Mother Nature seemed to be enjoying the fourth annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park because it gave festivalgoers a second straight day of sun and warm weather on Sunday (August 14, 2011). And maybe Mother Nature was rewarding the City by the Bay after San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proclaimed a day earlier that this weekend (approximately the second weekend in August) would be "Outside Lands weekend forever!"
Whatever the reason, experiencing Sunday's festivities on a cloudless day was joyful, only enhanced by a mellow atmosphere and similarly lively and passionate music as carried over from the previous day. And I wasn't disappointed.
East Bay natives The Fresh & Onlys began the day with a relaxed noontime performance at the Sutro Stage. The band's garage rock stylings set a good tone, especially in "Feelings In My Heart," for the start of the festival, sharp yet pleasant contrast to the following act, Merrill Garbus' eclectic musical project tUnE-YarDs, complete with unadulterated grooves and raw beats ("Real Live Flesh" was a treat). Garbus tried to prepare the crowd for the remaining festivities by providing people with a brief exercise—hand waving and knee bouncing. Consider yourself prepared.
Those who saw Mavis Staples at the Lands End Stage were treated to a wonderful showing by the legendary gospel singer, highlighted with her being joined onstage by Arcade Fire's Win Butler for a cover of The Band's "The Weight."
Los Angeles-based indie pop band Grouplove introduced crammed patrons at the smaller Panhandle Stage to much of the band's upcoming and mostly upbeat and poppy full-length debut Never Trust A Happy Song ("Spun" was especially good). It was fun to hear when lead singer Christian Zucconi noticed that someone near the front received an explosion of pineapple juice to the face.
Sacramento-native dance-punk band !!! (pronounced chk chk chk) had the most lively and energetic performance of the day, as lead singer Nic Offer jumped both on and off the stage numerous times. It was hard to miss Offer's unorthodox dance moves, which can be best described as a cross between half-pelvic thrusts and air grinding. Whatever it was got the crowd completely into the music as they joined in the head-bopping and body-shaking beats.