Outside Lands

"It's vulvariffic!"
TL;DR: Hælos, LCD Soundsystem.

I didn't do that thing where I post a photo of each band I enjoyed because I just wasn't feeling motivated, but here's a summary of my weekend:


Caveman: I caught the last few songs, and they were ok. They covered I Want to Be Adored, which kind of violates the rule of "never remind someone of a better band than yours" because now I'm just thinking about Stone Roses instead of Caveman.

Ra Ra Riot: I remember thinking they were decent, but don't remember them at all right now.

St. Lucia: I've seen them a few times because I keep thinking, "Wait, I like them, don't I?" but they're kind of a snore.

Poliça: Their live show is much like their recorded material: it is pleasant enough and it sounds like the kind of thing that is my kind of thing, but I find my mind wandering about a minute into each song. It's like I've already forgotten them before the song is even over. They're like a sedative. I remember seeing them before, but for all I know I've seen them ten times and just don't remember.

Låpsley: She was great. I had planned to stay for only a couple of songs and the go see Duran Duran, but instead I stayed for her whole set and missed them. Recommended.

Grimes: She's basically a DJ, and her attempt to put on a show that justifies being in front of 20,000 people is to run around a lot and bring out some dancers. Which is a fine approach, I guess, but the dancers are of the "those are decent go-gos" skill level, not the "this is a dance performance" level, or even the Peaches "what the fuck was that" level.

(So at this point, Friday wasn't looking so hot.)

LCD Soundsystem: They were absolutely incredible. I've seen them before, and they were... not incredible. But this time, they really nailed it. Second best performance of the weekend.


Rogue Wave: They were pretty good.

The Wombats: Awesome and really fun. I've seen them a couple times.

Peaches: She's a karaoke act, but she had several ridiculous costumes and a couple of goofball dancers in giant vulvas and fetish gear, and she really knows how to put on a show. Highly recommended on the grounds that watching a complete lunatic on stage is always worth your time.

Halsey: I really like her album, and the show sounded exactly like it. Like, so much like it that I wondered how much of it was canned, but I suspect that really what's going on is "highly produced album, highly paid hired-gun session musicians on tour duplicating it." So the whole performance felt pretty flat, even though clearly Money Was Spent.

I'm kind of shocked she's playing for this many people. When I heard the album I thought, "Yup, this is another act we're going to try and book but lose to Rickshaw, where it's going to sell 300 tickets." Nope, I'm off by almost two orders of magnitude. Apparently she's on some soundtracks? That's how people who don't like music discover music.

She did have the best line of the festival though. It was freezing, because it's August, and she said, "San Francisco, I feel like we have a lot in common -- my teeth are chattering, your teeth are chattering... the difference is, I'm not on molly!"

Radiohead: I still don't understand why anyone anywhere gives a shit about Radiohead. I mean, Creep was ok I guess? I just can't manage to care about them in the slightest, even enough to dislike them. They're just a test tone to me. But they are "geniuses" I am told. Two songs during the long walk out was plenty for me.


I considered skipping Sunday entirely, but I'm glad I didn't because I got there just in time for Hælos and they were definitely the best thing I saw all weekend. Like, I would have sat through the entire set all over again. So, so great.

Diiv: Also very good. I've been hearing about them for a while but hadn't seen them, and I'm glad I did.

And then I went home. The end.

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6 Responses:

  1. Jan Kujawa says:

    I'm feeling fortunate I no longer live in the Sunset.

    LCD Soundsystem assaulting my apartment with no way to turn it off might cause me to lose my calm.

  2. MattyJ says:

    Awww, you missed the Muppets?

  3. Are those non-Basic Latin characters real? You didn't add them yourself for humørous purposes? Is this a thing for band names now, like the Umlaüt Age back in the 70s/80s?

    .....And are there emoji band names yet?

  4. C says:

    Re: Halsey. Not canned, though certain elements are sampled, most notably the drums, though they are triggered by the musician's live playing. The keyboardist triggers many of the weird sounds you hear, like the "braaaap" on Castles. So, "canned" is probably the wrong work. Highly sampled, then.

    You want freezing? Programming her show to the damn house rig (The Auras were next to useless) from 2-5:30 the night before. It wasn't raining and yet...everything was wet. And cold. And windy. I wanted to crawl into an autoclave back in my hotel room.