This is a three part blog entry. The link to the following day is at the bottom of the page.Oh, Coachella, how I’ve missed you. Though many expressed dissatisfaction with the line-up, I was ecstatic. In fact, I had circled more bands on the schedule than I could have possibly seen, so I was actually setting myself up with being disappointed based on the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see all of the acts I wanted to see. Kind of ironic now that I think about it…
I had work to finish up that Friday morning, so I knew that I was bound to miss a handful of acts that day. I picked up a friend in Santa Monica, and we began out trek out to the desert. I had prepared an iTunes playlist of all of the music of the bands I wanted to see, so our drive would at least have a good soundtrack.
As we got closer to venue, driving on the freeway, I started noticing billboards advertising the release dates of albums from bands performing at Coachella. I nearly swerved out of my lane when I saw a billboard for Daft Punks album release date. Umm … they weren’t scheduled to perform at Coachella… I told my friend that either this was an omen of a surprise set by one of the most demanded bands for Coachella, or it was the ultimate tease …
When we had parked and picked up our passes, we joined the mass of people on the festival grounds. Unfortunately, I had already missed the French turntable group C2C and the British rock quartet Alt-J, so I made my way to the Outdoor Stage to catch a few tunes by Of Monsters and Men. I have their album, and I their music, but at that time, I just wasn’t in the mood to listen mellow indie folk/pop. I think I was just a little too restless due to the long car ride. I’m thinking that Of Monsters and Men would have been the perfect band to see on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Not Friday. Plus, I was way in the back, standing, when I would have much preferred laying on the lawn somewhere.
I listened to a few songs then decided to make my way to the merchandise booth. I brought a poster tube with me since last year I picked up a dope, limited edition, Black Keys, Coachella poster. Unfortunately, it appears, Coachella didn’t allow for bands to sell their personalized Coachella posters. That was a disappointment.
All of sudden I heard Passion Pit start playing “Carried Away” and I looked down at my watch. Doh! I had already seen Passion Pit at the Hollywood Bowl, and they were terrific, so I had to kick myself in the rear for not paying attention to the time to be there when they started.
As I walked toward the Main Stage area, they were wrapping up their second song, I decided to video record what was going on while I walked toward the stage. It was quite uplifting. Passion Pit’s music has always had an airy and energetic quality to it, and it always seems to make people dance. When I took a look at the video later in the evening, the one thing I could notice was all of the random people frolicking across the lawn. That made me happy.
- Carried Away
- The Reeling
- Love Is Greed
- I’ll Be Alright
- It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy
- Constant Conversations
- Talk a Walk
- Cry Like A Ghost
- Little Secrets
Having learned my lesson by missing the opening of their set, I decided to leave Passion Pit early to go see a relatively new band that I was particularly keen on: Palma Violets.
A mix of garage and psychedelic rock, these guys had quite a following in England. I got to the stage early enough to get pretty close to the front. That being said, I was keeping my fingers crossed that they had a good live show, otherwise I knew it was going to be tough fighting my way out of the tent to find something better. They did not disappoint. They were good, loud Brit Rock. They sounded live, like they sound on their records, and performed with the kind of swagger that becomes rock-and-roll. Can’t get much better than that. What I particularly liked about this band was that their two guitarists had two quite distinct vocal styles. The bassist was more Clash. The guitarist was more Doors. Check out the two video and see if you kind of agree with me.
- Johnny Bagga Donuts
- Rattlesnake Highway
- All the Garden Birds
- Tom the Drum
- Chicken Dippers
- Best of Friends
- Step Up for the Cool Cats
- Last of the Summer Wine
- We Found Love
- Brand New Song
After Palma Violet’s set ended, I made a b-line to get as close as I could to the front for Modest Mouse . Apparently, everybody else had the same idea.
The crowd for Modest Mouse was a lot younger than I had expected. I remember buying their albums back in the mid 90’s, so I was taken aback that I was standing in a crowd of kids in their early 20s. It was super crowded, squeezed into space like a pack of sardines. The set started a little rough, but I think that had more to do with the sound levels not being mixed properly.
Isaac Brock, the lead singer, seemed banter with the crowd for small stretches, perhaps giving the mixing board more time to adjust the levels. Honestly, his banter felt awkward, but after it seemed to do the trick, as the sound definitely picked up. The highlight of the set was when Modest Mouse powered, and jammed, through three songs in row later in their set.
What I loved about Modest Mouse’s set was that it hit popular songs from almost all of the albums in their catalog. Loved that they played “3rd Planet” and “Paper Thin Walls” from “The Moon and Antarctica”.
- Dramamine (Life Like Weeds Interpolation)
- Ocean Breathes Salty
- 3rd Planet
- Be Brave
- Satin in a Coffin
- Paper Thin Walls
- King Rat
- Cowboy Dan
- The View
- Float On
After Modest Mouse had finished their set, I decided that I would stay where I was and push further up towards the stage. After all, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were next, and since I had never seen them perform live, I decided not to venture to another stage. As people left, I kept meandering as far up as I could get, which was all the way up to the barricade that separated the general admission folk from the VIP folk. I had VIP last year through work, and bought a general admission ticket this year. I’m thinking that I may buy a VIP pass next year. I would have loved to get all the way up front for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
As I waited for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Main Stage screens lit up and a video started playing. Here we go again … Daft Punk music started playing and the Daft Punk helmet lit up the screen … with a message that the album was coming out soon. Then the video vanished. Are you serious? Like, seriously? If Coachella or Daft Punk was a girl, she’d be the most devilish tease that ever lived. At this point, I was kind of over it.
Back to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were my highlight from day one. As soon as Karen O took the stage with a gospel choir, in her white suit, cape and pope hat, to sing “Sacrilege”, I knew we were in for a treat. I sensed it was going to be a dazzling set, and dazzled it did from start to finish.
Karen O is a badass. Period. She rocked that fucking stage. Shoving the mic into her mouth to and going agro on “Pin” was amazing. Watching her strut her stuff all over the stage was the definition of “bad ass”.
She toned it down when she introduced “Maps”, as she should, and told us fans that the song was about love, and it was for us. “Maps” is seriously one of the best songs written in the 2000s, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs killed it for me.
- Under the Earth
- Soft Shock
- Gold Lion
- Heads Will Roll
After the Yeah Yeah Yeahs wrapped up, I started to head over to the Outdoor Stage to see if I could catch any of the Band Of Horses set, unfortunately I got there a little too late as they were thanking the crowd. Before they dove into their last song, the lead singer simply stated, “Take care of each other”. I appreciated that sentiment.
My phone was running out of juice, so I started walking around the festival grounds to find a place to charge it. Last year, when I had a VIP pass, I could just charge my phone at an outlet in the VIP section. This year, however, outlets were a lot harder to come by. They had a “charging station” sponsored by Sony or Samsung or whatever, but the policy was that they took your phone and you came back an hour later to pick it up. Screw that. I went to one of the merchants at the General Store and politely offered 5 bucks to use one of their outlets. They had no problem with that.
After charging my phone, I was stuck with a bit of a dilemma. Jurassic 5 was playing the same time as Blur. I flipped a coin. The coin told me to go see Jurassic 5.
I loved Jurassic 5 back in the day. I do think they kind of jumped the shark a bit when they did that duet with Dave Matthews, but that’s a criticism for another time and place. The group disbanded in 2007, so them converging at Coachella was pretty big news for a Los Angeles, underground, hip-hop head like myself. With all four original MCs, and Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark working their magic, their set was “best of” compilation.
- Back 4 U
- I Am Somebody
- Nu-Mark Desk Solo
- Hip-Hop History
- Monkey Bars
- Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark Solo
- Quality Control
- Concrete Schoolyard
- In the House
- King Tee
- Red hot
- A Day at the Races
- What’s Golden
- This Is (Outro)
I didn’t bother taking any pictures of video since I was far back in the crowd, but that was actually by design, as I new that I wanted to see the Stone Roses. As I left Jurassic 5’s set a little early, and headed towards the Main Stage for the Stone Roses, I noticed that the crowd that was there for Blur had substantially dissipated. I was quite shocked, in fact, that they only pulled a club size crowd for their set.
Me, being the optimist, assured myself that it was simply a generation of concert goers who didn’t know how the Stone Roses music, specifically their self titled debut album, had shaped the history of pop music. I mean come on … “I Wanna Be Adored”, “She Band The Drum”, I Am The Resurrection” …. That whole album was one of the first albums that fused dance, pop, and rock into a brand new sound. The Stone Roses were an indie rock band that shaped and fueled pop music in the 90’s.
But … as they started their set, and Ian Brown took the mic … my optimism turned into a bit of disappointment. It wasn’t as bad as the Shuggie Otis show at the Echoplex that I saw last year, but it was very sad. The band sounded good … The levels seemed all right … it was just that Ian Brown was extremely pitchy. Unfortunately, it was not a performance worthy of closing the Main Stage on the first night, and it seems that the Coachella Festival organizers agreed as Blur and the Stone Roses swapped slots the following weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I got to see the Stone Roses Perform, and I’m glad I got to see them rock some of my favorite songs, but it wasn’t the best way to end the first day of Coachella.
- I Wanna Be Adored
- Sally Cinnamon
- Ten Storey Love Song
- Don’t Stop
- Fools Gold
- Made of Stone
- This Is the One
- Love Spreads
- She Bands the Drums
- I Am the Resurrection
I hate to admit it, but I actually left the Stone Roses set after “Fool’s Gold” to check out Trent Reznor’s band How to Destroy Angels . They had a decent sound, but it didn’t match up to my “Pretty Hate Machine” days.
- The Wake-Up
- Keep It Together
- And The Sky Began to Scream
- Ice Age
- The Believers
- How Long?
- Welcome Oblivion
- The Space in Between (Sonoio Remix)
- The Loop Closes
- A Drowning
I only caught a few songs from How to Destroy Angels as I wanted to give the Stone Roses another chance. As I walked by the Main Stage again, all I could hear was Ian Brown’s voice missing the notes that I remembered from the album. I decided at that point that I was going to pack it in, head back to the house, and get ready for day two.
All of my friends staying in the house had gotten back in one piece and we talked about the highlights, and lowlights, of the day. We even got treated to a story about a valentine Karen O wrote one of the guests back in high school. I bust out the bottle of cask strength Glenlivet that I had brought with me, and plopped myself onto the couch. The scotch numbed the pain in my aching feet, and with Day 2 was a few hours away, I started to mentally strategize which bands I was going to check out, hoping that each band would live up to expectations.
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