The third annual Outside Lands Festival came and went this past weekend, and I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it. With a shortened two-day event, I had reservations.
The performance schedule might feel too stacked. Showcasing sixty-five artists on only four stages (a lesser number) in two days seemed like a challenge. I didn’t want to simply sample artists, but then again I also wanted to enjoy the other festival offerings like the Chase Freedom Lounge (with its clean bathrooms), the Intel Pulse Lounge (where you could breath different flavored oxygen or drink gummy bear-tasting syrup), the Odwalla Fresh Experience Lounge (where you could listen to an open mic while drinking Odwalla samples), and the always popular Outside Lands Salon (where you could get your hair done while listening to karaoke).
I wasn’t drunk enough to partake in the karaoke, but I did enjoy other people’s performances–many of which were actually quite good.
Even though the festival takes place in the eco-conscious San Francisco, I was still amazed how dirty Golden Gate Park got so quickly. I can’t imagine how the Porto-Potties were. Thank goodness for the Chase Freedom Lounge. Cigarettes should probably be banned, although enforcement would be a problem.
I was most excited to see Cat Power, but I left disappointed by Chan Marshall’s seemingly dull and one-note performance. Aside from the brief time that she came down from the stage and sang near the crowd, Chan’s sort-of raspy voice made most of her songs blend too well together to the point that it felt she sang a single hour-long song (with “Sea Of Love” sprinkled in there).
Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello had a surprisingly good performance; an experience I can say I didn’t expect even after having listened to the band’s albums and live bootlegs. “Break The Spell” was a highlight.
Other random musings include:
– The voice of Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) cracked while addressing the audience. He followed by asking ‘Will you go to the prom with me?’ in same high-pitched voice to everyone’s amusement.
– Wolfmother was teepeed during the performance. I think was during the cover of The Who’s “Teenage Wasteland.” Toilet paper hung from the top of the stage. A mighty throw.
– The only thing I can say about The Soft Pack is that the band is loud.
– I didn’t know the words to The Temper Trap‘s “Sweet Disposition” so I didn’t sing along as requested.
I can’t wait for Outside Lands 2011.
[photos via D&L]
Note: Article first published as “Outside Lands Festival 2010: A Recap” on Blogcritics.