Outside Lands: Daniel J. Willis’ Saturday best and worst

Kikagaku Moyo

Ryu Kurosawa of Kikagaku Moyo performs at Golden Gate Park during Outside Lands on Aug. 11, 2018. Photo: Joaquin Cabello.

I’m back with my best and worst of Day 2. Don’t worry, less than half is about pork products. I even mention music once or twice in there!

Kikagaku Moyo

Daoud Popal of Kikagaku Moyo performs at Golden Gate Park during Outside Lands on Aug. 11, 2018.

BEST: Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo was by far my favorite thing I’ve seen at the festival so far. Blending late Beatles with early Led Zeppelin, the psychedelic rockers captured the spirit of pre-techbro San Francisco better than any San Francisco band I’ve seen in ages.

There’s something intensely appropriate about a psychedelic band jamming in Golden Gate Park. That the most quintessentially Old San Francisco set came from Tokyo is also quintessentially Old San Francisco.

WORST: Unfortunately, the most quintessentially New San Francisco part of the festival is that a fantastic psychedelic jam band with international indie cred is relegated to the noon, before a majority of people have even arrived. Rather than get exposure for an immensely talented group that crossed the Pacific to get here, they got buried, playing for a few hundred when it should have been a few thousand.

This is becoming a pattern. My favorite set from last year was Chilean star Mon Laferte, who played the same stage in the same time slot on Sunday for a similarly sized crowd. I’ve since become one of her biggest non-Spanish-speaking fans and more people should have had the chance to do the same.

Come on, Outside Lands! Do the music nerds a solid and put Ranger Dave’s International Corner on a bigger stage and/or in a later time slot. You keep finding these amazing foreign acts; let more people see them!

BEST: Do you like cheeseburgers? Of course you do, everyone likes cheeseburgers. They seem pretty much perfect, right? Bread, cheese, ground beef…

You fool! You’re missing the greatest innovation in burgers since bacon!

In my tireless quest to eat an entire pig piece by piece over the course of the weekend, I had a pork belly burger for a late elevenses, because I’m also using the hobbit meal schedule for the weekend. It was majestic. It made normal burgers taste like garbage. All it needed was bacon.

Now that I’ve discovered the pure unbridled joy of ground pork belly, the sky’s the limit. Pork belly meatloaf! Pork belly chili! Pork belly sloppy joes! A pork belly induced blood pressure of 180 over 120!

WORST: Look, I generally don’t like declaring things to be inherently bad. I like lots of music that’s questionable at best, as readers of my weekly RIFF Rewind column are well aware. I also remember my parents saying the nu-metal I liked in the early ‘00s wasn’t music even though, in retrospect, they kinda had a point.

All that said, what in the world was going on with Smokepurpp?

There was a fairly big crowd, and they seemed to be having a great time so I’m not judging, but I really, really don’t get it. As far as I can tell the entire performance is Smokepurpp shouting, “WHEN THIS NEXT SONG DROPS I WANT EVERYONE TO GO CRAZY,” his DJ playing said song while Smokepurpp runs back and forth across the stage occasionally shouting a lyric seemingly at random, then the DJ stops the song early and shouts, “EVERYBODY GIVE IT UP FOR SMOKEPURPP!”

And here I thought rap involved, like … rapping. But apparently when I’m blasting Tupac in my home office and occasionally singing along to a song I like, all I need to be a rapper is for someone to stand behind me and demand everyone clap.

BEST: A little background about me: My legs are basically shot. Both knees and one of my ankles are mostly decorative. This means at something like a festival where I have to walk 16.5 miles in two days, I’m not exactly fast or agile. I can get in the way, and when I see a sittable patch of ground, you better believe I sit on it.

Most festivalgoers are not particularly helpful with this. People shove me when I’m not moving fast enough, they “accidentally” kick me when I’m sitting out of the way against a fence. It’s just generally unpleasant.

Which brings me to the “best” part of this entry: Future’s fans are awesome. It’s the one set so far this weekend where people were considerate. People said excuse me when they bumped me, and one steadied me when I wobbled a bit more than they expected, and when I was sitting on a convenient bench, several people made sure I could still see around them when they moved in front of me.

Jamie xx, The xx

Jamie xx performs at Golden Gate Park during Outside Lands on Aug. 11, 2018.

WORST: I don’t know what Jamie xx did to his audio tech, but he probably didn’t deserve this level of revenge.

I was at about the halfway point in the crowd sitting against a fence waiting for the set to start (see previous entry) when I noticed it was about 10 minutes late. At around the 15 minute mark, I heard someone say, “Oh hey, lights are happening,” so I stood up. I hadn’t actually noticed any change in volume from the music piped in between shows.

After 5 to 10 more minutes of the din of the totally unaware crowd drowning out what I can only assume was probably music, someone in the sound booth overcorrected and turned the bass all the way up … but nothing else.

Best overheard comment from the increasingly irate crowd: “I didn’t realize the guy who drives down my street with the bass turned way up got a record deal.”

After another 10 minutes, I and most of the crowd with any distance from the stage left. And the irony is it actually sounded better the farther away you got, if only because the bass was muffled. I still never heard the rest of the music.

BEST: I’d just like to give an additional shoutout to Kikagaku Moyo. They were so good. And they have a sitar player! More bands need a sitar player.

That was the last one, I promise. … At least in this column. … Probably.

WORST: I have a complaint about Baconland.

No, really, it’s still me. Nobody’s hijacked the column.

The idea of a bacon tasting menu is fantastic. There’s a clear difference between bacons smoked with different types of wood, and I never realized how sweet uncured bacon is until I tried it this weekend.

But they have festival prices.

One slice of bacon is $5. A flight of four slices is $15. They throw some extras in there, possibly out of pity, but that’s still more than I usually spend on breakfast for, essentially, a side of bacon.

I mean … yeah, I bought a flight of bacon for $15. What else was I supposed to do? But still!

Future performs in front of his laser tunnel during Outside Lands on Aug. 11, 2018.

BEST: Future’s set included a short tunnel, slightly wider on the front end than the back, with a laser projector behind it. The lasers were sometimes pointed out the front for a cool star effect, and sometimes were pointed at the inside wall of the tunnel to create patterns and designs.

I want a laser tunnel.

I’m thinking my laser tunnel will be my front door. The door itself will be at the back with the lasers mounted onto it. Or maybe it can just sit in my front yard delighting then eventually annoying the neighbors. With a laser tunnel, the possibilities are endless.

WORST: Did I mention I’ve walked 16.5 miles in two days on bad knees? If you’ll excuse me, I have to whine at the dog for a while then lay down and sob until I fall asleep.

Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.

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