Highlights from Outside Lands 2022: Dance Parties, Cover Songs, and Political Statements

The return of Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park delivered amazing musical performances and created a little controversy. But as expected, over the sublime summer weekend, quite a few unforgetable memories were made. Here’s what we’ll remember most from Outside Lands 2022:

1) Some of the biggest news of the weekend came when organizers replaced the old lumber double-windmills with a modern glass and steel tower decorated with LED lighting. It was a dazzling upgrade for some, an obomination for others. But a change had to be made because the wood on the old structure had begun to deteriorate.

2) Playing in front of sherbet-colored / oceanic-themed visuals, chillwave band Washed Out kicked off Friday on Sutro stage with their signature hypnotic, distorted sounds. The crowd’s energy grew as the group went deeper into their set, with the pinnacle coming in a stretch where they played “Feel It All Around” (the theme song to the television show Portlandia), followed by an up-tempo “Hard to Say Goodbye.” Singer Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr. announced his drummer’s birthday and ended the blissful flurry when the band performed “Amor Fati.”

3) Purple Disco Machine always plays his tracks at a calculated beats per minute, and the live experience is enhanced at outdoor festivals. His disco-infused tunes drove a hard-dancing crowd, particularly when he dropped a remix of Diplo & SIDEPIECE’s, “On My Mind.”

4) Donning a sequin suit jacket and electric guitar, Phoebe Bridges surprised her audience when she first appeared on the Twin Peaks stage with the intense rendition of “Down with the Sickness” by heavy rock band Disturbed, replete with flames on the background screen. “What’s up Seattle… I kid, I kid,” she joked as she fired up the crowd with high-pitched squeals. Bridges transitioned to sing-a-longs throughout her entire set. During “Kyoto”, with twinkling lights in the backdrop, Bridges blurted a mention of the recent Roe v Wade decision, complaining, “I hate this shithole. I feel like America is so romanticized it’s insane. I don’t know. It’s nice to have a good time while we watch the world burn around us.” That obviously got tons of headlines and Phoebe piled on when she recommended that anyone with “dough” donate to an abortion charity that supports undocumented people.

5) Using the OSL platform to spread messages about healthcare, Best Coast played their entire set in front of a black and white backdrop with the words “Abortion is Healthcare.” Vocalist Bethany Cosentino addressed how women’s rights are being taken away. Musically, despite the fog, the band’s performance felt like a beach scene, infused by trancy, heavy guitar distortion .

6) New Jersey R&B songstress SZA exuded a dark, stormy vibe during her set that transitioned into psychedelic haze and firework explosions. It was an impressive performance considering that SZA had recently recovered from COVID.

7) Southern California band Local Natives delivered a solid set consisting of tracks from their two albums. Fleeting rays of sunshine beamed through the trees made which made the atmosphere even more idyllic than it would have been.

8) Saturday night was owned by local legends Green Day, who were oddly playing their first Outside Lands. They serenaded the massive crowd with a rollercoaster of high-octane, nostalgic songs. Billy Joe Armstrong and his crew did everything fans hoped, from old hits and stern political banter, to acoustic tearjerkers. They even added cover of Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite.” The cherry-on-top moment came when Armstrong identified a 10-year-old boy in the crowd, brought him on stage, and then riffed to “Knowledge,” a track by Berkely punk band, Operation Ivy.

10) Sunday had its moments as well. Pussy Riot cranked to a fervent crowd. As expected, they made plenty of political statements, demanding the freedom of WNBA star Brittney Griner, made a about pro-abortion speech, and played Ukraine’s national anthem.

11) Fans anticipated that rockers Weezer would rip hard, and in their late afternoon set, the band didn’t disappoint. River Cuomo and his mates went from “Jump” by Van Halen and moved straight into fan-favorite “Hash Pipe.” They even made room for a cover of Metallica’s classic, “Enter Sandman.” An epic ending to OSL 2022’s final day.

Written by Carlos Olin Montalvo

Follow me @carlosolin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *