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Ears are still ringing, the park’s still covered Churro wrappers, and San Francisco has settled down until the next festival: Outside Lands 2012 has come to an end…here’s my take on the loud, fog-filled weekend.
I was only able to catch the tail end of Friday’s festivities last year, so this time around I couldn’t wait to pack in as much as possible on the first day. It began with a bit of speed walking and a more than a bit of pushing to make it across the park to see Tanlines begin their set. And maybe I spent too much time amping up my expectations or maybe it was that I spent the first 20 minutes keeled over catching my breath, but I was a pinch underwhelmed by their show. The familiar synth-y beats had me tapping along with the familiar songs, but the vocals just didn’t translate well from their record. Alas, I still hold a fond place in my heart for the duo.
A last minute schedule change by the festival organizers meant leaving Andrew Bird’s whistle for another day, instead filling the rest of Friday with back-to-back shows of MSTRKRFT and Justice. Talk to my aching kneecaps and hip joints if you want to know how much I thoroughly enjoyed both of the two shows.
Saturday came as a welcome change of pace to our already exhausted cadre, who settled down to catch a bit of Explosions in the Sky before rushing to the six year in-the-making Grandaddy reunion. The wait was well worth it, Lytle made it seem like no time had passed, bringing the crowd back to the early ‘00s with the groups noisy enthusiasm. Claiming our 4’X4’ camp at the Twin Peaks stage, we settled in for a deliciously poppy Passion Pit before being blown away by Sigur Ros.
The crowd of Icelandic musicians tore through the field with their epic ballads — while the entire set was more than surreal under the vicious fog that had built a dome over the entire show. Lights bounced off a mist that seemed to be eerily carrying the sound over all of Golden Gate park. The show left me a little embarrassed to only have 3 Sigur Ros songs in my iTunes library — the group was definitely my favorite for the weekend.
Franz Ferdinand kicked off Sunday with what a friend described as their “Ben Sherman-y UK rocker” style, getting the noticeably haggard crowd to their feet once again. Following them was my favorite of the day, Regina Spektor, who’s infectious smile had everyone beaming and singing along with old favorites like “On The Radio” and “Samson.” One attendee even drew a loud “aww” from the crowd with a sign for Spektor saying “Thanks for Saving my Dad”.
Later we ducked through the heavy stream of Skrillex fans after Bloc Party to round out the weekend with the one and only Stevie Wonder. It seemed somewhat appropriate to finish the few days of younger talent with such a timeless act. He seemed to bring a calm stillness over the last gloomy night. Crowds soon began trickling out of the park into the Sunset — where you couldn’t see five feet ahead, but could still hear the chilling high notes of Wonder fading into a few shrill “womp-womps” of dubstep.
- Sean Riordan can’t sit still. When not in class or helping out with social media at Dolby he’s zipping through SF traffic on his bike, snapping photos, eating too many burritos, and obsessing over kerning.