A day that started warm and sunny was quickly overtaken by wind and fog, but that did not stop 40,000 fans who make the trek to Golden Gate Park for the first day of this year’s Outside Lands festival from having a good time.
The sell-out crowd was noticeably more than previous years. Last year, fans could easily slide their way to the front of most sets before 4:00. Not the case this year. A dense crowded was packed in front of the main stage for much of the night. EDM shows like headliners Justice and MSTRKRFT also attracted big crowds, maybe because of EDM’s rising popularity or maybe just because wanted to dance to stay warm.
Early on in the day, Wallpaper. played a relatively short but action packed set and received love from their hometown crowd. Despite having only a few sets from local bands today, love for San Francisco was in their air all day. South African hip hop duo Die Antwoord‘s The Ninja sported a bright orange Giants shirt. It matched the orange pants and shoes he and partner Yo-Landi Visser wore for the first part of their set.
Elsewhere, the Foo Fighters tore down the main stage, playing hit after hit including older tracks like “Everlong” and “Learn to Fly” as well as cuts off their newest album, Wasting Light. Beck’s set was a similar mix of old and new. He started off the set with 2005’s “Black Tambourine,” and then, sporting old school sunglasses and a black fedora, proceeded to play a greatest hits set of sorts including “Loser” and “Devil’s Haircut.”
Andrew Bird, who’s set was delayed 15 minutes, had a surprisingly small crowd. He played an hour long set complete with violins, cellos and a xylophone while bathed in blue and yellow lights.
Washed Out, the final act on the Panhandle Stage, would have benefitted from a later set time. Although the sun was beginning to set, their show would have been much better in a setting where the lights around them could be the star.
When it came to headliners, I chose Justice over Neil Young and Crazy Horse, a tough decision but one that I am glad I made. Although there was no encore, the Parisian DJ’s put on a spectacular show with LED light encrusted speakers providing an incredible light show. About two thirds into their set, Justice completely stopped playing for a minute, building suspense and anxiety before breaking out into their most famous song, “D.A.N.C.E.”
Saturday brings much more indie and alternative acts, as well as some hard rock and metal on the main stage. It should be a nice break for fans attending all three days, as Sunday is truly a day for dancing, whether it be to Stevie Wonder, Skrillex or one of the dozens of other great acts.
Tags: Andrew Bird, brian benton, Die Antwoord, Foo Fighters, Justice, MSTRKRFT, outside lands, Outside Lands 2012, Reviews, SAN FRANCISCO, Wallpaper., Washed Out