Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Coachella - A 1 Day Review (part the second)

Coachella 2007, Sponsored by Paramount Pictures' War of the Worlds!Blaasaa (not sure what I was typing there but I like they way it looks so the kid stays in the picture).

Anyway, so after the frisking and what not I ventured over to start my day/afternoon with a little Hot Chip.

Could get too close but they were kickin' serious booty out of the Mojave tent. It seemed there there were an awful lot of people on the barely visible stage. And despite the afternoon heat once "Over and Over" (Buy) started the indie dancing began.

We be DJs, Eh?After Chip i moved over to catch the first bit of MSTRKRFT's set. This was mostly a turntable & laptop set but since they were playing original tracks who cares. Again lots of dancing in the heat - much more than Roo last year (hippy swaying doesn't count ;).

Since I was only around for 1 day i wanted to catch as much as i could so after flailing about to 3 tracks i ventured back to the Mojave for a bit of Swedish trio Peter, Bjorn and John.Pete, Bjorn, John & Roadie

I wasn't blown away by the 6 or 7 tracks I was there for but I guess after 2 (mostly) upbeat dance acts their languid indie stuff wasn't a good fit for where i was at.

From there I moved onto the 2nd stage to get a good spot for The Decemberists - this unfortunately meant passing on Kings of Leon but such is festival life.

They color coordinated their outfits with the palm trees!"I'm sure you'll all agree; seersucker is the perfect fabric for this type of weather." Its comments like that that make Colin Meloy and Co. so damned great live. Seriously great stage banter. Oh and the music also kicks ass. They opened with "The Crane Wife 3" (Buy), said hello to Kings of Leon, had a dance contest, and played several very long tracks (some written that way other modified so) in a very uncool 50 minute set. I'm not sure how Coachella came up with their set times but these guys need more.

Unlike Roo last year I remembered to bring my camera to this fest (obviously) and was able to take this video of the crew from the PNW doing "Perfect Crime #2" (Buy) along with the instigation of said dance contest.

As Colin shuffled off stage he said "Now for god's sake go see The Arcade Fire" Not having anything better to do, this sounded like solid advice. Since the main stage was running behind Arcade Fire from the VIP seats - actual distanceschedule (seriously, the hippies were more punctual) i was finally able to make some use of my VIP bracelet. So i made my way to a slightly less crowded area behind a fence that had a table I could stand on to see since it was so far away from the stage anyway. But VIP sections are not about seeing the acts clearly they are about feeling better than the rest of the peons that have to huddle together right in front of the stage...and you know, I kinda did!

The Arcade Fire set started off slow. Likely because it was heavy I only count 10 in this picture but I know there are some hiding up thereon Neon Bible (Buy) and light on Funeral (Buy). This is a band that knows the meaning of sophomore slump and it felt like they weren't comfortable with the new stuff in a live setting. Still things started to pick up as all 40 or so members of the band got into the set and more of the debut made its way into the show. The "Neighborhood's" were all crackling with excitement and the crowd was really into it.

After AF I moseyed around the VIP section for a bit. Cali does VIP right. A lounge tent with leather couches (would not want to be there during the daylight though), much better food than the general area (sushi, spicy pie pizza), bar with ridiculously expensive drinks (9.50 for well Vodka & Redbull, add 1$ for call and another for premium), misting areas, nicely manicured foliage and of course many opportunities for celebrity sightings. Being above all that (I'm here for the music, man) i drank, ate and rejoined the huddled masses as the Red Hot Chili Peppers made their way to the stage.

To see this most CA of bands on their home turf was an experience. They did every track from A headless and ghostly Frusciante. He has an inner glow.the Frusciante era that name-drops that golden state and I think some people around me had a religious experience during "Under the Bridge." (Buy) Seriously there were tears...from guys...who frequent gyms. I noticed also that the days heat seemed to sap a lot of peoples strength. They'd start into, say "Can't Stop" (Buy) and heads would be bangin' and people were po-going but about 1/2 way thru a song they'd be swaying statues as though endurance would only allow for 2 minutes of craziness before a rest was needed and this was every song. The band got into extended jams at the end of almost every one as well but their energy never waned and the sing-along with set closer "By the Way" (Buy) was transcendent.

Ok, so while RHCP were on stage i missed LCD Soundsystem & Girl Talk. I like that Roo didn't put anyone up against the headliners. But as every stage was now running behind I was able to catch almost all of The Rapture's set back in the space-disco, aka the Sahara Tent.Its quasi-futuristic!They seemed drunk - which I found endearing, I'm an enabler. This way my favorite set of the day in all its deadpan, sneering, ironic, New York glory. They dedicated "Killing" (Buy) to LCD Catching some hand waves.No, I've never heard of Robert SmithSoundsystem, though I'm not sure whether it was a tribute or a dis. James Murphy says there is no "weird beef" between them but the track is pretty harsh - peep the lyrics. Later in the set Luke Jenner made several jumps into the crowd and did some surfing, in the desert! At one point he almost came to blows with a security guy who was between the stage & the crowd. Damn rowdy kids.
Dwarfed by the lighting set-up.

Finally down to the last act of the night. I listened to Tiesto's dj set as I made my way back to I'm smiling because people will pay money for whatever twaddle I decide to put out there.the second stage for Damon Albarn's latest "side project" The Good, the Bad and the Queen. This was the sparsest crowd of the day due in various parts to the time, the style and Tiesto. I got there about 3-4 songs into the set but apparently they were playing the s/t album, in order. The set up included Albarn (mostly at a piano), the rest of the band (Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen) and a flanking of girls on strings. Like Albarn they were sporting posh outfits topped with Stove-pipe hats. It was quite a sight. The tracks were kinda slow and many shuffled out during the set but I think they were a good comedown act.

As I was heading back to the car I stumbled upon some sort of Vegas show with a Norse God's in praise of water theme - naturally I stopped to watch. The bikini and feather clad dancers had ho's'es hooked up thru their outfits which were spraying water in all directions and they writhed beneath the desert moon.

...Rain drops keep fallin' on my

Finally another quick vid of the nighttime skyline of Coachella during the Arcade Fire set. Had a great time but it was too short. I hope to pull a full weekend here someday.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Coachella - A 1 Day Review (in two parts)

Best laid plans... on to the pre-review story.

Finding myself in Southern California on Wednesday for work, imagine my shock when I turn on KROQ and realize that this is Coachella weekend. Luckily I was planning on staying with my friend Nick in San Diego for the weekend enabling me to head out to the desert on Saturday to finally catch the event I've wanted to see since Underworld was listed on the original 1999 line-up.

Unfortunately work obligations has me sidelined Friday and on a plane Sunday but though it was fleeting my first day at Coachella was awesome.

Of course nothing can ever go 100% (or even 75%) smoothly...

Issue #1 - Ticket:

Usual suspects were consulted and I quickly realized that people were rabidly snatching up eBay auctions at crazy high prices. Since this was never planed in the first place and I had a couple days to spare I just scanned the market. Most repytable auctions were hovering just over the $100 mark but I also wanted to see what Nick's price point was.

Issue #2 - Work:

Turns out on Friday that Nick couldn't go so I started earnestly trying to get 1 tix. Sent a dozen or so emails and a couple calls thanks top craigslist and came up with zilch.

Issue #3 - Alcohol:

Being done work and in San D, naturally I wasn't going to let a minor thing like a ticket to a huge desert music festival hinder of a solid night of drinking in Pacific Beach. So a swordfish dinner, a $20 margarita (tasted the same as a $5 one), the worst cover band ever and several rounds later we got back to Nick's place round 3AM. Naturally I wasn't going to let a minor inebriated state hinder the quest for a ticket to a huge desert music festival. So I hopped on every cali craigslist page from the bay to the border and sent out another dozen emails or so and set my alarm for 8:3f....something AM. Woke up to some responses and researched craigslist in a state of partial consciousness. I happened to stumble onto a guy selling a 1 day pass and a VIP wristband for $125 and it was posted 10 minutes or so before: SCORE! Emailed, called, made arrangements to pick up in Palm Springs and hit the road.

Issue #4 - The Tab & Footwear Situation:

Of course, my check card was still in Pac Beach with the tab I had forgotten to settle...D'oh! So back to PB to wait for the place to open to get the car to get back on the - wait... I need a pair of sandals as my feet will be dying in the heat otherwise. And what is right next to the bar but a Sketcher's store with a spring sale. So I get the card, get the shoes, make a sizable withdraw and get out of SD by 11:45 or so putting me way behind. CHiPs must be slaggin' cuz the road was filled with speedy kids headin' to the desert and I only spied 2 cops the whole ride.

This was the temp in the desert, glanced later and it was up to 111.
So I get to Palm Springs, pick up the tix in 111 degree weather (seriously people live out here?), stop for hydrating and sun-blocking supplies and get onto the show...or at least the line of traffic to get into the show. After all that I'm in Coachella at 4pm and off to catch Hot Chip.

Actual fest review is on the way.


Hot Hot Heat - "Haircut Economics" - An early track from boys which hints at the great things to come but this is punkier, more dark-wave.

The Desert Fathers - "Pitbulls" - This must be the sound of a bad trip in the Mojave - still has a catchy hook...huh. If you dug the Man Man stuff I posted last year this should also be right up your alley.