No Longer Riding On the Merry-Go-Round

This past weekend was the twice-postponed Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park, and we managed to get through all three days with somewhat reasonable weather enjoyed, lots of local food eaten and around a dozen bands seen. We walked around thirteen miles over those days total (we live less than a mile away so we walked home at the end of the day), so it was probably for the best that we took Monday off to rest.

And, we seem to have both come to the conclusion that that was probably our last music festival.

Why, you say? Well, a few reasons. We admit we’re getting on in years (I am the ripe old age of 50, after all) and it’s just getting too exhausting. Then there are the crowds. We’ll also admit that though most of the festival goers are chill and fine and don’t bother us in the least, there are those who are just the most irritating people imaginable. These are usually the college/post-college kids who stand/sit either behind us or in front of us and proceed to entirely ignore the band we’d been wanting to see, talking super loud about getting wasted in the SOMA Tent before leaving three songs later. Or the vapers and the pot smokers that decide that smoking right beside and upwind of us is totes fine. Or the frat bros. Or the “I have no concept of walking around others” people, which I swear is a California thing. [And then there was the woman behind me at The HU show that, I kid you not, said “I would enjoy them better if they sang in English.” This is a band that sings in Mongolian, mind you.] [I could go on, but I’m veering very close to Get Off My Lawn territory here, so I’ll stop.]

Anyhoo — we’re calling it, at least for now. We’ve finally accepted that both of us can only people for so long before it gets irritating and exhausting and we need to back away. And getting from one stage to another while trying to navigate shifting crowds is starting to wear on us.

Am I bummed out about this? Maybe, but not really all that much. Before we went to our first Outside Lands in 2012, the last festival I’d gone to was Curiosa in 2004. And even then I’d bailed near the end of The Cure because I had a long-ass drive home. Anyway, I’ve made my peace with it. We find we prefer streaming the festivals these days. It’s a lot more fun and so much cheaper.

That’s not to say we’ll never go to rock shows again. We’ll be seeing Motion City Soundtrack in Berkeley in February — interestingly, the very same band we saw live just a few months before the pandemic kicked in — and one of these days I’d like to see a band at the Fillmore or the Independent, both places I can easily get to via public transportation. (And of course we’ll still be going to see the symphony and the opera.)

I just don’t think I can handle another year of super large crowds and losing energy before the sun goes down.

Outside Lands This Weekend

This year’s Outside Lands looks to be a bit more of a sedate affair this time out, mainly due to the changes in schedule and availability of bands, and after this weekend’s weather we’re hoping it doesn’t turn into a Glastonbury/Bonnaroo washout. On the other hand, the choice of bands is quite eclectic and inclusive this time out! Here’s a few bands we’re looking forward to seeing!

Oh yeah, that’s right. I have a blog thingie!

Hi gang!  Humblest apologies for leaving you in the lurch for nigh on a month.  It’s been quite busy here in Spare Oom, between the Day Job, prepping A Division of Souls for publication, and going to Outside Lands, I’m afraid I’ve been a bit lax in the blogosphere.  That’s hopefully going to change this week, as I now have a Best Laid Plan to post here on a weekly basis again.  [That on top of said Day Job, promoting ADoS and prepping The Persistence of Memories next, among other things.  Thus calling it a Best Laid Plan.  And you know how those often work out for me.]  [ANYWAY]

Speaking of Best Laid Plans, my plan to use my nicer camera at Outside Lands was sadly put aside during the very first band I saw (The Family Crest), in which I was told by OL Security to put it away, as it was bigger than acceptable.  I called bullshit on it, but as mentioned elsewhere, I don’t want to be that photographer, and duly put it away.  It put a bit of a damper on my mood, but it didn’t ruin it.  Instead I just chose to enjoy the weekend, eat horrible food, and get a nice sunburn in the process.  I just don’t have any decent pictures to post.  Sorry about that.

In other music news, I’ve been a bit backed up in my downloads as of late.  This past summer has been a bit thin in the release area, which is actually kind of expected, considering Q3 releases don’t kick into high gear until late August.  I’ll go through my collection in a day or so and report on what I’ve enjoyed so far.

Until then, enjoy a great track from The Family Crest, with a video filmed about three blocks away from our apartment!  That’s Geary Boulevard, and he’s walking from 22nd Avenue (he lights up in front of Sakana Bune, which is our favorite sushi boat restaurant) and ends up at the Blarney Stone the next block over.  At the end you can also see the 38 Muni go by.  🙂

BRB, Heading to Outside Lands

OH HEY I can see my house from here

OH HEY I can see my house from here

…and of course you know I’m bringing my good camera with me.

[OK, I’m not leaving just yet.  It’s tomorrow and my commute there is basically taking the 29 Muni to Golden Gate Park.  You really can see our apartment in this picture.]

Stay tuned for some cool pix of bands rockin’ out!

Outside Lands: Day 3

Sadly, we didn’t make it to the end of the day, so we’re going to miss Bloc Party and Stevie Wonder, but we did get a few more great bands in today before we called it a weekend:

First up was a band called Infantree that we’d heard of but didn’t really know, but we ended up really liking. Kind of moody indie rock and really great musicianship.

Infantree at the Panhandle stage

Soon after we stuck around at the Panhandle stage and saw Birdy. She’s known for doing some pretty interesting piano covers, including Phoenix’s “1901” and The Naked and Famous’ “Young Blood”. Not exactly my cup of tea, but she and her band were quite enjoyable.

Birdy while playing “Young Blood”

Then to the big afternoon deal–Franz Ferdinand! This was A.’s big name she was waiting to see, and they did not let us down. They kicked off with “Matinee” and hit all their biggest hits like “Do You Want To” and of course “Take Me Out”, and also performed a lot of new songs that may be on their next album. They all joined on the drummer’s set for the final track. Excellent show.

Rocking out on the Polo Fields stage. Yes, that’s Gavrilo Princip as the background picture.

Nick McCarthy and Alex Kapranos dueling it out

Alex rocking out

Lastly we headed back to the Panhandle stage to catch Electric Guest. Sadly I didn’t get any good pictures of them as we sat near the back and the crowd filled up surprisingly quickly, but they put on a fun show.

…and that’s pretty much it for us. We called it a day after that. We are definitely thinking of going next year, however!

Outside Lands: Day 1

So A. and I went to Outside Lands this afternoon (we’re also going tomorrow and Sunday), San Francisco’s own music and craft festival that takes place in Golden Gate Park–in this case, about four blocks south of us. In the past couple of years we’ve been able to hear the bands from our apartment…not loudly, but just enough where we could recognize a few songs playing. Last year we were amused by the fact that we could hear Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” (and the attending crowd going wild). We decided this year that we should go, considering the number of great headliners for this year.

A. got to see Tanlines (I ended up getting there late because I had to work until just after lunch), and we met up to see a silly local band called Wallpaper. After that show, we headed to the polo field to get some food and check out a few of the major acts.

The Polo Field, from the back forty

First off was Fitz and the Tantrums, who put on a phenomenal show, and they definitely know how to do it. Their sound was tight, and they knew how to work a crowd with their retro soul sounds.

After that was one of the performers I’d been waiting for: Beck. I’d last seen him live at the old Foxboro Stadium in (I think) 1998 or 1999, so it would be interesting to see him perform songs after that era.

Sometimes the best shots were of the monitors, but hey, why not?

I LOVE how this one came out.

Beck’s band was quite eclectic–a lot of older guys who, despite a few sound problems in the first few songs and a few flubbed lines, really enjoyed playing his warped style of indie rock. I did enjoy the few Odelay tracks they played, and loved that he played “Gamma Ray” (I’m not sure, but I’m convinced they were playing Danelectros on that), but I was quite pleased when they played not one but three songs from Sea Change, quite possibly my favorite of his albums.

And then came Foo Fighters, who kicked all kinds of ass and did not let up once. Dude, these guys fucking ROCK, and I’m not saying this because I’m a fan…they’re just THAT good live.

Dave Grohl rocks your ass.

Somehow I got all six guys in shot and somewhat in focus here!

Thank you and good night!

So tomorrow we’re looking forward to Animal Kingdom, Geographer, The Be Good Tanyas, Explosions in the Sky, The Kills, Passion Pit, and Sigur Ros. Metallica is playing on the Polo Field tomorrow night, and we’re iffy on that one, but we may just pop in on the back forty just to check them out for a song or two. More pix to come!