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Down by the Golden Gate, Pt III

I was originally going to put a whole article on this, but I’ll keep it to notes on this one:

There were artists making these murals throughout the campgrounds all weekend. This was my favorite.

Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon

The Decemberists

Arcade Fire

Down By the Golden Gate, Pt. II

The second day of Outside Lands started with a quick listen of Grooveshark playlists filled with the bands playing that day. What stuck out from the wave of dubstep and indie rock was Ana Tijoux whispering the hook, “mil noveciento setenta -“. That missing word is the number siete, completing the first single from her album 1977.A French-Chilean MC,  Tijoux mixes her down tempo voice with golden age of hip-hop beats. However, her performance was more a testament to her rapid-fire delivery in castellano. The aforementioned song sounds like a sped up South American take on Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick” (trumpet player and everything). The crowd (a mix of locals and affluent Latino graduate students) shouted in all sorts of accents.

Another new surprise was electronic/indie pop band Starfucker (which use the name STRFKR on tour). As you can see by the dress and leggings frontman Josh Hodges is rocking the band is one to see live, not just for the semi-transvestite band members, but for a good performance.

The trek through the camp surrounding center stage on day 2 ( The aging hippies now replaced by Black Keys and teenage Muse fans) was not worth it to see Arctic Monkeys. Their stage presence only went as far as the lead’s leather jacket.Luckily, Australian singer/songwriter Sia was delivering a better show on another stage during the Arctic Monkeys set. In between her songs, she would make casual jokes for the crowd. For example, she pointed out one girl sitting on top of someone’s shoulder, and told the crowd the girl wasn’t wear”It’s pretty cold out, huh? she’s got nipples like bullets out.”

The Roots put on a monster set, which is not surprising if anyone has seen the  Illadelph crew live.  ?uestlove was the first to get onstage,   sporting cornrows instead of his signature afro .At their  live shows the star is always “Captain” Kirk Douglas. Between his use of the vocoder on the extended solo he does when performing “You Got Me” and the medley of riffs he plays ( Immigrant Song, Sweet Child of Mine, Bad to the Bone), his part of the set always keeps your eyes fixated on him. Two of the VIP members got on stage, serving as impromptu hypemen surrounding Black Thought as he spit his verses.

As night fell, the glowing spectacle and light show of  Muse concert filled up the San Francisco sky. Besides the usual songs and image combinations, like the robot on-screen accompanying “Supermassive Black Hole”  (I know this because I’ve seen them two times before. It’s about time I call myself a Muse stan), the new images for song from The Resistance are also very interesting. A wall of head shot photos in a style reminiscent of a concentration camp/suspect mug shots filled the screen, zooming out and forming a mosaic of letters that were too hard to make our from the distance but were interesting all the same.

They performed a cover of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”, which I had only heard on a bootleg. Bellamy’s guitar turned the bluesy intro into a space rock grindfest. The set ended with the extended “Stockholm Syndrome” but the penultimate song, “Citizen Erased” was better if only for the Dominic Howard’s booming drums shaking the ground.

Down By The Golden Gate Pt. 1

I went to the fourth edition of the Outside Lands Music and Art Festival held in Golden Gate Park from August 12 to 14 . Since its inaugural  opening in 2008, a good 60,000 people a day come into the the park .I went to all three days, and despite the insane hike and Muni rides reminiscent of the images you see of Indian trains ( I saw one teenager holding on the outside of a  joint between two cars. I’ve yet to find any reports on a death, so good job crazy Muse fan), they were all memorable.

Day one started with  the The Joy Formidable, a Welsh rock trio who released their first album, The Big Roar, in 2011 after releasing their EP four years ago.

Ritzy Bryan

Ritzy Bryan is the lead singer and guitarist on the group. The takeaway from the previous sentence is the word guitarist, as she is a beast on it. Her solos on songs like “Austere” was a surprise to me. I’ve been a fan of the band since their 2008 EP, and to see her tear on a guitar, pulling off Jimmy Hendrix styled riffs on the floor was amazing. The way she jumped around in her red dress, occasionally slamming her hand on the cymbal of drummer Matt Thomas – who performed admirably  throughout their set-  was a image that stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

For those that needed to kill time between sets,  there were a few options. The Barbary tent had soul acts, sideshow antics, and Gallagher smashing watermelons. The other was a small domed dance tent. Now for those that have gone to a domed IMAX theaters like the one in the Liberty Science Center in NJ, The idea for the lights show was similar.

Next on the agenda was MGMT  performing on the main stage. While pushing through massive crowds at festivals is a standard, dealing with a commune of middle-aged Phish fans laying on blankets they most likely put down the moment they got into the festival was something new to me. Once past the hippie minefield, I found a decent spot and enjoyed the performance, particularly Andrew VanWyngarden’s voice. The one issue was when VanWyngarden switched out of his electric and into his acoustic guitar to play songs from Congratulations, which was a lackluster album at best.

After a stretch of those songs, the need to see Sir Luscious Left Foot himself  superseded waiting through the rest of MGMT’s set. By now, the news his cancellation is spread over the internet. There were a few highlights however. Catching the tail end of Ellie Goulding’s performance piqued my interest in hearing more of her work. The only thing that’s come to my attention from her before seeing her live was this mash-up of her song “Lights” with an orchestral cover of Kanye’s “All Of The Lights”:

A good hour and a half into the crowd staring at the crack tech crew huddled around DJ Swiff’s malfunctioning MacBook Pro, San Francisco’s friendly neighborhood comic, Dave Chappelle, got on stage to ease the tension. This was the highlight of his appearance:

The last part of note from the Big Boi affair was a personal one. At the 45 minute mark I started feeling someone caressing my back and rubbing against me. I turn around and see a long-haired woman behind me with her eyes half-open, leaned back like if she was practicing for a limbo contest. Her hands were in grope mode; she started touching my cheek and chest and grinding on me. No one else was dancing, and her moves didn’t fit to the songs from the speakers (Blonde Redhead was playing from them at the time).

I tried ignoring her and turned around towards the stage, which I knew wouldn’t lead to anything since it’s hard for me to keep my cool when a woman rubs herself on me. So, as the people surrounding us laughed and cheered, I started grinding back, leaning to her angle.  This continued for a few minutes before she moved to my left and swayed away forwards into the crowd. I’ve done the dance maneuver to get by a cute girl or stubborn bro in the past, but she was a professional. as soon as she disappeared, I shouted to the people around me, “Fuck it, I got mine.”