Photo: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

My West Seattle neighbor, Barin Skyes, is quite possibly the best neighbor anyone could have. He loves rock n'


My Neighbor's Review Of Outside Lands Music Fest, Part 3


Photo: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

My West Seattle neighbor, Barin Skyes, is quite possibly the best neighbor anyone could have. He loves rock n' roll and marijuana, has thousands of LPs in his basement, and makes the best mix CDs you've ever heard. A couple weeks ago, he went to Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. When he told me he was getting there by train, I asked him to write about it. Here's the third and final installment of Skyes' Bay Area adventure...

Sunday, after another breakfast in the Haight, we made it just it time for the Main Stage opener Jackie Greene. Looking like a young Bob Dylan, the 25 year old Greene was in full command of his crack band. Playing acoustic, electric, piano, organ and harp, Greene’s blend of bluesy, soulful rock and roll won me over immediately. A great version of The Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” showed his roots and really fired up the crowd. With lyrics that seem wise beyond his years and a unpretentious vibe to his groove, Jackie Greene was the most pleasant surprise of the festival.

After standing in shorter lines today for food, alcohol and urination (I got busted in the bushes Saturday night so I had to stand in Porta Potty lines today) and partial sets by Nicole Atkins and the Sea and Mother Hips it was time to catch the Drive-By Truckers. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings were scheduled the same time as DBT and while I really wanted to catch their act, there was no way I would miss the Truckers. DBT came out swinging, with cofounder Mike Cooley’s “Marry Me.” Cooley’s tawdry twangy story songs are the perfect compliment to Patterson Hood’s anthemic sing alongs. “The Living Bubba,” “The Righteous Path,” “Three Dimes Down” and a few others made their allocated hour whiz by. The sun made a rare and brief appearance as the whiskey flasks and bottles were held high in salute to the torch bearers of the southern rock sound. Hood and the band had been in Frisco all weekend and he thanked everyone he encountered that had offered him a beer or a joint. Long live the Truckers!

As the last note DBT’s set faded we had to quickly weave our way through the hairy masses to the other end of the meadow for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals scheduled to start immediately. With your eyes closed it’s easy to enjoy the sweet soul and classic rock sounds of Grace and the Nocturnals but open those eyes to see this sexy little firecracker sway and swoon and you’re like a schoolboy in lust. Starting off playing the Flying V then strutting mid-song to the lay down some bluesy swells on the B-3, Grace showed that she’s more than just eye candy; this girl can rock. Her band, looking like Foghat street thugs, maintained a tight in-the-pocket groove that afforded racy Grace room to sparkle. Even the clouds paid respect by completely parting to allow the sun to check out this little vixen. Wow!

Next up was Wilco at the Speedway Meadow. Opening with the acoustic number “Remember The Mountain Bed” was not what I needed after the intoxicating performances of Drive-By Truckers and Grace Potter so after another song or two I fought my way out of the crowd for beers, food and a piss and headed over to checkout Mike Gordon’s set. Gordon, the former bassist for Phish has a new band sounding a bit like old Dead. While the vocals were a bit weak, the jams were tasty and well crafted. Soon it was time to meet up with my mates so I left Gordon and the Phishheads and sauntered over to the Outsides Lands windmill. Jack Johnson was due to start in a few minutes but we decided rather than listen to his good-time surfer tunes we’d walk west on Fulton to the ocean beach.

The clouds that parted for Grace Potter were still nowhere is sight so we saw our first stars of the week at the ocean. Four or five beers later Mark and I wandered to the edge of the sea while Eric held ground at the fire we had commandeered. While we were gone Eric was accosted by pompous park rangers who were upset that we were drinking beer on the beach! Oh, the horror! They made him pour out what was left and reprimanded him for standing over the fire where we had deposited our empties to burn, melt and return to sand. They’d somehow been convinced that a beer bottle in a fire can explode. My 30 plus years of field experiments has proven this urban myth to be false. In honor of their priggishness we lit a joint, finished our beers, threw them into the fire and headed back to the hotel.

Our train wasn’t leaving until 9:30 pm Monday evening so we had another day in San Francisco for exploring, drinking and gallivanting. Ended up at Lefty O’douls’ famous sports bar to watch the Seahawks preseason Monday Night Football game. Got drunk. Caught the bus to the train. Drank more on the train. Passed out. Woke up hung over and cramped from the seats. Ate the last of the baked goods and tripped home, arriving in Seattle a mere seven hours behind schedule and right on time.

While the festival had a few downs (not enough toilets, a few sound issues, poor transportation Friday night ) the overall experience was quite pleasurable. From the good natured, tolerent staff and police to the 150,000 fans of good music, I witnessed nothing but smiles. I give it a double knuckle bump.

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