After being on my feet for almost two full days at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, I thought I could get some pain relief by way of brilliant sunshine for Sunday’s planned events. But no, Sunday’s weather of clouds and drizzle was eerily similar to Saturday’s weather, so I had to warm myself from the body heat of the many people standing next to me.
Fortunately, there were many good artists and bands left to see. The day started late (again) by catching what was left from the set of The Wild Feathers. Didn’t hear much, but the audience appeared to dig the traditional rock and roll band from Nashville.
Afterwards, I got a calmer sound from Dublin indie folk rock quintet Little Green Cars. I honestly didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised when the band began with basically two a cappella songs. Being from Ireland, lead singer Stevie Appleby even quipped at the dreariness in Golden Gate Park that “cold weather always seems to follow us.” The band had pleasant harmonies, especially on the more up-tempo “Big Red Dragon.”
Kopecky Family Band was up next, and there was a large crowd gathered for this indie folk band from Nashville at the smaller Panhandle stage. The sextet had so much energy and got all kinds of people excited, especially when the band played big radio hit “Heartbeat.”
Even after 30 years, Los Angeles funk rock band Fishbone can still bring the energy for playing music and give their fans a good time. Oh, and there were also odes to fat women (a compliment so the band says) and alcoholics (by way of fake vomiting).
English indie rock band Foals brought their signature sound for their first time in Golden Gate Park. The band originally formed to make music that people can dance to, and dance the people did to songs like “My Number” and “Inhaler” (both of which are off the band’s most recent critically acclaimed third album, Holy Fire).
There was an enormous crowd gathered at the Twin Peaks stage for English-born Emeli Sandé and her soulful voice. She started a little late, but once she got going the music never stopped. Highlights included “Heaven,” “Breaking the Wall” and Sandé’s favorite song to perform, “My Kind of Love.”
I think it’s safe to call Hall & Oates old school rockers. Hitting the main Lands End stage to a very raucous audience, the legendary duo performed some of their biggest hits like “Out of Touch,” “Family Man,” and “She’s Gone” (the latter song Daryl Hall noted was written back when people were high for the environment). My personal favorite “Sara Smile” got a neat musical arrangement that I didn’t notice until the chorus.
I exited early on Hall & Oates to catch some of Canadian DJ A-Trak’s set. I was so absorbed into the music that I completely missed a bird poop on a girl next to me. She didn’t notice either until her friends bravely gave her the bad news. A-Trak had plenty of good beats, including interspersed remixes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs (“Heads Will Roll”) and Martin Solveig (“The Night Out”).
New York indie electronic duo MS MR was next up on my agenda. Performing at the intimate Panhandle stage, MS MR had a much darker tone than other festival acts, though you probably couldn’t tell by lead singer Lizzy Plapinger’s glamorous outfit. The band was tremendously energetic during “Think of You,” “Hurricane,” “Fantasy,” and “Ash Tree Lane” (also one of the first songs they ever wrote).
I still regret not seeing Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim’s first performance at Outside Lands Festival a few years ago. I was not going to miss a chance to see them this time at the Twin Peaks stage. Known for their live act, Matt & Kim definitely brought out their infectious energy with references to rapper Nelly, words of wisdom (one from drummer Kim Schifino was to “never f*cking die”), bouncing beach balls, lots of crowd surfing, a tebowing Matt Johnson (singer), and a dancing Kim on top of the crowd. Oh yes, and there was also music as the band performed “Yea Yeah,” “Let’s Go,” “Silver Tiles,” and “Daylight.”
I thought I was done, but it was time for the festival closing Red Hot Chili Peppers (sorry Pretty Lights, I could not make it). I must confess that I have never seen the Chili Peppers in concert before this night, and I was more than satisfied as the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers rocked out some of their greatest hits including “Can’t Stop,” “Dani California,” “Snow (Hey Oh),” “Californication,” “All Around the World,” and “Under the Bridge.” During the performance, bassist Flea said, “Love is a many splendored thing.” It didn’t dawn on me until I was walking out of Golden Gate Park that it was a bit of an understatement—until next time RHCP, for your music will hopefully get me through the next decade as it did my past formative high school and college years.
Photo Credits: Tan The Man