Ranger Dave welcomed fans back for Day Two of Outside Lands to see acts like Daniel Caesar, CHVRCHES, Bon Iver, Jamie xx, Future and Florence + The Machine. While many guests and performers complained about the San Francisco cold on Day One, the beating sun came out for surprised festival goers on Day Two. Regardless, the crowds of sweaty and burned bodies wasted no time running back and forth through the festival grounds to see all of their favorite acts.
Early on the Lands End stage, Pale Waves kicked off their performance with “Television Romance” which started warming up the crowd. The audience wasn’t too large but was a decent size for one of the first acts of the day. Singer Heather Baron-Gracie showed off her unique, robotic dance moves while singing which the crowd had fun imitating. The Manchester band performed all four songs from their ALL THE THINGS I NEVER SAID EP and a few others including “Eighteen,” which drew in a big applause from the crowd. The band members didn’t do much between songs besides tuning their instruments and occasionally introducing the next song, but Baron-Gracie did take the opportunity to thank the crowd for being so welcoming to the band for their first time at the festival.
Not too far over, Cuco performed a 45-minute set at the Sutro stage. The crowd sang along to “Dontmakemefallinlove” and “One and Only” which were performed with more of a rock and roll flair than the studio versions. The crowd went crazy for “Summer Time High Time,” and rapper J-Kwe$t was on stage to perform his part. The crowd screamed in response to the singer asking the crowd who speaks Spanish and then playing “Amor de Siempre.” Mid-song, he pulled out a trumpet to perform the trumpet solo himself. Also happening mid-song was an engagement amongst fans in the crowd. Cuco joined in on the celebrations with the crowd and dedicated the next song, “Lo Que Siento,” to the lovebirds. Unlike the other songs performed, “Lover Is a Day” had Cuco standing still and emotionally, softly singing into the mic with eyes closed. Conversely, the penultimate “Lucy” had all band members abandon their instruments and run around the stage with Cuco and J-Kwe$t as they rapped and pumped up the crowd. The set ended with a psychedelic version of “Sunnyside,” and Cuco walked off the stage as the crowd chanted his name.
On the other side of the festival grounds, Daniel Caesar drew in an enormous crowd at the Twin Peaks stage. Not only were fans packed close to the stage, but the audience extended up to the bleachers and past the Panhandle stage. Everyone stood and jumped to see the singer as he emerged from backstage. His smooth, clear voice filled the space and had the audience singing and swaying along. Caesar mostly performed songs from his newest album Freudian such as “Hold Me Down,” “Take Me Away,” “Best Part” and “Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song),” often holding the mic out for the audience to take over. The R&B singer ended the set with an extended version of “Blessed” and then left the audience with a simple “We’ll be back. Have a good day” before walking off the stage as the crowd roared behind him.
One of the overarching themes of the 2018 lineup is the relatively large number of electronic dance music artists. While many bought one-day tickets to see DJ Illenium, CHVRCHES served as a bridge between those EDM fans and the festival’s traditional indie fans. The indie pop band performed at the Lands End stage, and the echoing bass continuously drew in more of an audience through the act. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry ran sauntered, danced and jumped around the stage while singing to pump up the crowd, clearly pouring all of her emotion and energy into her performance. The band performed “Get Out,” “Miracle” and “Forever” from their newest album Love Is Dead, as well as older tracks like “Under The Tide” and “The Mother We Share.” Even those that clearly weren’t familiar with the band’s entire setlist were able to have a good time to the danceable performance.
Continuing on the electronic wave, Tycho performed at the Sutro stage to a generous size group of fans. Even with a late start and a few technical difficulties, the atmosphere of the crowd was extremely chill–most sipping on a beer and swaying to the tunes. The audience clearly held many die-hard fans as screams of recognition could be heard from even the first few seconds of some songs performed, such as “A Walk” and “Horizon.” The pounding bass shook the ground and, in natural Tycho fashion, colorful and psychedelic displays took the audience through an exploration through sound and space.
Back at the Lands End stage, Bon Iver performed to a relatively small crowd for the large stage, but they ate up every second of the fun act. The band was backed by a five-piece trombone orchestra which singer Justin Vernon introduced as “Trombone Paradise” from Richmond Virginia, giving them their own few minutes in the spotlight. The band played with dramatic vocal distortions on “8 (circle)” and “33 (GOD),” and Vernon showed off an intense raspiness to his voice during soaring notes on “Minnesota, WI,” earning a huge applause. Vernon shared the band’s experience playing at the first Outside Lands festival 10 years ago and played “Creature Fear” from their first album, For Emma, Forever Ago–energizing the crowd.
Over at the Sutro stage, the masses gathered early in anticipation for DJ Jamie xx. The DJ began mixing jazz, blues and disco tunes like The Animals’ “San Franciscan Nights” and D.J. Rogers’ “All I Gave Him Was My Heart.” The crowd was packed tight but still found enough room to dance to the bassy electronic remixes. The DJ’s setup consisted of two smaller disco ball on each side and a huge one in the middle. Light flashed and reflected on the disco balls, shining over grooving audience. Eventually, Jamie xx made his way away from disco tunes and showcased more dance club style tunes to keep the crowd jumping as the setting sun turned the San Francisco sky pink.
To close out the night, Florence + The Machine took to the Lands End stage. Florence Welch sprinted and twirled around the stage while still performing with impeccable vocals. The band performed many from their newest album High As Hope, like “June” and “Hunger” as well as older crowd favorite “If Only For a Night.” Welch emotionally thanked the audience and asked to see as many audience members as possible, calling for people to go on others’ shoulders. As dozens of fans were lifted up above the crowd, the band performed an acoustic version of the hit “Sweet Nothing.” As Welch introduced the next song, “South London Forever,” she was moved to tears, noting that her heart hurts recently but change can happen and that the audience gives her hope. She called for all audience members to hold hands during the song, and the massive crowd happily obliged, holding strangers’ hands high and chanting along.
Many times, Welch called for more audience engagement with each other such as calling everyone to embrace and put their cell phones away. From the band’s older repertoire, high energy tracks like “Ship To Wreck,” “What Kind Of Man” and “Dog Days” were clear audience favorites, but the crowd went wild for anything Welch did; she ran up and down the barrier, stood amongst the crowds and embraced her fans while singing. Around 20 minutes before the scheduled end time, Welch solemnly said goodnight and departed. The sea of fans persisted, chanting “Florence! Florence!” until the group came back to the stage, finishing with “Big God” and an interactive version of “Shake It Out” which had everyone jumping and screaming.
If Florence + The Machine’s goal was the leave the whole audience in awe, they succeeded. The crowd dispersed, and fans called their friends to tell them about the spiritual experience that they missed out on. The headlining act was a perfect blend of ethereal and rock ‘n roll–a phenomenal way to finish off Day Two.
File Photo: Sharon Alagna