-- actual complete newspaper article ... grammar and all. Grace Wong, Inland Valley Daily BulletinAustralian-based Courtney Barnett performed at the Gobi Tent on Sunday, April 13, 2014, to an intimate crowd at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Her set was very laid back, with gentle headbanging and her signature deadpan vocals.
The audience was relaxed as well, sitting or even lying down on towels. The ones who we’re standing bobbed their heads with their eyes closed.
Barnett was wearing a tie-dye T=shirt and black jeans with her hair unkempt. She played the electric guitar throughout her performance.
Arizona-based TomAz attended the Courtney Barnett set performed at the Gobi Tent on Sunday, April 13, 2014, and thought it was fucking great. Mr Az was seen to be singing along, dancing like a fool, and having a great time. Mr Az was heard to say, "Her music is very basic, or so it seems on the surface, but there's so much more to it. she finds a groove and holds it, and teases it along, and next thing you know it's burned into your brain forever."
Earlier in the day, Mr. Az, sporting his signature red mesh Arizona Cardinals jersey, Ray-Ban Daddy-Os and brown 'crushable' sun hat, managed to catch all or part of five sets in the first two and a half hours of the festival Sunday. In fact, Mr Az actually managed to get his lazy ass to the polo grounds in time for a noon set, no mean feat on a Sunday. The effort paid off: Bo Ningen, the Japanese quartet by way of London, offered an aural assault of devastating power and subtle intricacy that served as a bracing palette-cleanser to start this, the third and final day of the world's greatest music festival.
Mr. Az said he then went to watch Trombone Shorty and was pleased to see Coachella legend kroqken, front and center on the rail 10 hours before the Arcade Fire set was scheduled to begin. Trombone Shorty's blend of jazz, funk, and rock was a pleasing, if somewhat unadventurous, way to pass some time in the golden California sunshine. "But then I saw the coolest thing," said Az. "There was a mechanical bird flying around. it was not a kite, there were no strings, and it was flapping its wings and soaring over the crowd like a real bird. I was awestruck." Mr Az left the set early to catch the second half of J Roddy Walston and the Business, who were plying their traditional southern-rock (a la Dr. John) wares on the Outdoor stage. "Those two together were quite the contrast to Bo Ningen, that's for sure" said Az.
Continuing in the roots music vein, Mr Az then wandered over to the Mojave to watch the Preservation Hall Jazz Society -- and was surprised to see it very well attended, in stark contrast to the previous three sets. "Yeah the tent was full and people were really into it. It was a very entertaining set."
Feeling a need to experience something a little more exotic, Az crossed over to the Gobi and caught the last half of Bombino. Bombino, the Tuareg guitarist, was attired in the traditional flowing white garb of the nomadic Saharan people. He played a swirling, soaring, almost Santana-esque (in a good way) guitar inflected with North and West African rhythms and textures. Mr Az called Bombino "my discovery of the weekend. I loved it."
Next up was the aforementioned Courtney Barnett performance, which Az later summarized as "one of the top 5 sets of the festival this year." Following the Barnett slot, Mr Az went to the Craft Beer area and enjoyed several cool libations with a number of his fellow board members. "It's as much a part of the Coachella tradition as anything" said Az.
A full afternoon of sun, music, and then beer found Mr Az flagging as he made his way to the Gobi for Superchunk. Witnesses say he found a spot right in from of the soundboard, lay down on the ground, closed his eyes and lost himself in the music for a while. Some accounts claim he napped, though Mr Az says those are just rumors unworthy of a response. Regardless, Mr Az was seen to be up and singing along when the Chapel Hill, NC indie legends closed with "Slack Motherfucker".
After a brief stop again in the beer barn, Mr Az joined several other board members at the Outdoor stage for Neutral Milk Hotel, a set which he said "might have been the greatest thing ever, if the sound weren't so fucked up." Experts say that it remains unclear if the sound issues -- which came and went sporadically throughout the set -- were the result of technical issues, winds, or NMH leader Jeff Magnum not knowing how to sing into a microphone properly. "Maybe all three" said Az. And yet, he adds, "it was a magical set. The sun was setting, the music was beautiful, I dunno man, just something about it, ya know?"
Next up was, of course, another visit to the beer barn, where he again sat, chatted with friends, and enjoyed the hoppy, malted libations on hand. During this time there was much talk about how Beck was "probably going to suck" or "be really mellow and boring", fears which soon proved to be unfounded. Beck opened his set with "Devils Haircut" and the crowd knew it was a party about to happen. "I thought Beck was first-rate, on top of his game, master of his craft," said Az. "All that shit people were saying beforehand couldn't have been more wrong."
Mr Az reports that he then hurried to the Mojave tent to watch part of the Motorhead performance. "It was fun, and it really rocked. But I could have done without the drum solo. So after a while I left to catch Arcade Fire."
Who were, according to Az, "really good, if perhaps a tad uninspiring. They're old pros now, and the set was immaculate, and really quite good. But something about it seemed perfunctory to me.. perhaps this is an unfair comparison to their Coachella sets in prior years, where they overwhelmed the crowd with seemingly boundless energy and passion. Or maybe I was just tired." Yet, Mr Az says it was a fitting end to a wonderful three-day weekend at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, this his tenth. "I am pretty sure I'll be back again next year," he said, before disappearing to a swirling cloud of dust and sand.