Best: I fully expected to hate Blink-182. I wasn’t even a fan back in the ‘90s when they were new; they were poser pop-punk that was ruining actual punk after all, and I was a teenager, so I had a solemn obligation to hate anything popular. And when new co-singer and guitarist Matt Skiba came out wearing a Dead Kennedys shirt, I was already mentally composing my rant.
But then… they were really good? They were funny, didn’t take themselves too seriously and most surprisingly, the live versions of the songs played by guys in their late 40s somehow rocked more than the same songs recorded in a studio by guys in their 20s. I enjoyed their set, and more importantly I had a good time.
Worst: Unfortunately, by liking poser pop-punk, I’ve become everything I hated in the late ‘90s. I’m officially lame; not only did I enjoy dad rock by guys in their 40s, but I enjoyed Blink-182 at the same time. Past Danny is so disappointed in me. I can see the sneer on my teenaged face, judging what I’ve become.
Fortunately, I really don’t care what that scrawny little jerk has to say. Now I’m a big, surly jerk so I could probably just demand and get Past Danny’s lunch money. The nerve of that guy.
Best: Stomper. Stomper is the best. While my beloved Oakland Athletics were walloping the White Sox 7-0 in Chicago, their mascot was getting hyphy on stage with P-Lo during his set. Would your team’s mascot dance during a hip-hop show at a music festival? Unless you’re also an A’s fan, no. Would he be the best dancer in said show? Again, unless you’re an A’s fan, absolutely not. Only Oakland’s resident ton of fun is that cool.
Worst: P-Lo, however, makes the worst list. His set was great; don’t get me wrong. He even blew Lil Wayne out of the water. He’s a local, which I’m well-documented as being in favor of. And not only did he arrange for Stomper to take the stage for a song, but he has his own mascot, Lil Stunna. There’s no way anyone tops his two-mascot record for a single set.
They should try, though. Someone needs to bring on Stomper, Gritty and Chiitan, the unofficial sociopathic otter mascot of the Japanese city of Susaki.
No, the reason P-Lo is the worst is because when Stomper left the stage after going full hyphy hammer, he said, “I’m a Giants fan, though.” That level of disrespect against Stomper cannot stand! Boo this man!
Best: In honor of RIFF photographer Joaquin Cabello, this best goes out to the burning car on stage during Twenty One Pilots’ set. I could hardly see it because of the dense-even-by-San-Francisco-standards fog, but he was very excited about it in our Slack channel, and his pictures confirm that assessment.
Whichever artist is brave enough to put three mascots in their set should also burn two cars. Never go halfway.
Worst: For the second time in three years, Karl the Fog makes the worst list. In fact it’s worse now than before, since last year it was just oppressively cold while this year it was cold and also so dense you couldn’t see the Lands End stage from more than maybe 30 to 50 feet away.
Yes, I’ll concede the fog makes the colored lights look awesome. And yes, I’ll concede it adds a lot to the laser light show. But if all I can see is the lights, why am I at a music festival? I want to see musicians do music; the fog! Move out of the way!
Best: A co-best goes out to the Rainbow Girls’ drummer and Lil Wayne’s guitar player.
Don’t get me wrong, all the Rainbow Girls were great. I’m a sucker for bluesy, soulful folk rock. But only three of them made the promo picture on the screen behind the stage while there were four women actually playing music on the stage. I couldn’t find it on the band’s web site, Facebook page or recent reviews, but fortunately one of my RIFF colleagues interviewed the band and asked in person. So Liliana Urbain: Props. Great job. If they ask me, you should be in the team photo.
Similarly Lil Wayne’s guitar player, Justin Lyons, deserves at least as much if not more credit than Weezy himself. The man can absolutely shred; like I said in my review of the set, he could command the stage during a heavy metal show let alone a hip-hop show. But despite that, no amount of Googling gave me his name. I had to poll the Twitter hive mind and get clued in by a fan.
Maybe you two should start a band? I’m sure there’s an underappreciated bassist out there to round out a trio. Then you’ll show them! You’ll show them all!
Worst: I don’t know what The Neighbourhood did to whoever put together the Outside Lands schedule, but it definitely wasn’t bad enough to deserve that.
There’s nothing wrong with The Neighbourhood as a band. They’re actually pretty good! But if you put them between P-Lo and Lil Wayne? That’s not really fair. The hip-hop fans who stayed after P-Lo’s set were not into slow alt-rock, and neither were the Lil Wayne fans who got there early to stake out a spot. It was possibly the worst acts they could’ve been sandwiched between.
Maybe it’s the unnecessary letter “u” in the middle of the name? I mean it bothers me, too, but not that much.
Best: Twenty One Pilots singer Tyler Joseph’s trash talk against the other bands on the day’s bill was the stuff of legend.
First, he dedicated the song “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV” to “everybody except Tom DeLonge.” DeLonge, of course, is the cofounder of Blink-182 who quit the band to dedicate his life to finding aliens. Seriously. He has a show about his hunt for aliens and everything, this is a real thing that happened. And the song is called “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV.” So it’s a multilayered burn.
Later he dedicated a song “to Lil Wayne’s band who played 30 minutes without him on stage.” Which was brutal but basically true—it was actually 22 minutes of an hourlong set. I timed it. And it’s utter savagery. So my hat goes off to you, Mr. Joseph. May Weezy and DeLonge never read this column to find out what you said.
Worst: Finally, the guy near me who whipped it out during the Twenty One Pilots set is the worst of the worst. Nobody wants to see that, dude. From you especially. “Keep it in your pants in public” is the rule above all other rules!
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.