The Best of Outside Lands: Saturday, Aug. 11
They may not all admit it, but everyone likes Norah Jones. And more universally than that, everyone gets down to Norah Jones. As we walk through Lindley Meadow on our way closer to the stage, we see couples of all kinds dancing, pecking, staring dreamily, or full-on making-out to the smoky-voiced singer, whose voice is echoing down the meadow. The closer we get to the stage, the more apparent these things are, but then another thought -- when did Norah Jones get this good? Yes, we may have had our romantic moments to 2002's soft and creamy Come Away With Me, but there's something else happening, something that sounds a bit like Neko Case, but with Tarantino orchestration. The bass, those drums... it must be the influence of Danger Mouse (who produced her newest album, Little Broken Hearts). Now Norah's not just a pretty voice, but she can groove, too? For someone who already has the ability to make anyone from any age, gender, race, or culture get in the mood for love, a little grooving can be a dangerous thing. -- Cody Nabours
If you leave the festival tonight and walk east on JFK Drive, past the Transverse and under the highway overpass, you will find it difficult not to hear Christopher Romanelli drumming on some buckets. Now, as a guy who's heard a lot of buckets drummed on, I think I know a thing or two about bucket drumming, so believe me when I say that Romanelli, who goes by kEepYahjOy and sports a headwrap big enough to conceal Erykah Badu, is a phenomenally good bucket drummer: the fading sounds of whatever band you're leaving behind will inevitably sound wispy and overcomplicated compared to his stark, paramilitary, extremely loud and incredibly precise street-beat batterings. It's a post-concert concert that's well worth an extra few minutes.
Where can you find kEepYahjOy when he's not trolling under the bridge? According to this delightful Local Addition profile (spoiler alert: you will read the sentence "I gotta find a bucket out here in Switzerland"), he now plays mostly downtown, collecting tips (in a bucket, obviously) and selling CDs by his kitchen-sink collective Audiopharmacy. You can also buy a DVD of Power Struggle -- "the story of two New York City bucket drummers, their passion, music, and love for what they do" -- which, judging by the YouTube trailers, is unwatchable. But it's made me wonder if I wouldn't like to know more than just a thing or two about bucket drumming. -- Daniel Levin Becker
There's a beautiful moment near the end of Grandaddy's reunion set. They've already met with heaping adoration from the fans, who answer singer/songwriter/bandleader Jason Lytle's "thank you" with thank-yous of their own after each song.
They've already gotten past the first uneasy moments of playing for the first time in a long while to a crowd like this in a setting like this, and are confident in the power of their songs.
They've already rolled out a handful of tunes from their first three albums: Under the Western Freeway ("Laughing Stock," "Summer Here Kids"), The Sophtware Slump ("Hewlett's Daughter," "The Crystal Lake") and Sumday ("Now It's On," "El Caminos in the West," "Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake"), and been made fully aware that more than a few people know as many words to these songs as Lytle himself.
They've already made jokes about losing sleep and the pain of making the decision to come back to performing as Grandaddy ("This almost feels good," Lytle quips), and they've already come to realize that the decision was the correct one ("Nah, it feels good.")
They've already received choruses of mid-song cheers from hundreds of people who desperately want their own Grandaddy moments and get them from the line "We'll sit for days and talk about things important to us like whatever," from "A.M. 180," a near-perfect moment of slacker-pop that's as much Pavement as Flaming Lips, and, for this crowd, equally legendary.
They've already paused 15 minutes before the designated set end time, making sure they have time for "the longest song we know" before breaking into 10 minutes of the achingly bittersweet "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot," parts of which put tearful tight-lipped smiles on the faces of everyone around us and anyone within earshot of the waves of Lytle's bubbly analog synth and quivering, always-sad voice.
There's a beautiful moment just at the end of Grandaddy's set, somewhere around the line, "Did you love this world, and did this world not love you," where Lytle looks down, his trucker hat bill obscuring his face to most of the crowd, and smiles, only to himself. This is how it feels to be back. -- Cody Nabours