If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some earplugs in your head. And don't forget that cash, a Muni pass and some dancing shoes for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Outside Lands will engulf San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Friday through Sunday, Aug. 9-11. More than 80 musical acts will perform at this sold-out festival known for its mix of veteran and new-school bands, along with a broad menu of eats and drinks. That's why Outside Lands remains a must-go destination for Sacramento-area music lovers.
Concertgoers risk sensory overload with myriad sounds and food aromas wafting around. But we're here to help. In hopes of fine-tuning your Outside Lands experience, check The Bee's picks for the festival's best bets. Read on and rock out.
Just getting there is half the battle
By Janelle Bitker
Getting to Outside Lands won't be easy.
Whatever you do, don't think about driving all the way to Golden Gate Park. Street parking is nearly nonexistent down those narrow residential streets - even without the added 60,000 festivalgoers - and the festival is sold out of parking passes.
With luck - especially if you are staying all three days - you have a hotel in the Bay Area where you can ditch your car and ride BART or Muni into the city center. From there, you have a few options: shuttle, bike, bus or taxi.
Shuttle: For ease and a guaranteed lift, $39 buys you three days of round-trip shuttle service to and from Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which is by the Civic Center BART station. The comfy coach-style buses run from 11 a.m. to the festival's midnight close, and unlike public transportation, the shuttle drops you off a mere half-block from the festival entrance. Buy them at sfoutsidelands.com/shuttlepass.
Bike: For the briefest hike to the actual festival grounds - not just the edge of Golden Gate Park - biking is the way to go. There's a coat-check-style complimentary bike valet service - with a free bike wash between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. - as well as bike parking along John F. Kennedy Drive from Transverse Drive to Stow Lake Drive. If you don't own a bike or feel like transporting one down, San Francisco has plenty of bike rental shops. The cheapest downtown option, in Hayes Valley by Civic Center BART, is Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours (385 Linden St.), with bikes available for $32 per day or $84 for three days. Rentals come with a lock and helmet.
Bus: If your crash pad isn't anywhere near the city center, taking the Muni to Golden Gate Park might be more convenient than the shuttle. It's certainly cheaper at $2 each way - just don't forget exact change, or buy tickets in advance. Last year, San Francisco Muni added more than 40 N-Judah trains and 5 Fulton buses, but plans aren't finalized yet for this year. The 28, 29, 44 and 71 lines will get you in the general area, too.
Taxi: As if taxis weren't already difficult to catch in San Francisco, imagine them the weekend of Outside Lands. But they are an option, and - once you're in the cab - a faster one. There are more than 85 bands hitting the stages at Outside Lands, and if we had our way, every one would include a Paul McCartney-related cover in its set. He's the biggest rock star in the world with the best songs ever, right? Since you can watch only one group at a time, here are some choices with their times and stages.
A Taste of the Bay Area will include a fleet of food trucks
by Chris Macias
Along with a taste of Red Hot Chili Peppers on the main stage, Outside Lands features more than 70 food vendors to silence any rumbling hungry tummies.
This food program, dubbed A Taste of the Bay Area 2013, includes a small fleet of food trucks, some of which should be familiar to attendees of our local SactoMoFo mobile food festivals.
Hapa SF will roll out its menu of Filipino food, so pass the lumpia-style spring rolls. The Chairman Truck will also be serving up its savory pork-belly baos, which are always a huge hit at SactoMoFo - and result in some of its most epic lines.
For those seeking a lighter, more refined snack, just say, "Pass the cheese, please." Inside the wine garden you'll find "Cheese Lands" featuring plenty of top-shelf dairy products. The cheese program is curated by Thalassa Skinner, the cheesemonger and author of "Cheese for Dummies." Those cheeses can be paired with charcuterie from Fatted Calf, the renowned artisanal butcher, which will also be located in the Wine Lands courtyard.
The overall selection of food represents plenty of edibles that can be eaten with one hand while the other fist pumps during Fishbone's set. Among the edibles: pizza slices from Escape From New York, karaage (a.k.a. Japanese chicken nuggets) from Nombe, the Little Chihuahua's fajita burritos and hot links from Best in Show.
By the way, Outside Lands' beer offerings look mighty solid, especially given the usual Sodexo-style offerings found at concert venues. Sip instead on craft beers from some of Northern California's top breweries, including North Coast - the home of Brother Thelonious and Pranqster - Lost Coast (Downtown Brown, Alleycat Amber Ale), Drake's Brewing and Bear Republic Brewing.
Stacked music makes for tough choices
By Janelle Bitker and Marcus Crowder
There are more than 85 bands hitting the stages at Outside Lands, and if we had our way, every one would include a Paul McCartney-related cover in its set. He's the biggest rock star in the world with the best songs ever, right? Since you can watch only one group at a time, here are some choices with their times and stages.
7:10 p.m. at Lands End
At this point Sir Paul's the ultimate heritage act with more great back catalog than anyone. There'll never be any reunions of his two great bands, but he still sings thesongs like he means it.
Friday 6:05 p.m. at Sutro
Once a neo-soul standardbearer, D'Angelo might have challenged Prince for onstage electricity before personal issues derailed his career -he hasn't released a record since 2000's Grammy-winning"Voodoo." He's attempting a comeback, and his setwill be much anticipated.
8:40 p.m. at Twin Peaks
For his July release, "AColor Map of the Sun,"electro hip-hop artist DerekVincent Smith created ananalog synthesizer andproduced his own vinyl -gathering gospel singers andNew Orlean's renownedPreservation Hall Jazz Bandto layer on the sound. Pretty Lights will be like no other electronic act all weekend.
5 p.m. at Lands End
Fans waited four long years for May's record, "Trouble Will Find Me," and it didn't disappoint. The National's dark, lush indie rock and challenging, intelligent lyrics ought to mesmerize.
6:15 p.m. at Panhandle
Listening to Wavves is almost like being in the band's hometown of San Diego. Take a trip to themost intimate festival stage and slowly bang your head to low-fi surf punk.
Nine Inch Nails
8:25 p.m. at Lands End
"Hesitation Marks," the new NIN album, comes out Sept. 3, with early singles "Disappointed" and "Came Back Haunted" both beat-driven, synth-heavy tracks, though the album also features guitar heroes Lindsey Buckingham and Adrian Belew. Essential sophisticated industrial art rock for those who favor that kind of thing.
8:40 p.m. at Twin Peaks
The French sensation'slatest record, "Bankrupt!," isquite a dive from 2009'sGrammy Award-winning "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix." It should be a mix oftheir "1901" glossy pop hits and their newer, brooding,alternative rock - all performed as tightly as you'd expect from a world-class act.
6:05 p.m. at Panhandle
Formed in Chico in the early'90s, the Hips have always been more than the sum of their California rock-basedparts. Having flirted with thebig time, gone on hiatus andreformed with a clear senseof purpose and direction, the band has a new record, "Behind Beyond," that purrs with crisp guitars and strong vocals from leaders Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono.
5 p.m. at Lands End
These leaders of California alternative hip-hop disbanded in 2007 but J5 has reunited this year for some high-profile gigs. This crew with a rep for fierce live shows should not disappoint.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
6:30 p.m. at Lands End
Always dance-floor-ready, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been performing edgy art punk since 2000. Fron twoman Karen O puts on a forceful live show, and usually she wears some pretty wild outfits.
5:50 p.m. at Lands End
The Columbia University kids' long-awaited third album, "Modern Vampires of the City," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 back in May. Grab your oxford shoes and jump around - but know the new tunes are more mature and experimental than their breakout hit "A-Punk."
Hall and Oates
4:20 p.m. at Lands End
Daryl Hall has always been one of the great singers in pop music, and he finally seems to be getting his due. More critically respected now than during Hall and Oates' chart-topping success in the mid-'80s, the duo plays all their hits but never forgets their Philly soul roots.
3:35 p.m. at Twin Peaks
She's huge in Europe. And after performing at the opening and closing of the 2012 London Olympics, she's gained traction fast in the United States as well. See the Scottish soul-pop star in a relatively small setting while you still can.
2:50 p.m. at Lands End
One of Britain's most successful modern bands, Foals blends frenetic math rock and soothing pop melodies. Hipsters should be pleased.
1:30 p.m. at Lands End
Despite more than 30 years in the game, Fishbone still seem like those goofy kids from Watts who mashed up funk, ska, punk rock and gymnastics.
By Janelle Bitker and Marcus Crowder
Wine choices harmonize with music menu
by Chris Macias
Napa's Bottle Rock music festival might have featured more than 40 wineries, but right now we're giving the edge to Outside Lands for its especially thoughtful selection of vino. Dubbed "Wine Lands 2013," the festival's wine garden aligns nicely with Outside Lands' musical menu, offering a sampling of below-the- radar favorites and time-honored brands.
For starters, oenophiles who dig the indier-than-thou musical stylings of Wavves would do well with a glass from Scholium Project. This Suisun Valley winery gets credit for producing some of the most forward-thinking wines on the market, including skin-fermented sauvignon blanc, intense chardonnay and old-vine cinsault from Lodi. Winemaker Abe Schoener was once named by Esquire magazine as one of "16 geniuses who give us hope," and his maverick spirit most definitely shows in the bottle.
On the flip side, Ridge Vineyards has produced some of the finest zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon in Northern California for five decades. Unlike the fruit-bomb bruisers found too often in the marketplace, Ridge's zinfandels offer plenty of balance that retain richness without going overwrought. They're the perfect legacy wines to sip during Paul McCartney's set.
Kermit Lynch of Berkeley is meanwhile known as one of the great tastemakers on the West Coast. As an importer, he scours France and Italy for some of its best small-production wines at budget-friendly prices. Drop by the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant booth and get turned on to some of your new favorite wines. If the man himself is there, ask Lynch about his bluesy Americana album, "Man's Temptation."
Outdoor music festivals also scream for riesling, which rank among the most refreshing and food friendly of wine grapes. Summer of Riesling with Paul Grieco will offer plenty of these selections for sipping. Pair an off-dry riesling with spicy Thai food from Sataysfied and your taste buds will be singing in harmony like Hall and Oates.
For an encore, consider wines from Amador County favorites Renwood, a taste of "Sideways" from Santa Barbara County's Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Winery and zinfandel powerhouse Turley Wine Cellars.
Comedians take the stage at The Barbary
As if a day of good music isn't enough in itself, Outside Lands also offers the comedy and variety tent known as The Barbary.
Co-curated by SF Sketchfest, 26 shows in The Barbary will include well-known comedians - such as Craig Robinson of "The Office" and stand-up comedian Jeffrey Ross - and some lesser-known styles, such as competitive erotic fan fiction.
"We're really trying to have a true mix of things," said Sketchfest's David Owen, who booked many of the shows.
The Barbary, according to Owen, is named after a 19th century San Francisco red-light district dubbed the Barbary Coast. "It was sort of a crazy atmosphere," he said.
With Owen's help, The Bee has narrowed so many options down to five shows that should bring the most laughs:
2 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
Stand-up comedian Jeffrey Ross will roast the Golden Gate City. But watch out, he'll be roasting some audience members, too.
Crash Test with Rob Huebel
Famous for his role on Adult Swim's "Children's Hospital," Huebel's comedy, improv and sketch show is anything goes.
Bring the Rock
Comedians and musicians tell stories about songs that have a strange connection to their lives. Then comedian Greg Behrendt and the Reigning Monarchs rock out while playing each song.
1:45 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Known for his role as Darryl Philbin on "The Office," Robinson will bring music and comedy together during his show.
Singin' & Pingin'
DJ Purple and American Tripps will close the Barbary shows with this huge karaoke, Berlin-style pingpong party.
What: A three-day multigenre festival of music, food, wine, beer and comedy
When: Friday-Sunday, Aug. 9-11
Where: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Cost: $249 for a three-day ticket (sold out)
Call The Bee's Janelle Bitker, (916) 321-1027. Follow her in Twitter @JanelleBitker.
Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.
Call The Bee's Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias.
Call The Bee's Brittany Torrez, (916) 321-1103. Follow her in Twitter @BrittTorrez.