The Pimps of Joytime’s Brian J. cuts into a deep groove.
THE THIRD ANNUAL OUTSIDE
Lands festival, held over the second weekend
in August in San Francisco’s Golden
Gate Park, was scaled back a bit compared
to the first two events, but it was still jamming
with an estimated 80,000 in
attendance. A smorgasbord of acts representing
myriad genres threw all sorts of
stringed goodness at the earholes of eager
attendees who flocked from stage to stage.
There was no Barbary tent this year, but
the San Francisco sound was well represented
by the legacy of the Grateful Dead, Further,
featuring OGs Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. Greybeard
Weir looks more like his old leading
man, Jerry Garcia, with each passing year.
Weir sported a bright pink Strat-style solidbody
with a locking tremolo system. Using
at least as many upstrokes as downstrokes,
he was as good as ever at stabbing in and out
of the holes left by the rest of the rhythm
section. He shot gaps like an all-star halfback,
keeping the two-chord jam “Fire on the
Mountain” interesting for its entirety. Lead
guitar player John Kadlecik (Dark Star
Orchestra) looked and sounded as if he had
been cloned from Jerry Garcia’s DNA.
Vieux Farka Touré gets mystic on a Godin.
Jim James rocks out in his morning, well, actually evening jacket.
Vieux Farka Touré was one of the more
exotic acts on the bill, and he killed the
crowd with the highest energy of the whole
affair. He took everyone with him on a dragonfly
ride from California to Mali as he
channeled the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and
his father Ali Farka Touré via a good-looking
Godin. His clean tone really popped, and
his solos seemed to shoot right through us.
My Morning Jacket was the most eclectic
outfit on display. Singer and guitarist Jim
James was super expressive whether he was
hammering away at cowboy chords with jangly tones, or copping a Prince-style soul
vibe. Lead guitarist Carl Broemel displayed
an uncanny ability to fill out James’ cosmic
Americana canvas with whatever color was
The funkiest band at Outside Lands was
easily the Pimps of Joytime. Guitar and singer
Brian J. grooved with a seemingly effortless
flow that cut deceptively deep. He busted out
what sounded almost like Latin surf guitar
licks using a capo at the 6th fret of his Les
Paul on one of his last tunes. “I was playing
in a cumbia style,” he explained afterwards.
The Pimps are based in Brooklyn, but Brian
J. and bassist Clark Dark picked up cool components
in Colorado. “These are quartz frets
I got from Eric Stone at crystalfrets.com,” he
said as he displayed his instrument. “The
material is millions of years old. They never
wear down, and the sustain is incredible.”
Hungry and heavy, Wolfmother tore into the Twin Peaks stage. (Left to right: Ian Peres, Andrew Stockdale, and Aidan Nemeth)
Speaking of hard rock, no band at Outside
Lands rocked more righteously then Wolfmother.
They turned Golden Gate Park into an
arena for their riff-heavy, Spinal Tap-approved
set. They played their asses off, and clearly had
a ton of fun laying down some seriously raucous
material. Long live Mama Wolf, and big
ups to another awesome Outside Lands.
Bob Weir gets pink.
full of life,
Phil Lesh and
Caleb and Matthew Followill of Kings of Leon closed the Outside Lands festival with a set full of clever hooks.