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Sizzle & Fizzle: Outside Lands Edition 

Wednesday, Aug 17 2011


Sunday's biggest surprise was Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler guesting on a version of the Band standard "The Weight" with soul legend Mavis Staples. The crowd went nuts, and for good reason: It was one of the coolest torch-passing moments we saw all weekend.

Oakland art-pop project tUnE-yArDs saw a huge crowd for its early Sunday afternoon set. Dressed in purple, with a white paint stripe across her face, Merrill Garbus gushed that this was the biggest festival crowd her band had seen. With irresistibly weird, funky songs, it didn't disappoint the adorers.

Phish ruled everything around Outside Lands on Friday, before and during its three-and-a-half-hour performance (in two sets). If you were a fan, it was awesome — filled with favorite songs and skillful musicianship, and not a huge excess of abstract noodling or inside jokes. If you weren't a fan, well, there was Erykah Badu or the Shins to keep you occupied.

For just two men, the Black Keys make a helluva lot of noise. Their Saturday afternoon set drew — and thrilled — a friggin' huge mass of rock fans to the main stage. Too bad you had to miss part of it if you wanted to catch the Roots.


We were anticipating MGMT's show on Friday, but the band's psych-pop fell as flat as the fog-covered afternoon sky. Turns out only a few of those songs really work well in a festival setting.

S.F. rocker Ty Segall drew a sizable crowd for his Sunday set, but his band didn't play as tight — or sound as thick — as we'd have liked. It was cool to see so many people won over by noisy jams like "Girlfriend," though.

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