left us seeing vapor trails, even though we had only had some wine that afternoon. Though this may have been a more populous, lite set of the Lips (they can certainly get real heavy and dark when they want), it was still a head-fuck of the highest order, which says a lot about the commitment these guys have to delivering a mind-altering concert experience, aurally and visually.

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

Keep reading Eric's review after the gallery.

3. Spoon | 4:40-5:40 | Lands End Stage

Having never really listened to Spoon before this set, I went into it with no expectations, and was pleasantly surprised with the band's raw, sparse delivery and no-frills, guitar-driven, old-fashioned rock tunes. Front man Britt Daniel led the band through each short-and-sweet, succinct song, as his grungy guitar and unglamorous vocals delivered grandiose tunes like “Don't You Evah” and “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” with an unhurried, casual- yet-heavy feel. The band arrangements were sparse and guitar-driven for the most part, keeping the emphasis on the lyrics. “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” got the crowd really going, and “I Turn My Camera On” kept a steady, minimal rock groove going throughout the whole song to maximum effect. The dance party really got going at the end of the set with the infectiously poppy “The Underdog,” which built to a glorious peak aided by some nice organ and tambourine. By the end of this set, my faith in honest-to-god, unadorned rock 'n roll was renewed. I've certainly got some catching up to do with Spoon's back catalog...

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