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Outside Lands 

Aug. 28-30, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


The heat was killing us. The walk through Golden Gate Park lasted forever. But finally, my mom, brother and I reached Outside Lands, the festival we'd been looking forward to for months. After cooling off with strawberries and ice cream, we scoped a spot for The Duke Spirit. People crowded forward as the band appeared on stage and launched into a song. Some of us danced, but most just stood in the crazy heat.

Next we met with Monica Topping to interview Silversun Pickups. While waiting, I tried to calm down. I failed. Eventually we were called onto the bus. I could hardly sit still. Joe, the keyboardist, and Christopher, the drummer, introduced themselves. Monica had them do radio IDs, then came my turn. My voice shook -- "Hi, I'm Kaylee" -- but ultimately I powered through. Christopher and Joe were friendly and amusing. I only asked two questions, but the six minutes it took for them to be said and answered were some of the most incredible six minutes of my life. Then, on the way out, I tripped over one of the lights stands. Way to go. Outside, I sat in a happy daze for 10 minutes before I was fully able to function again.

Silversun Pickups were so astonishingly good live. The crowd screamed and sang along while Christopher went wild on the drums -- and Brian Aubert with his brilliant voice! When Christopher threw his drumstick into the crowd, my brother and I leapt, our fingers touching ... but the guy in front of us snagged it. Damn.

On Saturday we again marched to the park, starting the day with Jason Mraz. The best part was when he played "I'm Yours" and the audience leaned into each other and sang along.

Our Outside Lands escapade ended with M.I.A. Fantastic. She, the dancers and backup singers threw horns out into the crowd -- I caught one, but promptly dropped it into the mass of legs and feet. M.I.A. leaned above the security fence and the nearest people swarmed towards her, shrieking into their horns.

Driving home, it almost seemed like it couldn't have happened. Things like seeing some of your favorite bands live and getting to interview them just don't happen. But I'm faced with the fact that, yes, it definitely happened, and definitely happened to be some of the best three days I've ever had.

Nick's headliner highlights: Friday, seeing Pearl Jam's set -- and when Mike McCready flicked his pick to the crowd, I caught it. Saturday, I had a front row view of The Mars Volta, one of the best bands alive. After Cedric Bixler-Zavala smashed a billboard, the crowd went insane. Sunday, from Jack Black's "flippy jacks" to the band's epic fights with Metal and the Devil, the crowd couldn't stop laughing. Thank you, Tenacious D for an amazing show.

Note: An extended review can be found online at the North Coast Journal Blogthing.

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