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Outside Lands 2017 Day 2: Metallica rules, A Tribe Called Quest cancels

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Metallica’s James Hetfield, left, and Kirk Hammett took control during their headlining set on Saturday, the second day of Outside Lands 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
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Hip hop fans were disappointed Saturday at the cancellation of headliners A Tribe Called Quest, slated to take the Twin Peaks stage around 7 p.m. on day two of the 10th Outside Lands Festival.

After a signboard flashed and a voice over a loudspeaker announced the group would not appear “due to unforeseen circumstances” (and others had been informed via Twitter) hordes began swarming from Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park, although DJ Claude VonStroke filled in.

The day before, it was announced that the hip hop collective’s original Friday date would be changed to Saturday.

But lovers of other genres enjoyed some tunes.

On the more laid-back Sutro Stage, Los Angeles’ Dawes served up catchy, 1970s California rock-reminiscent songs, concluding with a big sing-along; they were followed by earnest Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy sporting an acoustic guitar and heartfelt, personal songs.

Same goes for North Carolina folk rockers, The Avett Brothers. Siblings Scott and Seth shared lead vocal duties on a set varied with rockers (“Slight Figure of Speech”), covers (Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”) and intense ballads (“I And Love And You”).

Over on the Panhandle stage, Foxygen frontman Sam France (in white makeup) headed up the California band’s exuberant indie rock, with local nods, playing the song “San Francisco” second, and greeting the crowd, “We’re queer and we’re here.”

Over at the main Lands End stage, it was rock, all the way, in the late afternoon and evening.

Royal Blood, Cage the Elephant and Metallica delivered energized performances, each unique in style, but all loud and maddening.

Royal Blood, a smug rock duo from England, poured groovy bass and electro guitar sounds, heavy enough for people to slam.

Claire Kao, in the crowd, was surprised how people aiming to hit each other were at the same time caring: “Everyone was at the same level of intensity,” she said.

Front-and-center vocalist-guitarist Mike Kerr, clearly the more glamorous of the pair, at one point said, let me introduce the rest of the band, Ben Thatcher.”

The set included “Lights Out” and “I Only Lie When I Love You” from the new album “How Did We Get So Dark?” and older compositions “Figure It Out” and “Out of the Black.”

Then came guitar-heavy Kentucky rockers, Cage the Elephant.

Lead vocalist Matthew Shultz spent minimum time static, and by the middle of the performance, was barefoot and bare-chested.

Rhythm guitarist Brad Shultz tried to get as close to the fans as possible, crowdsurfing and playing at the same time.

The band played almost all songs from 2015’s “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” but also “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” from its first album and other older material.

Headlining hometown favorites Metallica shook people’s rib cages and literally brought fire to the stage in a two-hour set with old and new material, opening with “Hardwired,” “Atlas Rise!” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and closing with the classic “Enter Sandman.”

Not all were fast and aggressive songs: The show also included “Unforgiven” and “Nothing Else Matters.”

Band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert are old pros, and it showed.

Toward the beginning, totally-in-control lead vocalist Hetfield even joked to the folks packing the polo field: “There’s a white Prius with its lights on.” Yet he later captured the spirit of the festival when he said “We’re grateful to be part of this celebration of all kinds of music.”

Fire and fireworks, skulls and leather and heaviness in each half-of-a-sound: Metallica was there.

The audience responded to the palpable energy — growled, howled, slammed and went nuts, blending the line between the entertainer and entertained.

“Eventually, you become a part of it,” said festival-goer Jose Luis Urbina : “Now you are the concert”

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