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Drama Review: San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival at Oakland's Happiness Hotel (August 22nd)

22 August 2008

Ah, the Outside Lands!

Cafe Dialogue San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival

“Wow, this [San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival] is about as close as we get to having a kind of music olympics!”

“And Radiohead is like Michael Phelps?”

“Nah, the great thing about music is that it’s not as competitive as sports…”

“You must be joking…”

“But a gold album isn’t nearly as restrictive as a gold metal…”

“But at least in sports there’s basic rules. We can all agree on what a homerun is, in over 90% of the cases…In music, you might think Madonna hit it out of the park, while others cry strike out or even foul!”

“Yeah, but most rock bands are not even as tight, or cooperative as most NFL, MLB and NBA teams,….”

(long pause, both characters do other things, walking in and out of the room/stage…)

“Besides, the Olympics are more globally international. You hate most-Chinese-pop as much as me…”

“I’m worried it’s going to be forced on us….more than I’m worried about Tibet…”

“Deeply concerned…”

“deepy weepy.”

“So, maybe the Outside Lands Festival is more like a 49ers game. Or The Sharks, because Feist is Canadian…”

“Well, I ain’t going to go, Nah. Too Expensive…”

“We’ll pay for the whole festival…”

“Do I get to open for Holwing Rain?”


“Like I said, I know I’d be kinda bored…”

“Yeah, but you love those bands,…churchmouse, churchmouse, na na na na na na…sit home and rot, etc. Wow, there’s a lot of songs about all this stuff…
It’s just all about you & that ego, your pride…”

“Nah, I just meant if I was paid to be on stage, at least it would be worthwhile. Hell, I’d even consider doing it, for free…just for the experience of trying to work that large crowd as good as The Flaming Lips or White Stripes…”

“They give such a great show…”

“Yeah, but they gave a better show when they played smaller gigs…

“well, that’s your taste, or just where you’re at right now, because the only gigs you can get are at the smaller venues?

“yeah, but those few shows where we played for over 1000 people taught me a lot…and made me feel the whole set up is the same thing as a classroom with a 50:1 ratio…It’s much more efficient, and saves money for the institution (music or school), but 95% of students and teachers still prefer smaller classrooms…and at arena concerts, with the pea-sized musicians fleeting as fireworks, and no dancing (just like back in the late 40s when mama didn’t allow no dancing to that rock and roll; now the 65 year old black folk at the Oakland YMCA, I’m not joking, whoop it up more in dancing that at any OUTSIDE LANDS FESTIVAL….”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about. Look, a bunch of women just ripped off their tops.”

“I can’t look, I don’t have a camera on my cell phone, remember…”

“Fuckin’ luddite…People are dancing in the moonlight…”

“King Harvest….1973…”

“Yeah, but what about now 2008. Get out of the “ghetto of your music mind head heart thing, and check out this. It’s happening, now, the music event of the season, for someone like you with your demographic niche….this is the thing NOISE POP ain’t. It’s almost like those fascinating Alan Freed rock and roll tours, or the great MOTOWN or STAX-VOLT tours, of the pre-arena rock era that you love reading about that seem so fascinating to you…!”

“I gotta play piano. I feel like Thelonious Monk if here into a cross between George Strait, Ray Davies, Moe Tucker and Ramsey Lewis!”

“Thelonius sounds like Continuous as in Continuous Peasant”

“Hootie and the Blowfish has crossed over to country. He didn’t really have to change his sound much, it’s kind of like the difference between the Scud Mountain Boys and The Pernice Brothers in reverse. Add a banjo, or pedal steel as country spice if not quite twang…It still has the 90s Eddie Vedder modern rock thing as its basis”

“I bet he gets compared to Charley Pride a lot…”

“I wonder if they call him ‘Charley Shame’ or ‘Charley Hoarse…”

“well, there’s Charley Sheen…”

“Radiohead doesn’t sound that different from 1998 either…”

“Were the 00s, a nothing decade?’

“The war years of our love…”

“Oh, yeah, people aren’t so worried about the various rights the constitution grants us, like privacy, being taken away anymore…”

“Some people still freak out about Big Brother, like they used to…”

“But more people like it, “I’m so much cooler on line” makes it seem as geeky as Tommy made pinball seem….and American Idol, fame, even a little smidgeon, is like the new salvation!

“Like thay new Harmony movie about the Michael Jackson imitator….”

“sad, sad, sad, world…”

“And little red riding hood…”

“Ah, there are so many advantages to not having to leave your room…”

“But there’s gotta be SOMETHING BETWEEN, you know….
Something between the rich and the poor, the rich getting richer and the poor getting going. Or, going to A big music festival and being in your room alone…”

“Of course there is…So I’m playing original songs which may not mean anything right now, and then various covers….People like the covers because they know them….”

“I like talking between songs, I like it when others talk between lines…”

“And a live show should be at least as good as watching it on TV would be….”

“And that’s why I like the smaller shows….and why I feel most bands are way more interesting when they’re starting out, and playing small. “

“Yeah, talking heads. Stop Making Sense was great, but I would probably prefer to have seen them in 1977/9, with The Name Of The Band…”

“some bands just know how to make the transition to arena better….”

“Or they are lazy, perhaps even justifiably so, like when Dylan ‘went electric’ and began hiding more. And I don’t mean hiding is a bad thing, and shoegaze is really great for a guitarist if not for a vocalist necessarily….”

“Here it is, the momentous occasion!”

“Check out the website of the OUTSIDE LANDS festival….Wow, no ARTIST has ever played in Golden Gate Park before! Radiohead will be the first!’

“Sounds like Bush/Chaney/John McCain/Gavin Newsome, lying, dissembling to me!”

“It’s just advertising copy. You’re so bitter, pernicious, in your so-called moral highground….”

“Nah, you’re reading my tone wrong. I’m just lonely—-actually not even really lonely at all. People still come to these little shows we do, off the radar, and the reality we find is actually a lot more like what Youtube videos show of 1965, or “Please Kill Me” era New York or London, or what’s good about 24 hour party people…I’m only lonely when dragged to these radiohead shows, and am told this is the place we’resupposed to be, or aspire to…”

“Well, if YOU were Radiohead or…”

“I wouldn’t be, but I would more than likely play 4 nights at smaller venues in one big city—-like Jonathan Richman—than blitz with the bombast of shock and all…
But, I’m just glad this thing’s happening, because it makes me feel much more glamourous, and disciplined, as we can keep on creating something amazingly beautiful,….

“It’s pretty cool that you called 50 people up and sang them a song on their answering machines, and didn’t even bother to record it or keep a copy for yourself right now…”

“Yeah, some of them sucked. But I’m glad people are digging it. They can listen to their answering machines on their way back from the festival!!!!”

“like desert. You might steal the show…”