Outside Lands Day 1: Flesh, flash and ‘Gorillaz’

Millennials from far and wide soaked in the glow of dozens of performers during Day 1 of the 10th annual Outside Lands festival Friday in Golden Gate Park.

The seven stages of #OutsideLands2017 dotted across the park’s sprawl, with food, drink, art and activities sprinkled liberally throughout. SFBay was able to take in the sights, smells, tastes and most importantly, the sounds of the annual gathering.

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We may have gotten lost in the horde a time or two, but that seems to be part of the experience.

Oliver Tree performs at the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 11, 2017.

Oliver Tree

Early Friday afternoon we caught electronica artist Oliver Tree on the Panhandle Stage. The Santa Cruz artist and California Institute of the Arts grad brought energy in spades to a crowd psyched to see him.

Tree, known for his Three Stooges-style bowl cut, paced frenetically to open his performance in a bright pink and purple ski jacket and red sunglasses. He looked antsy, like a cat ready to pounce, but as he connected with the audience, he became emboldened, and limbs began to flail and pulse as he spit out rapid-fire rhymes.

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The jacket came off to reveal a white jump suit emblazoned with the ubiquitous turquoise and purple squiggly lines of the ‘90s Solo drinking cup “Jazz” design, also worn by his bandmates on drums and keyboards. Those same cups could be seen littering the stage, and Tree would occasionally douse himself with the contents of a cup, crumple it, and toss it into the audience.

Tree was somewhat incredulous at the enthusiasm his performance was eliciting, exclaiming:

“Yo, we didn’t think anyone would show up!”

Despite his apparent surprise at the draw his act claimed, he maintained a rapt connection with a crowd who sang the words to his songs right back at him and danced and clapped readily throughout his set.

Tree closed the show by riding offstage on his Razor scooter, a favorite toy.

Taking a break

Attendees looking for a break from stage acts climbed the North Face rock wall, watched artists create at Outsider Art, played mini-golf at Wineland, took part in a giant Jenga game at Subway’s Green Room, or engaged any number of other sponsored activities.

Cuisine as diverse as San Francisco itself was scattered in large swaths around the park. From the requisite tacos to bahn-mi, and just about everything in between, SFBay had the chance to get a taste of today’s fare. It didn’t disappoint.

The American Grilled Cheese Factory knows no grilled cheese is complete without a pairing of tomato soup, and they do the tried-and-true combo justice. Ooey-gooey cheese glues the just-right crunchy bread together, so when you dip it into their smoky tomato soup, it all stays together for the perfect bite.

We also enjoyed grilled sweet corn on the cob from local pop-up Sorel Restaurant. It was perfect messy fair food with a high-brow touch in its parmesan coating and touch of cayenne.

A little sugar pick-me-up late in the evening is a gigantic, still-warm and melty brownie from Lucca Food Deli. While most things at Outside Lands are expensive, Lucca’s $6 brownie is not only freaking delicious, it’s the size of an iPhone Plus.

Tove Lo performs at the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 11, 2017.

Tove Lo

The late afternoon saw Swedish pop princess Tove Lo take the Lands End Stage to the delight of a packed Polo Field.

The audience was eating out of her hand from the get-go as she strutted up and down the stage in high-waisted silver pants and a cut-off, midriff-baring white t-shirt that read “Flesh,” in red text. This turned out to be indicative of things to come, as midway through her hit “Talking Body,” Tove Lo lifted the shirt to share hers with a few thousand of her closest friends at Outside Lands.

Nudity aside, Outside Lands loved Tove Lo. Crowd cameras showed an audience in hysterics as she performed hits like “Cool Girl” and “Habits,” among others.

Little Dragon performs at the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 11, 2017.

Little Dragon

Swedish electronic band Little Dragon filled in for A Tribe Called Quest on the Lands End stage Friday evening after the latter had a travel snafu. ATCQ has been rescheduled for Saturday on the Twin Peaks stage at 7 p.m.

Little Dragon produced a level of bass that literally made our insides vibrate, backed by the melodic vocals of front woman Yukimi Nagano, whose neon yellow attire was nearly as striking as the bass.

The San Francisco four-piece Owl Paws took the Presidio stage as the sun set on Friday evening, giving the unassuming folk-rock band something of a soft glow.

Composed instrumentally of guitar, drums and a stand-up bass, the band attracted a decent-sized crowd to a stage the size of a trailer. As frontman Derek Ted crooned a number of fans sang along and danced.

Gorillaz closed day one of Outside Lands from the Lands End Stage, and thousands of fans came to see the singular British band. With the sun down, the band’s signature cartoons had a greater effect marching across the stage as the backdrop of the performance.

A tipsy, albeit tired, Outside Lands crowd went all-in and yeah, a little bananas, for Gorillaz. SFBay ducked out in time to dodge the inevitably rowdy mass-exodus in their wake.

2017 Outside Lands Day 1 photo gallery

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay