Duran DuranThe children who grew watching episodes of The Muppet Show came of age in the early eighties, so it’s only fitting that the other big nostalgia act of the weekend was one of the biggest pop sensations of the decade, Duran Duran. The years have been kind to both the remaining original members and their catalog of hits. Unlike many of their contemporaries Duran Duran crafted songs of lasting complexity to accompany their insidious hooks and the mixture of sentimentality and rock solid song craft had the Friday Polo Fields stage crowd begging for more when the trip down memory lane concluded. But then, they say it’s always best to leave the crowd “Hungry Like The Wolf.” E-40 and Warren GToward the back of the main stage area were two small-venue domes designated the Heineken House. Various DJs and smaller acts played there over the weekend, but the main attraction came on a tiny makeshift stage outside it for the surprise reunion between the Bay Area’s E-40 and SoCal’s Warren G Saturday evening. Naturally, the massive turnout led to a logistical nightmare, with bottlenecks trapping fans at the back of the crowd and those walking to Radiohead. But the breezy performance was a highlight reel of rap history. Classics like “Super Hyphy,” “Saturday,” and “Tell Me When To Go” were mixed with more recent tracks like Big Sean’s “IDFWU.” Whether it was a Bay Area diehard, a hip-hop historian, or an interested passerby, that packed-in performance was one that everyone involved will never forget. Any music festival that has an offering called “Wine Lands” understands the idea that things get better with age. Outside Lands is the embodiment of that.After nine years, the festival become one of the premier weekends of San Francisco live music calendar, with a developed personality and an eclectic culture that surrounds it. There are after parties and late night shows in every room in the city. From musicians to fans and everything in-between, the late-summer ways of the Bay Area are beaming for those three days in August.This year’s edition on August 5-7 boasted one of the strongest festival line-ups in the country, with trailblazers from every genre and generational heavyweights playing throughout. But, the early sets and up-and-coming acts more than held their own. Outside Lands always helps artists reel in new fans and, like every good festival, rewards the open-minded. Load remaining images LCD SoundsystemThe first moment Outside Lands really came together was when LCD Soundsystem just shut up and played the hits on Friday night. Since reuniting this year after a five-year hiatus, the New York City collective has come back with serious intentions, rocking every single gig like only they can. The energy was palpable as James Murphy showed no signs of decline, maintaining sky-high intensity on “Losing My Edge,” a masterfully built “Get Innocuous!” and the steady ways of “Home.” The sing-along to “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” was elevated to “Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends” to close things on a high note. Dr.Teeth & The Electric MayhemIn a weekend full of nostalgic moments, the Dr.Teeth & The Electric Mayhem set stood head and shoulders above the rest, not unlike how the puppets themselves were literally head and shoulders above the deftly skilled puppeteers hidden below the stage. A spell was cast over the audience, bringing cherished childhood memories to life before the misty eyes of children of all ages. With sly nods to the adults in the audience the short set featured a few skits, a few videos, a couple of classic rock covers and literally all the love in the park the true spirit of Jim Henson came alive in the hearts of all within earshot. LettuceBrooklyn based leaders of the future of funk, Lettuce ended a three festival in three day scramble across the country with a blistering set of deep funk and crowd pleasing jams that showed no signs of weariness from time keeper Adam Deitch, Shmeeans or the rest of the boys as the tore through a packed set of funk from the opening of the first notes of “The Force” until the last echoes faded. Though they somehow recovered enough strength to put on a late night show out in the city when Lettuce left the stage in the park they were clearly being held up by the deafening cheers from the astounded crowd. There’s so much happening at once over the course of the three days by the bay during Outside Lands that it is impossible to see it all, and pointless to try. With so many opportunities to be exposed to new sights, sounds and flavors as well as relieving heart warming touch stones of your past the key to getting the most out of Outside Lands it to trust that wherever you are in the bustling festival grounds, you are bound to be surrounded by the magic of creation and love.Check out a full gallery of photos from Outside Lands by our own Rex Thomson below. Big GramsThe collaboration between Big Boi and Phantogram continues to be a favorite addition to festival line-ups throughout the country, and was placed perfectly into the late afternoon on Saturday. With a studio album and a year under their belt, this marriage of hip-hop and electronic music is on full display on “Fell in the Sun” and “Lights On.” And, as they’ve done since their inaugural performance across the Bay Bridge at Treasure Island last year, Big Boi worked in Outkast originals, leading a crowd-pleasing “Ms. Jackson.” Maybe just as important, though, was that Big Grams’ laid the foundation for the uncomfortably crowded pop-up show outside the Heineken House a few hours later. Here were ten of our favorite sets from this year’s event.RadioheadThese titans of experimental alternative put on a powerful performance in the headliner spot Saturday night. After a somber opening with “Burn the Witch” and “Daydreaming,” Radiohead and its faithful went on a journey dominated by some of their most captivating ballads as Thom Yorke conducted every turn. “Pyramid Song,” “Everything In Its Right Place,” and “Nude” were broken apart by more danceable pieces like “Lotus Flower” and “The Gloaming.” Radiohead mixed fan favorites with deep cuts like all the greats can. It was a vastly different experience to those who chose Zedd, which was given an unfortunate slot on the schedule. Those that stuck with Radiohead were given what they wanted, and that was a breathtaking set by one of the best to ever to do it. Kamasi WashingtonRising jazz talent Kamasi Washington continued the unearthly display of skill and improvisation that has made his shows with elements of his band The Next Step and the collective The West Coast Get Down. It’s been a long time since such a deeply instrumental and progressive jazz voice has found such a wide and main stream following, and it stems from Washington’s undeniable brilliance. His ability as a band leader, knowing when to not only let his fellow players shine but to dutifully call out their efforts for praise, made his scene stealing leads all the most impressive for the honest love for the craft behind them. Third Eye BlindA welcome blast from the 1990s, Third Eye Blind turned nostalgic listeners into enthusiastic participants, running through the hits like “Jumper,” “Graduate” and “Never Let Go” as tens of thousands echoed frontman Stephan Jenkins’ vocals. He praised the band’s longtime support from the San Francisco Bay Area, which gave way to one of the highlights of the weekend. The band brought out members of the Magik Magik Orchestra for a portion of the set, including a well-received David Bowie tribute in red Ziggy Stardust wigs.Jack GarrattThe electronic Swiss Army Knife Jack Garratt breathed life and helped welcome the sunshine back into Golden Gate Park Sunday afternoon. The one-man show from the UK had the intimate hills of the Sutro Stage vibing with every beat as he flawlessly turned loops into dense compositions. His humility was met with support when the crowd provided the vocal sample on “The Love You’re Given” and welcomed all of his debuted tracks with open arms. It’s also hard to not win over a crowd when the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme is worked into the set list. His skill for mixing electronic, hip-hop with the structure of an R&B song was as smooth as butter, and turned new listeners into new fans relatively quickly during his 50-minute set. VulfpeckVulfpeck has been skyrocketing in 2016, and led a light-hearted afternoon set at the Panhandle Stage. On day one, the do-it-all foursome showcased their mastery of minimalist funk as each member bounced from one instrument to the next. Theo Katzman kept the audience not only engaged but participating throughout, somehow directing the crowd to sing in three different keys on multiple occasions, including a lively rendition of “Back Pocket.” After everyone got acquainted with an “Outro” opener, Vulfpeck flashed their instrumentation on numbers like “Fugue State” and “Christmas in L.A.” that was properly adapted to “Christmas in The Bay.” A welcome Antwaun Stanley appearance also meant “1612” and “Funky Duck” had their moments to shine.
I read with interest Jonathan Rosen’s Jan. 24 letter, “People aren’t leaving NY because of taxes,” and I need to respond. In 2014, I became a Florida resident after living and working in the Saratoga Springs area for over 30 years. Florida has an $83 billion annual budget. New York’s 2017 budget of close to $163 billion is obscene. More people live in Florida than New York. They tax you half as much down here. Gas is typically 20 cents a gallon lower (taxes). No state income tax. I have yet to hit a pot hole. My property taxes in southwest Florida are 25 percent of what I paid in New York and I have all the services that a municipality would typically provide. There’s a huge building boom going on down here as the Baby Boomers are retiring and they are fleeing the high-tax freezing cold northern states. Yes, New York City is gaining population and I love New York City as much as anybody. That’s not happening in upstate New York. When my daughter graduated college, I told her to leave this state and she is happily living in Colorado. What does upstate New York offer a young person out of college? High taxes? Cold weather? Cloudy dreary days most of the time? Crumbling infrastructure? No thanks. Florida is not perfect and it has its problems. But in my mind, it is a definite upgrade from this place.Keith A. AvellinoFort Myers, Fla.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion