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Outside Lands 2009

The Best of the Fest

After a brief scramble following the cancellation of the Beastie Boys’ headlining appearance, the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival planners are making final preparations for the three-day event, which starts August 28th. Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band and Tenacious D anchor the concert each night, respectively, while a far-reaching mix of acts fill the bill each day. In addition, associated night shows are planned at local venues, and a new tent on festival grounds hosted by local theatrical-circus group Vau de Vire Society that will feature a variety of music acts and other attractions. SF Station’s top picks for the festival are below:

Friday

Silversun Pickups re-emerged this year with Swoon, a solid follow-up to the band’s 2006 breakout debut Carnavas. The first single off the record, “Panic Switch", is reason enough to check out their set. The song is likely the rock track of the summer unless, of course, you’ve put your Pearl Jam misgivings aside and accepted “Fixer", the band’s first release off of its new album, into your life.

Where the hell did Tom Jones come from? The freak factor alone is reason enough to check him out. The guy is a senior citizen and still rocking “What’s Up Pussycat?” and “Sex Bomb”. What’s more surprising? His new album (due in November) sounds pretty good. Bring some extra undies and bow to his sweaty, bling-bling mojo.

Can Q Tip kick it? Yes he can. He’s your best bet for the first dance party of the festival. Expect a good mix of his solo tracks and hopefully some classic joints from his seminal hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest.

Saturday

Forget the Brooklynite afro-buzz from last year and check out the real deal with Extra Golden. The multi-racial band formed in Nairobi in 2004 and offers a healthy mix of African guitar and drum patterns with American rock influences.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band are the perfect fit for an afternoon among the foliage of Golden Gate Park. Get your mellow on and hope that organizers don’t book TV on the Radio at the same time.

Boots Riley made a name for himself fighting the establishment on wax with the Coup. Now, the Bay Area rapper is turning it up a notch with Street Sweeper Social Club, his project with fellow musical revolutionary Tom Morello. The duo brought rap-rock back in a good way with the June release of their self-titled debut.

Sunday

M.I.A. briefly retired last year until a Hollywood exec blew the dust off of “Paper Planes” and turned her world upside down after the song was used for the trailer of Pineapple Express. Sales for the track have since skyrocketed, landing her a spot performing at the Grammy’s alongside Jay Z, T.I., Lil Wayne and Kanye West. Outside Lands will be one of her first performance following the birth of her first child.

The Dead Weather is Jack White, that girl from The Kills, the other guy from Raconteurs and another guy from Queens of the Stone Age. How could it not kick ass?