[Outside Lands 2012] Three Mesmerizing Light Shows That We Can't Wait to See

This Friday marks the beginning of this year's Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, the fifth edition of the cultural highlight. SKOA will be attending the festival this year, and each day leading up to the festival we will be dishing out a feature focused on the bands set to appear at Outside Lands. Today, our spotlight is focused on the top three light shows we can't wait to see during the festival.

Every live performance hinges on the talent of the musicians themselves and their ability to convey their music in a live setting, but that's not the only important aspect; a truly great concert reaches that status through the perfect combination of the music itself in conjunction with an absolutely mesmerizing light show. Nothing compares to being front row at a concert and hearing a beloved song live, only to have every kick of the drum met with entrancing flashes of light, each low moment combined with a dimming atmosphere, and every high met with a grand array of colors and illumination. Most concerts have good light shows, but some seem to stand out above the rest. Take a look at the top three picks for this year's Outside Lands Festival after the jump.

Justice: The French electronic duo has made a name for themselves with their grimy, industrial brand of Paris house, and it translates beautifully to the live setting. Justice clearly put a lot of effort into their light show, with every hard-hitting delivery of the drum kick accompanied by pulsating flashes of light, walls of light drawing the drug-fueled crowds into a trance, and colors so vibrant it's impossible not to look away.

What makes their shows truly unique, though, is their use of the cross imagery. It has appeared on the cover of each of their studio full-lengths (both and Audio, Video, Disco), and during live performances they prop up a massive, illuminated cross right in the middle of their modular synthesizer prop. It's such iconic imagery, and the duo has very intelligently utilized it. What is there to not get excited about?

Sigur Rós: What is there to say about Sigur Rós gorgeous, unique soundscapes? How could I describe my excitement for seeing them live? The Icelandic quartet has been drowning my eardrums in beautiful, ambient music for nearly a decade, and the odd stylings of their music and their personas is what makes their live performances so unique. Jónsi alone is so strange and out there that the allure is beyond questioning.

The idea of witnessing Sigur Rós' live music backed with a colorful, dream-like light show is the truly alluring aspect, though, and online videos aren't enough to satisfy the desire. What could compare to hearing "Sæglópur" amongst a dazzling display of colors and streams of light? I'll just have to see for myself.

Explosions In The Sky: This Texas post-rock outfit might not be the first band that comes to mind when speaking of mesmerizing light shows, but it's the combination of their music and the live setting that excites me. The band has become known for their sprawling, lengthy musical compositions, with echoing guitar riffs, expansive percussion coming together to form beautifully atmospheric and cohesive songs. It's difficult to form such immersive sounds, but these guys pull it off without a hitch. Place this in a live setting, and something amazing is bound to happen.

Explosive percussion, a distant, distorted guitar juxtaposed by a beautifully rhythmic one, captivating sounds coming from all angles amidst a hypnotizing-yet-subtle shower of lights; slow-rising instrumentation building to an eventual frantic climax met with a well-timed burst of illumination. This is what live performances are all about. This is what I want to see.