Outside Lands Day 3: Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem, Kamasi Washington & FOOD Win Big! (FESTIVAL RECAP/PHOTOS)

Kamasi Washington opened the last day of Outside Lands on the Lands End Stage at high noon with a powerful set of neo-jazz that was more Bitches Brew than Kind of Blue and stuck around to sign autographs for his fans. And across the festival grounds as the sun began to set on the Sutro Stage, Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell took turns giving each other a hand. Isbell closed his set with Adams’ help on “Sway” by The Rolling Stones and returned the favor by joining Adams on “Oh My Sweet Carolina.” After Ryan closed down the Sutro Stage, Lionel Richie closed the event nice and proper with an encore of “All Night Long,” but the best set of the weekend was brought to us by the late Jim Henson.

 Can You Picture That? The sheer joy that Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem brought their adult audience is beyond comprehension. It was joy from music, comedy, the celebration of imagination and all of those things being mainlined into your inner child.  The Muppet rock band put on their first-ever live performance with real musicians side stage and puppeteers working from under an elevated platform that hosted Dr. Teeth, Animal, Janice, Floyd and Zoot. Covers of The Band’s “Ophelia,” Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros’ “Home,” and the Joe Cocker version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” were aided by video interludes that zoned in on some of the adult themes festivals are known for, while catering specifically to their San Fran crowd.


But more than any part of the performance, what made this an exceptionally memorable live music experience was the result it had on the audience. The amount of people saying they had been waiting their whole life to see this was beyond measure and in a world of unyielding cynicism, you had grown men and women choosing to temporarily suspend disbelief and pretend that these Muppets were real artists as they cheered for them by name.  Some of these folks cheered louder for puppets than the human performers they’d been watching all weekend. Walking away from the show, it was impossible to find someone without an absurdly wide smile on their face. The previous evening, Radiohead closed out the same stage with a performance everyone in attendance will remember for the rest of their lives but the fun-factor the Muppets brought was unparalleled all weekend. Glide Magazine sent its staff thousands of miles across the country to cover a music festival headlined by the All Mighty Radiohead but when all was said and done, Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem was the #1 highlight of the weekend.

With the festival behind us, here’s everything you need to know about the 2016 incarnation of Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival…

Grounds: Golden Gate Park has been hosting live concerts since the Grateful Dead were still living at 710 Ashbury Street but what Superfly and Another Planet Entertainment do with the grounds is unprecedented.  Whether it’s Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza or Austin City Limits, every other festival comparable to Outside Lands literally takes place on a large plot of open land with little to no shade with stages and venders spread around the field. Outside Lands divides their stages up within independent topographical locations of the park and the end result is the best way to experience a multi stage music festival. The Lands End Stage has the largest capacity at the end of the Polo Field, and Sutro Stage is set up parallel to Lands End but in a depressed valley separated by forest and embanked with hills that give fans the option of standing in the crowd or watching from an elevated viewpoint.  The Twins Peaks and the Panhandle Stage took turns hosting music on the other side of the festival grounds at the back of a long corridor surrounded by trees with trunks the size of a Jacuzzi. Separating this corridor from the Polo Fields and the Sutro Stage is McLaren Pass, a hilly, wooded area hosting plenty of shade in addition to a mixology site, Chocolate Lands and Bacon Land.  The setup may have required greater walking distance from stage to stage than other events but once you arrived at your location, the audience was completely insulated from the rest of the festivals and free to zone in on your band of choice without being made aware anything else was going on.


Food and Drink: Outside Lands has every right to market itself as a food, wine and beer festival independent of its musical offerings.  The grub added a whole new layer of exploration and enjoyment for ticketholders who came for the tunes but wound up having an experience that pleased more of your senses than just sound. Waffles stuffed with fried chicken, hamburgers in donuts, Hawaiian poke, soul food BBQ, crispy empanadas and plenty of vegan and gluten free options are just a fraction of the cuisine options on site.  You could literally eat three meals a day at Outside Lands without having to eat the same style of cuisine twice. Chocolate lands hosted a venue for chocolate bars to be made on site, in addition to chocolate drinks, gourmet cup cakes and caffeinated S’mores but if you wanted chocolate covered Bacon, you’d have to wander over to Bacon Lands. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

Logistics: Lines for the bathroom were never too long and the facilities were well maintained. Walking routs weren’t ever congested. Acoustics were great on every stage and the ample shade provided a degree of shelter from the sun that makes a major difference after three days of being on your feet  and shuffling around. The comparison may not be perfect because Outside Lands is not a camping festival, but when comparing the event to its sister festival, Bonnaroo, they have a lot in common. There is always a lot of lineup crossover and having Superfly as the founding fathers has given the two events a shared DNA. But for anyone who has spent a week on the farm in Tennessee, Outside Lands is an awful lot like Bonnaroo but without the physical punishment that comes from heatstroke and sleep deprivation.


Crowd: A pretty sizable cross-section of humanity attended Outside Lands this past weekend so you can’t really pinpoint any specific demographic the event caters towards, but what is certain is that they do a good job catering to different demographics at once. While Lionel Richie was serenading the older attendees, you had Lana Del Ray performing to a massive crowd on the other side of the grounds to an audience that didn’t seem to mind that her music was significantly slower than her studio products and she barely moved when performing. During Radiohead’s set, Zedd had the party popping across the field for folks who needed something more upbeat and while Ryan Adams was blazing his way through his set for fans of lyrically focused songwriting, Major Laser hosted one of the largest crowd of the weekend for their bass-heavy, booty dropping rave that led Ryan Adams to comment that, “Someone has turned the volume way up on their laptop.” Sure, plenty of kids came to Outside Lands to get wasted and party with their friends, and if that was the prerogative, there were plenty of EDM acts that gave them an excuse to sweat on members of the opposite sex. Older fans got their fill through acts like Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Third Eye Blind and Duran Duran while acts like LCD Soundsystem, Big Grams and Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem gave everyone mutual ground to share. The vibe all weekend was positive in an on-brand San Francisco kind of way and it was impossible to spend three days in Golden Gate Park without meeting a few total strangers and having a hilarious story to tell as a result. When you get this many people in one space and add altered mental status to the picture, you’d expect a few bad eggs to appear, but if there were any bad eggs on site, we didn’t see a single one.

Festival Assessment: Between the eclectic array of high profile and up-and-coming artists, drink and culinary options deserving their own festival, grounds that provide comfort, quality acoustics and adventure, in addition to straight-up killer vibes, Outside Lands has proven itself to the Best American Music Festival 2016 has to offer. Bonnaroo and Coachella should consider themselves on notice.

Photos by Scott Fleishman

Check Glide’s Day 1 and Day 2 coverage here..

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