OUTSIDE LANDS IS BECOMING AN ANNUAL MUST DO AS I T TAKES
root in Golden Gate Park, which happens to be within walking distance of my apartment.
On the same grass that legends such as Garcia, Santana, and Hendrix played many
moons ago, a host of local and imported guitar gurus conjured oodles of inspiring noise
over the last weekend in August
One of the homegrown guitar heroes was Eric McFadden. His trio held court in
the cabaret-style Barbary Tent all weekend. The former P-Funker’s squalid gypsy rock
sounded like Django meets Van Halen with guttural vocals.
“It was advantageous to play all three days,” the dreadlocked gunslinger
told GP. “By Sunday, we were accustomed to the acoustics inside
the Barbary’s antique, mirror-walled wooden tent. And the dancers from
[local circus/variety group] Vau de Vire Society figured out ways to work
with our music, so that our performances complemented and inspired
The performers on the big stages seemed to hail from everywhere
except the City by the Bay. Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard demonstrated why
he is the Keith Richards of the Seattle scene. His rhythm guitar provided
a strapping backbone for the band’s solid performance before an enormous
Polo Field crowd on a downright balmy Friday night. Mastodon’s
Saturday show on the Twin Peaks Stage was so loud that I could envision
“for sale” signs popping up in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Mars
Volta followed, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez delivered the most insane set
of rock guitar the park has hosted in decades. His mastery of daredevil
riffage, confounding timing, lead shreddery, otherworldly effects, and
natural stage presence was mesmerizing. Ween’s closing set Sunday night
in the freezing fog was freaky and impressive in its balls-out nature.
“That was so cold that it hurt,” laughed Mickey Melchiondo, a.k.a
Dean Ween, in his backstage trailer. “It wasn’t conducive to playing guitar,
but I did my best to get warmed up and play through the discomfort.
Festivals are strange for us because it’s a challenge to represent Ween
in a short time span in front of a relatively unfamiliar audience. But the
die-hard fans came out to represent, and Golden Gate Park is such a beautiful
place to perform that it was totally worth the effort.”