Mary and I went yesterday for Day One. No Sam. He is enjoying time volunteering for the theater company and playing with friends. Plus, he has never been much of a fan of outdoor concert going. We skipped our usual routine of Irish pastry breakfast and instead opted for a home breakfast. (I am enjoying some sweet potato now as I write this post.) We got street parking with little problem and got in line by 10:50. Getting in was without incident and OSL continues to make the experience as easy as can be expected.
While normally we start at Sutro and the stage even had an act we liked in Rayland Baxter, I had a feeling this year towards seeing a more loud opening act. We went to Panhandle (the stage that probably has my highest ratio of great OSL memories) for Night Terrors of 1927.
Lead singer Jarrod Gorbel has a voice that delivers to your entire being. In the first song, Mary and I both thought, "Hmmm, should we have stuck with Sutro?" When suddenly his mouth opened 3 times the size it had previously and he belted out a loud meaningful feeling stretch of song. From that moment on we were hooked. We stayed for the entire set, which they ended abruptly with 5 minutes left and not much of a good-bye. Well, it left me wanting more. I look forward to watching this band grow.
From there, I was ready for some twang at Sutro. We headed over for Greensky Bluegrass. Well, first we stopped for our favorite spicy pie! Pineapple and jalapeno is a nice treat since I haven't been eating animals for the past 4 weeks+.
Greensky Bluegrass were 5 guys lined up with 5 stringed instruments. Mary had two lovely observations, "Look they all have instruments." Today's music can be a bit lacking in true instruments as you know. With Mary's help we identified: mandolin, dobro, guitar, banjo and upright bass (although it was the skinniest bass I have ever seen.) Within the first song, Mary dubbed the mandolin player "The Jim James of Bluegrass, he only needs a towel over his head."
They were a force of strings. Just a wonderful hour of jams and smiles. Very Sutro appropriate. It was nice to see what energy five people and a slew of strings could create on a starting-to-turn-sunny day in Golden Gate Park.
From there, we went to get a water refill. Wow, that sucked. Previous years it was easy and fast. Now we had to stand in disorganized, long lines. We are thinking of bringing plastic (!!!) bottles today rather than deal with that mess again. We made it back to Sutro for some Phosphorescent magic. We enjoyed about 3 songs and then headed across to Panhandle for some Nahko and Medicine for the People, who had a positive vibe and world music sound. After that set, we decided to head to Twin Peaks stage early to get set-up for Grouplove. Mary noticed the bleachers on the side that had a place to sit and more importantly, rest our backs. We chilled to some fun Warpaint tunes and noticed that the crowd was getting big and probably going to be GIANT for Grouplove. When we saw them at OSL in 2011 it was like this:
We are very happy for their success, and glad we got to see them at smaller venues back in the day. Their set for as always full of intense playful energy. I have to admit, I enjoyed them better now that they let most of the singing come from Christian and Hannah. Those two firecrackers deliver at 100% the entire set. Also, it gave them the chance to do a cover, rather than one of the other band-mate's songs. And boy did they deliver. They played a freaking great rendition of "Drunk in Love." Hannah nailed the surfboard part.
Given the nice spot we had and the full schedule of the next couple of days, we decided to keep our spot and just chill. I went and got some water which again Flowater out me through a long line. However, this time I did not mind, because I got to enjoy much of Bear Hands set. From our bleachers we watched Tegan and Sara - who strangely asked if living in San Francisco if we "could stand the rain." Um, we're in a drought... We got bundled up as the sun set and enjoyed some songs from Arctic Monkeys.
We left early to get a few Kanye songs in, so I felt comfortable with the fact that "Yes, I've seen Kanye." Luckily, we got their for a few songs from the first album (which I know.) Also, he gave a shout out to his recently married baby mama being there, who we did not see. We left around 9:30 which helped us beat the exiting crowd and allowed me to listen to the final inning of the A's victory on the radio.
A pretty darn good day. OK time to get ready for Day Two!