Discovering A One Life Stand At Outside Lands 2015

August 13, 2015 -

Louis Garcia

San Francisco is a city recognized for their playful attitude towards the artistic side of the young adult culture. In the middle of Summer lies their biggest celebration of it all, a festival showcasing the top music, food, wine, beer, art, and comedy from the bay to around the world. My first Outside Lands easily reflected the quirky vibes of this city which made it easily one of the most interesting festivals I've experienced this year.


 

We hit the streets on Friday afternoon into the giant forest that lay in the center of San Francisco. Over a thousand acres of land is not a bad starting place for a music festival, Golden Gate Park's prime location and huge coverage makes it a naturally perfect location for this gathering.

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Robert Delong was my first destination. His electronic performance in a live setting is always entertaining and full of energy. With a new record on the horizon, Delong had a ton of new visuals to add to his set. All of this fell on top of an incredible drum solo and some fun with video game modded controllers that blasted the show into another dimension.

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Outside Lands's official mascot was Ranger Dave and it all made sense as we explored the forest themed grounds. Massive pine trees mapped out the walkways while providing a seducing scenery for any outdoor enthusiast. If REI were to throw a music festival than this would be it.

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As always, I was left with a little amount of energy following RL Grime's ridiculous trap set and I knew it was gonna take something truly mind blowing to bring me back in it. Lucky for us Porter Robinson was next and it easily topped any other show of his we've yet to see. The chill weather met with the sunset at a perfect place. We could only dream of witnessing this massive crowd lining the hill, chanting every word, and appreciating the beauty of his vision throughout Worlds. From the curious hipsters to the well seasoned ravers, everyone was hit with the feels when Porter connected with us for what was one of the most intimate electronic sets of the weekend.

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Our night ended with yet another electronic act, the experimentalist known as Amon Tobin finished us off with his ISAM Live 2.0 performance. The stage consisted of a massive fortress of blocks that stacked around a cube encapturing Amon. 3D mapped projections brought the setup to life as lights and colors melted within the setup. The electrified visuals only added to the psychedelic sound design and glitchy bass music that Amob performed. Overall it was one of the most impressive stage designs we've seen and by far the best way to end our crazy night.


 

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Finally Saturday hit us with a wave of indie rock from the funky psychedelic soul group Unknown Mortal Orchestra to Cold War Kids and Toro Y Moi. Things only got better as we stopped by Beer Lands to enjoy the selection of local breweries on tap. Upon crossing into the main stage was the Heineken House, a visual projected dome that could be found bumping 128 at all times.

The sunset performances began with San Francisco based producer Giraffage into the always dreamy Tame Impala. Tame's latest record Currents is probably my favorite listen of 2015 and their set did nothing but justice to the dream pop feel of it.

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Finally we were on a mission for the bay area legend G-Eazy. As we approached the stage we couldn't help but run faster when we heard Del The Funky Homosapien take the stage to perform Clint Eastwood, his collaboration with Gorillaz. Everyone was beyond stoked to catch their hometown hero and G-Eazy did not dissapoint with his set. He performed his hits as well as a new unreleased track with Borgore. By far the best moment had to be when he brought out a member of Luniz to perform the classic hit I Got Five On It, which was probably the most memorable special guest of the weekend.

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Although G-Eazy is the king of the bay, soon enough we were showen something even bigger - the king of the West Coast rightfully took his headlining spot on the Twin Peaks stage. In fact, the stage was at its absolute peak when finally we heard it..

Me and my n*ggas tryna get it, ya bish.

Who knew such a simple line could get tens of thousands of people off. Once the lights went out and Kendrick Lamar hit the stage we knew we were in trouble. I've never seen a hip hop performance as powerful as this. I've never witnessed so many people who could sing along to an entire album. And I've definitely never seen a mob break through a gate in order to climb on top of a building to dance. Mr. Lamar was determined to make sure that this was the loudest concert anyone had ever experienced and lines such as "yat yat yat" or even "girl I know you want dis d*ck" made it exactly that. Although he didn't play much of To Pimp A Butterfly, we really couldn't complain; this performance made us realize how legendary Good Kid Mad City is and how much power King Kendrick actually held.

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When the festival gods are looking over you they make sure to give you a final bang on the last day. The electric air throughout Golden Gate Park was soon to come to an end, but until then we took some vitamins, cracked a few beers, and made our way to the final day of Outside Lands.

Givers shook the Pan Handle stage at the last destination of their tour. I've been emotionally attached to this group ever since their debut record In Light in 2011. It was extremely surreal to hear these songs played live on top of a handful of new ones that sounded a bit darker but just as interesting and infectious.

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Standing there in the middle of an audience might make you reflect on what actually brought you here.  I recalled first seeing the kooky lineup announcement video. Lineups are always difficult to completely digest at a glance but the one name that stuck out like a sore thumb was Hot Chip. These British electronic rockers have easily earned their rep as one of the best in the realms of experimental pop. Their performance transformed the main stage into one of the strangest dance parties of the entire weekend.

The group opened with the single Huarache Lights, off of their latest Why Make Sense? record. Although their music is extremely danceable, the majority of it reflected disco music with a much slower, groovier vibe.

The analog synth bass lines drove the massive crowd into a hypnotic funk.

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Their repetition mimicked that of techno music whereas they were able to shift from sparkling pop music to psychedelic electronica jams. Often the grooves would begin simple and progress into utter chaos. They play one of the most hectic performances I had seen in awhile and it only added to the insane amount of talent I had witnessed all weekend.


 

Overall the strongest point of Outside Lands was its location. There were many Burning Man styled elements to the event whereas the Wine and Cheese lands showed a much classier side to the festival experience. Whether you're into Mumford and Sons or DJ Mustard, the event gave into a little bit of everything. The weather and the people were dramatically chiller than the majority of SoCal festivals and my attendance this year just made me curious to see where the popularity of Outside Lands takes it in the future.

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Photography by Michal Tyszkiewicz

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