Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Outside Lands 2010: Day 1 Part 1

If you were anywhere near San Francisco this weekend, then you probably were aware of the epic rock madness that was going down at Outside Lands 2010. Despite a summer that's been unreasonably cold and cloudy, the festival went off without a hitch in its third year. With a slightly condensed two day schedule, the spectacle was a little bit more manageable, and Hippies Are Dead was there the whole time. Each day this week we'll be taking you along for the ride, so buckle in and enjoy!


The Whigs

The Whigs were one of the first bands onstage at the festival. For noon on a Saturday we were pretty impressed with both their energy level and the size of the crowd that gathered to see them. Most people in the crowd seemed to know their music, and there's no doubt they have fans in San Francisco.

The band's music manages to sound polished and catchy while still having somewhat of an edge. The singer (Parker Gispert) is entertaining to watch on stage, dancing around and kicking it almost looked like he was doing voodoo on the crowd with his hand movements and shakes. Gispert would dance in a trance for a bit, and then reach out to find the mic to brace himself.

The drummer was kick ass and we got to hear a little more from him at a press conference later in the day. There he talked about how playing festivals has always been great for exposing the band to new fans. He said he was impressed with the turn out for a city festival, where usually people just come out to see headliners.

It's no surprise these guys are touring with Kings of Leon as their sound is well paired with the band and we wouldn't be surprised if they became just as well known.

Electric Six

Next we caught Electric Six, with a bigger stage and much bigger crowd. The band really revved the crowd up with their catchy dance numbers. They sounded a little disco and a little 70's funk.

They didn't seem to be too happy about playing so early in the day, and the singer made a joke about how they were asked to headline but they declined because they didn't want to be wasted when they played for their fans. The band's website has a funny note about this too:"Just a friendly notification to all our friends. When we play at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco on Aug. 14, we will go on at 12:40 p.m. That's lunchtime. That's weird. Just letting you know so you can plan. You might associate Electric Six with THE NIGHT. You are going to be forced to adjust your perception."

The singer also made fun of People Under the Stairs who had played just before them. He pretended to rap and then made a joke about trying to start fights with all the other bands playing at Outside Lands. Indeed.

In addition to the banter, they played all their hits ("Gay Bar", "Fire in the Disco") and unquestionably got the crowd moving. The lead singer told the crowd his drummer was the son of Carlos Santana (although we can't find that info online to verify) and seemed pretty proud of the fact that he grew up in Marin county. But then again, aren't they all?


Next up was the LA-based outfit Dawes. This was our first time hearing the band, and we were pretty impressed. The band came out all wearing button down plaid shirts and we definitely thought we were about to hear some typical college music: we were happy this wasn't the case.

The band has a strong stage presence and Taylor Goldsmith has an incredible voice reminiscent of Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen. Dawes is great, but band or no, Goldsmith is definitely going places. Forgetting the music for a moment, we'll say this: The ladies definitely love Goldsmith, and there were many swooning girls in the crowd.

As a whole, the band consistently reminded us a little of Old Crow Medicine Show, with a tad more rock influence. They deliver a sounds that (dare we say it?) is highly reminiscent of the mid-70's LA scene, with country sounds highly integrating blues and rock.

Sonically, the band were slight victims of being up early in the day. The first song had a few hiccups as there were mic problems but once the technical issues were worked out this was a great show we were happy to have caught.

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello played the main stage, and had a huge crowd that was super into their unique carny rock sound. These guys were upbeat and fun, and were a great afternoon band. They kept people going and got everyone's mind off of the rain and cloudy weather.

We'd never seen them before, but they're hugely entertaining. Throughout the show, they consistently delivered a vigorous and enthusiastic set. Of particular note were the frontman with the guitar, and the electric violin.

We'd heard rumors they put on a good show, and they totally delivered. Their unique blend of eccentric musical sensibility and extreme showmanship allowed for them to be one of the most memorable and exciting acts of the festival.


Pictures By Rick Audet