By: Dennis Cook
Outside Lands :: 08.14.10-08.15.10 :: Golden Gate Park :: San Francisco,
For the third year in a row, Outside Lands will sprawl over the lush, rolling
landscape of iconic Golden Gate Park in a contemporized Golden State happening that
combines good music, fine wine and a distinctly West Coast sensibility. The organizers
wisely trimmed this from a three-day to a two-day festival and contracted the overall
hours a bit, too, starting later and ending earlier to accommodate the public
transportation needs of the vast majority of attendees. Once through the gates, this is a
classy, big city festival with quality headliners Furthur
(Saturday) and Kings of Leon (Sunday) alongside fest staples My Morning Jacket
(Saturday) and Nas & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley (Sunday). This year will also introduce
the DJ/dance music Inspire area for those that must boogie, day or night. As for
the rest, we've cherry picked three sets from each day that should prick up your ears.
Saturday, August 14
1. The Whigs ::
12:00-12:40 PM :: Panhandle Solar Stage
There's not a great deal of four-to-the-floor rock in this year's assortment, with most of
the rollers tending towards alternative modern rather than bitchin' Camaro in tone.
Athens, GA stalwarts The Whigs should set things on a fine trajectory for folks who start
their musical dance card with them on Saturday, peppering their more refined recent work
with messy outbursts full of flying hair, sweat and snarled spit as the music rips from
them in a fantastically real way.
2. Levon Helm
Band :: 3:45-4:35 PM :: Twin Peaks Stage
Seriously, what's going on that could stop any serious music aficionado from spending a
little under an hour sitting at the heel of one of The Band's co-founders and ostensibly
the spiritual keeper of that landmark group's flame? No disrespect intended to anyone
else playing at this time but Helm is history. This is a time when many young people think
rock started with Nirvana and some of those bands their parents listen to. Levon helped
draft a blueprint that countless artists are still building upon, and while we've still
got the man it behooves us to give a listen whenever he hits a stage. Don't be surprised
to see a gaggle of his fellow performers lurking in the wings during this set.
3. Wild Beasts
:: 7:55-8:40 PM :: Panhandle Solar Stage
While most will be nestled into the Dead-y fog over at Furthur (7:25-9:55 PM – Lands End
Stage) or gettin' popped NYC style at The Strokes (8:45-9:55 PM – Twin Peaks Stage), this emergent U.K. act
will be spinning webs of their own. Only two albums in and Wild Beasts have something of
their own brewing, and while it touches upon Echo & The Bunnymen, Stone Roses and other
countrymen past, their sound is flecked with original bits and an unforced swoon that's
pretty dang neat.
Sunday, August 15
1. Mayer Hawthorne
& The County :: 1:30-2:10 PM :: Sutro Stage
The luscious strains of Curtis Mayfield, vintage Motown and Hall & Oates flow inside the
very easy to like grooves of Hawthorne and his large ensemble. This borders on nostalgia
but works nonetheless, maybe partially because Hawthorne looks all the part of a Buddy
Holly impersonator yet digs down deep for his heapingly satisfying blue-eyed soul.
2. Garage A
Trois :: 4:30-5:10 PM :: Panhandle Solar Stage
Four improvisational superheroes - Mike Dillon (percussion, muscle), Skerik
(saxophonics, general weirdness), Marco Benevento (keys, beard) and Stanton
Moore (drums, mojo) – with ZERO fear and the curiosity of Peter Pan with a snoot full
o' pixie snuff equals pure adventure music. Yes, Garage has compositions – some good
ones, too – but live all bets are off, no matter how many times one has seen them or
thinks they know what to expect. The unknown can be scary but it can also be way
cool. Garage A Trois is surely both.
Distortion :: 6:55-7:45 PM :: Sutro Stage
Without always getting the name recognition they deserve, Social D has influenced a couple
generations of young rockers to do it hard, true and to tell their story, whatever
it may be. Mike Ness and co. are what punk looks like when it grows up but not
old. Go get an eyeful of the real deal amidst the tie-dye and yummy pinot.
Outside Lands Schedule
Lands Info Guide
Outside Lands Official
2009 Outside Lands Review
JamBase | By The Bay
Go See Live Music!