The Sights and Sounds of Outside Lands 2011

San Francisco's Outside Lands, now in its fifth year, featured art, gourmet food, tastings from California wineries, and, of course, three full days of music all within the greenery of San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park. The festival, held on August 12–14, included a wide variety of acts incuding MGMT, Erykah Badu, Muse, Phish, The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, and dozens more.
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San Francisco's Outside Lands, now in its fifth year, featured art, gourmet food, tastings from California wineries, and, of course, three full days of music all within the greenery of San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park. The festival, held on August 12–14, included a wide variety of acts incuding MGMT, Erykah Badu, Muse, Phish, The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, and dozens more.

Here are some highlights from the weekend…

VIDEO

Don''t miss our backstage interview with Charles Bradley!

PHOTOS

Check out our exclusive Flickr gallery, with hundreds of pics.

SET HIGHLIGHTS

Day 1
K.Flay:
A breakout artist who produces her own music, K.Flay sang and played guitar and keyboards throughout her set. “I think for me there is a dual component to what I''m doing,” she explained in an interview with Electronic Musician. “Half of it being my own original solo stuff which I produce largely on my own, and the other side is production for other people. I have remixes this summer with Beastie Boys, Oh Land, and I have a Young the Giant remix coming out—so it's fun for me to balance the times I want to be creative on my own stuff or work on other projects with people—it a nice tension to have,” said Flay.
See an official video

MGMT: Played favorites like “Kids” and other hits.

FREE YR RADIO HOSTED BY TOYOTA produced a live radio broadcast with interviews and performances by Outside Lands artists like Charles Bradley.

Big Boi: No-show. Kept the crowd waiting for two hours before a surprise appearance from Dave Chapelle calmed folks down. “I waited a long time to be at a rock concert where there were beach balls,” said Chapelle. See video here

Erykah Badu and her band had a tight sound; they were all great performers. She played lots of old-school hits including “Love of my Life,” “Thank You,” and “Honey.” We didn''t hear much from her latest album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, which features the single “Window seat” and other new favorites.

Phish: Played the longest set of the festival (6:30-10:00pm) and boasted a colorful crowd of hippies, fish heads, and indie rockers alike.

Day 2
Black Keys:
sported a giant dream catcher onstage.

Christina Perri: was all smiles and loved every moment on stage. Playing her hit “Jar of hearts,” she had the whole crowd singing along.

OK GO: played an impressive set; Dan Auerbach, lead vocalist, even came up to the end of the stage and pointed the mic into the audience asking for their help finishing the lyrics of the songs.

Muse: had an amazing light show and great set, starting out with the song “Uprising.” At the finale, “eyeball” balloons rose up into the sky. The full moon made for a lovely backdrop to the evening.

Day 3
Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band:
If Al Green and James Brown had a baby, you would have Charles Bradley. Now on the Daptone label, his ''11 plans are to tour Europe. He finished his set by heading out into the crowd and shaking hands with his fans. “I think the younger generation needs to tone their anger and hurt and make it into something lovable,” he said. “They should come forward and let the world know what they are going through.”
Watch an official video.

The legendary Mavis Staples and a surprise guest, Arcade Fire's Win Butler, covered The Band''s "The Weight" early on Sunday afternoon, during Staples'' set on the Lands End stage.

Little Dragon: Amazing synth work, best crowd of the whole festival. People sported Chinese-style paper umbrellas and a few wore dragon costumes in honor of the band.

The Decemberists: The band's keyboardist Jenny Conlee has been diagnosed with breast cancer and missed the show in order to undergo treatment. "The good news is that Jenny caught it early," said lead singer Colin Meloy. "And while the prognosis is very, very good for a full recovery, tackling the disease will mean some intensive treatment for our Jenny, as well as a lot of important recovery time."

Arcade Fire: Kept the momentum of the evening going and rapped up the festival. Big improvement from last years Jack Johnson set on Sunday that had the already tired crowd snoozing.

Other festival highlights included wine tasting from Claypool Cellars in the Wine Lands tent, and the new Food Truck Forest featuring Those Fabulous Frickle Brothers'' fried pickles. Also a new addition this year was The Mission—featuring taco trucks and Choco Lands with sweet treats. The artwork and live attractions in the Speedway Meadow area were curated by Juxtapoz magazine.

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