If you are like us, you take one quick initial look at a festival schedule the day it comes out and immediately come down with a delusional case of Hungry Eyes, thinking you can lap up at least 22 hours of music within each days 10 hour window. Without fail, you convince yourself that you are going to be three places at once at all times throughout the weekend, acquire unprecedented teleportation skills and do all of this while still carousing with friends and maintaining fresh sea legs for the duration. The problem/beauty of any multi-stage music festival joyride is that things happen: it rains, you get tired, do crazy things like eat and rest, you walk by a set that looks too good to pass up, and/or all of the sudden some wild-eyed w00k is running across the port-a-potties like a character in Mario Brothers 3, you can’t help but become mesmerized by security’s efforts to coax him down and 25 minutes later, its 25 minutes later and you’ve just missed 1/2 of a set you intended to hit (true story from another Superfly Presents fest you may’ve heard of).
This year for Outside Lands, Ranger Dave nailed it, curating what may just be the year’s finest overall festival lineup. This thing is thick from top-to-bottom with quality, intrigue, talent and is almost entirely made up of bands worth your hard-earned dollar to see on their own on tour. First and foremost, the headliners across the top of the bill are downright stellar as OL 2012 boasts an iconic Canadian guitar god / songwriting legend, the most influential heavy metal band of all-time, an indisputable creative genius who also plays a mean keytar, Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana solo project that is still going 11 GRAMMYs and nearly two decades later, an Icelandic band powerful enough to move mountains / make James Hetfield weep like a child and Jack White. Can’t shake a stick at that billing and when else are we gonna get the chance to traipse across Golden Gate Park from a monstrous Metallica set to catch a life-affirming Sigur Ros moment?
Don’t Miss These Bands, Mmm’kay?
Therefore, since we are currently working on the teleportation device and it’s not looking like it’ll be ready in time (maybe for spring 2013 season?), here are a few properly-spaced out bands you can see at Outside Lands 2012 starting right out of the gate with the first notes of the FUTUREBIRDS on Friday afternoon. Here’s to counting down the final days to a festival weekend we’ve been anxiously looking forward to for many, many months.
FUTUREBIRDS – FRIDAY @ HIGH NOON
This will be the third time seeing the FUTUREBIRDS open a festival over the last 13 months. The Athens, GA country rock outfit did a damn fine job at Bonnaroo 2011 before a crowd of about 4-5,000 (see below), got ACL 2011 started perfectly and should get heads right in Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands 2012 on a day that will wrap with , not too shabby at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Reggie Watts – FRIDAY @ 2:35 p.m.
Blending and blurring the lines between comedy and music with his unique lyrical style, internationally renowned vocal artist/ beatboxer/ musician/ comedian Reggie Watts is going to hustlin’ in Golden Gate Park next weekend, putting on three shows for the festival crowd and the Friday set is the only one on a music stage. His improvised performances mesh comedy and music, accented by a formidable and underrated voice and the use of looping pedals. While there are plenty of other acts that transcend genres and crossover from one genre to the next, no other act playing at Outside Lands toes the line between the festival’s comedy and music offerings more than Reggie Watts.
Tame Impala – SATURDAY @ 1:50 p.m.
Judging by the first tracks released from Tame Impala’s forthcoming album Lonerism, I’m not entirely convinced that this hypnodelic band of Aussies isn’t about to drop some sort of once-in-a-decade psych masterpiece on us, but we’ll have to wait until early-October to get the full platter. It’s been a long time coming getting to see these guys and a Polo Field on a hazy Saturday in San Francisco seems like a perfectly fitting live introduction. Whether flying in or driving to SF, tune into InnerSpeaker before entering the festival gates, it will do wonders for your headspace.
Father John Misty – Saturday @ 2:55 p.m.
J. Tillman is a one-of-a-kind-weirdo and the recent defector from Fleet Foxes may also be some kind of a madman genius. Father John Misty’s ability to mesh tongue-in-cheek social commentary and existential poetry against a rockin’ alt-country musical palette has managed to breathe some fresh air into an otherwise overabundant sub genre with an impeccable voice and beautifully sardonic sense of humor. Moreover, FJM’s Fear Fun is a front runner for album of the year and having seen the band once already this year, we can attest that Tillman’s got some pretty unprecedented dance moves worth the price of admission alone.
Alabama Shakes – Saturday @ 3:50 p.m.
Now that it’s been over 9 months since this band EXPLODED onto the scene and the buzz cycles have spun this band into full-blown orbit, there just isn’t a whole lot left to say about this band that has already made huge impressions on festival crowds at Bonnaroo, and, most recently, this past weekend at the Newport Folk Festival. Rare is it that a band is deserving of such lofty, immediate praise, but if there’s there’s a genuine success story in the modern music world as good as this, I haven’t heard it. See Brittany sing, hear the boys play, be very amazed.
Michael Kiwanuka – Saturday @ 4:30 p.m.
There’s a certain comfort and familiarity to newcomer Kiwanuka’s voice and, less than two months after making his debut on U.S. soil at Bonnaroo, the 25 year old Kiwanuka comes bearing his musical gift to Golden Gate Park, ready to make an impression on a crowd that is likely to be made of entirely of folks seeing him perform for the first time.
Santigold – Sunday @ 5:10 p.m.
There are few things like a Santigold show on a giant music festival stage. Also, there are few acts that I would prefer to see blowing it out in front of tens of thousands of people at a mega fest over a small club environment – but Ms. White’s ability to incite a most rapturous festival crowd response is unparalleled and her ability to engage a giant crowd will give her staying power at these kinds of events for as long as she wants it. The well-rehearsed band offers a stylish and powerful mix of hip-hop and dance hall beats lay a nice foundation beneath the frontwoman’s command station firmly planted at the center of the stage. Rightfully so, Santigold sits on a high throne these days and Sunday’s Santi > Bomba Estereo is gonna send the good folks of Golden Gate Park out in style.
Bomba Estereo – Sunday @ 6:00 p.m.
If their set at ACL in 2011 was any indication, this Colombian band is sure to revive those weary Sunday legs and incite a dance party of epic proportions. Offering a mix of cumbia, electronica, reggaeton, and champeta, Bomba Estereo is a sexy, versatile force to be reckoned with on the festival circuit and it’s only a matter of time before this act is more than just an intriguing world act or novelty worth checking out, but a big stage mainstay of the festival circuit.
See you in San Fran!