Like wine, beer or cocktail pairings, good food just gets better with the right music blaring in the background while forcing your tastebuds on a nonstop thrillride. It's times like these where the skill of double-fisting is a must. That's exactly what we'll be doing at this year's Outside Lands. Have you seen their Taste of the Bay Area lineup? There's just too much excellent foodstuff to be watching your favorite bands on an empty stomach.
Both Metallica and The Whole Beast are new to Golden Gate Park this year–the East Bay's biggest musical export has never before played on these hallowed grounds, and this is the debut year for Michael Mina's whole beast pop-up extravaganza, which will be roasting and grilling heritage breed lambs, pigs and other animals to perfection, carving them on the spot, and delivering them straight to your salivating mouth. Because Metallica's music is massive, muscled and so powerful it unlocks the long-buried primal side of anyone who listens to it, it's an on-point match for The Whole Beast's old-school, farm-to-fire offerings. It all harkens back to a time before humans began enjoying meals at white-linened tables to the soothing, symphonic whisper of string instruments. Just don't spill anything on your mosh pit buddies.
"We will keep you up all night thinking about us," is Philz Coffee's general motto, and that's completely the reason why I love it. One moment, I'm practically asleep with my eyes closed, but after I take a few sips of Philz, I'm typing so fast I can't feel my hands. On certain days, it makes me feel delightfully crazy (a state of mind writers totally relish), especially if I've had their "Greater Alarm" blend. Full disclosure: I am not a Skrillex fan–but his music has a similar effect. I can't stand still if something like "Bangarang" is on. I can't fight it. So if you need a boost to join the writhing masses at 8 pm after an already-long day of Outside Lands-ing, grab a cup of Philz and get your dubstep legs in extra-fine form.
Ever since I scored my first grimy Neil Young & Crazy Horse LP at my hometown Goodwill (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere) in high school, I daydreamed about hearing their grungy, sun-fried riffs in the flesh–and now, that childhood fantasy that seemed so impossible is finally, inexplicably, miraculously materializing this weekend. Before their set, I'll be signing up for one of Spicy Pie's Cookie Pies–a huge, pizza-shaped slice of chocolate chip cookie–to take with me into the crowd, because that too is an utter kid-time dream come true. Don't pretend you weren't, at six-years-old, wishing you'd get handed a chocolate chip cookie shaped like pizza that's bigger than your head. There may or may not be a third ingredient to this match-made-in-heaven, but we'll leave that to your imagination for now.
"What in the hell is a falafel and schwarma showcone?" you may be asking. I'm not really sure, but that's just Hayes Valley's Straw's style: Cooking up odd-sounding eats and making them taste awesome. That modus operandi reminds me of South Africa's wacked out, freakazoid rap-rave pair Die Antwoord, who get so weird, they come full circle and end up making psychosis sound normal. If you want to scramble your brain so fully that things which never made sense before actually start to, buy a falafel or schwarma snowcone, get in front of the Twin Peaks stage for Die Antwoord, and dig in.
The Kills embody a bygone-era of ultra-seductive rock n' roll that's neither creepily over-sexed nor calculated. It reminds me of the pelvis-swiveling swing of Elvis, or Zeppelin's bluesy riffage–the kind of thing that cleaved the words "sex" and "drugs" to "rock n' roll." And then there's the on-stage magnetism between guitarist Jamie Hince and slinky vocalist Alison Mosshart that makes them look like a pair of cobras doing a mating dance. It all makes for hip-shaking, head-banging music you find yourself aching to be a part of. Likewise for Little Skillet's famous chicken and waffles. Picture melted butter and dripping syrup spread over crispy fried chicken and golden waffles and try uttering the words "no thank you." It's just not possible.