Sunday at the main stage was about as diverse in genres as a single stage could be. I spent most of my time their, and got to hear happy pop songs from fun., raw Southern rock from Jack White and the ever-so-wonderful singalong hits of Stevie Wonder, just to name a few highlights.
fun., despite having been on tour for over a year, put on an energy filled show with the same spirit and joy that they had when their tour just started. The set list was essentially identical to those earlier shows though, with only a few minor changes so anyone who had seen fun. earlier this year might have left a little disappointed.
Promoting an album scheduled to be released later this year, Franz Ferdinand took the stage next. Equally spirited an jovial, lead vocalist Alex Kapranos bounced around the stage, yelling “San Fran!” throughout the short set in his thick, Scottish accent.
I briefly left the main stage during Regina Spektor‘s set, but was able to hear a few clips as I walked by. She sounded as sweet as ever. I instead was at Electric Guest, which I now think may have been a mistake. The band from LA seemed to lack chemistry and had an awkward stage presence. The music sounded good, but it was a bit hard to watch.
Back on the main stage, Jack White, was phenomenal. Performing a mix of old songs (“Cut Like a Buffalo” and “Seven Nation Army” being the two highlights) as well as new ones from his solo album Blunderbuss, he put on a spectacular show. The talent of White and his four backing musicians was noticeable, and every song sounded polished and better than the studio version. There weren’t any guest appearances from some of the various artists White has worked with who were also at the festival (Beck, Norah Jones and Allison Mosshart of the Kills to name a few), though.
White probably was the best set of the day, as I found both headliners, Stevie Wonder and Skrillex, to be a little underwhelming. Stevie Wonder started his set with a 15-minute rendition of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” where he seemed to want to hear the crowd sing more than he wanted to sing himself. The moments where Wonder’s voice was highlighted were spectacular, but the first half of the set, which was all I was able to catch, was a lot of talking and crowd sing-a-longs. Nevertheless, seeing Stevie Wonder live is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and despite not living up to expectations, was truly a festival highlight.
Across the park at the Twin Peaks stage, dupstep hero Skrillex appeared onstage in a Transformer-esque robot that moved as he DJ’ed. The music was loud, the lights were incredible, and the stage set up was the most extravagant I had ever seen, but something was missing. On Friday, Justice headlined at the same stage and were absolutely mind-blowing not because of a robotic stage or expensive laser show, but because of their music. Skrillex sounded straight off the album, with a few choppy transitions and a lack of cohesiveness. Again, it was a highlight of the festival just because of who was performing, but not as incredible as it could have been.
Looking back, it is tough to pick a top set, or even a top five. I came up with this list of the top five sets I saw though, in no particular order: Justice, Father John Misty, Passion Pit, Sigur Ros, Jack White. See you all next year at Outside Lands 2013!
Tags: brian benton, Electric Guest, FUN, Golden Gate Park, Jack White, outside lands, Outside Lands Festival - Day Three Review #OutsideLands, REGINA SPEKTOR, Reviews, SAN FRANCISCO, skrillex, STEVIE WONDER