2011 Outside Lands Reviews

I’ve been AWOL for the past three days.  I know, I missed you too.  I escaped the Tennessee heat for a little time in San Francisco to check out some bands at the Outside Lands festival (thanks a lot to the folks over at Superfly Presents for making it possible).  Outside Lands is set in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park, and is usually a foggy cold place to be in the middle of the summer.  This year’s festival could not have been graced with more beautiful weather.  As Arcade Fire’s Win Butler said that weather like this makes him want to move here.  I know the feeling, pal.

So, my Saturday lineup was OK GO!, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, and Girl Talk.  On Sunday, I wandered a bit more and spent time with Ty Segall, Major Lazer, Wye Oak, Beirut, and Arcade Fire.  The highlights of the festival for me were Arctic Monkeys, Girl Talk, Ty Segall, and Wye Oak.  The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, and Beirut were awesome, as always, but it was the same awesome I am used to seeing from them.  OK GO! has a lot of energy and a great stage presence, but I think I was really looking forward to some live renditions of their amazing videos.  I was looking for new bands that I haven’t heard yet.

Below you will find mini-reviews of my four highlights of the weekend.  If you want more complete festival coverage, I’d recommend San Francisco’s 7X7 Magazine.

I’ve been listening to Arctic Monkeys since their 2006 debut LP Whatever People Say, That’s What I’m Not.  It’s a good sound.  Sort of an English punk wrapped in all the indie hooks that you need to keep people listening.  As the band progressed with their next three LPs, I was ho-hum.  Well, they dispell rumors and put on a whale of a show.  You should make plans to head over to the War Memorial in Nashville to see them on October 5th.  Opening act Smith-Westerns is a bonus.

Greg Gillis (dba Girl Talk) is the mashup king.  It’s not really the kind of music that I ever thought I would spend time trying to see live.  I mean how much better can computer driven mashup’s be than they are on the CD.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of crowd energy, that’s how.  I was trying to leave the festival to meet some friends, and found myself “stuck” in the Girl Talk crowd.  It was insane.  Tens of thousands of people were going nuts while Gillis churned literally hundreds of samples in a frenetic, seamless progression.  I don’t know of any plans for Girl Talk to come through Nashville, so you’ll likely have to travel or wait to see this magician.

Ty Segall is a San Francisco based rocker.  His sound is reminiscent of the 90’s grunge scene, but with a cleaned up front man whose ear to ear smile let’s you know they are having the time of their life.  It’s loud, it’s energetic, and it’s fun.  You should add a reminder to go see Ty and company at Exit/In on September 21st.

Wye Oak is a Baltimore, MD based two piece.  Jenn Wasner plays guitar and croons with ethereal gothy vocals while Andy Stack somehow manages to play keyboard with one hand and drums with the other while singing backup vocals.  Truly impressive to see live.  I’ve been waiting to see an announcement for them in Nashville, but it looks like their current tour won’t take them closer than Atlanta, GA or Ashville, NC.  I’ll keep my eyes open for you, and let you know when they make it through.

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