Paul McCartney, Nine Inch Nails and Red Hot Chili Peppers… And those were just the headliners at the 6th installment of San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival. Over 80 acts graced 4 stages throughout three fog-filled days and nights, providing an eclectic soundtrack guaranteed to appease the massive crowds of roughly 65,000 per day.
Smith Westerns kicked things off, which eventually led to a crowd-rousing performance by Band of Horses that signaled the weekend had truly just begun. The National kept the flow going with an appearance by Kronos Quartet, and closed out their set with the help of Frisco staple Bob Weir. Real-life Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, laid out a 3 hour set replete with all the top Fab 4, Wings and solo sing-along faves, and topped it off with a sensational “Live and Let Die” fireworks display that lit up the entire park and sent chills through even the squirrels’ spines.
Day two featured Young the Giant, who got the hipsters and teens bopping, but that was nothing compared to the energy, creativity and originality that Jurassic 5 brought to the stage, turning the whole Lands End area into a giant house party. Roastmaster General Jeff Ross made an appearance and took San Francisco to task from within the tented walls of The Barbary, launching volleys of fist-sized insults into willing victims. Nine Inch Nails too it upon themselves to close the shit out of day two, but not before Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O pleasured the crowd with her own brand of feminine neo-punk sexiness.
California punk/ska pioneers Fishbone funked up the stage real good for 80s duo Hall and Oates, who succeeded in giving the 50-somethings hot flashes with their live renditions of the elevator hits we’ve all grown to love/loathe. Willie Nelson & Family took over the adjacent stage, drawing a vastly different crowd than their timeslotted competition, Vampire Weekend. But as nearly perfected event planning would have it, Vampire was there to set the crowd up like pins to be bowled over by legendary funksters the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who fit the Bay Area super billing like a glove, closing out another great weekend at one of the most elegantly extravagant music and food festivals in the nation.
– Christopher Baima