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Review: Highlights from Outside Lands 2014

In Music
All photos by Jennifer Anderson.

All photos by Jennifer Anderson.

Full of sirens, lotus-eaters, and erstwhile suitors, the Outside Lands festival can feel like a personal Odyssey. Just getting through the gates is a rite of passage.

With thousands of festival-goers kicking up dust while they pass under the majestic treeline that surrounds the polo fields, it looks like a pilgrimage. It’s just well orchestrated chaos, and then, you get in.

Once inside, the churn begins. From the main stage, to the many stages around the fields, it’s a constant flow of bodies moving through the arteries of the festival. The trick is to not mind getting lost.

ALSO SEE: Photos from Outside Lands 2014

Something as simple as checking the time can get people separated. Cell phone service is unreliable, so the best case is to find new friends, or just enjoy the solitude while surrounded by tens of thousands of people. Eventually, everyone finds each other, one way or another.

Here are some highlights from this year’s festival:

Photo by Jennifer Anderson.

Big Freedia
Bounce. Bounce that booty like a basketball. Bounce. Big Freedia is a force to be reckoned with. An absolutely wild stage show that includes butt shakes, backflips, a ladder, tough beats and an orchestrator that defies gender. Big Freedia charmed the crowd like no other this year. The New Orleans artist and crew brought the “bounce” in a serious way.

Chromeo
Dave and P-Thugg seem like your high school buddies, even when you’re looking at them from the middle of a crowd of 30,000 people. Shiny aluminum guitars, a kind of funk that you want to play to impress a first date, and that thing that Dave does that makes dudes act super chill is only possible with Chromeo.

Tom Petty
Watching Tom Petty play is like eating crispy bacon while looking at an eagle fly through a double rainbow.

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Haim
These LA ladies shred. They are three sisters that pledge allegiance to the guitar gods of yore, and pay tribute with style, grace and skill. If there is an altar of Rock, Haim are the priestesses that maintain the holy grounds.

Spoon
Spoon is a treasure. They repair relationships. Their music is a cool shot of water to the face when you’re lost in the dessert. This Austin outfit have been doing it so well for so long. They make music that makes musicians jealous.

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Flaming Lips
Wayne Coyne and company are strange individuals that I’d encourage all to hang out with. There’s a part of us that we all contemplate in private that they celebrate in public. Coyne has the ability to make all weirdos feel normal…which we are, while they play.

Kanye West
If you’re not intimately familiar with the many hits Kanye has produced in the past, his stage show may confuse you. To the uninitiated it was a self-decadent ramble that broke mid-song more than a couple of times. To the fans, it was pure bliss as they were delivered their favorite Kanye tracks by the man himself, live and direct.

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