Outside Lands Day Three: Tenacious D, M.I.A, Ween, The Avett Brothers
Golden Gate Park
August 30, 2009
Better Than: Being warm.
The fog that began showing up in wisps over Dave Matthews Band on Saturday night turned into a typical freezing summer in San Francisco day by Sunday morning. The weather may have thwarted plans to show-off yesterday's tan, but it didn't prevent crowds from packing into the park for one more day of Outside Lands. Luckily, even non-San Franciscans know to come prepared: Whereas most of Saturday's festival goers wore little more than sunglasses and smiles to stave the heat, most of Sunday's crowd arrived in layers (aka parade of ugs and furry hats with ears). Some dealt with the cold in other ways (aka booze, furry costumes, and frantic dancing).
But at least for this reporter, the cold simply melted away at the first banjo strum from the Avett Brothers, whose energy on stage radiated out to the bundled crowd. Whether the Northern Carolina-based brothers were singing a slow tune, voices harmonious and sweet, or whoopin it up and slamming their weight on the bass drum to set the beat for a raucous hoe-down, everyone in the crowd bounced along. The brothers play hard – by which I mean, the banjo had lost a string by song two – and give their audience a show that's truly worth standing in the cold to watch.
Most of the crowd appeared unfamiliar with the Avett Brothers — who play a mix of rock, folk and country — as there were few people singing along. But it's clear they'll have some new fans now. “I can't believe y'all are still here,” said one of the Avetts midway through the set. A humble remark coming from a band that's been seeing sold-out shows since the release of their 2007 album, Emotionalism.
But festivals aren't just about the music. They're also about the mob scene, which on Sunday was pretty mellow. Until…