Outside Lands, Day 3: Best & Worst
Tenacious D lip-synch, M.I.A. covers the Beastie Boys -- plus Band of Horses, Avett Brothers, Morning Benders, and more.
BEST LIP SYNCH: TENACIOUS D
Almost everything about Sunday night’s Tenacious D performance was different than your average festival set. The D — Jack Black and Kyle Gass on acoustic guitars and vocals, backed by four brilliant, anonymous musicians — played a two-hour, skit-filled rock opera, breaking up the band and reuniting within the span of two songs (“Dude (I Totally Miss You)” and “Kyle Quit the Band”), serenading a giant robot named “The Metal,” battling Satan over the “Pick of Destiny,” and later, hilariously breaching rock etiquette by lip-synching the words to their songs.
Though they’re basically a part-time gag-band, Tenacious D proved up to the challenge of filling in for late cancellations the Beastie Boys. On “Master Exploder,” the “hardest song” in their repertoire, Black made ingenious use of the giant video screens flanking the stage, lip-synching with his impish mug in close-up while Gass shredded on electric guitar.
The most serious thing to come out of Black’s mouth all night was when he intoned, “We’re sending all of our love to the great Adam Yauch. Get well soon, brother,” and then proceeded to sing “Fuck Her Gently.” The next most serious thing? Spot-on, set-ending covers of the Who’s “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me.” However, before leaving the stage, Black returned to yukking form, as he pulled off his shirt and tossed it into the front row…followed by his pants.
BEST PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE REVENGE: M.I.A.
Dressed in a plastic-sleeved,Snow White dress and Wayfarer sunglasses, M.I.A. played the massive Land’s End stage just before Tenacious D. That fact was a bit of a bummer for the cosmopolitan hip-hopper, as she spent the week leading up to her set bemoaning the Beastie’s absence via her Twitter feed. By way of homage, though, she busted out two massive B-Boy covers, “Intergalactic” and “Sabotage,” that had the crowd going bananas.
BEST WHISTLE SOLO: SETH AVETT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS
The Avett Brothers dug deep into their back catalog for “At the Beach,” a buoyant fan favorite from their 2004 album Mignonette that opened with younger brother Seth whistling like a schoolboy. Their highly anticipated performance on the Sutro Stage was all giddy, earnest effort — and, at 40 minutes, way too short. The band played only three songs off their upcoming, Rick Rubin-produced I and Love and You, relying mostly on acoustic-pop gems from 2007’s Emotionalism (“Die Die Die,” “Shame”) and 2008’s The Second Gleam (“Murder in the City,” “St. Joseph’s”).
BEST SING-ALONG: “THE FUNERAL” BY BAND OF HORSES
All epic all the time, Band of Horses’ widescreen roots rock made for some ecstatic, hands-in-the-air crowd participation. “Funeral” was the climax, as thousands of fans sang along to the South Carolina quartet’s most rousing number.
BEST WEATHER REPORT: THE MORNING BENDERS
“It’s freezing up here,” said Chris Chu, lead singer of the Berkeley, CA, quartet — who opened the day at the small Panhandle Solar Stage. He then added, “Yesterday it was like 100 degrees. What’s up with that?”
“Only in San Francisco,” answered guitarist Joe Ferrell. Whether you were hot or cold, hearing the band’s nicely languid set was a slow but sure way to ease into Outside Lands’ final day.
WORST NO-SHOW: THE SUN
After two previous days of cloudless, 85-degree weather, the fog made an unwelcomed appearance at Golden Gate Park on Sunday, blowing wet and heavy from the west and putting a literal damper on the festivities. Thankfully, San Franciscans have no qualms about partying in the cold.
WORST INSANE CLOWN POSSE STAND-INS: GOOFERMAN
With a name like Gooferman, this local-SF collective is clearly going for slapstick, but there’s no place in the world for dreadlocked, kilted funk-punkers wearing clown makeup. The Juggalos would disapprove.