Outside Lands 2015 Reviews

Amber Kroner '17, Writer

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After a long summer consumed by bipolar weather, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park was transformed with music, food, and some wonderful people into a miraculous three day festival:  Outside Lands 2015. Returning for its eighth year, Outside Lands once again proved the uniqueness of San Francisco. Along with amazing sets and glamorous flower crowns, thousands of people joined together in the biggest, most beautiful park in the city and experienced some of the most incredible bands and artists. As with any large festival, there were ups and downs when it came down to food and music; however, the chance to spend time with new people, possibly seeing bands for the very first time, is an experience that no one will ever forget.

Highlights from the weekend included the bands “MisterWives,” “Angus & Julia Stone,” and “G-Eazy.” The lowlights were the the highly overpriced foods and the artist “Mac Demarco.”

MisterWives, the American indie-pop band based in New York City, delivered the most fun and heartfelt performance from the entire weekend. Even with their early scheduled show, the band managed to drive the entire crowd through a caffeine-less morning and into the fun day ahead of everyone. When the six members came out singing “Our Own House,” it seemed that every head in the crowd was bouncing up and down. It was hard not to feel happy after leaving the enthusiastic performance at the Lands End stage. The band seemed genuinely happy to be at this grand music festival, and their mood definitely rubbed off on their fans. When Mandy Lee, lead singer of the band, dropped to the ground and while doing pushups, ranted about inequality in today’s culture and praised feminism, it felt as if I was a part of something significant. It was an incredible performance, definitely in my top five from Outside lands 2015.

Angus & Julia Stone definitely gave us a break from the intensely driven crowds and schedules, and delivered us into a simpler, calmer presence. The Australian brother-sister folk group sure surprised the oblivious fans who were obviously parked at the Sutro Stage in order to receive good spots for Milky Chance’s show. The band brought us intense lyrics and strong guitar solos through the highlighted songs “My Word For It,” “Death Defying Acts,” and of course, their most favored song “Big Jet Plane.” They left the entire crowd swaying and cheering at the laidback vibes from the outstanding show.

G-Eazy surprised me, as I was not expecting much, after hearing about his weak performances from previous tours. It’s something to do with growing up in the Bay Area and returning home, that the American Berkeley-based rapper could not shake. G-Eazy delivered a joyous, upbeat show, performing his most popular songs, “Tumblr Girls,” “I Mean It,” and “Lady Killers,”  and there were even special appearances from various rappers and singers. He recounted his times growing up in the Bay Area, which every Marin teen could relate to. G-Eazy’s show was definitely the most fun gig from the weekend. The entire crowd was constantly jumping up and down, throwing fists in the air, and having straight-up fun together.  I would not recommend this particular show, however, to anyone fairly new to the concert atmosphere, due to the intense crowds and almost no personal space, squashed between literally hundreds and hundreds of sweaty bodies. G-Eazy himself said that it was the largest, most tightly packed show he’d had. He was excited to come back to the Bay Area, and perform where he had grown up, and we were happy to welcome him home.

Even though most of the bands that I got to see exceeded my expectations, there were still a few that left me disappointed. Mac Demarco, a singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist who I was particularly very intrigued on seeing, did not live up to my expectations. Some songs like “Let Her Go,” and “No Other Heart,” seemed unrehearsed and unprepared for such large crowds. His music is still amazing and I still listen to it, but his live show was disappointing. He was very disengaged from the crowd,  eventually losing people’s attention; at one point, people around me were having their own conversations, totally unfazed and unimpressed by the music right in front of them. The sound quality of Demarco’s set wasn’t great either and at times I couldn’t even hear him singing because the vocals were too quiet for the big stage. Mac Demarco did, however, seem to be extremely excited to be there. He looked like he was having lots of fun being up on stage in front of everyone. Even though the show wasn’t the greatest I’d been to, I still remain a fan, even if I’d choose to stay home from his next local gig.

Of course, with any major festival, the tickets are going to be expensive, but does the food have to be too? I mean, I think I bought a single piece of pizza for $9. I saw $6 lemonade and $3 water bottles. Festival goers aren’t allowed to leave the venue , so they are forced to buy the food there. It’s a classic, and in some way smart and mischievous supply-and-demand movement that literally forced us to spend money on lots of overpriced food, but it was a small price to pay (literally) for an awesome weekend of music in our beautiful City by the Bay.

It was a great end to a long summer and a fantastic introduction to our upcoming school year. Outside Lands 2015 was a truly incredible experience that I’d highly recommend for any music lover. Sure, it had its weaknesses, but I was overall blown away by the incredible performances that I had the opportunity to personally experience. I’m already counting down the days until I get to return to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands 2016.

 

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