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Music Festival Review: Outside Lands Festival, August 12-14, 2011: Saturday Recap

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Festivalgoers received a nice welcome, bright and sunny weather, on the second day (August 13, 2011) of the fourth annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It was a pleasant change from the cold and cloudy weather a day earlier.

While the atmosphere was still mostly mellow and chill, it was obvious that some people tried to stick to a planned schedule in order to see certain artists and bands. San Francisco-based The Stone Foxes received a warm reception from their hometown crowd, especially after quoting San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum in describing the vibe at Sutro Stage: “F*ck yeah, man.”

British band The Vaccines rocked the Twin Peaks Stage just as they’ve rocked the music world for the past year. The band’s cover of The Standells’ “Sometimes Good Guys Wear White” was a huge hit, as was “Norgaard.”

With their breezy carefree surfer rock, Sonny and the Sunsets provided a pleasant contrast to The Vaccines’ garage punk rock. It can be best described as the kind of music made in a city next to a city by the beach, by a band with no access to a car, composing what they thought would sound like California rock.

To no surprise, Chicago rock band OK Go came out firing on all cylinders at the main Lands End Stage. OK Go seemed like the perfect match for the liberal San Francisco crowd, as lead singer Damian Kulash noted when he called SF people a bunch of “dirty sinners.” He said the only way that the crowd could be cleaned was by God’s instrument: hand bells.  The quartet then proceeded to perform using just hand bells, complete with the wearing of white gloves. Of course, the crowd went crazy, as it did when Kulash performed a solo in the crowd and when the band performed its big hits “Get Over It,” “Here It Goes Again,” and “A Million Ways.”

English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys were hard to watch, partly because I was distracted by a naked man who seemed lost while roaming around a closed section between the food stands and a stone seating area. The man attempted to scale a large chain link fence that led to the portable toilets, but common sense prevailed as male testicles and a chain link fence do not mix. Over 12 officers and some medical staff were called in take the man away. As a side note, Arctic Monkeys performed “The Hellcat Shangled Sha La La La.”

English alternative rock band Muse had so much energy for the seeming capacity-crowd that flowed from the main stage to the end of the Polo Field. During “United States of Eurasia,” images of political statements were shown on the two big video screens. Muse continued to amaze the crowd with “Undisclosed Desires,” “Time is Running Out,” and “Starlight.” Muse ended its performance with big eyeball balloons being released into the crowd during its encore.

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