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Schedule Outside Lands trip with playlists of our favorite artists 

Wednesday, Aug 20 2008

Golden Gate Park has seen its share of Human Be-Ins since it was reclaimed from the dunes in the late 19th century. Now add to those events the first Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, bringing almost 70 acts to perform in the park on multiple stages over three days from Aug. 22 to 24.

Commendably, the concert is also environmentally conscious, offering such features as a solar-powered bandstand, an organic farmers' market, and a "store" where currency is recyclable bottles and compostable cups. You can muse on your carbon footprint as you plan your actual footsteps, which will be many, as there are a lot of artists scheduled for these green grounds. So in the spirit of the event — with such techno-organic amenities as the CrowdFire video/photo/blog-posting pavilion — here is a re(mix) highlighting some featured artists. This Outsiders insider's guide is organized into playlists of track selections shuffling the type of tunes and tones you could experience this weekend. Just don't forget to recycle this page when you're through with it.

Music That Gets You Horn-y

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, "How Do I Let a Good Man Down?"
Horns are usually the exclamation points of pop songs. But for this soulful ensemble they provide a head- and hips-shakin', brassy bob that makes the Augusta, Georgia, funk legacy proud.

Galactic's Crescent City Soul Krewe, "Hustle"
Throwing out beads of sweat instead of plastic, this New Orleans-based funk-jazz troupe crafts a polyrhythmic fusion with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Its latest album, From the Corner to the Block, features sociopolitical, culturally conscious Bay Area MCs including Boots Riley, Lyrics Born, Lateef, and Gift of Gab — all of whom are also appearing at Outside Lands, so all kinds of onstage collaborations are possible.

Sila & the Afrofunk Experience, "Funkiest Man in Africa"
When arranged right, a horn blurt says "That's the damn truth" with fierceness And this S.F.-based, West African-informed combo uses them to punctuate uplifting denouncements of oppression and aggression.

The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, "Own Thing"
Drawing on the explosive syncopation passed down from James Brown, this Music City U.S.A. funk-soul band keeps it punchy, throwing out the gritty R&B that makes you wanna holla.

Broken Social Scene, "7/4 (Shoreline)"
This Canadian collective fills a stage and a song. And its 20-odd members (including Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Feist, and members of fellow Outside Lands performers Stars) use horns like flamboyant winks in brisk pop.

A Culinary Journey Cake, "The Distance"
These Californians mix moist melodies with dry delivery, layering on the harmonic fondant. Semantics aside, Cake knows how to inject off-beat brass, and loves to throw in a droll cover.

Primus, anything off Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Like the gurgle of leftover Thanksgiving dinner in your tummy, Primus' thrash-funk is satisfying but unsettling. Bassist Les Claypool is having an absurdist food fight in your ear, and it's messy.

Jack Johnson, "Banana Pancakes"
Sunday headliner Johnson would never kick you out without breakfast. The surfing guitarist offers you some gojiberry juice, and soy milk for your granola. He'll let you take in the breeze, while he lightly strums a lullaby.

Lupe Fiasco, anything off Food and Liquor
The ambitious Chicago-based MC offers up food for thought, laying smooth flow over string-and-synth-swept dynamics. In his songs, characters go through the game like it's Donkey Kong, navigating an incline that threatens but doesn't defeat morality.

Music "For the Ladies"

Ben Harper, "The Woman in You"
Capable of a smoky groove and a gospel stomp, Harper can also bring the quiet storm. He uses bluesy acoustics and a '70s croon to put it on ya. A make-out mainstay for the freshman dorm room.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,"American Girl"
"Oh yeah, all right/Take it easy, baby/Make it last all night" — come on, who doesn't want to boogie to that beat? In the late '70s, Saturday headliner Petty put the Byrds in a black leather jacket, and the backseat got busy.

Wilco, "She's a Jar"
Wilco is no Nazareth, but the rootsy combo knows love can hurt. The proggy band has written some powerful tracks marrying the bleak, the baroque, and the buoyantly bipolar. Indie-dude breakup mixes need loving attention, too.

From Sun Up to Freak Down

Beck, "Debra"
Before he was artfully depressed and working with Danger Mouse, Beck was breaking sexx laws in a coquettish falsetto. If you're around Friday, maybe he'll get with you, and your sister.

Los Amigos Invisibles, "Ponerte en Cuatro"
This Venezuelan band offers up disco-funk that puts a bump in the trunk in more ways than one. This song title translates to "Doggy Style." Do the math ...

Devendra Banhart, "Lover"
This Left Coast singer-songwriter is kind of like tantric sex: good at piquing interest, not for everyone, but those who practice it swear by it. Lysergically enhanced folk-funk plays the spine like a xylophone.

Stoned Beard Strokers and Frothy Libido Stokers

Howlin' Rain, "Roll on the Rusted Days"
Oakland's own hirsute outfit of country-fried troubadours manages to keep its sound muggy without being muddled. It's a chuggin', shambolic rave-up full of ripple.

Black Mountain, "Bright Lights"
This Canadian group could have a second career as surveyors, because for them it's all about topography and geology. The band liquefies and calcifies layer upon layer of prog-psych-stoner-space orchestration.

Liars, "Cycle Time"
Reformed and deformed "dance-punks," industrially informed Liars have developed from phantasmagorical and difficult to taut yet approachable. At their best they are ritualistic, petulant, abstract, and concrete.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, "Orion"
Really more of a goatee stroker with its coffeehouse undertones, this Mexican acoustic duo still manages to shred through metal and folk, reworking both into a flourished weave.

Radiohead Songs That Could Be Interpreted as Environmental Statements

"Fake Plastic Trees"
The little band from Oxfordshire, England — Friday's headliners — doesn't want us to leave our children a planet that's barren save for rubber plants and rubber plans.

"Paranoid Android"
Undoubtedly, more relaxed telecommuting policies could save fossil fuels, helping heal the ozone layer. And digital distribution means less petroleum-based packaging.

"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"
With the lyrics "I get eaten by the worms/And weird fishes," singer Thom Yorke is definitely making a plea for recycling and community composting.

You, Me, and a Microphone Make Three

Bon Iver, "The Wolves (Acts I and II)"
Acoustic guitar can quickly go from the most affectionate to the most austere of companions when isolated. But even as he was being laid bare by the elements of a sojourn in the woods, singer-songwriter Bon Iver wrapped himself in layers of falsetto, a flannel of harmony, so to speak, and sweater weather took on tangible tones.

Donavon Frankenreiter, "Free"
The weather is rarely inclement for this surfing and singing contemporary of fellow Outside Lands performer Jack Johnson. The world's worst irritation would probably be sand in his shorts, which could explain the funky shimmy of Frankenreiter's six-string, which sounds one soft-focus montage away from what beach bums might consider billowy bliss.

Goapele, "Don't Be Shy"
Honing supple, midtempo meditations and honeyed funk, the Oakland songstress has been a presence on the indie neo-soul scene of the new millennium. She works melody between the gyrations of insistent beats and solvent instrumentation. Like the fog that hangs in our region, she's all about blanketing and bundling, crisp and flushed currents mingling.

Manu Chao, "Politik Kills"
Though capable of a righteous skank or squall, Barcelona-based bard Manu Chao never muddies the message. The multiculturally charged Chao clings to what is sacred — traditions, language, country — channeling the indigenous and indignant to globalization.

About The Author

Tony Ware


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