Saturday at Outside Lands was a typical second day at festivals. The sets ran smoother, there were less technical problems, and the crowds seemed a little more laid back after the initial day 1 excitement dissipated. The sets today were just as incredible as yesterday, but with a completely different vibe – one of the great things about Outside Lands is how intelligently it is curated and balanced. So while last night ended with Paul McCartney’s inspiring performance this evening reached its peak with the caustic sear of Nine Inch Nails.
Beginning the day, the more dance based Twin Peaks stage was opened by SF-locals Social Studies, the same stage that would eventually bring Phoenix by the end of the night. With a little luck it won’t be surprising to see this band move up on festival bills next year, they’re certainly talented enough. Later that day Youth Lagoon played a thunderous set to a massive afternoon crowd. It was a far bigger stage than when we saw them at Sasquatch, and a much bigger sounding set. If you caught Trevor Powers’ band live early in their tour this year it might have seemed like they were working out the kinks in their set, but now this little bedroom project has become one hell of a festival band.
Jurassic 5 was essential viewing this weekend considering they’re the ONLY hip-hop act performing at the entire festival. They carried that weight all by themselves, and pulled in a massive crowd to the main Polo stage. Meanwhile, on the other side of the festival Baauer was mixing in plenty of hip-hop during his DJ set, the best point being when Rustie’s “Slasherr,” flowed into Kanye West’s recent track, “Hold My Liquor.”
Grizzly Bear played the final show of the Shields tour, ending things with a bang despite having done just over 100 shows on this tour and with frontman Ed Droste feeling a little under the weather. I chatted with Droste before he went on (but not before Baauer went on, unfortunately, which funnily led to a great deal of “HUH?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU” coming from both of us in between all of the bass drops) where he explained that he had a cold and wasn’t feeling great, but was still determined to finish on a high note before starting “summer vacation,” as bandmember Chris Taylor put it to the crowd. Honestly, you never would have noticed Droste was anything other than stunning. Aside from playing an aggressive set with most of the heavy-hitters in their discography (“Cut the ballads!” Droste said when I asked him if the band does things differently when playing festivals instead of clubs), he was also the most talkative (and funny) front man of the weekend.
There really couldn’t have been a better way to end the night than with Nine Inch Nails, who brought some much needed bad vibes to the festival. Playing a frenetic set with near constant strobes and lasers it was a visual and sonic overload. The biggest reaction was easily “Closer,” but those who stuck around to the end of the set got to hear Reznor close with a upsetting and beautiful performance of “Hurt.” Check out the photos from Saturday by Moses Namkung above and stream the fest at PureVolume all weekend.