First off, parking for Outside Lands Festival is way easier than the website tries to make you believe. All last year and tonight I have had no trouble finding a perfect spot to park. Just in case you cared. Anyway, I arrived a bit late and missed Akron/Family and Autolux, two bands I was looking forward to seeing since they had extended the Friday timeslots from last year’s. So I waltzed in without a problem and made my way to the Sutro stage to see The Dodos.
Now The Dodos had this extra accessible Animal Collective sound until songs from their next album Time to Die started to leak and fans of the band started to find out what he band sounded like when they were more focused and sharper (much like what happened with The Shins). The band brought that very sharpness and focus to the stage today. Playing many off Visiter and a handful off their next album including Fables, the band was playful yet very concentrated. Most of the crowd didn’t seem familiar with the band’s material but were extremely impressed. Good job boys!
After that I walked over to the Lands End Stage for Silversun Pickups. Not a huge fan but i was willing to give them some ear space and see what they had to bring. However the Lands End Stage is the ‘Main Stage’ and people had already layed out their blankets and gotten comfortable, making me do somersaults over their shit in order to get a good spot to watch Silversun Pickups. Well about three songs into the set I was bored and ready to move to the Twin Peaks stage to catch Q-Tip. I will admit that I was happy to hear There’s No Secrets This Year from the band. One of my favorites off the new record.
Off to the Sutro stage I bought a nice cup of $7 New Castle and watched the remaining songs from Midnite. The best part about this set; the dancing reggae hippies! Oh my God! I am so surprised (I shouldn’t have been) to see how many stinky, dreadlocked, bad dancing hippies with bare feet there were at the festival. I had a good laugh.
So after 45 minutes of waiting Q-Tip took the stage with a full band. Opening with about 4 songs off last year’s album The Renaissance (One of my favorites). All songs performed flawlessly and with full throttle energy. It only got better from there, he then began to churn out Tribe Called Quest classics like Check The Rhime, Award Tour, Bonita Applebum, and many more.
I was going ballistic! I was dancing and singing along and freaking the fuck out. This was all probably due to the titan of a stage presence he had during the entire performance. He seemed to be channeling James Brown and Otis Redding which kept the entire crowd on their feet and dancing uncontrollably. It was a blast and made it hard for me to believe that anyone could top a performance on that magnitude this week. Yes, it was that good.
So after he wrapped it up, I grabbed a messy burrito, ate it like a caveman would eat a freshly caught kill, ran into some friends that said watching Incubus was like watching an animatronic display acting out Incubus songs, and then tried to get a good spot for Pearl Jam. Now I have nothing against Pearl Jam, the band has always had a special place in my heart but my local alternative rock radio station (WRRV 96.9) where I grew up ruined the band for me due to them playing their radio friendly songs over and over again. I own Ten, Vitalogy, and Yield. So I know a fresh amount of PJ songs. I was ready for some nostalgia to be pumped into my ears.
They were…good! Really good. They didn’t seem bored or tied to a timeslot. The band had their fair amount of rockin’ solos, sing-a-longs, and lighter waving slow tunes. Nothing new or super special, but it was a nice thing to witness and brought me back to the time I realized Pearl Jam wasn’t just another Alt-rock single-machine. They are songwriters and very good ones at that.
They shoved a few new ones in there and seemed to really have a lot of fun play those. The crowd was more into it than I thought but over all people really wanted to hear their favorite radio hits.
Setlist: Why Go, Animal, Severed Hand, Corduroy, Low Light, The Fixer, In My Tree, Small Town, Even Flow, Got Some, I am Mine, Down, Given to Fly, Black, Do the Evolution, Go, Save You, MFC
Encore 1: Wasted Reprise, Betterman, Daughter, The Real Me, Crazy Mary, Alive
Encore 2: Throw Your Hatred Down, Rockin in the Free World (Neil Young Cover)
I left surprised how everything was working out real well so far. No hiccups. No major mishaps. Yeah I missed The National but I can live another day. Off to Day Two with my favorite line-up, Mastodon, TV on the Radio, and The Mars Volta.