Outside Lands Music Festival Day 2 Photos & Top 3

Words by: Kayceman & Dennis Cook | Images by: Dave Vann

Outside Lands Music Festival :: Day 2 :: 08.29.09 :: Golden Gate Park :: San Francisco, CA

Saturday at the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival featured another gorgeous day. Without a cloud in the clear blue sky it was still warm but the cool ocean breeze kept the temp down a few degrees and offered fans a bit of relief on their cross-venue hikes. With Dave Matthews Band, Black Eyed Peas and Jason Mraz on one side of the grounds and The Mars Volta, TV on the Radio and Mastodon on the other, the scheduling was perfect and allowed the very different fan bases to stay out of each other's way and get to the music they wanted with ease.

Kayceman's Top 3 From Saturday

1. The Mars Volta - A blistering display of heavy psychedelic rock, this set destroyed the Twin Peaks Stage, literally. Singer Cedric Bixler Zavala took the giant band sign (used for all bands, but at this point reading: "The Mars Volta") and dragged it onstage where he kicked through the back in an act of punk defiance. Guess they won't be using that sign on Sunday. When not breaking shit, Cedric was crawling around the stage, hanging off the mic stand, doing mule-kicks and pushing his falsetto into truly demented areas. And that was just Cedric. The other five guys were a tsunami of never-ending energy, mind-boggling time changes and guitarist/bandleader Omar Rodriguez Lopez' sonic six-string assault. Playing songs from their entire career, from new tracks like "Cotopaxi" to classics like "Roulette Dares," "Drunkship of Lanterns" and "Viscera Eyes" to lesser known gems like "Eunuch Provocateur," this set was hot and bothered from note one and it never stopped coming at ya!

2. Mastodon - Even before we could see the four-piece metal heroes it was like an earthquake shaking Golden Gate Park. This is music you feel as much as you hear. It slams into your chest rattling your ribs before you can literally feel it running through your legs and up your spine, where it does strange things to your mind. Leaning heavily on the more-rock-than-metal material of latest album Crack The Skye, this set was devastating in execution. These are four virtuosic musicians, but it was drummer Brann Dailor that ran the show. Easily one of the most talented drummers on the circuit, Dailor pulled off impossible fills with thundering power. To the casual listener Mastodon probably comes off as another testosterone-fueled metal band, but they are so much more. Under the wall of noise are subtle tempo shifts and rhythmic nuances that at times dip into bluesy riffs and classic rock power chords. Mastodon has been called metal's savior, and this set was proof.

3. TV on the Radio - Aided by a three-piece horn section that included Antibalas' Stuart Bogie, this set soared from a rough Motown swing to Morphine-esque sheets of sax to Talking Heads guitar rhythms to a gruff, almost punk delivery from singer Tunde Adebimpe. The two-step hand-clap fun of "Golden Age" met the psychedelic burn of "Wolf Like Me," "DLZ" and "Staring At The Sun" for what appeared to be a glimpse of rock's future.

Dennis Cook's Top 3 From Saturday

1. The Dirtbombs - These enduring underground Detroit hellraisers kicked the livestock awake and took rock back to its moist, dangerous roots. Theirs is an enveloping, churning sound that's a more gutbucket, uncivilized version of what My Bloody Valentine throws down except you can twist wildly to this blessed noise. Bang-up kickoff to Twin Peaks Stage, which hosted perhaps the rowdiest, most adventurous lineup (The Dirtbombs, Street Sweeper Social Club, Mastodon, TV on the Radio, The Mars Volta) on Saturday.

2. Os Mutantes - After going missing for decades, one approached this set from this beloved Brazilian group with some trepidation. Only co-founder, singer, guitarist Sérgio Dias remains from the original band but he's surrounded by young, highly engaged go-getters that sunk their pointy teeth into Mutantes' classic '60s/'70s material as well as new tunes from their forthcoming return to the studio after 35 years, Haih Or Amortecedor (out September 8 on Anti-), which show real signs of life and renewed creativity. Opening with a ferocious attack on "Jardim Electrico," they slipped between past and present efforts, tying them together with a roughshod charm and raw talent that compares well with the band's storied history. Arriving with some complications, Dias introduced "Querida Querida," saying, "We are lacking some stuff because it broke, but that is life. So, we'll rock and roll it, which is better." Amen, sir.

3. Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band - As one suspected listening to Mr. Bright Eyes' second outing with the Mystic Valley Band, Outer South (JamBase review here), live is where everything is gelling with this still-evolving group. A gutsy, nicely extended "I Got The Reason" kicked the studio version's butt, as did the shimmy-tastic "Air Mattress," where guitarist Taylor Hollingsworth took over lead vocals. Oberst's loopy stage banter contrasted nicely with his infinitely quotable lyrics, and between the really together group dynamics on display and a sweet, rockin' surprise guest turn from Jenny Lewis (who Oberst announced they'd kidnapped from L.A.) on a dazzling duet cover of Rilo Kiley's "Portions For Foxes," this set made for the perfect sunset offering of memorable, rootsy, heartfelt music.

Street Sweeper Social Club
Portugal. The Man
Eric McFadden
Os Mutantes
The Barbary Stage
Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas
Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band
The Mars Volta
The Mars Volta
The Mars Volta
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band

Check back for lots more from Outside Lands...

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[Published on: 8/30/09]

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