Go for it. I'll throw one in here in a bit.
Go for it. I'll throw one in here in a bit.
Tom started this thread in the lineup section FYI
EDIT: my mistake, not exactly the same thing. it was for reviews of Friday. http://www.coachella.com/forum/showt...iteups-Go-Here
I never go in there. That place is nearly unreadable.
Just logged on to start this. Good work Brandon.
Adapt or die.
Got to the polo grounds early to meet some folks for lunch. Then went and caught about 20 minutes of Abe Vigoda’s set. They sounded good and energetic but you know how the first set of the day is.
Didn’t really have anyone I wanted to see in the next time slot so I went and listened to the Sheepdogs at the outdoor. These guys play a sort of southern rock that’s not as funky as the Allmans and doesn’t rock as hard as Skynyrd, they’re more in the Marshall Tucker Band range. I don’t think I’d ever listen to their records much but lying in the sun – it was still warm and sunny – and listening to their mellowish 70s southern tunes was very relaxing. (Southern Canada, it turns out).
Picture meetup, then a beer with Josh, then caught most of Givers, who had packed the Mojave with enthusiastic fans. They played a nice energetic but (to me at least) sort of forgettable set.
Left early and headed to the Gobi to listen to EMA. I was torn between EMA and Yuck, but I decided my mood fit EMA better, and man I’m glad I stayed. This was the first really great set of Coachella for me. She has a great stage presence and an amazing voice live. Watching her I was trying to draw comparisons to describe her to people who haven’t seen her – the best I can do, from my point of reference, is she’s sort of a cross between Laurie Anderson and Janis Joplin. Which doesn’t make any sense, I know.
Hurried from EMA to see James on the big stage and they were really great. They sounded wonderful and Tim Booth has a sort of calm and assured enthusiasm that really came off well. The ‘come on thunder, come on thunder’ bit was fabulous. This made two sets in a row of seriously good stuff.
Rushed from James to see Gary Clark Jr who was fucking awesome. The Gobi was packed and he was loud and he ripped up his guitar and sang with this seriously soulful voice that just had everyone going ‘holy shit’. Third consecutive great set! This is what Coachella is supposed to be. Wow.
And then hurried to see Jimmy Cliff, who started a little late so I caught the whole set. Hardly anyone was there, I got close quite easily, which is a shame because he was amazing. I’d seen him before but this set blew the doors off my expectations. FOUR IN A ROW!!
So then I had to rest and meet some geezers and have a beer, but most of the geezers didn’t show or couldn’t find us or something.
Went to Madness and they were really fun. They are a great party band and skilled showmen. Two thumbs up, though not at the seriously great level of the four-in-a-row I’d witnessed in the afternoon.
I went and had dinner and sat for a while in the rose garden down by the Sahara. As you all know this is not my thing, but as I told some folks later even I could tell that the music in the Sahara sounded different this year from previous years. A lot more poppish or something. Paint-by-number. But I did get to check the baseball scores on my phone.
Next was the Rapture, got there a little late just as they were starting and the Mojave was packed, but was able to get a spot directly behind the sound board and mostly watch them on the screens. They started out sort of ‘just ok’ but built up a head of steam and somewhere around 20 minutes into the set they were really cooking. They’re sort of like Madness in that they’re a fun party band and the party was really rocking. The problem is their fans seem to contain a significantly high concentration of douchebags, fucktards, and assholes. I saw more shoving bro-chains here than anywhere else, by far.
So then I went and had a beer and waited for the Black Keys. This is the third time I’ve seen them (all at festivals) and while I really like their albums, they always seem to fall a little flat for me live, especially the parts when it’s just Dan and Patrick. So I listened for half an hour or so, but lying in the grass I was getting seriously cold, despite having a jacket, a sweatshirt, and a mesh jersey on. So I decided to get up and walk around, ran into Cara and Zach in the beer garden, talked with them a bit, and then went to catch the Black Angels.
The Black Angels’ heavy psychedelic blues was really cool and I hung out and got hypnotized for a while and they also had a pretty interesting video display involving at one point a glowing nipple.
I was pretty close to dead by this time, had been on the polo grounds for 12 hours, but went to see Refused, not sure what to expect. They sounded really great. I mean, the sound quality, was amazing, loud and clear and sharp. Reminded me very much of the Public Image Ltd set a few years ago – iconic band playing a late night slot on the Outdoor and sounding great and just killing it. Unlike PiL though I was too beat to really get into it so I left around 11:45.
All in all a very good Coachella day. I will remember the EMA->James->Gary Clark Jr->Jimmy Cliff run in particular for a very long time. There were a few minor (for me) logistical issues, though I understand it took some people 2 hours to get in.
Side note: I have mentioned before that I have a VIP pass for the first time this year (it was a gift). VIP parking is nice, and the Rose Garden was a good place to relax and recharge. But the VIP area by the main stage, late at night, was packed full of douchebags. I mean it’s like you’re not even at Coachella any more, you’re at some other event where pushy rich boys with bad but very expensive haircuts gather with more of their kind and just take up air. Look, dude, you may think it’s a significant accomplishment, but I really am not all that impressed by the fact that you were once in a Mazda commercial.
I blame Courtney. It was her fault.
So Saturday was a good day. The afternoon was the best weather in the 8 coachellas I have attended. I mean it was beautiful and perfect. And the minute the sun went down, literally the very minute, you could feel it start to get cold. You could see the people puttig on their sweatshirts and jackets.
But anyway I show up early and run into Sean so we go have lunch and then over to We Were Promised Jetpacks. I didn't know much at all about these guys but they came recommended and man they were really great. Sort of dour scottish intelligent punk rock that somehow manages to be fun. Definitely going to be getting some of their stuff this week.
Then over to the Mojave for Black Lips, who were a hoot. These guys play a sort of shambolic southern trash country-tinged punk rock, which is so right in my wheelhouse I'd've thought they were created simply to target market to me. In other words this is my kind of fun fun shit and they were a blast and they had a blast doing it. And yeah you may have read that the dude in the cowboy hat stripped off his pants and showed us his junk and tried to fuck his guitar or something. 8 coachellas, but this was my first penis sighting.
Then a little relaxation happy break and then back to the Mojave for fIREHOSE, who did not disappoint. Ed sounded good and Mike and George were really fucking tight. This was really good to see.
Then I ran over to the Outdoor to see Tuneyards, who I'd been looking forward to and was bummed that she overlapped with Buzzcocks.. eh, I dunno, I love the album but it really fell very flat for me yesterday afternoon. I can't quite put my finger on why, as much as I love 'Gangsta' on the album it just was sort of ok live. I had to leave early to catch the Buzzcocks though, maybe she got better?
So yeah, this issue about the Buzzcocks. I will tell you right now, this was my single most highly anticipated set for the entire weekend. And it started strong, with Fast Cars, then Autonomy, then You Say You Don't Love Me, then ESP.. then the setlist took an interesting side trip into places unknown for me, including a song from a Pete Shelley solo album and a song from a Steve Diggle solo project. OK. but then.. something.. happened.. they played a string of 6 straight Singles Going Steady songs and it was like they band caught fire and the whole thing went to a completely different level. I mean holy shit it was magical. Orgasm Addict - Harmony In My Head - Ever Fallen in Love -- wow the place was going nuts, they had the crowd in the palm of their hand, it was one of those really really great rock and roll moments where the band is energizing the crowd and the crowd is energizing the band.. and then they closed perfectly with "I Believe" with everyone singing THERE IS - NO - LOVE - IN -THIS -WORLD - ANYMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE. Fuck this was great. I mean seriously you Weekend 2 people, if you have the slightest inkling you might want to catch this, DO IT.
So after that I had to go have a beer with some folks and relax for a while. Then it was over to the Gobi for Squeeze. I got there just a minute or two before they were supposed to start, and the place was virtually empty. I was like, oh man, this sucks for them, I really like Squeeze, and its' empty plus they seem to be running late.. then I ran into Courtney and we sat down and got into a deep conversation and still Squeeze is not coming. Damn, this is gonna suck, but at least there's more people here now when they finally do come out. Finally I say to Courtney, hey, they're really late, what do you think the deal is? She looks at her booklet and says "no, it doesn't start til 7:45." I'm like, what, no I am sure it was 7:15.. uh oh.
I was in the wrong fucking tent. Squeeze was over in the Mojave rocking it up while I'm sitting in the Gobi wondering why they are running so late. So yeah, I blame Courtney, it was all her fault.
So I caught the second half of Squeeze's set in the Mojave and they sounded really good and man I was really really really pissed at myself. Then it ended and I got depressed for fucking it up -- Squeeze was one of my top 10 anticipated bands this weekend -- so I went and had some beers by myself and wallowed in my depression. I was gonna see the Shins but I drank alone instead. God damn Tom why are you so fucking stupid? Damn it all.
Finally I got my ass up and decided I needed to see some music so I went to Flying Lotus in the Gobi - right tent this time, thank you. But it was fucking packed and I couldn't see for shit and I was cold and the wind was blowing. So I went to the Mojave after a while and lay down and waited for Godspeed. And Godspeed was really great. I mean I'm not a huge fan of theirs but they just were amazing and awesome and stuff. So that lifted my mood quite a bit. I left a little early for Radiohead but yeah it was great.
Radiohead was Radiohead. I don't know how to add more to that. Highlights for me were Weird Fishes, Karma Police with everyone singing along at the end, and Idioteque. and the 'After the Goldrush' bit was really cool too.
man I'm tired.
Beauty was everywhere on Sunday.
So yeah by Sunday I was seriously dragging but still made it in to the polo grounds to catch Fanfarlo in the Gobi. If Okkervil River and the National got married and had kids and taught them to play Arcade Fire songs, they'd be called Fanfarlo. The kids would, I mean. Enjoyable, pleasant, and skillful songs that might seem a little bit derivative but maybe they've got the talent to grow into their own space in the future.
Housse da Racket are a 2-piece band from France featuring guitar, drums, keyboards, percussion, bass, and horns. They were ok, sounding more than a little bit like the poppiest bits of Talking Heads in places. Which is not a bad thing. But man. That view on Sunday afternoon out the back of the Gobi. The polo grounds in the sunshine, the artwork, and the gleaming snow on the mountains behind. It was just such stunning beauty, I kept making people turn around and look at it. Look at that! Don't you see that! Look at how fucking amazing that is! Don't you get how fucking amazing it is to be here? Don't you?
First Aid Kit was another one of my very highly anticipated acts of the weekend and they exceeded expectations by a lot. I really don't think I can remember ever hearing vocal harmonies of that quality and beauty and perfection at Coachella before. Their set was just about perfect and I will never forget it. Beautiful and moving and great. One of the real highlights of the weekend.
Rushed to meet with friends and sit in the sun for Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, who were really fun but I thought they should have been louder. That kind of music just needs to surround you and envelope you and make you feel like you are inside of it, but it wasn't loud enough to do that in my opinion. But it was fun nonetheless and I might have danced a bit. Sunday was quite a bit warmer than the previous two days and the women were dressed accordingly, dancing to the afrobeats in the warm sunshine. Beauty was everywhere on Sunday.
Was gonna go to Real Estate but these evil people made me go have beer with them instead and from what I hear about RE it is just as well. Made it to the Growlers for part of their set and enjoyed it esp the sort of ringing echo guitar tone. Then I met some more people for beer and we talked and had fun and got excited for Wild Flag.
Wild Flag were really rocking, really great. Carrie Brownstein deserves a lot more recognition for her guitar playing. She's better known for a goofy TV show than she is for being a truly great rock and roll guitarist. I wonder if this is some sort of inherent sexism in how Rock views the role of women in bands? Or is that just a relic of the Classic Rock ages and do people really not carry gender biases with them anymore when they think about guitar players? Do people - men and women alike - objectify women in that setting and expect them to be beautiful and sexy first and rocking and great second if at all? I think that could be an interesting topic of discussion. Also, Carrie B is fucking hot.
Was gonna go watch the Hives but caught them from the beer garden instead and sat and chatted with friends including a real board oldtimer who I've not seen in years (hi ally!). All I remember about the Hives was that "Main Offender" sounded pretty good which is really all I wanted to hear anyway. But on Sunday at Coachella sometimes hanging out with friends is more important. You people are beautiful and I am lucky to have met you all.
I went to the Heineken dome because Cara told me to but I couldnt' find anyone and man I was a fish out of water in that place. It's creepy to even think of it now.
Beirut were so great. I've been a fan for years but never seen them live before. Those horns.. damn they were so great. So beautiful. At times I was almost overcome by it. In fact the sheer beauty of it all inspired me to give MJA a big manhug when I met him. I know he appreciated that, and I hope people can think hard about what they heard there. This is a gift of beauty. Admire it and appreciate it.
I had promised people they would see me at Modeselektor but I was having a beer or two with beautiful friends and missed the start of it then it was like, eh, I'm tired, so I was out by 10:30.
Gary blew my mind through my tube socks
Nice pics super...nice write up TOM. I only caught buzzcocks out of your picks but I was impressed. Those fuckers are old as hell and still doing it right.
Ok I'm not going to do a huge one like I normally do. Just highlights and lowlights and bands.
Rolled in around 1:30 on Friday for the group photo- always good to see everyone that was there. And I got a frozen lemonade! Wandered over to Other Lives for a bit. They were solid enough. It sounded like it did last month when they opened for Radiohead so good for them. Went over to the Sahara to watch Breakbot for a while who played a very fun disco and filtered house set which is the kind of shit I like. Afterward I watched a bit of Yuck who were having some sound issues due to the wind (not their fault), but did remain fairly boring to watch like the last time I saw them (their fault). We stuck around for 10 minutes of Neon Indian which sounded like a slide whistle symphony so we got our jackets out of the car instead. Went to the Gobi for Death Grips which was awesome. Liked the new songs, and Zach is one hell of a drummer. Some idiot was recording songs with his iPad. Watched maybe 10 minutes of Madeon which turned out to be ground zero for tank tops. He started playing Midnight City so I got out of there. Went back over to the Outdoor to watch Madness who skirted the line between entertaining and time filler. Left during the last song to watch 4 or 5 songs of Pulp who sounded good I suppose. I really only enjoy This Is Hardcore, and nothing from that record was being played so we went to watch The Rapture. I'm not really a fan. The guy's voice irritates me and I hate his guitar tone but the middle of the set was fun. The end was ruined by a group of assholes with yellow inflatable tubes that they all waved around in front of us while jumping up and down. Fuck those guys. I stayed in the tent to watch M83 who were surprisingly fantastic. They played "Sitting" from the first album in addition to their remix of Daft Punk's "Fall." Highly unexpected, and highly rewarding. Good times at this one, with the exception of it being really packed. Even better than that was Refused, who were my favorite set of the weekend. They were spot on tight, you couldn't hear a damn thing from the main stage, and they seemed to be in very high spirits. Overall a pretty good first day.
Saturday was pretty mixed. Got in late for the Black Lips although I did see the dude pull his dick out. Whatever. Azealia Banks was fun-ish, but should have figured out how to fill the last 20 minutes of her set time, and Jacques Lu Cont played a set of power tools sounding dance music which I watched maybe half of. Oh, and a really out of place New Order track. Whatever. Tune Yards was good though, so we watched about 30 minutes of that. I liked all the bass parts. We saw the Buzzcocks after that who were a lot of fun. Watching Tom and Joann "mosh" was equally as fun. Watched Andrew Bird whistle a lot from one the the handicap risers after that. He's a pretty good whistler. Afterward we pretty much camped on the riser over at the main for the rest of the night. The Shins were fine, although I didn't get the Pink Floyd cover and James Mercer seems like an asshole after reading their wiki on my phone while they were playing. Bon Iver was great. Great backing band, great sound- I just wished it was warmer outside. Mayra went back to the car to get a blanket I had in my trunk but wasn't allowed in with it, even though we saw plenty of other people with what appeared to be blankets. She was told towels were ok, no blankets. Yeah, ok, security guys. How about you try enforcing it consistently. Whatever. So while waiting on the riser before Radiohead I figured I would use the facilities. As I was walking down the ramp of the riser, I heard this woman tell the guy she was with (who had a cast on his ankle and had crutches) "I'm sure someone will move for you." Radiohead was on in almost 20 minutes and the riser had pretty much filled up but I didn't think much of it. They came late. Tough luck. Once I returned I found that our seats had been moved behind some people in wheelchairs after the woman complained to security after she asked Mayra if she was handicapped or her friend (me) was. What the fuck. Seriously? We showed up 3 hours early to get our seats in the front corner, and this Johnny Cripple Lately, who isn't even in a fucking wheelchair is sitting in the front row because his cunt of a companion complained that there weren't enough seats? Fuck you. I made sure to say how much of a fucking bitch she was loud enough for it to carry over to her, and she caught me (although I was basically doing it until she looked at me) flipping her off. It's the principle with these situations that really bothers me. If she politely asked us to try to make room for him, which their was a TON of, no fucking joke, a fucking TON of room, then no problem. But no, she hassles my girlfriend, complains to security and gets her bitch ass way and gets her non-wheelchaired-ass motherfucker in the wheelchair priority seating. Fuck her, fuck him. Radiohead was good, but not great. Hard to get into it after all of that. I mean I'm not trying to sound like a bitch about it and I feel like I'm generally a pretty laid back kind of guy, but I hate these people. Self important, fuck-you-I-get-my-way types. Fuck them. Oh and towards the end of the set she was sitting in the front with him. Of course. Of fucking course you're sitting up there you pile of shit.
Chatting with my roommate later, he also had a great time meeting new friends at Radiohead. He had been waiting on the backside of the rail since Kaiser Chiefs for Radiohead, who are one of his favorite bands. Like, "I love this band so much I have a tattoo," level fandom. And he does. On the back of his neck. Anyway. About 5 minutes before they go on, security guy A tells security guy B that they are going to be letting in all of the "a-lister types" into the "T" area that is made by the placement of the barricades at the main stage. You guys know what I'm talking about right? Anyway. He tells security guy B to have the people move into the center of the T section so that they aren't blocking people that are on the other side of the barricade where the menial serfs (the rest of us) are (well not me specifically but you know what I mean). So Radiohead starts, the faux-celebs file into the barricade area but they all congregate right in front of where my roommate has been waiting for hours. Security guy B says nothing. They then stand up in the inner barricade ledge, effectively blocking ANY view whatsoever that the people right behind them had. Security guy B says nothing. My roommate and people around him resort to pleading with the faux-celebs, explaining that they had been waiting hours to watch this show. They don't move, security guy B says nothing. Between the bullshit from this year, the bullshit I went through last year and the general shit-in-our-own-fucking-beds catastrophe that was 2010, Goldenvoice is doing a real fucking bang up job with their security staffing. Good job, guys. Keep up the great work. Meanwhile I was checked for a bracelet pulling into my parking lot. I was checked for a bracelet while getting the pat down. I was checked for a bracelet while scanning my bracelet. I was checked for a bracelet 50 feet in front of that machine while stepping on the grass. I was checked for a bracelet a final time 100 feet in front of that while entering the actual grounds. I was checked for a bracelet five times, everyday, but GV can't hire competent enough people to adequately manage a crowd or effectively resolve conflict between crips. They had to have Austin, a super fucking cool guy in a wheelchair who I met on Friday and who was working as an ADA supervisor, come all the way from the back of the Gobi to the the main stage, through the crowd for Radiohead, again, in a fucking wheelchair, to set shit right and tell the idiot yellow jackets what was what. It's bullshit. Figure it out GV. You're fucking up.
Am I off base here? Over-reacting? Out of touch? Part of me thinks maybe, but this is 3 years in a row now I have had a significant blemish on my weekend because of what seems to be gross incompetence. The lengthy email I sent last year was never replied to. Will this shit ever be resolved? Rhetorical and hopeless, I know.
Sunday. Who cares at this point. Whatever. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 were fun. The token Africa band is always great it seems. Santigold was a lot of fun. Huge crowd as well. Real Estate's two different songs were fine. The whoa-oh one is better than the other one. Sean and I caught about ten minutes of Beats Antique which sounded cool, and then went over to watch Wild Flag. They were fun enough but I miss Sleater-Kinney. My plan was to stay at the outdoor and camp but I decided to go watch The Hives who were a lot of fun. The guy I was standing behind was hating it though which amused me, almost as much as him trying to pour weed into his half emptied cigarette. What a tool. I left after "Hate to Say I Told You So" to get a good spot for The Weeknd, my most anticipated set of the festival. The outdoor was really crowded for this one, and I somehow made it back in front of the soundboard and into a sea of tank tops who insisted on talking and smoking throughout the entire set. I was pretty disappointed, not only because of the shitty crowd around me (which honestly might have been the worst Coachella crowd I've been in) but also because of a fairly lackluster setlist that really only picked up at the end. At this point in the game though I just didn't give a shit anymore so I stayed there the whole time, arms crossed and pissed off. Beirut had me in better spirits, as they are always a great live act, and they played "Scenic World" which is always the only song I want to hear from them. At The Drive-In was good too I thought, even though I'm not really a fan. I caught maybe the last 30 minutes or so. And Dre and Snoop were amazing, of course. The crowd was fun for this one. I still liked Kanye's show better, but I had a lot of fun at this one. I really loved the interactive backdrops and the constant string of guests was fun. And I suppose I was pro-hologram. I did feel a little strange watching it, but was really interested in the technical aspect of how it was possible. I did feel the set ended rather abruptly, but maybe that was because I was legitimately having a good time.
Overall I had fun, but I am no longer a definite for this festival. Physically it gets harder to do each year, but even harder than that is putting up with the constant bullshit. The crowd is the best and worst part of the festival, and it's a shame that so many of the people there have so little tact and respect for others. Maybe I'm just oversensitive. I don't know. What I do know is that this was my tenth Coachella, and every time someone asked me if I was excited, I couldn't really muster up more than a half-hearted shrug. As always it was great seeing everyone, and Mayra had fun at her first time at the festival. Thank you for welcoming her into the family, she really liked everyone she met, or got to see again. I'll see you guys when Bowie plays.
3. Dre & Snoop
4. Death Grips
5. Bon Iver
This is why god created spit.So Radiohead starts, the faux-celebs file into the barricade area but they all congregate right in front of where my roommate has been waiting for hours. Security guy B says nothing. They then stand up in the inner barricade ledge, effectively blocking ANY view whatsoever that the people right behind them had.
there are tom dancing photos from sean kuti. Be advised.
I understand there is a tom dancing video from Madness, but I've not seen it yet.
I had a grand total of 21 photobombs during Coachella this weekend.
This included a bomb that made 2 beer garden security guards laugh after one of the victims said "ugh, really?!? COME ON!" after I bombed them.
Other memorable bombs included an Assist Bomb where nathanfairchild and I bombed some girls at Dragonette at the same time, a Running Bomb where I photobombed some people as I was running at full speed back to the main stage, and a Triple Bomb in which I bombed the same two girls 3 times in a row.
Last edited by suprefan; 04-17-2012 at 06:48 PM.
Hey Tom, were you wearing a Boldin jersey on Sunday?
I really hope you get your camera turned in Chris! I was just fucking with you earlier, but seeing these reminded me that, arrogant and self righteous or not, you do take the awesome band shots.
"Who is this doing this synthetic type of Alpha Beta psychedelic funkin'?"
I knew it! And no, I wasn't. I spotted the jersey across the way during The Growlers and had an inkling.
My Top 10 List for Coachella 2012
with accompanying, occasionally related photographs from my crappy non-professional point-and-shoot camera
This Is Hardcore came out my sophomore year in high school, so I will always feel a twinge of nostalgic affection for Pulp. Their set was simple, unabashed fun, and my true headliner for Friday. Jarvis Cocker can throw grapes on me anytime he wants.
9. This note
No seriously. Super adorable. It made my day.
8. Pyramid Song Sparklers
I was having a pretty crappy night on Saturday. Like, to the point where I started thinking about sad things and was getting really teared up and generally acting in ways that are horribly embarrassing. So I was so glad to run into Marc and Sean at St. Vincent and get some fantastically delicious spicy pie and then walk over to Bon Iver and then watch Radiohead's very tightly orchestrated set that followed. Mid-set, when they started Pyramid Song, some audience members broke up sparklers in front of me. Watching them wave their sparklers while listening to the song and letting the feeling just wash over me with a good cuddle was just what I needed in that moment.
7. Azaelia Banks
Ok yes, the set was only 25 minutes long, and it ended 20 minutes early. But it was a fantastic 25 minutes! I really enjoyed shaking my booty to her brand of delightfully dirty, graphic rap, complete with purple wig, black and white striped leggings, and a couple of back up dancers. The crowd was also half of what made this set fun. Everyone seemed to be very into it.
6. Running into Josh Homme at Pappy and Harriet's
This didn't even happen at Coachella technically, but I'm including it here because more and more, I am realizing that these festivals for me are just as much about the people as they are about the music. Driving up to Pioneertown for a second time on Monday night with Josh, Becky, Zack, Chris, Niall, Tom and Cortland was the perfect bookend for a terrific weekend. Attending what was no doubt the most talented open mic night I have ever seen, and seeing some Brits devour massive plates of American steak and potatoes, was only topped by having Josh Homme stroll in around 9pm and sit down right next to us. But really what made this fun was seeing how incredibly excited this made our Josh. His enthusiasm was infectious.
5. Rain at EMA
I have been going to Coachella since 2004, and never did I imagine that I would have the experience of rain on the polo fields. But having the dark clouds roll in and rain start to fall as EMA worked their way through their dark, grittily honest set was a perfect match.
4. A happy birthday song at Las Casuelas
I really, really hate surprise birthday stuff. I hate it even more when it isn't even my birthday and an entire massive table people decide to punk me. This was horribly embarrassing. You are all jerks but I love you anyway.
3. Dancing with Tom at Beiruit
Beirut are terrific performers, and their well-paced set was a perfect blend of a touch of electronica, a hint of Balkan and Mexican folk, and large measures of straight up American pop. And I'm not going to lie: having Tom turn around and grab me for a spin is a memory I will be chuckling about for a while.
This Thursday morning pre-Coachella trip was the other half of my Josh Homme bookend. Visiting an acoustically perfect, entirely wooden structure built by a crazy dude living in a cave who said the blueprints were downloaded into his brain by aliens? Yeah, it was awesome. Laying there with Jen, Rick, Becca, Andy, Tommy, Louise, Josh, Becky and Zack and letting the sound of crystal bowls vibrate through my brain was a sort of spiritual cleanse that allowed me to open up to what would follow during the weekend. I highly recommend a visit to anyone who has the opportunity.
1. Wild Flag
As a long-time Sleater-Kinney fan who had never seen Wild Flag perform, it should come as no surprise that this was one of my most highly anticipated sets of the weekend. And those ladies rocked. I may have rocked so hard as an audience member that I developed a headache from all my thrashing. My love for both Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss was renewed as they made their way through a solid set of guitar rock with extended psychedelic freakout. The musicians were clearly having a lot of fun on stage, and obviously weren't as tightly orchestrated as say the Radiohead set, but really that's what I want in good rock music-- and I loved every single minute of it.
Some honorable mentions: Greg and Jennie's breakfasts of glory, learning what "ghost riding" means, Gary Clark Jr, dancing to M83 with new friends, taking a nap to Seun Kuti, St. Vincent crowdsurfing, Other Lives, those grilled tofu and tahini wraps from the organic vegetarian food place, and meeting folks in person for the first time including Alex, Logan, Nathan, the super nice engaged rhetoric teacher with glasses whose name I forget, Jason and Holly, Paul and Kim, Alison, Joann, Mirrornoir, Bob the Girl, Gay Bob, Jeremy, Dylan who was awesome enough to buy my camping ticket, Amy Z, Amy E, Audra, Randy, Pete, Rob, Wes, Morghan, Kory, higgybaby and MJA!
And, as a side note unrelated to the above, I am going to take a little break from the board now. Friends, you know where to find me.
Last edited by Courtney; 04-17-2012 at 08:59 PM.
Excellent shots Courtney and Chris. Want to see moar.
i feel for Brandon's douchebag encunters. Always run into a few. The one kid i wanted to punch in the head after asking me how to take good pictures asked "Who should I see? I'm not into music." Not one person in 99' would have ever said, thought or lived that. Stay home next time kid. That issue with Coachella's growth (people for the party and people for the music) is one we'll have to deal with unfortunately.
Wow, I love the pictures...Supre, the one where dre and snoop are rapping to each other is just pure badass.
On Friday, my wife and I were walking between the Gobi and Mojave and who do we cross paths with? Ian Mackaye. Holy shit. I stopped and thanked him for all of his contributions to music, etc. He stuck his hand out, shook my hand and said "thanks, man". On Saturday, the same thing happened but with Bob Mould. Crazy stuff.
I've started writing some things on my blog.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg may have crowned Sunday on the 2012 Coachella poster, but I had another main event in mind as I entered the Empire Polo Field on that last day: The Weeknd. Abel Tesfaye climbed to the top of my priority list not very long after the line-up released and I came upon his website, where his three magnificent mixtapes – House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence – found heavy rotation on my iPod. Finally there was a flavor of popular R&B that didn’t bore me to death – probably thanks to the alternative nods like the Beach House samples in “The Party & The After Party” and “Loft Music,” but also with much help to the music’s rich electronic taste – like the latter section on “House of Balloons / Glass Table Girls.” I was prepared to stand among the sing-along crowd and lip-synch – so that I could spare my neighbors of my sad noise.
Arriving from a superb performance by The Hives (more on this in a later installment), I found a place in the massive crowd just in time to hear “High For This” whispering out of the Outdoor Theatre. I infiltrated deeper into the crowd, hunting around hip gatherings for an elusive sound that kept bounding away no matter how much nearer I drew. I even removed my Etymotic plugs – an essential tool for any concert fanatic – something I rarely do in the presence of live music – because The Weeknd always remained a faraway sound that could not rise above the gross chatter of so many people talking about things unrelated to what was happening onstage. In fact, it felt as though I were listening to a band from one stage while they played on another stage, plenty yards away, muffled and weak.
I wanted to push my way toward the soundboard – not the stage – and shout at the technicians for allowing such a crime to happen. The general rule should probably state this: Beyond the stage’s signpost – where its set times are located – the music should be loud enough so that you cannot hear your neighbor without their shouting at your face. I mean, really, if your unprotected ears do not ring after the set, something went wrong with the volume. And I didn’t want to fight the crowd for a spot near the rail, where the sound might have been found; I just wanted to enjoy one of my highly anticipated Coachella sets in the way that I enjoyed many of the other sets that came previous to The Weeknd’s performance. Needless to say, I felt grumpy – I even became suddenly aware of a stomachache – and I miserably swayed to “The Knowing” after returning to my initial spot away from the stage, having given up on my dreams.
The real tragedy is that, in the faint murmurs of The Weeknd’s performance, I could hear hints of a wonderful set – the set I wanted. Tesfaye’s voice sounded very good, the band played well, and the setlist contained just about everything I wanted to hear; it was all just a victim of the dreaded “bad sound,” which may arguably be worse than a set falling flat because of an act giving a dismal performance – it is something that could (or should) have been prevented during sound check. And I can’t even imagine why the sound was the way it was, because I heard solid sets from the Outdoor Theatre earlier, and I could even hear Florence + The Machine when she played the same stage later – and I was practically standing at the opposite end of the polo field!
I first encountered SBTRKT through “2011 Top Albums” lists created by my friends, which was also how I learned about James Blake and the phenomenon known as “post-dubstep.” Without having a good background in two-step, UK dubstep, or garage electronica, I cannot really identify what elements and combinations in post-dubstep are new or old; but, to me, the songs that these artists are making are not like anything I’ve heard, and I can enjoy their sound a million times more than that other emerging genre of music that has filled America with the sounds of Michael Bay’s Transformers – the Skrillex flavor of brostep. I’m not even sure that sort of American dubstep should be called dubstep. But don’t take my word for it; I’m no expert on the subject.
SBTRKT didn’t have the greatest set time at Coachella, considering their conflict with Godspeed You! Black Emperor and how their set ended exactly when Radiohead’s set was scheduled to begin; however, I decided to go for their performance since I caught Radiohead’s Glendale concert and Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s magnificent set at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on St. Patrick’s Day of last year. Of course, other determining factors included my love for the self-titled album, and that SBTRKT’s great collaborator, Sampha, was confirmed to join the act’s mastermind, Aaron Jerome. And so that is how I ended up inside of the Gobi Tent on Saturday night, packed to the rafters with many dancing and jubilant folk, enjoying one of the festival’s greatest performances.
The performance reminded me of an argument that a friend of mine once raised, when she, more or less, said something like this: “Why are you so insistent on seeing bands perform live? It costs a lot of money and you can get just as much enjoyment by listening to the album.” I still disagree with that statement for many reasons, which include these: (1) The live performance provides a visual element lacking from the album; (2) the venue and audience grant a pleasure of their own accord; and (3) the “I was there” mentality, while only being a boast after the fact, does give you a nice buzz simply for being in attendance during the event. As for the money: There are performances with ridiculous price tags, but I think that many shows – Coachella included – hold a reasonable cost, all things considered.
SBTRKT’s Coachella performance reminded me of another major reason to attend live performances: The music during the live show can – and probably should – differ from the music on the album. When one of SBTRKT’s masked crusaders – it was a bit hard to see the stage in that crowd – announced, “This next song is called ‘Never Never,’” I almost thought they were mistaken; because, despite the track being one of my favorites, I could not recognize it during the first minute or so. And even when the song gradually turned into the familiar track – more than familiar enough to please fans of the record – the whole of it remained new. All of their songs seemed upgraded for their live show, augmented with heavier beats and sounds that could allow everybody to dance like lunatics. After the set ended, I thought to myself, This is why I love to go to concerts and festivals.