Perhaps it is because of the laid-back atmosphere of the Bay Area compared to the streets of downtown Chicago’s Grant Park, but there seems to be a different vibe to Outside Lands. Not better or worse, just different.
One thing that is the same, however, is that both summer festivals have packed lineups with amazing bands from top to bottom. In order to help plan your Outside Lands schedule, here is a list of just a few bands we’ll be seeking out:
Friday, Aug. 9
Surfer Blood’s latest album Pythons is their third, but the fuzzy, surf-pop master disc is their first on a major label and definitely demonstrates that they have arrived as a band. Certainly, their head-nodding grooves will sway the crowd.
Starting in 2008 as the recording project of Nathan Williams, Wavves took a step in the right direction with their latest album Afraid of Heights. Williams and bassist Stephen Pope have put out a surf-rock wonder that is tightly produced. The album features Jenny Lewis contributing some vocals to the title track and another song with an appearance of a cello. This could make for an interesting live show.
The psychedelic world music of Yeasayer is always an aural experience when seeing the band in person. Their 2012 album Fragrant World was less poppy than previous efforts, but it boasted new twists and turns at each listen. The band has stated that they are working on new material, so perhaps we’ll get a fresh track at the festival, too.
Sir Paul McCartney is definitely still on his game, as evidenced by his recent performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and his teaming with Dave Grohl, Krist Novaselic and Pat Smear during the 12-12-12- Concert for Sandy Relief. Expect “Macca” to pull from his extensive catalog with the Beatles and Wings.
Saturday, Aug. 10
Up-and-coming Brooklyn folksters the Lone Bellow charm audiences with their male/female vocals and emotional hooks, especially on their single “You Never Need Nobody.” With a self-titled debut album produced by Charlie Peacock, who previously worked with the Civil Wars, the Lone Bellow could be following in that duo’s path to the mainstream.
The project of Trevor Powers, Youth Lagoon presents a hypnotic blend of Americana and electronic music. His sophomore release, titled Wondrous Bughouse, features atmospheric elements that call for a blacklight and a ceiling full of stars.
Gary Clark Jr. will undoubtedly delight fans of his bluesy axework that calls to mind a fellow Texas slinger named Stevie Ray Vaughan. Clark’s rootsy blues shine through with his powerful voice, but his guitar might be the thing that sings the most.
One thing you know you’ll get from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert is electric performances from frontwoman Karen O, who stalks the stage like a tiger waiting to pounce on its prey. Combined with guitarist Nick Zinner’s fuzzed-out selection of effects pedals and drummer Brian Chase’s bombastic beats, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs should provide an explosive end to Saturday.
Sunday, Aug. 11
Kyle Thomas – a.k.a. King Tuff – has a frenetic, garage rock sound that hits like a ton of bricks off his 2012 self-titled album and the 2013 re-issue of Was Dead. In fact, Pitchfork even named Was Dead its best new re-issue of the year. Undeniably catchy, and even leaning towards power-pop, King Tuff is a set not to be missed.
Coming off the release of their excellent 2013 release Stories Don’t End, Los Angeles’ Dawes is carrying the banner for classic rock with an indie bent. Songs like “Most People” and “From a Window Seat” don’t just have unforgettable hooks; frontman Taylor Goldsmith’s guitar prowess is top-notch and the lyrics are truly personal.
Who wouldn’t want to see the Philly soul of Daryl Hall & John Oates? With too many chart-topping smashes to name, Hall & Oates not only appeals to the generation that grew up with the group, but they also are experiencing a resurgence among younger audiences. “Sara Smile,” “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams” are just a few of their heavyweight hits.
Having been together as a band for 30 years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers might be at the top of their game. Their latest album I’m With You (2011) reached No. 1 in 18 different countries and No. 2 in the U.S. and Canada. It was also the first album with guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, and songs like “Look Around,” “Monarchy of Roses” and “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” demonstrated that the Chili Peppers are strong as ever.
Another big draw of the Outside Lands festival is the sheer amount of amazing dining options on the park grounds.
With food trucks galore and booths offering the eclectic tastes of San Francisco, the choices can be daunting. So, here are some of the eateries on our radar:
Del Popolo is housed in a 20-foot shipping container that has been outfitted with a massive wood-fired pizza oven. The spectacle of the open, glass-encased kitchen is enough of a draw on its own merit, but the decadent pies will keep you coming back.
Pacific Catch brings their bold sauces and Pan-Asian flavors to the mix with Hawaiian poke and even fish and chips. It wouldn’t be a trip to San Francisco without fresh fish, and this just might be your place.
For something you can eat on the go, Tacolicious will serve carnitas and braised chicken tacosthat are quite popular at their several locations around the Bay Area.Grab an agua fresca to cool down, as well.
Those Fabulous Frickle Brothers are doing fried pickles and fried green tomatoes, and those salty, crispy, crunchy and not-greasy treats are accented with a slew of dipping sauces. It’s a southern delicacy on the West Coast.
For fresh oysters – shucked or barbequed – Woodhouse Fish Co. will be there with choice selections from the water. Squeeze a lemon over them and grab a cold draft for a solid break in the day.