All right, before we get into it here, can we talk about that on-stage wedding proposal at the Macklemore show last night? Fans of the the Seattle rapper know the dude loves helping same-sex couples pop the question at his shows, so of course in this city especially he's gonna give two love birds the opportunity to put a ring on it. And he did. Just before "Same Love" Macklemore gave a big ol' speech about how much the Bay Area has been at the forefront of gay rights, and then he brought out sweet, nervous lesbian couple Jenny and Natalie.
Jenny got down on one knee, Natalie cried, we all got a little choked up, it was fucking awesome. (Oh, and yeah, she said yes). Absolute best moment of the whole festival so far for me, although some other stuff happened too.
Most notable performance: The only drawback of Outside Lands is navigating through so many sloppy drunk bros and their bro-ettes, whose eyes don't see you but rather are soft-focused on some distance land of flasks and mini airplane bottles of booze. So walking between stages becomes an exercise not only in distance but in patience for people slamming into you, each other, and the ground (hey, it gets uneven at times). You make a list of ten bands and see the full sets of, like, six. But all the acts I mentioned in this post were excellent. I'd add to this list Tycho, a hometown electronic hero whose lush, dreamy soundscapes work perfectly against the gorgeous abstract films composer/designer Scott Hansen creates.
A little shoutout too for Atmosphere, who packed the Sutro stage to the point where people inside the fest were actually watching the performance from behind a fence up on a hill, so as to not get trapped in that sardine can. Still, the Minnesota duo brought it, and made for a nice warm up for Macklemore, a dude you could argue Atmosphere really paved the emo-rapper way for.
Strangest fashion accessory (spotted on multiple people): If you get cold, or get in the mood, don't think anything of throwing your blanket near the side-front of a smaller stage and pulling your girlfriend/boyfriend on top of you as people step around you to see the band. As an accessory, your warm-blooded boo sure beats those branded Outside Lands woven blankets the other suckers were wearing (or the onsies mentioned yesterday).
What most people were waiting in line for: Other than the bathrooms, the one place I saw a constant, giant line for was the Del Popolo pizza truck. I mean, it makes sense, hot pizza on a crispy crust totally hit the spot on a somewhat chilly, constantly foggy day. I grabbed two delicious slices from Casey's Pizza, a different gray truck with slightly less of a wait.
Best band we saw before 3 p.m.: Christopher Owens killed it. The local indie hero, formerly of the critically lauded band Girls, is now flying solo but not alone. With a full band – including two back up singers and a dude on pedal steel that he introduced as "a guy I met from Palo Alto named Ed" – Owens played an awesome set. His music was an ebullient mix of pop, indie soul, and country (he threw on a giant cowboy hat for those tunes). And just as much fun as hearing him play? Watching the gorgeous backup singers, who were so into the music they were grinning wildly and clapping like fans when they weren't singing.
Show with the best fans: Tough call here, as Capital Cities and Boys Noize fans turned the grassy grounds into a giant dance party, but I'll have to go with Big Freedia followers. The queen of New Orleans bounce had the Panhandle Stage crowd singing along to her every word, but even more than that, 25 of them volunteered to get on stage and throw their asses in our faces at Freedia's command and bounce along with her to "Azz Everywhere." She made them work for it too – head down, hands on the ground, and booties twerking. Freedia of course tossed her ass everywhere too – she was bouncing on stage, while climbing a ladder, and even while clinging to the scaffolding.
What I learned about modern festivals today: The "We're over here" sign has absolutely evolved since the birth of Outside Lands, and humor makes you stand out so much more than having the longest string for your red ballon. My favorite "don't lose us" signs included the "pile of poo" emoji, a giant head of Peter Dinklage, and what I was hoping was Ralph Maccio from Karate Kid but was actually Zoolander. Runners up included people holding giant blown up photos of their own heads. It's a race, people, to have the best of these signs at these festivals now. Gotta up your games from the stuffed animals on sticks.
Today’s WTF: Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" was a huge hit (along with "American Girl," which closed his show) last night, but one woman took the title a bit too literally. An older woman near me started spinning around on the polo fields as the song played, slowly taking off her jacket and purse, throwing them down, and spinning off into the night. When I ran her down and tried to give her back her belongings, the woman just told me, "You keep them. We're all free." I later saw her sitting on a bouncer's lap in the bushes, attempting to make out with him.
Overheard at OSL: From two pantsless girls (you know, the hipster Underoos) when the fog didn't clear in the afternoon: "Oh my God, I'm cold, I wanna go home now. I wish we could just see Kanye again and leave."
And, later in the evening, on the way to Macklemore, two different girls: "You know, we're wasted, but I feel like we're being very responsible about it."
Pro tip: If you haven't been to the festival before today, get to those gates early. The ticket pickup entrance has been moved to the middle of the park, which means a lot of walking to get there, and then there's a huge line once you're there to get in. Huge. I'd plan to arrive at the park like two hours before anyone you want to see is playing there.
Also, there's been a rash of fake tickets at Outside Lands thanks to lame scalpers. Don't end up a crying fan in the next Chronicle story, make sure your tickets are legit beforehand.
Want more? Check out Friday's coverage of Outside Lands here.