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2011 Outside Lands Review: Deadmau5, Muse, Shins & More!

Tue, August 16, 2011 3:31am EDT by 2 Comments

As summer festival season began to come to a close, we at decided to head to San Francisco for Outside Lands, the Bay’s own music, food and wine festival in beautiful Golden Gate Park.

Spanning three days in the country’s largest city park, Outside Lands is nothing like Coachella, its sunny Southern California counterpart. We arrived in SF on Friday afternoon and made the trek through the wind and the fog to the park in time to catch our first act of the day, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Launched to indie popularity with their hit “The Skin of Our Yellow Country Teeth,” CYHSY performed for a large crowd, whose excitement to be at the festival was infectious.

After a low-key set from beach-pop sensation, Los Angeles’ own Best Coast, we headed to see Friday’s headliners, the legendary Shins. Launched to superstardom with Zach Braff’s recommendation and a coveted spot on the Garden State soundtrack, the Shins had been on a four-year hiatus before performing at Outside Lands. Classics like “New Slang,” “Kissing the Lipless,” and “Caring Is Creepy” had the crowd singing along, swelling with both nostalgia and a reminder of why the indie band from Seattle became a household name in the first place.

Of course is always on the lookout for celebrities, and there weren’t many to be found at this festival (or maybe they weren’t parading around a la Coachella). However, if there were celebs enjoying the Bay’s biggest music event, they definitely caught headliners Muse on Saturday. Considered by thousands to be ‘the best live band in the world,’ Muse didn’t disappoint, closing out Saturday night on the main stage. Matt Bellamy, Kate Hudson’s fiance, wowed an incredibly large audience with his stage presence, while the rest of the band tore through their epic tracks, with a stage set-up that would even make Bono jealous. People who looked like supermodels strutted up and down the VIP walkway splitting the main crowd; we even thought we saw Kate Hudson!

After two days of braving the cold and crowds, we were getting tired come Sunday. However, with arguably the best acts of the entire weekend, we gathered our strength and were greeted with uncharacteristically beautiful weather and an upbeat set from Grouplove, indie darlings who were launched onto the scene with their song ‘Colours.’ After a water and sunscreen break, we headed to see DJs Switch and Diplo‘s collaborative effort, Major Lazer. With worldwide hits like ‘Pon De Floor,’ we were expecting a lot and were definitely disappointed. The drunk and sweaty crowd danced to the tunes spun by the DJs, but there was little originality to the selection.

After relaxing on the hillside listening to the horns of Beirut, we prepared ourselves for the final act, headliner Deadmau5. The Canadian DJ sensation has grown bigger and bigger in the past year, acting as Resident DJ for the MTV VMAs and NFL Monday Night Football, and shows no sign of stopping. Beginning his set a half hour before Schedule, festival-goers were treated to two hours of his best songs, seamlessly interwoven with his astouding light set-up. Songs like ‘Ghosts N Stuff,’ ‘Raise Your Weapon,’ and ‘Strobe,’ had the crowd alternating between dancing and staring, entranced by the music, lights and beauty of the sun setting over the park.

While it isn’t as glamorous as Coachella, or as popular as Lollapalooza, Outside Lands is a special event, and a musical fixture for the Bay Area. We’re exhausted from hitting up the festivals this summer, HollywoodLifers, but we already know that San Francisco and Outside Lands is the place to be next August, no matter what kind of music you like!

Annika Heinle, with reporting by Kirstin Benson