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Outside Lands Review, Day 3

Stevie Wonder outside lands 2012

Stevie Wonder played all the fan favorites

We motion to make Outside Lands a quarterly affair.

Occasions that bring so many people together just don’t happen often enough. Make it happen, o Gods of OutsideLandia. The 2012 installment of the festival was another extraordinary success, the latest local triumph of creativity and logistical savvy.

Day 3 was an appropriate exclamation point on the annual three-day gathering of all things cultural, with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jack White, Skrillex, Regina Spektor, and Franz Ferdinand serenading San Francisco. Here’s how it all went down:

Franz Ferdinand, 2:40, Polo Field

Europop-rockers Franz Ferdinand always manage to charm the bejesus out of anyone within earshot and eyeshot. Looking prim and proper, these by-now veteran Scottish gents are the guys you take home to your mother just to prove you’ve still got it. The band spliced in some new material with favorites like “Take Me Out” and “Do You Want To.” The new cuts seem to follow the same Franz Ferdinand guiding principle of driving bass and easy-to-access anthems come chorus time. Expect another hit album sometime this fall. 

City and Colour, 3:45, Sutro

Really liked what little I heard from Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green, who played a spare but fascinating afternoon set in Lindley Meadow. And I think more than a few of us appreciated when he suggested to everyone holding a cell phone to leave it in their pocket for just one song: “Let’s not feel such pressure to remember every single thing and just enjoy and live in the moment.” Amen. His vocals range from there to barely-there (yes, in a good way), and it’s all terribly soothing.

Regina Spektor, 4:00, Polo Field

Another set I could only catch for a second — but 20,000 girls singing along in unison can’t be wrong. That’s a surefire way to get your hands on some influence.

Jack White, 5:25, Polo Field

Sir White is aging as gracefully as you’d expect from someone with his freewheeling, whatever-it-takes nature. The evolution from alt-rock hero to Americana champion has been a shockingly palatable one, even for the most diehard fans. But he still throws bones to his White Stripes following, as he did with “We’re Going to Be Friends” and a reworking of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.” Bravo. 

Wolfgang Gartner, 7:45, Panhandle Stage

Still an unknown by today’s standards, Wolfgang Gartner might not have the mainstream cachet of Skrillex, Deadmau5, and other higher-profile house acts, but the production value is every bit as clean and forceful as that of the heavyweights. Put simply, dude nearly stole the show and the festival from the big-boy DJs in attendance. Give this guy a bump in budget and he’ll be a marquee name on festival billboards soon enough.

Skrillex, 8:30, Twin Peaks

Consider the Bay Area completely won over by maverick DJ Sonny John Moore, aka Skrillex. It’s just impossible to not have a ridiculously good time bouncing to Skrillex’s sonic parabolas and arrows. And his light show made it a thoroughly exhaustive sensory experience, especially as it pierced the fuzzy fog.