Shuggie Otis Gets Lost in Time at Stern Grove, 8/4/13

Shuggie Otis

The Relatives

Stern Grove Festival

Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013

Better than:

Shuggie Otis is an 18th century monarch onstage at San Francisco's Stern Grove festival, surrounded by your usual free Sunday concert crowd: blissed-out young couples drinking beer from mason jars, North Face parents coddling their Chardonnay in proper glasses, newborn faces scrunched between impossibly bulky earmuffs. The vibe is picnicky. And here is Shuggie, onstage in leather riding boots, black velvet coat with gold piping, and silk ascot, having just stepped out of a baroque painting. Sunglasses hide his eyes, but he seems to be staring at something very far away. He's making noises with his mouth — ostensibly the lyrics to “Inspiration Information,” the first song of the set — but they're shapeless vowels haphazardly colliding with a microphone. Technical problems are a definite possibility.

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