Sunday, August 8, 2010

Outside Lands: Saturday Bands 1-5

A hastily-throw-together Outside Lands week!

Outside Lands is an enigma this year. For one thing, they don't really have that many bands I like. I know, not every music festival has to cater directly to me, but Treasure Island basically did this year, so they've set the bar pretty high.

Not a lot of big names on the bill this year, either in the real world or the blog world (I tend to confuse the two ... I honestly believe most people have polarizing opinions on Panda Bear), but there IS a lot of potential for a solid festival somewhere in here.

Let's take it five songs at a time.

I won't be at the festival on Saturday (previous San Jose Giants-related commitment), but if I were there, these are the first five bands I'd seek out.

(1) The Strokes

The new Strokes album has become the indie-rock equivalent of Dr. Dre's long-awaited Detox project - prophecized for years, over-hyped by people who should know better, probably won't be that good even if it actually comes out.

Regardless, we're hear to celebrate the fact that Julian and the guys made two incredible albums at the beginning of this decade. Just hypothetically, those albums were perfect for playing in your barely-functioning Discman as you made the walk to campus in sub-zero weather, wishing you lived absolutely anywhere else. Just hypothetically ...

The Strokes - "Hard to Explain"

(2) My Morning Jacket

JD and I once described their music as "the kind of stuff that sounds better when you overhear it playing in the other room." I guess that's not really a compliment. Still, if there's one band on this bill that ought to be exponentially better live than they are on record, I would put my money on these guys. If you are even considering sticking around for Kings of Leon on Sunday night, go see these guys do the same thing about 20 times better.

My Morning Jacket - "Off the Record"

(3) Furthur

As discussed before on this blog, I listen to a lot of live Grateful Dead at work now. I doubt you care, but I have decided that they were much better than Phish. It's not for everyone, and I'm certainly not trying to win you over to the cause, but, when it comes to the two biggest musical missteps of my childhood, I'm in a much better place with jam bands than I am with Christian rock. And honestly, if there's one place to see these guys, it's Golden Gate Park. It'd be like seeing the Beatles in Liverpool.

(Furthur, I should have explained at the beginning, is the touring name of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead. Sorry for the confusion.)

Grateful Dead - "Estimated Prophet"

(4) People Under the Stairs

Hip hop is almost always terrible live. The two worst concerts I have ever seen are (1) Snoop Dogg and (2) Nelly. That being said, there's a branch of hip hop that translates pretty well to the stage, and it's the kind that sounds like this. Think Jurassic 5. If you're lucky, they'll have some live instrumentation, or at least a DJ who's not afraid to show off a little bit.

People Under the Stairs - "Swan Fever"

(5) Freelance Whales

I have written about Freelance Whales far too many times on this site. They are good. Go see them.

Freelance Whales - "Generator ^ Second Floor"


  1. How do you not list Gogol Bordello in the top five. I mean they are a bunch of gypsies that want you to wear purple. How is this not awesome? If you want to see some of the most vile facial hair ever grown and see various traditional gypsie music arrangements played with punk rock attitude (and I think you do!) these are the people to see.

  2. Yeah, I've actually heard that they put on an insane live show. On the other hand, I can't stand their music.

    So I guess that's the point/counterpoint for them.