I oozed into the grounds faster than ever with a third-day expertise and met Jon April, my trusty photographer, near the entrance.
"Dude, did you see Kaskade's tweets? Apparently he's going to change our lives tonight," April said.
To my San Francisco fam bam…— Kaskade (@kaskade) August 11, 2013
To my NorCal peoples…— Kaskade (@kaskade) August 11, 2013
Let me be 100% clear about tonight…— Kaskade (@kaskade) August 11, 2013
When we meet in the park later today and I play music I expect that it will change our lives…— Kaskade (@kaskade) August 11, 2013
Meaning. That the show will be something so incredible that we will never be the same…— Kaskade (@kaskade) August 11, 2013
We made our way to the Twin Peaks stage for the very end of Rudimental's genre-bending, body-moving set and heartfelt goodbye to the crowd. I made a detour at my favorite bush.
"Hello, old friend," I said to it.
With nothing to see at the TP stage, Jon and I trekked into the main stage area and over to the Heineken Dome for local duo WhiteNoize. Before we could enter, we ran into some old friends, and our group suddenly became a much harder sell to the thus-far reasonable guard at the door.
"We've got seven," I said to him, with a look on my face like, "yeah, I really just said that."
"Seven? So you two are media?"
"Yes myself and my photographer, here," pointing to Jon.
"And what about all these people?" He asked, waving his clipboard at the five-head entourage standing behind me.
"Well, they're my crew, and I don't want to lose them, right?"
"ALRIGHT! WhiteNoize!" Shouted Duke from behind me with a quick fist-pump as we entered the dark, green-lit dome for a beer and a wild half-hour with the SF-based duo, who were in the middle of laying a serious beatdown on the willing crowd.
I promised them 10 minutes, but we really only stood at the very rear of the Main Stage and pretended to listen for about five before I underwent the task of trying to get the crew across the grounds as one unit, which felt more like herding cats than walking with friends.
"A-Trak, A-Trak, A-Trak," I repeated to them every time a booth caught someone's eye or someone had to pee again. "We've got 10 minutes. We've gotta go."
Barely out of the reach of H&O's sound, I turned around to see half the cats missing.
"Forget it," I said, and turned around to head off solo to reunite with Jon at Twin Peaks for A-Trak. Just then, a security cart came speeding and swerving up behind me with what looked like a struggle taking place in the passenger seat.
"A-TRAAAAAAK!" screamed Duke as he reached across the security officer to honk the horn.
"Get the hell out of here, kid," the officer said to his unwanted passenger as he pushed Duke out of the cart and his six-foot, five-inch frame rolled to a stop by my feet.
"Nate! There you are. You should try harder to stay with the group," he laughed, brushing himself off.
Duke and I managed to get the entire herd over to Twin Peaks, where we parted ways and I met with Jon in VIP.
Alain Macklovitch, or A-Trak, stepped to the decks with swagger and started his set with a high level of energy which he sustained for the entirety of his performance. The crowd got sloppy to Tuna Melt and Bandz A Make Her Dance before the familiar into of Duck Sauce's latest, It's You, made the mass of moving bodies sync up and throb as one with the thumping beat. The second or third drop saw A-Trak move into dirty Dutch territory with groove after filthy groove inciting a dance-riot in the field.
His 8-bit digitized face floated across the sea of sweaty bodies in numerous locations as he got their voices involved with Roscoe Dash's All The Way Turnt Up. A-Trak's style pre-dates the EDM-trap-hip hop explosion and resulting intersection, and being allowed to witness the phenomenon in context has allowed him to develop an increasingly wide and diverse set that is duplicated by none.
He ended with Martin Solveig's The Night Out, and the crowd dispersed to a remix of Get Lucky, but there was no time to reflect, for our schedule was packed, and up after a little bit of Matt & Kim was Dillon Francis.
DJ Pierre, we're sorry, but we didn't make it. However, we love your acid vibes and contribution to dance music. Cheers. I donned my Trill HD bandana and rubber chicken beaded necklace and waited at the Panhandle Stage, chanting "Dillon Francis Right Meow! Dillon Francis Right Meow!"
I secured our spot on the hay bales while Jon April went in for a close vantage point at the very intimate Panhandle Stage--so intimate, in fact, that I had concerns for its ability to contain a notoriously wild Dillon show. We'll see.
"SF, let's make some g*ddamn noise!" He shouted across the crowd packed shoulder-to-shoulder from the stage to well behind our elevated spot on the hay bales. One of his first jams, his Meowski666 collab with Kill The Noise, Meow Machine, made the crowd burst out in unison with the meows and barks from the curious tune.
He moved us from moombahton to glitch and back, then had us Burning Up. He dropped what he said was a new collab with Diplo, and fed us It's You by Duck Sauce for the second time of the day. Just as he threw in the sound of James Doakes saying "Surprise Motherf*cker," I slipped into a sinkhole that had formed on the hay bale and was nearly engulfed in hay from head to toe and would have been, had it not been for the girl next to me who grabbed my hand, saving me from certain death by hay. "Surprise Motherf*cker," indeed.
He engaged the crowd in an awkward and sarcastic speak-and-repeat session in which he said "f*ck you," and the crowd was to respond "F*ck You, Dillon Francis."
"This is f*cking amazing, I f*cking love you guys so much," he said.
However, some of the fans were still in speak-and-repeat mode, so they answered thusly, making it all the more lovable a scene.
Dillon assaulted the Panhandle Stage just as night fell on day three of OSL, and he got the crowd feeling nice and fancy with his Suit & Tie remix and continued to sling bass out across the park and into the dimming sky as he and his horde threw a party on the rotting corpse of the Panhandle Stage.
"What a set!" I squeaked to the nearest person, realizing I'd lost my voice.
We migrated back to the Twin Peaks Stage, where we waited for Kaskade and his life-changing performance. With a burst of smoke from the stage and a roar from the crowd, the man otherwise known as Ryan Raddon took to the decks and kicked off with his most recent hit, Atmosphere. As a bit of a local boy and a recently active player in the release world, Kaskade was my pick for the DJ to steal the show. As the drop filled the Atmosphere, I felt a combined sense of excitement and relief to witness the performer I'd been waiting all weekend to see.
He moved from massive Dutch bangers to smoother jams like Empire of the Sun's Alive and David Bowie's Let's Dance. Once it darkened, the stage was filled with three-foot glowing orbs bouncing across the sea of hands changing colors and adding a little magic sauce to the overall environment. Overall, just an endlessly fun, massively well curated house set from the West Coast's resident master.
Raddon slowed it down a bit just as my three-day festie body began to run out of steam. He transitioned into Reload, but I was out of shells. Jon April left to get some final shots, and I took the opportunity to rest my head on a metal barrier and take in the final few minutes of the keystone set from a monumental Outside Lands Festival.
"I'm tired," I said.
"Don't stop dancing," Kaskade encouraged across the PA system.
"I gots ta, sorry man. I'm out!" But undeniably, this was my best-ever experience at Outside Lands, and seeing someone as iconic as Kaskade close it out was a dream.
San Francisco knows my music so well I could turn the sound off, mime dj, put lyrics on screen and it would be one big song along— Kaskade (@kaskade) August 11, 2013