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RECAP: Outside Lands Day Two Featuring Tame Impala, Father John Misty, Big Boi, Sigur Rós + more

By Staff; photos by Max Chapman Sweeney on August 15, 2012


RECAP: Outside Lands Day Two Featuring Tame Impala, Father John Misty, Big Boi, Sigur Rós + more

Outside Lands, Day 2
Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA)
Saturday, August 11, 2012

For more coverage of Outside Lands, check out Day 1 and Day 3.

Zola Jesus (12:30–1:20)
Lands End (Polo Field)

As we made our way through the entrance of the park at 25th and Fulton for the second day, the first thing that hit our ears through the woods was an unearthly, gorgeous siren call. It was Nika Rosa Danilova, otherwise known as Zola Jesus, of course. By the time we had her in sight, she was stalking the stage, bouncing barefoot in a gray flowing tunic between a violinist and a drummer. Despite the singer’s diminutive size (and stage setup), her commanding voice and presence were more than enough to fill up the festival’s main stage. As she closed out her performance, she grabbed a pair of her drummer’s extra sticks and thundered her own solo before throwing them down fiercely and exiting the stage in a breeze.

Tame Impala (1:50–2:40)
Lands End (Polo Field)

After Zola Jesus’ engaging, awakening performance, the crowd amassed for one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend. Tame Impala’s psychedelic stoner vibes wore well on the crowd; it was unmistakable to catch puff of thick, cottony smoke rise from the crowd and melt into the patches of fog and mist still clinging to the field. Kevin Parker’s laidback delivery matched the slow, mellow pace of the band’s live performance, still earning the audience’s approval as he lethargically sung, “There’s a party in my head and no one is invited; you will never come close to how I feel.” It was difficult to discern if Tame Impala’s set was definitive or just dreamy; probably a bit of both, and that was enough for the altered states of its fans.

Father John Misty (2:55–3:35)

Panhandle (Hellman Hollow)

Following Outside Lands further down the rabbit hole, we found ourselves back at the Panhandle stage where Josh Tillman was sultrily and seductively delivering the mantra of Father John Misty appropriately in a T-shirt that declared “FREEDOM NOW! LEGALIZE LSD” (of course it did). Tillman’s sly, provocative performance—complete with writhing lower torso and knowing winks—compelled one of our group to draw the Morrison comparison. But the Lizard King did it a bit more creepy and dark; Tillman’s act oozed charisma and jest, matched well with suggestive lyrics, “Now painted ladies want to hold my gun.” I didn’t verify, so I can’t be sure, but Father John Misty’s standout performance surely left more than one member of the audience with a case of the vapors. Jesus Christ, Father John, what are people gonna think?

Michael Kiwanuka (4:30–5:10)
Panhandle (Hellman Hollow)

On the flip side, Michael Kiwaunka’s charm was of soul—rather than sex—seduction. The North Londoner admitted it was his first time in the Bay, and the crowd welcomed him warmly. Smooth and subtly confident, Kiwanuka’s well-delivered throwback grooves matched expectations. Though it’s still hard not to toss out names like Withers and Gaye in admiration of his debut LP, Home Again, watching Kiwanuka talents in the flesh was like glimpsing moments of a living legend right in front of us.

Before continuing on to Grandaddy and Big Boi, we finally took the opportunity to enter Wine Lands, and tasted delicious Reds from Hobo Wine Company and Palmina. Eats from Rosamunde Sausage Company (both vegan and meat-tastic) rounded out an extremely savory lunching.

Grandaddy (5:10–6:10)
Sutro (Lindley Meadow)

Appropriately stuffed, we turned to the reunited Grandaddy in Lindley Meadow for a recharge. Jason Lytle ungrudgingly led one of the largest non-headliner crowds of the weekend through tracks from the length of Grandaddy’s career, volunteering selections from Sumday and Under the Western Freeway. Not shying away from fan favorites, the opening warbles of “AM 180” generated hundreds of smiles on the faces of the crowd, and the crunchy guitars rose people to their feet. The camaraderie of the crowd, united by mutual affection for the band, was all too apparent as people looked sideways to one another while singing in unison, “We’ll do whatever together.”

Big Boi (5:15–6:05)
Twin Peaks (Hellman Hollow)

Thee Oh Sees (6:05–6:45)
Panhandle (Hellman Hollow)

All cities would be proud to have Thee Oh Sees as their own; but they belong to San Francisco now, and so the rest of us must resolve to be forever jealous. Seeing them play again and again and again in all different scenarios (Bahamas-bound cruise ship, sweaty claustrophobic clubs and wooded, magical Big Sur forest) has left me with one universal truth that simply cannot be denied: that Thee Oh Sees are flat-out one of the best live bands around today. Absolutely unmissable under any circumstances ever, the band is always reliable in their raw awesomeness. The unorthodox live setup—drummer in the front, guitars on the sides—complements the absorbing experience. The band dug deep, grooving up, down, sideways and backwards—and anyone caught standing still must have simply forgotten how to move. 

Sigur Rós (8:40–9:55)
Twin Peaks (Hellman Hollow)

In one of the more interesting conflicts of the weekend, Sigur Rós were pitted against Saturday’s headliner, Metallica. Though separated by the length of the park, the thunderous rawking of James Hetfield and company was sometimes no match for the glorious cacophony of Iceland’s Sigur Rós. Obviously no room for middle ground, fans of each band loyally packed both sides of the festival and Sigur Rós, with the smaller of the two stages, performed to thousands of ardent fans, some seeing the band for the first time, but all enthralled by one of their first live performances in at least four years. A welcome rain began to gently fall during the band’s set and lent an even more magical atmosphere to the one already created in front of us.


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