But I don’t even like Radiohead!

You know how Dante, the hapless mini-mart clerk from “Clerks”, as the disaster of his day continues to unfold, keeps repeating the line, “But I’m not even supposed to be here today!”? To which his video-store clerk friend Randall eventually replies, “Stop saying that. You sound like an asshole.” That’s pretty much how I felt last weekend at the Outside Lands Festival. Or I should say trying to get to the Outside Lands Festival.

The whole transport flow of this city is not set up to contemplate the idea that a large number of people would want to go to the Outer Sunset at once. This is intuitively obvious by the horrified tone with which most city residents say “out there” when discussing the neighborhood but I learned it experientially trying to get there from the Marina. I think it was when the first unnaturally stuffed full 28 blew past me that the initial, “But I don’t even like Radiohead” escaped my lips.

I realize some of you are still reeling from that statement. Look, Radiohead isn’t bad, in fact they’re great, as we all know. But it’s a very subdued monotone kind of great that never fully kicks out the jams in the way that I yearn for. Let’s just call it different cups of tea. I was plenty excited about the Black Keys and the Cold War Kids and several other acts further down the bill, and about seeing my friend Caille, with whom I’d made these plans ages ago, so I was determined to get there.

Several more unusable 28s made me realize that might be no mean feat. I headed out to Chesnut Street, where surely I could hail a cab, right? Wrong. As even the usually taxi-rich corners of Chesnut, Lombard and Union with Fillmore proved to be completely depopulated I began to understand, but remained convinced that redirecting to Van Ness would work.

The shortage of taxis prevailed there as well. This point was particularly driven home by roving gangs of hip young concert bound kids in bright colors trying in vain to hail one themselves or making calls and cursing, “three hours!” Sweating and consternated, I trudged the entire length of Van Ness to the Muni station on Market Street muttering, “But I don’t even like Radiohead!” under my breath.

I finally caught the N Judah, the one line in the city that goes right there without requiring multiple switches and transfers. Had to reverse flow, of course, by going Eastbound to Embarcadero to get to an empty train going Westbound, rather than trying to board one of the already packed trains at Civic Center Station. This train was soon uberpacked itself, and moved slowly down the line as other trains were backed up in the tunnels.

Until it cleared the tunnel at last into the Inner Sunset and stopped moving at all. It seemed that something highly unfortunate had transpired between 4th and 7th Avenues, and three trains in a row were stopped and not going anywhere. Glancing anxiously at my watch, I joined the hordes debarking and hoofed my way roughly 30 blocks to the concert. To which I arrived just in time for the final set of the day, Radiohead. And I don’t even like Radiohead!

To be fair, they put on an excellent two-hour show. Despite the difficulty of seeing the stage through the standing masses arrayed across the perfectly flat polo field I was drawn in by the hypnotic power of Thom Yorke’s voice and the band’s surging wall of electronic noise. Radiohead might be growing on me.

The notion of staging more open-air festivals in San Francisco is also growing on me. Some obvious transport issues need to be worked out, the vendors who were brought in to set up the grounds and ended up making it into a kind of ill-signed maze of cattle-chutes should be replaced. About half the $85 single-day ticket price of this one would make it a lot more accessible (although the crowd was packed out at 60,000, so maybe not). More big festivals though, particularly ones featuring varied and unusual acts, would really suit our music-happy city. September’s Noisepop festival on Treasure Island should be worth checking out.

Oh, by the way, I’m new here at Legend, so let me introduce myself: Hi, my name is Chris. I’m a fan of cats, Beat writers, people with geeky glasses, rock music, Star Trek and foggy climates. I'm not usually this grumpy. And I look forward to writing for you more!

About the Author

Chris West is an independent lifestyle advocate!