Tag Archives: outside lands

My Safety Noodle

In 2015 my sister made a few totems out of pool noodles to use at Outside Lands. She took a couple of pool noodles, added some ribbons at the top to make them distinctive, and bought some glow sticks to attach at night. Those totems served our group well, uniting us between different sets throughout the weekend. When the festival ended, I took one of the totems home.

Outside Lands 2016 rolled around and the totem came out of retirement. He even got an upgrade when one of our friends wrapped a battery powered LED light strip around it. The totem became an essential part of our Outside Lands experience. I liked to carry it. It was my safety noodle. I always knew where I was in a sea of people.

The safety noodle returned for his third Outside Lands in 2017. That’s impressive. My sister, the creator, added an inflatable unicorn to the top because the third anniversary is the unicorn anniversary. The unicorn turned my safety noodle into a celebrity. Random festival goers would take pictures of it and use it as a beacon to find their own friends.

Unfortunately the third year of Outside Lands took a toll on it. The LED lights got a little faulty. He also got a little bent from the extra weight from the unicorn. Pool noodles are not designed to deal with that kind of stress. I’m not sure if he will be able to survive Outside Lands 2018. He will make an appearance. I owe him that. But I don’t see him making it through another crazy weekend of debauchery. I want him to go out on his own terms and (other than the inside of my closet) Outside Lands is all he knows.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bands I’ve Seen at Outside Lands

I’m too lazy think of something to write about right now so I figured I would just make a list of all the bands I’ve seen at Outside Lands. In case you don’t know, Outside Lands is a three-day music and arts festival held annually in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I live two blocks away from Golden Gate Park. I’m pretty much required to go and so I do. It’s a three-day festival in my backyard. How can I not go?

The first Outside Lands was in 2008. That was a long time ago so I can’t remember all the bands that I saw, but I remember seeing Beck, Dredg, Matt Nathanson, Steve Winwood, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Wilco, and all three main headliners: Radiohead, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Jack Johnson.

In 2009 I saw Incubus, Tom Jones, Silversun Pickups, the National, Black Eyed Peas, The Mars Volta, M.I.A., Modest Mouse, Matt & Kim, Atmosphere, Ween, and the three main headliners again: Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Tenacious D. The Beastie Boys were supposed to be Sunday’s headliner but MCA got cancer and they were replaced by Tenacious D. Jack Black and K.G. put on a hell of a show, but that was my only chance to ever see the Beastie Boys.

Ok, so I might have lied earlier when I said that I’ve been to every Outside Lands because I didn’t buy tickets the third year because of various reasons. I was supposed to work that entire weekend but somehow got Sunday off. I celebrated by going to Golden Gate Park with some friends that night and listened to Kings of Leon’s set. We were on the wrong side of the fence, but I kinda sorta consider that as going to Outside Lands. Anyway, I learned from my mistake and vowed to never do that again.

In 2011 I saw Phantogram, Foster the People, MGMT, Phish, OK Go, Arctic Monkeys, the Black Keys, and Muse. I didn’t like Sunday’s lineup so I sold the ticket to a friend. I kind of regret it.

I kept my 2012 guide so I know exactly who I saw and when I saw them. 8/10/2012 was a Friday and I started the day by watching Tanlines, then Fitz and the Tantrums, Beck (again), Foo Fighters, and ended the night with Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Saturday began with Geographer, followed by Alabama Shakes, Big Boi, Passion Pit, and finished with Metallica. Sunday’s first set was Allen Stone, then fun., Franz Ferdinand, Regina Spektor, Santigold, Bloc Party, and it concluded with Stevie Wonder.

2013’s OSL rolled around and I saw Band of Horses, the National, Zedd, and Paul McCartney on Friday. I saw Social Studies, Atlas Genius, Young the Giant, Jurassic 5, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a little bit of Nine Inch Nails, and then Phoenix on Saturday. On Sunday I saw Foals, Daryl Hall & John Oates (and yes, they did play “Maneater”), A-Trak, Matt & Kim (again), and closed the weekend with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I misplaced my 2014 guide, but I know that I saw Aer, Bleachers, Holy Ghost! Chromeo, Disclosure, The Kooks, Local Natives, Haim, Death Cab for Cutie, Imelda May, Flume, Spoon, and Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (again), and The Killers.

Don’t worry though, I have my 2015 guide so I can tell you that on Friday, 8/7/2015 I saw the Family Crest, Lake Street Dive, Lindsey Sterling, Glass Animals, RL Grime, Chet Faker, Porter Robinson, and Mumford & Sons. On Saturday I saw Misterwives, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cold War Kids, Toro y Moi, Tame Impala, Classixx, and Kendrick Lamar. On Sunday I saw Shakey Graves, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, DJ Mustard, Odesza, Sam Smith, Caribou, and Elton John.

Outside Lands is a big part of my life. I look forward to it every year. I will blindly buy a ticket before they announce the lineup. It doesn’t matter who is playing. I love discovering bands that I haven’t heard before. I love finding out how popular bands sound live. I love seeing living legends like Paul McCartney and Elton John take the stage. I love forming temporary friendships with the random festival-goers around me, passing joints and sharing booze while killing time before the next set starts. I’m all about living life and Outside Lands is one of those places where I feel truly alive.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

2014-08-05-vintagewoodenwindmillsatOutsideLandsJeffKravitzFilmMagic

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Staycation

So I haven’t written anything in a few days because I was on my staycation. A staycation is like a vacation in that you get time off from work, you relax, you do fun things, but you get sleep in your own bed at the end of the day. I’m lucky that I live in San Francisco and I was able to spend the last three days drinking and dancing and partying at Outside Lands. Most people don’t have the privilege of a major three-day festival a few blocks from their house, so their staycations involve a lot more yard work and trips to Home Depot. A staycation is a great way to take some time for yourself, to rediscover your sanity, and chill out without having to deal with all the hassles that come with planning a trip out of town. You don’t have to worry about locking the front door or forgetting your toothbrush. You don’t have to worry about transportation. A staycation is the ideal vacation for lazy people. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and you don’t have to think about work.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Goose Hands

Last August I went to the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco. There were a lot of bands, a few different stages, and thousands and thousands of people walking around. Anyone who has ever been to a festival can attest to how easy it is to lose your friends in the crowd. You look away for a second and they’re gone. Some people carry around sticks, poles, flags or balloons so that their friends can spot them amongst the sea of people. That’s a good idea, but it’s kind of cumbersome to walk around with a ten foot pole. Goose hands are the best alternative to lugging a flag around all day. Then next time someone gets separated from the group, tell them your general vicinity and to look out for the goose hands. Form a good old fashioned duck shadow puppet with your hand, then elevate it over your head and make it quack. Get a few friends to do it too, and the missing member of your group will be able to find you without any problem. It’s a great way to locate your group or guide your lost friend back to your spot. It’s easier to push your way through a crowd if you know where you’re going. Goose hands… try them at your next concert. It will change your life.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Outside Lands 2012

The San Francisco Outside Lands Festival has come and gone again. The festival is held each year in Golden Gate Park and features multiple artists on multiple stages. The 2012 lineup featured such diverse acts as Beck, Of Monsters and Men, Foo Fighters, Andrew Bird, Justice, Alabama Shakes, Explosions in the Sky, Big Boi, The Kills, Passion Pit, Sigur Ros, Fun., Franz Ferdinand, Regina Spektor, Jack White, Santigold, Bloc Party, Dispatch, Skrillex, and the main headliners were Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Metallica, and Stevie Wonder. That’s a pretty good fucking lineup in a time when most festivals are becoming more mediocre. Coachella was so desperate for talent that they had to resort to booking holograms of dead rappers.


This is my fourth Outside Lands in five years and I live ten minutes by foot from the main entrance. I’m not trying to toot my horn, but I’m pretty much an Outside Lands expert at this point. So believe me when I say that this year was a shit show. It was fucking crowded. And that fucking sucked. I was there pretty much the entire festival. I got there around 1:00 the first day and was surprised at how busy it was. There were already lines for the bathrooms and for food. Fridays generally start getting crowded around 5:00 or 6:00, but it seemed like everyone was anxious to get in early.

I saw the two-man band Tanlines, and they put on a decent show. I headed over to the main stage, Lands End, to catch Fitz and the Tantrums, Beck, Foo Fighters, and finally Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Fitz and the Tantrums had everyone moving, even if their songs aren’t as well known. Beck played a lot of old stuff, including Loser and Devil’s Haircut, but he played a few slow songs in a row, including Lost Cause, which kind of put a damper on the mood. Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters were great. They had a ton of energy and had everyone jumping and singing. They played a lot of old stuff and some new stuff, but everyone was feeling it.

Neil Young is old. He looks old. He doesn’t act old. He was constantly bobbing and moving to the beat, running and jumping, and generally sweating his geriatric nutsack off. He played a lot of old and obscure stuff, with a few recognizable songs thrown in to pacify the crowd. He refused to end songs and every other song had to have a ten-minute guitar solo. It got old real fast. He seemed like he was just trying to fill a two-hour set at times. I know you’re a legend, but you don’t have to be full of yourself. You’re not Clapton or Dylan… you occasionally hang out with Crosby, Stills, & Nash, but you’re not that cool.

Saturday was ridiculously busy. There were people everywhere all day long. It was almost impossible to find anyone. You had to be wearing something distinctive or be near a landmark or a recognizable flagstick. Security was pretty strict that day. They took away my Captain Morgan. That was pretty disheartening. I saw Geographer, Alabama Shakes, Big Boi, Passion Pit, and Metallica. Geographer was all right, admittedly they aren’t one of the bands that I listen to or have heard of before, but they were pretty good. Alabama Shakes was super crowded. They had a ton of people crammed together to watch them, and I listened to a few songs before my group got claustrophobic/pissed off and we left a little early. I liked what I heard, but we were too far away to get close and to get into it.

Big Boi was supposed to play Outside Lands before, but he got arrested and couldn’t make his gig. This time around he kept referring to the “technical difficulties” that kept him from playing last time, so he would take requests and also play new stuff. He played a few hits from the OutKast days like Bombs over Baghdad and Ms. Jackson. A little hip-hop is refreshing in a lineup like this. Passion Pit had everyone dancing and grooving along. Metallica was super loud and had fire. And a bunch of hits that everyone can scream along to. The fire was awesome. I’m still pissed that they shut down Napster.

Finally Sunday rolled around, and the sun still hadn’t made an appearance all weekend. We hoped that it would come out, but it stayed cloudy and overcast pretty much the whole day, with the occasional glimpse of blue sky. I started the day by catching the end of Allen Stone. What a delightful weird looking white guy. I stuck around the main stage for Fun., Franz Ferdinand, and Regina Spektor. Fun. played a great set. They really lived up to their name. Lead singer Nate Ruess was genuinely having a good time performing and it showed. They really got the crowd going, and that was one of the best acts of the day. Franz Ferdinand also got the crowd going, and everyone was having a good time. Regina Spektor was good, but it’s a slower style of music, so people were more mellow during her set.

Santigold was next on my list, and that was a great show. Everyone was dancing and singing and moving to the beat. One of the highlights was when she invited a bunch of audience members to dance on stage for a song. Bloc Party was next. They put on a decent set, but their sound was distorted. It got better as it went on, but it wasn’t as impressive as I hoped it would be.

Like most of the Outside Landers, I ended the day at Stevie Wonder. Quick fact of the day: Stevie Wonder is a blind musician. He played a bunch of songs, because he’s been around for a while and he has a bunch of songs. He even got up and walked around the stage being lead by one of his backup singers. It was very awesome and slightly awkward.

Outside Lands 2012 had a great lineup and lots of things to see, but it was really crowded. I mean super fucking crowded. At times it was not enjoyable with how many people there were. The bathroom situation was a nightmare. A lot of people (either the smart ones or the really fucked up ones) resorted to pissing in the bushes or behind the portapotties. It seems like Outside Lands is getting too big. I might skip out on it next year, but it all depends on the lineup. It always depends on the lineup.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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