Whistling Down Memory Lane: A (Personal) Preview of S.F.’s Outside Lands Fest

A couple of weeks back, a good friend asked me if she might be able to either guest post or offer up a mix. To which, of course, I responded enthusiastically with a double “Yes”. (Literally I answered “Yes, Yes” because I wanted to make it clear that I was down with both ideas.) And, lo, what follows is my friend’s first post about her excitement over the bands performing at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival taking place in San Francisco between August 10th and 12th. It’s a preview of the Festival’s fabulous acts told as a musical Bildungsroman (literary geek speak for “right of passage” story — Germans are so much better at truncating language).
Enjoy and I’ll be back with some albums on the morrow.
– a.a.

First Guest Blog Post on LOTT (kind of loving the abbreviation, a.a….), and I’m feeling sentimental. I think it has something to do with the lineupannouncement from the crew putting on Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park this August.  I’ve heard a lot of naysayers complain about the headliners (Metallica, Foo Fighters, Skrillex, whaaa??).  But, I say this: the bands aren’t the only thing that matters when it comes to Outside Lands. There, I said it. San Franciscans love any opportunity to be outside (in fact, it’s part of our rent), even if it’s usually freezing in August (yes, Chicago, I’ve gotten soft) and Outside Lands is a phenomenal concert in our city’s best park, so relax, sit on the grass and enjoy the music in the park! That being said (I know, I know, I’m kind of contradicting myself here), I’m stoked about the lineup this year because it pretty much tracks my personal musical journey. (As you read, feel free to check out a (musical) sampler of the line-up via Spotify!)

First Stop, Wonder-Land:  We start with Stevie Wonder. I remember watching that episode of The Cosby Show in 1986 where the Huxtables make that quirky synthesizer song with Stevie and then they all sing “I just called to say I love you” — click ← to see on YouTube.  (God, I kind of want to have a total side-post on 80s television now… okay, I’ll keep going.) Well, that’s obviously not his best song (ed.’s note, Jack Black agrees), but I remember hearing that song, inquiring about it, my parents playing the record for me, and then we explored their extensive record collection as a family. I could honestly stop there, I had no choice but to love music after the records came out. Ah, just kidding, I’m not done yet…

Bogey to the Bayou: Another one of my young musical influences was the music of New Orleans, which was a love of my father’s and a big part of the music I grew up listening to as a kid. Here we’ve got the Dirty Dozen Brass Band representing at Outside Lands. I saw them at the Rock n Bowl on my second trip to Jazz Fest, and while I’m missing the Fest this year, I’m glad we get a little NOLA in the Park this year.

A Metal Education: Okay, so then we’ve got Metallica. Now I’ve never seen Metallica, but they represent the next period of music, 80’s rock bands, which I discovered on my own and my parents thought were crap—an important phase in any kid’s life. We got MTV during that period and I remember going to the record store asking my mom to buy me Guns ‘N Roses Appetite for Destruction on (cassette) tape with the newly minted Parental Advisory Label, followed by Poison, Warrant, Skid Row and Metallica, all of which would listen to while rollerblading – that’s called a compound dated reference.

I’m on a Plain, I Can’t Complain: Foo Fighters. Beck. Now it’s middle school and I’m listening to a lot of Nirvana and Beck. Okay, I have to admit I’m not really a fan of the Foo Fighters, but Dave Grohl was in Nirvana, and well, they are a touchstone and an important part of my musical journey, so I’m sure I’ll check out part of their set. Somehow I’ve never seen Beck live, yet through him I discovered and found (more) indie music, which changed the trajectory of my musical preferences.

Napster Built the Internet Star: Dispatch came to prominence during my college days and were a great band that I never had the opportunity to see. But, I remember illegally downloading their music on Napster and college acapella bands covering the General.  Okay, I couldn’t help but do another compound dated reference.  (Eds. Note: We’ve changed our ways towards musical consumption – no more “peer-to-peer sharing”, now we purchase.)

(My) Roaring Twenties: Next is the musical period during my twenties, with representatives from my exploration of world music (Amadou & Miriam, the blind couple from Mali, and Jovanotti, who I discovered when I studied abroad in Italy), experimental and alternative rock (Sigur Ros, the Walkmen and Franz Ferdinand) and great female rockers (Santigold and Sharon Van Etten).

Destination, Dance Yourself Happy: Last, I’ll be checking out the new indie bands churning out upbeat electronic 80s-throwback, dance hook laden tracks, which are currently in heavy rotation: Yellow Ostrich, Tanlines, Geographer, Washed Out, Passion Pit, Justice, Of Monsters and Men. Who knows, maybe I’ll even give Fun. and Skrillex a chance?

 …And we’ve come full circle, back to the start, an echo of my beginnings in the 80s!  It should be a great festival. Sentiment now replaced by anticipation!

 – rsw

p.s. For ticket information click here.

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