Aug. 11--There's really only one conclusion to be made after Day Two of the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival:
The promoters Nailed it.
Yes, that's a pun on the Day Two headliner -- Nine Inch Nails. Yet, it's also a valid summary of the day's all-around terrific bill.
There was just so much good music, spread out across five stages, to be enjoyed on Saturday at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Besides rocking with NIN, fans got the chance to see such top artists as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Phoenix and the Head and the Heart.
Fortunately, the good times are far from being over. The festival continues on Sunday, with a lineup that includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Willie
Nelson, Hall and Oates, Trombone Shorty and Fishbone.
Yet, before we get all pumped up about Sunday's offerings, it's time for one last look back at Saturday's affair. Here are my top five highlights from Day Two of Outside Lands:
1. Nine Inch Nails:
Trent Reznor and crew put on an epic show. It was full of drama and power, with each song creating almost a delirious degree of tension. The music was dark and menacing, taking us to places that we didn't want to go, yet couldn't wait to get there.
The whole affair couldn't have been much more different from Friday's headliner -- Paul McCartney -- yet it was every bit as moving. That's the beauty of this festival. It routinely offers up a dizzyingly eclectic bill and fans simply need to buckle up and go along for the ride.
Vocalist Reznor sounded marvelous as he poured his very soul into reviving such longtime fan favorites as "March of the Pigs" and "Closer." The rest of the band members matched his intensity throughout the nearly two-hour show.
2. Gary Clark, Jr.:
There's a new guitar hero in town and he goes by the name of Gary Clark, Jr. Sure, he's been making records for years now. Yet, it's not until recently that listeners have caught on to his greatness.
And they're certainly catching on in a big way.
No artist on the festival bill had more buzz than Clark. When's the last time someone said that about a blues-rocker?
I saw him last year at the Bridge School Benefit concerts at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, but this was my first time catching the full-throttle electrified, amplified Clark experience. It won't be my last.
Need another recommendation in the guitar hero realm? Just make a date to see Omara "Bombino" Moctar, the acclaimed Tuareg guitarist and singer-songwriter from Agadez, Niger who is quickly becoming a world music sensation.
He was very impressive during his Outside Lands set, offering up colorful leads that seemed to improve my mood with each note. It was a nice change of pace from all the EDM/indie-pop taking place on the other stages. Don't let the "world music" tag scare you away. Bombino's music crosses all borders.
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Karen O is one of the great front women in rock. The way she works a stage -- with such crazed conviction -- is simply amazing. It's easy to compare her to some of the all-time greats, such as Courtney Love, Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith and Johnette Napolitano. Yes, I realize that's incredibly high praise. Yet, she deserves it.
The band was absolutely ferocious as it tore through such tunes as "Cheated Hearts," "Zero" and "Date With the Night." The Yeah Yeah Yeahs proved to be the perfect pairing for Nine Inch Nails. The band definitely ratcheted up the rock and properly primed the crowd for the headliner.
5. Jurassic 5
The L.A. alt-hip-hop group, which gave the world such fine affairs as 2002's "Power in Numbers" and 2006's "Feedback," had been off the scene for some six years.
Would the long layoff show? Would the music sound dated? Those were the type of questions I was asking in anticipation of the Jurassic 5 set at Outside Lands.
Fortunately, my concerns were soon put to rest. These guys sounded just as strong in concert as they did back in their heyday. Plus, the music sounded mighty fresh.
Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic, www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.
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