Outside Lands Journal: Day 1, 8/11/17

by Dakin Hardwick on August 15, 2017

Celebrating 10 years of walking through the park

My 10th Outside Lands began by listening to Hundred Waters close out their set on the Lands End stage. For a set at noon on Friday, the crowd was massive. They were warm and bright, perfect for getting warmed up for a day of music. These folks also curate the FORM festival in Acrosanti, AZ, one of the most intimate music festivals in America. So intimate that, historically, you needed to be invited to attend.

Dr Octagon

Kool Keith and surprise guest Del The Funky Homosapien

Next we were treated to a very rare appearance hip hop supergroup Dr Octagon. The crowd was passionate, with multiple people rapping along each lyric, while Kool Keith, decked out in a bloody surgeon’s smock proved why he’s one of the all time greats. Halfway through the set, we were treated to an epic scratch display by “the greatest scratch DJ of all time,” DJ Qbert, showing he really earned that title. And, for those that just need to know, yes, Del The Funkee Homosapien was there. And, yes, he did come out again a few hours later.

Tove Lo

Photo by Ben Irwin

After a quick audience change over (everyone over 30 seemed to flee because on onslaught on teenagers arrived), we got to enjoy Tove Lo. This was a decent set of melodramatic pop songs, although the moment where she lifted her shirt to flash the crowd was way more talked about than her music.


I decided this wasn’t really for me, and popped over to see Noname. This proved to be a much better decision! Her rapping style is so effortless and impressive. She raps like she’s having a conversation. She flips time signatures without skipping a beat, and has one of the most expressive faces I’ve ever seen on stage. She would also ask the crowd to do things, like dance a certain way or repeat lyrics, and she was genuinely surprised when people followed suit! An amazing set.

Belle & Sebastian

My original plan was to duck straight over to wait for Tribe Called Quest to play, but transit issues prevented them from playing, so I was able to pick my “plan b,” Belle & Sebastian. The audience was much smaller than expected, but they managed to get everyone dancing. And, yes, you can dance to twee folk rock. By the end of the set, there were 20 extra people onstage dancing with the band to “Boy With An Arab Strap.”


Closing out the day was an epic two hour long set by Gorillaz. No longer are they even pretending to be a cartoon… This was an full band interacting as humans with the crowd. Damon Albarn remains one of the most impressive and unique voices in music, and had the time of his life orchestrating this beast of a band: two drummers, two keyboardists, bass, guitar, a small choir and a slew of guest vocalists. To name a few of the folks to grace the stage: Kali Uchis, Pusha T, all of De La Soul, Yukimi from Little Dragon, Antony Anderson, Jamie Principle, Zebra Katz, and, of course, an epic penultimate performance of “Clint Eastwood” with Bay Area hero Del The Funky Homosapien.

It was a lovely day… Now let’s see what day 2 brings!

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