Be sure to check out photos from Outside Lands 2013 as well.
Band of Horses: Traversing around the perimeter of Outside Lands' fences as I marched over to pick up my pass, Band of Horses beckoned with their brand of poignant southern indie rock from inside the grounds. It made for some very decent soundtracking music. I remisced over my first time seeing them at a festival, at Coachella 2009, when they shared a stage with Fleet Foxes. Through a few more albums, plentiful touring and festival appearances, my hats off to the dudes for continuing to stay relevant and on festival stages over four years later. Plus, "No One's Gonna Love You" still pulls at my heart strings.
Zedd: About ten minutes into the set of 23 year old Anton Zaslavski, I realized I have a tough time taking massive electronic festival sets seriously since the "press-play" debate sparked by Deadmau5. Now, Zedd had thousands upon thousands of people dancing and having a blast, credit where credit is due. And hats off to any DJ/producer that can fire up a party in seconds. But not knowing whether DJ's are working their asses off or simply pushing a button or six makes it difficult to take the whole thing seriously. Moreover, the crowd had pre-prepared signs that featured other people's songs--aka Empire of the Sun's "Alive". Which got me thinking how bizarre it would be to have fans cheering for other people's songs at your own set, even if you had remixed said songs. Biggest bottom line: I wish I was Zedd, 'cause shit was a party and I imagine he might've been having the most fun out of anyone.
Wavves: Reflecting on the aforementioned Band of Horses' festival longevity, it was quite refreshing to see Wavves up there ripping. Granted these two artists might not have as many festival appearances as, say, Paul McCartney. But in the treadmill, blogosphere era of Hype Machine up-and-down rankings and discarded artists, it's nice to see a "former buzz band" still doing exactly what they want to. Props to Nathan Williams for simply staying the course for the music he wanted to create and not worrying about all the noise. On top of that, Wavves' set was sharp, clean and a nice shot-to-the-arm of punk music on Friday evening.
Paul McCartney: An intriguing game came up during Beatle Paul McCartney's headlining set on Friday: guess Paul's age. Sir McCartney's well-kept hair and spritely appearance were one thing, but his ability to keep up with expectations and deliver an uncompromised set of nearly three hours had Outside Lands patrons wondering whether Paul was in his seventies or early fifties. Botox jests aside, the physicality required to play the show would be a task for any of the weekend's performers. But Paul had no problem. In a recent Rolling Stone article, he mentioned how jamming with the remaining Nirvana members earlier this year left him wondering if he was 25. Fitting, considering his performance. The set included Wings material (which I often forget he made), solo stuff and of course the well worn & adorned Beatles tracks. Paul shared anecdotes ranging from Jimi Hendrix encounters to the Beatles show in Red Square and showed no sign of slowing with his trademark charm. All in all, this was one of the weekend's finest shows and many, including myself, walked away with exceedingly high expectations matched & met.