Outside Lands Day 3: Flume draws massive crowd, inspires tree dancing

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Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

When we wrote about Flume possibly playing Outside Lands this year in our artist rumors article, we mentioned the Australian DJ could headline this year, a divisive point that got some folks questioning our claim. Based on the crowd that showed up and the high level of sustained excitement on Sunday, that possibility isn’t too far away for Harley Streten. Sure, CHVRCHES’ cancelling their set caused some massive swelling at the east end of the festival for Flume, but many of the disappointed must have found a new favorite.

Australian producer Harley Streten weaved together a crowd-pleasing set that had a saturated Twin Peaks field bouncing along with hands up for the duration, all in the 3 p.m. hour on Sunday. In the past year, Flume’s set has become more sophisticated, led by a restrained approach that intermingles hip-hop, trap, R&B and rap. The drops are inverted in their intensity compared to traditional EDM, offering slight delays and unpredictable syncopation.

Flume has helped to create and capitalize off music’s popular trend toward marrying dance music and hip-hop, and his ability to curate a festival-sized mega party cannot be questioned at this point. Fortune favors the bold …

Add in remixes, including Major Lazer’s “Get Free” & Lorde’s “Tennis Court”, while throwing back to Friday with a rework of Disclosure’s “You & Me” and “Insane” with Killer Mike’s verses, and even the uninitiated were pulled into the excitement. Streten was also able to bring in “Touched” by What So Not, his new duo with Emoh Instead.

And did I mention how packed it was? Twenty minutes before Flume was to start there was nowhere to go. Some folks had to resort to tree dancing … for mostly hilarious results (watch the video above). While the conservationist in me says raging out a tree for an hour isn’t right, it was pretty funny — but not to Ranger Dave. According to a user on a Reddit thread titled FLUME FUCKING KILLED IT, “Apparently he got fined, and just posted his ticket on Facebook.” So think twice before trying this next year.

Some shows, per usual, were very crowed this year. Perhaps too crowded. Atmosphere’s show on Saturday left no room to breath. Capital Cities looked really packed. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis easily outdrew Tom Petty. So, would you pay a little more money if Outside Lands sold less tickets? Or do you prefer the masses like penguins huddling to keep warm in the winter, or maybe just going to where the crowds aren’t.

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Woods are the most quintessential California band that is not from here — they call Brooklyn home. The group curates the Woodsist Festival down the road in Big Sur, their most famous song before this year was “Cali in a Cup”, and they felt right at home in the confines of Golden Gate Park early Sunday. When they played their new song “With Light And With Love” — one of the best songs of 2014 — the spirit of the Grateful Dead performances from the late ‘60s felt present on what used to be Speedway Meadow.

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Jenny Lewis, sporting a snazzy technicolor dream-coat that matches her new album cover for The Voyager, delighted with a slew of new cuts from the record along with some Rilo Kiley joints.

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• A buzzy yet not overwhelming crowd came together for Spoon, who released their addictive new record They Want My Soul the Tuesday before Outside Lands. There are a bunch of future classics to be found in the new material that was played, including “Inside Out”, “Do You” & “Outlier”, and the new jams mixed in seamlessly with songs such as “I Turn My Camera On” and “I Summon You”. Britt Daniel looked inspired after four years on break from Spoon with Divine Fits. Watch for Spoon to have a big year, and give the new album a listen if you haven’t yet.

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• You certainly can’t say The Flaming Lips aren’t trying. They seem to change from year to year, and when the Lips form a set that centers around Wayne Coyne’s voice as they did at Outside Lands, it can feel uninspired at times and triumphant at others, but our heroic muscle man gives 100 percent the entire time amongst psychedelic spectacle. Their Halloween show from 2013 in SF made my top 10 shows list last year because they took the opposite approach with Coyne’s voice, modulating it into an electronic instrument, and gone were the hyper happy Yoshimi songs, the cheerleaders, the confetti cannons and human hamster ball. All of it. Instead, the Halloween show was a glorious drone-filled, psychedelic freak out, reflecting the studio work they’d released the past two years.

Coyne and company realize a festival set is different than a normal show, so they have tried to find middle ground. The Flaming Lips leader wore a muscle body suit as if he was skinned, the cheerleaders are now put in rainbow, sun and earth costumes, while songs like “Do You Realize?” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” were played with a dystopic, bleak tone. So, by having a setlist of lighter hits that were played through a jarring lens, nobody got what they really wanted. On a positive note, the Flaming Lips are keeping it weirder than ever, and many of the extended whiffs of Pink Floyd’s languid guitar hit the spot.

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• We weren’t that excited about The Killers or Tiësto to finish the festival, but we’re ready to eat our hat. I went to Tiësto since I firmly believe it’s best to say goodbye with a dance party, leaving it all on the field. The Dutch DJ was far less anthemic than anticipated, dropping some surprisingly powerful bass that speaks to his progressive nature behind the dials. Lands End was going bonkers. The overall reaction to The Killers from various press and social media websites has been very positive — Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly Presents have got their fingers on the pulse of what works for entertaining the masses at Outside Lands. We’re already looking forward to the schedule for year No. 8 in 2015.

What was your favorite act on Sunday? Did you see the dude in the tree at Flume? Tell us your story below.

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Outside Lands 2014 daily lineup highlights

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Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

So, three-day tickets for Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival sold out in record time. Now’s your chance to snag single-day passes for SF’s premier music festival. Get ready: tickets go on sale Thursday, April 17th at 10 a.m.

Still choosing which day might be best for you? Here’s our take on the headliner options, along with choice picks and reasons to get there early this August in Golden Gate Park.

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Friday, August 8th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: Kanye West Vs. Arctic Monkeys (or Disclosure)

Yeezus himself will handle headlining duties on day one, but the real question is whether or not Arctic Monkeys or Disclosure will helm Twin Peaks come nightfall. Both acts are worthy of a headlining slot — time will tell.

CHOICE PICKS:

Run the Jewels: El-P + Killer Mike , “Rap’s most dangerous Duo”, are returning to SF after their game changing shows last year at the Independent. Expect top notch beats over future-forward production. In a perfect world they would open for West.



Phosphorescent: Matthew Houck’s understated, twisted take on indie rock is refreshingly breathtaking, exemplified most strikingly by the majestic “Song for Zula”:

Holy Ghost!: Ready for a disco-dance party fed by instrumentals? Yes you are. One of our favorite acts from the last year will set Golden Gate park ablaze.



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Mikal Cronin
• Greensky Bluegrass
• Typhoon
• Bear Hands

THE VERDICT: Eclectic with as many rap options as dance choices.

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Saturday, August 9th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers vs. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This one’s going to be a pretty simple choice for most folks — the classic rock singalongs versus the contemporary pop-rap anthems. These headliners starkly contrast from one another.

CHOICE PICKS:

SBTRKT: Known to perform with iconic tribal masks, Aaron Jerome fuses innovative electronic production with drums, synth, keys & live singing, usually with help from touring partner Sampha. SBTRKT’s new EP Transitions delves into icy-instrumental territory.



Atmosphere: Slug and Ant are back this year, and they’ve got a new song entitled “Kanye West”, which doesn’t go after the Day 1 headliner, but it does address hip-hop crowd interactions in a playful, positive way.



Tycho: Scott Hansen is as much a visual artist as he is a musician — his projected imagery melds simple geometry and super slow-mo romanticism and works in hand with his newly cemented band’s ambient, yet driving beats. This one deserves a night time slot, say closing down the Panhandle Stage?



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Woods
• Jagwar Ma
• Valerie June
• Trails and Ways

THE VERDICT: Save for a handful of rowdy spots (Macklemore, Duck Sauce, Capital Cities), the offerings are relatively mellow.

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Sunday, August 10th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: The Killers vs. Tiësto (or The Flaming Lips)

These two options to end the weekend are, once again, clear cut. But here’s hoping Ranger Dave harkens back to the early years and offers a third headliner option in The Flaming Lips. Their drone-psyche spectacle of a freak out deserves darkness and would offer an incredible third option.

CHOICE PICKS:

Cut Copy: Every time these electronic-oriented Australians swing through the Bay Area, we’ll be there. Dan Whitford & Co. will make you dance and reach for the sky.



Lykke Li: The Swedish Songstress is returning to the touring circuit this year, and her first offerings from her forthcoming LP I Never Learn are more sedated than swirling. Li’s ownership of the stage and visceral passion request your attendance.



Flume: Skyrocketing electronic-music amalgamator Harley Streten creates big, bold beats centered by a chill tone. Since releasing his self-titled LP to worldwide acclaim in 2012, he’s brought in a host of top level rhymers to give the music new meaning and fresh life (listen below). We’re excited to see how this influences his live show.



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Gold Panda
• Courtney Barnett
• Jonathan Wilson
• Tumbleweed Wanderers

OVERALL VIBE: Sunday has a lot of high-decibel acts. A good day for dance enthusiasts.

Check out our Outside Lands 2014 playlist:

OL 2014 Daily Lineups