Outside Lands, Day 2: “Release Your Wiggle”

That's more like it. Gray skies, chilly breeze off the moors clawing at your unreasonablybare legs, the hypnotic oscillation of endless twerking. This is Outside Lands, Day 2.

[jump] Dum Dum Girls: Despite their criminally early noon-ish set time, the Dum Dum Girls drew a respectable crowd. Dee Dee Penny’s jangling girl pop would make a fine soundtrack to a Tarantino flick and the band would fit right in as black-clad femme fatales. The band’s latest, Too True, is a bright, guitar-driven piece of work that hides a dark lyrical edge. There’s a feeling of New York grit filtered through L.A. sunshine that is both personal and recognizable. A girl in the crowd was taking full advantage of the extra green space so early in the day and danced in circles wearing a fringe-y sweater and sunflower print shorts. — Andrew Dalton

Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra: O the things you'll discover when you wander. The weird circus stage tucked into the woods amongst Choco Lands and GastroMagic (and which is not the typewriter fairyland of Digital Detox) often has some of the best performances of the festival, little acts playing in front of an audience perched on logs. So it was with Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, an old-timey outfit with a lot of strings: upright bass, cello, violin. The tunes, bluesy numbers ranging from sprightly to haunted, all feel like they should be the background music for some kind of tragic mountain love story, something with hats and waistcoats. What it means live is that people danced and kicked up hay with the sort of joy that the press of the audiences for the big stages sort of crushes. Anyway it was delightful to hear well-crafted music in a small setting, a sort of reprieve from the madness around — a Big-Stage Detox. — Brandon R. Reynolds

Jagwar Ma: Most of the experience at a music festival is dominated by motivating your friends to move places, so I convinced a group of them to head towards the Twin Peaks stage for Jagwar Ma, whose driving, psych-tinged earworms carried out through the fairway between stages. When the bass drum kicked in during lead single “The Throw,” a couple of minutes into the set, the crowd all seemed to agree it was the first acceptable time of the day to smoke a bowl. On their record, Jagwar Ma's tracks ring out with echoes and reverb, which makes them a perfect band to watch from the middle distance by the sound booth under a spacious canopy of fog and eucalyptus trees. “Where we're from,” Australian frontman Gabriel Winterfield told the crowd, “there's koalas in them.” — AD

Haim: Back at the Lands End stage, Haim struck a balance between congenial stage banter, straightforward American rock-and-roll and wild guitar faces. The sisterly rock troupe broke out earlier this year with “The Wire,” a punchy single that feels like a rebellious spiritual descendant of Tom Petty's signature brand of dadrock. It's brand new classic rock: fresh and familiar at the same time, middle sister/lead singer Danielle invited the crowd to join them in re-creating the vibe of a house party in the San Fernando valley with “endless snacks.” — AD

Death Cab for Cutie: My college self made sure I wandered back to the Land's End stage for Death Cab for Cutie. If you were to ask me last week whether I'd like to see Death Cab for Cutie perform, I probably would have denied it unless I knew someone in the conversation also wanted to see Death Cab. On the surface, their particular brand of pop music is dark, personal, and carrying an emotional weight that is hard to admit you like. As if you would only share that fact with your therapist. It's not that DCFC fandom is particularly shameful, just that everyone who cops to liking Death Cab seems vaguely embarrassed about who they were when they were into Death Cab — myself included. I suspect this has a lot to do with those mixtapes from “The O.C.” I still bopped along to “Title & Registration.” — AD

Big Freedia: One of the better ironies of the festival this year will be Death Cab for Cutie playing simultaneous with New Orleans genderfuck trickster Big Freedia: The one is all earnest white-boy emoting about feelings, the other is massive all-dancing Id, a callipygian rebuttal to the idea that life needs to be taken so goddamn seriously. Freedia, blue-haired and attended by acrobatic dancers of both genders, engaged with the audience through stuttering monotonal beats, basically fragments of some lyric or other broken off by the DJ mid-air and looped endlessly to a drumbeat. It was maddening until it became hypnotic, and the twerking onstage further pushed the audience into some kind of weird ass-trance. “Release your wiggle,” Freedia said, and we did, to the best of our knowledge/abilities. It's unclear when or if such a thing would ever wear off, but it more than qualifies as A Thing Worth Seeing, so next time Freedia, Queen Diva, comes around, do yourself a favor. I still don't know what “Duffy” mean, but I know there was nothing like Big Freedia's thing going on anywhere else in the world at that moment, and I for one want to consider the juxtaposition against Death Cab as evidence that the Outside Lands producers have a complex sense of humor, if you know where to look for it. — BRR

If you're like me and classic rock radio in the '90's has since caused you to have an allergic reaction to Tom Petty, then the Sophie's choice of headliners was a no-brainer: head to Macklemore to see what all the fuss is about. With oft-forgotten producer Ryan Lewis, the platinum-selling duo bounced to the ubiquitous sound of “Thrift Shop.” Macklemore, a white dude who admitted to feeling some contrition for winning the Grammy for best rap album, celebrated Irish heritage by prancing in a wife beater, waving the country's flag. Love him or hate him, the man's a performer and he knows how to play a crowd. — AD

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers:
Not sure why good old Tom Petty is so divisive. The yowler and his whole hangdog crushed velvet thing have been cranking out great to decent songs for decades, and now, with the release of his new album, Hypnotic Eye, he's finally released an album that reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. But people still seem to get sorta venomous about the guy. Maybe because he's been a favorite among cool suburban dads, and there's an inevitable backlash. Same thing happened with Hawaiian shirts.

In any event, Tom played to his strengths as the closer for Day 2: alternating hits like “Last Dance with Mary Jane” and “Free Fallin'” with newer stuff. He couldn't hit the highs as well or as long as before, but on the other hand he and the Heartbreakers have achieved a psycho-physiological connection that basically means they're essentially a single organism now, a beehive churning out feel-good Americana rather than honey. They're tight, is what I'm saying. And, post-suburban disquiet aside, the audience was right there with him. — BRR

Outside Lands, Day 2: By the Numbers

68: Number of citations given out by SFPD Saturday to people at or around Outside Lands

68: Upon recount by SFPD, also the number of citations given out Friday to people at or around Outside Lands, the majority of which were for quality-of-life issues, such as public intoxication or having open containers

2: The number of women who got engaged onstage during the Macklemore set

Third: The grade in which Macklemore supposedly thought he was gay because of the way he was perceived for his above-average drawing ability and for keeping his room relatively neat for a third-grader

75 million US $: The net worth of Tom Petty, as reported by the website celebritynetworth.com

50 US $: The cost of an official Outside Lands blanket

60: The percentage of people in shorts/short-sleeves who bought official Outside Lands blankets to swaddle themselves in and shuffle around the festival grounds looking victimized by the cold

1,500,000: The number of official Outside Lands blankets Tom Petty could buy and subsequently swaddle himself in or use to pack his guitars

3: The number of Haim sisters in the band Haim

3: The number of people at any given moment secretly using their iPhones in Digital Detox land

4 (approx.): The number of rungs ascended on the ladder set up by Big Freedia and subsequently twerked from

61: The expected high temperature for Sunday in degrees Fahrenheit

61,000: The number of festival-goers likely to still be underdressed for the weather, even after two days
— Emilie Mutert

Tags: , , , ,

Related Stories