Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Friday

 

 

 

This is a three part blog entry. The link to the following day is at the bottom of the page.IMG_0884Oh, 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.

  1. Carried Away
  2. The Reeling
  3. Love Is Greed
  4. I’ll Be Alright
  5. It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy
  6. Constant Conversations
  7. Talk a Walk
  8. Cry Like A Ghost
  9. Sleepyhead
  10. 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.

IMG_2893

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.

  1. Johnny Bagga Donuts
  2. Rattlesnake Highway
  3. All the Garden Birds
  4. Tom the Drum
  5. Chicken Dippers
  6. Best of Friends
  7. Step Up for the Cool Cats
  8. Last of the Summer Wine
  9. We Found Love
  10. 14
  11. 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.

IMG_2904Isaac 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”.

  1. Dramamine (Life Like Weeds Interpolation)
  2. Ocean Breathes Salty
  3. 3rd Planet
  4. Be Brave
  5. Satin in a Coffin
  6. Paper Thin Walls
  7. King Rat
  8. Cowboy Dan
  9. The View
  10. 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.

IMG_2913As 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.

IMG_2910The 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”. IMG_2930

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.

  1. Sacrilege
  2. Rich
  3. Under the Earth
  4. Slave
  5. Zero
  6. Subway
  7. Soft Shock
  8. Pin
  9. Gold Lion
  10. Maps
  11. 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.

  1. Back 4 U
  2. I Am Somebody
  3. Jayou
  4. Nu-Mark Desk Solo
  5. Hip-Hop History
  6. Break
  7. Monkey Bars
  8. Improvise
  9. Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark Solo
  10. Quality Control
  11. Concrete Schoolyard
  12. Countdown
  13. In the House
  14. Freedom
  15. King Tee
  16. Red hot
  17. A Day at the Races
  18. What’s Golden
  19. 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.

  1. I Wanna Be Adored
  2. Sally Cinnamon
  3. Ten Storey Love Song
  4. Waterfall;
  5. Don’t Stop
  6. Fools Gold
  7. Made of Stone
  8. This Is the One
  9. Love Spreads
  10. She Bands the Drums
  11. 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.

  1. The Wake-Up
  2. Keep It Together
  3. Parasite
  4. And The Sky Began to Scream
  5. Ice Age
  6. The Believers
  7. How Long?
  8. Welcome Oblivion
  9. BBB
  10. The Space in Between (Sonoio Remix)
  11. Fur-Lined
  12. The Loop Closes
  13. A Drowning

IMG_2956I 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.

Click Here To Continue to Coachella 2013 | April 12-13 | Saturday

IMG_2958

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Saturday

IMG_0885

Continued From Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Friday

I woke up Saturday, late morning, and my feet were only slightly aching from the day before.  I knew that they would be in some considerable pain later in the day, considering a full day of festival hopping was ahead.  I hitched a ride to the festival grounds with some friends and decided to follow them around for a spell since the first band on my schedule that I hadn’t missed yet, Pusifer, wasn’t scheduled an hour or so.  I got to the festival grounds too late for Allen Stone, but I had already seen him perform at the Fonda Theater last year, so I didn’t beat myself up about it.

My friend from the United Kingdom wanted to check out Ben Howard so we head to the Outside Stage to catch the set.  Since Pucifer was up next on the same stage, I figured that this would be a perfect “set up” to get a good spot for Pucifer.

IMG_2975Ben Howard is an English singer-songwriter who’s had a bit off success across the pond.  I was only really familiar with his single “Only Love”, and I told myself that I would listen to his set until “Only Love” then head over to the merchandise booth to make sure that I pick up some of the limited edition releases that were available.  As it turns out “Only Love” was the second song in his set.

  1. Oats in the Water
  2. Only Love
  3. The Wolves
  4. Black Flies
  5. The Burren
  6. The Fear

I left my friends for a moment and headed to the Coachella merchandise booth.  Photos of my treasure are below.  Yes, I did open them up. What good is vinyl if you don’t get to listen to it? I was super content with my purchases. The Palma Violet’s album is autographed. To check out some of my other music treasure, click through this link. Thankfully, the record shop let me keep my merchandise behind their counter until the evening.  Didn’t want those treasure to get damaged.

IMG_0734IMG_1032IMG_0733

I met up with my friends to grab a beer before Puscifer.  Puscifer is a side project of Maynard James Keenan (lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle).  Though I liked certain songs by Tool and A Perfect Circle (more so A Perfect Circle than Tool) … that got a little confusing … I wanted to check them out because a dear friend of mine told me that girls in her pole dancing class … calm down fellas, you know people do it as a cardio exercise on the regular these days … use Puscifer songs as their music, so it piqued my curiosity.  My friends and I pounded some beers and made our way to the stage. Fortunately for us, we got there early enough when was hardly any crowd.  Near the front of the stage, we had a pretty damn good view of the stage.

I stood next to a couple that was my age and girl in her early 20s. Tool and A Perfect Circle have a pretty diverse fan base, so I wasn’t necessarily surprised by the age gap.  After all, those two bands have won multiple Grammy Awards and have sold over Ten Million records together.

IMG_2995Puscifer did not disappoint. The band entered the stage from a silver trailer-cab sitting on stage and told introduced themselves to the audience to advising us that if we were drinking booze and doing drugs, that we needed salt and sugar and summarily started to throw out packs of Swedish Fish advertising their EP “Donkey Punch the Night” and Vagina Airlines peanuts. Gimmicky? Maybe.  Bad-Ass? Definitely.IMG_1033

The music was nothing like the sounds of Tool or A Perfect Circle that I had expected.  It wasn’t as dark or heavy as Tool or A Perfect Circle, but it was still as hard.  Maynard James Keenan sounded like himself, meaning that he didn’t change his vocal delivery or style.  If anything, Puscifer was actually sexy as f*ck. I now understood why girls used their music to “work out” to. Erotic chord progressions with pulsing rhythms. “Breathe” was uber sexy. Watching Puscifer perform would actually be the highlight of my Saturday.  I enjoyed the band so much, that I actually wish that their set was scheduled for the evening.  I think their set would be have been made 10 times more effective with good stage lighting.

IMG_2986A funny highlight of the set was when Maynard walked off stage to being on lounge chairs and a bottle wine. While the band riffed, he set the chairs up and uncorked the wine.  From off-stage two gentlemen came on stage to sit on the stage on drink the wine.  One of the gentlemen happened to be Giovanni Ribisi. Totally random.  Totally rock and roll.IMG_2981

  1. World Up My Ass (Circle Jerks cover)
  2. Dozo
  3. Toma
  4. Dear Brother
  5. Breathe
  6. Balls to the Wall (Accept cover)
  7. Conditions of My Parole
  8. Man Overboard
  9. Telling Ghosts
  10. The Undertaker
  11. Cuntry Boner (Electric Sheep cover)

Once Puscifer’s set had ended, I decided to check out the balance of The Violent Femmesset on the Main Stage.  It had already started, but I was hoping that at some point they would sing the song that I used to hear on KROQ back, back, back in the day, “Blister in the Sun” .  As it would turn out, the band played, for the first time ever, their self-titled debut album in its entirety, meaning that “Blister in the Sun” was the first song they played. Nutz. Apparently, they hadn’t played together in 6 years, but they still sounded tight. Of course, they ended with “American Music” and that was fine by me.

  1. Blister in the Su
  2. Kiss Off
  3. Please Do Not Go
  4. Add It Up
  5. Confessions
  6. Prove My Love
  7. Promise
  8. To the Kill
  9. Gone Daddy Gone
  10. Good Feeling
  11. Gimme the Car
  12. I Held Her in My Arms
  13. American Music

A band that was on my list to check out was Grizzly Bear, so I left my friends and decided to head off on my own. I had a little time to kill, so I meandered passed some of the performance areas. Portugal the Man was playing, and I really wanted to check them out, but weighing the options of being in the back for Portugal the Man or up front for Grizzly Bear, I decided to go Grizzly Bear.

Major Lazer was wrapping up their set in the tent next to the tent where Grizzly Bear was to perform, and it was a mad house there.  I got there 20 minutes early to catch their set and I could feel my feet starting ache.  I decided to mark my territory by sitting down where I wanted to stand for the set. It would be my first time every listening to Grizzly Bear, and I have a feeling that it may be my last.

There’s nothing bad about them, but I think the expectations were just a bit too high. A friend of mine had compared them to Sufjan Stevens (and I’m a big Sufjan Stevens fan), so I think you kind of get the sense of what they were up against in my head.  This is one of those instances where I wish I had listened to more of their music before deciding on watching their set.  It wasn’t a bad set, and they didn’t sound bad or anything … it was just uneventful for me. So uneventful that I’m posting videos and their set list, and I’m not even sure what the songs sound like.

Maybe I’ll give them another go at some point… we’ll see.

  1. Speak in Rounds
  2. Adelma
  3. Sleeping Ute
  4. Yet Again
  5. Knife
  6. On A Neck, On A Spit
  7. Ready, Able
  8. While You Wait For The Others
  9. Two Weeks
  10. Half Gate
  11. Sun In Your Eyes

IMG_3037

If there was a band that got a lot of hype for Coachella this year it was The Postal Service.  I like The Postal Service. I was looking forward to watch their set. Their only album “Give Up”was basically the best parts of Death Cab for Cutie and Rilo Kiley, and it’s my humble opinion that that album was better than any Death Cab album.

IMG_3042IMG_3051I met up with friends for the set, and was getting settled in, when two buff dudes in tank-tops, wearing sunglasses (at night, mind you), conveniently stood right in front of me.  Ok.  Big dudes in questionable attire in front of me? I can deal. Big dudes in questionable attire singing along with The Postal Service? I can bear it as long as they could sing in tune. Big dudes in questionable attire singing along with The Postal Service, not quite in tune, and talking in REALLY LOUD VOICES to each other when they weren’t singing along? Exit stage left. At least I got to hear from of their biggest hits before I left. Too bad I couldn’t enjoy the entire set. But, hey! That’s the music festival experience.  You win some, you lose some. When you lose, you can just go to another stage and catch a different band. Whew.

  1. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
  2. We Will Become Silhouettes
  3. Sleeping In
  4. Turn Around
  5. Nothing Better
  6. Clark Gable
  7. This Place Is a Prison
  8. A Tattered Line of String
  9. Such Great Heights
  10. Brand New Colony
My Favorite Picture of the Day
My Favorite Picture of the Day

Next on my list was Franz Ferdinand.  I remember seeing these guys at Coachella back in 2009.  I remembered having a killer time watching them then, so I knew that this was going to be a slam dunk of a set. I was up close, stage left, and I could feel the adrenaline that was sucked from my body at Grizzly Bear and The Postal Service started to flow back in my veins.  They played almost all of the old goodies, and I they threw in a few tracks from their upcoming album. If Puscifer was my favorite set of the evening, Franz Ferdinand was an extremely close second. I spent most the set jumping up and down, dancing and singing along. I was extremely pleased with deciding to leave The Postal Service to get a choice spot for Franz Ferdinand.

  1. No You Girls
  2. The Dark of the Matinée
  3. Evil Eye
  4. Do You Want To
  5. Michael
  6. The Blackpool Illuminati
  7. Walk Away
  8. Right Thoughts! Right Words! Right Action!
  9. Take Me Out
  10. Ulysses
  11. What Time Is Can’t Stop Feeling I Feel Love (Can’t Stop Feeling With “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer & “What Time Is Love” by The KLF)
  12. Outsiders (with Drum Jam outro)

Now that Franz Ferdinand was over, there was only one other band left of my list for the evening: Phoenix . I walked by Janelle Monae’s stage, and I like her music, but I had to find myself a decent place to watch Phoenix perform.  After all … Daft Pu …. F*ck … I jinxed it, didn’t I?

I got there early enough to talk to some people standing next to me. Turns out Phoenix fans are a lot younger than I thought.  This band started making some noise while I was in law school.  I actually saw them perform for the first time in 2010 on the Outdoor Stage at Coachella. The kids I was standing to for the Phoenix set were 21. We talked about how old we were, and then I had a revelation that hit me in an awkward way. The girl I was talking to … she was in 3rd grade when 9/11 happened. Now, I’m of the firm belief that “age ain’t nothing but a number” … but that factual piece of information was a bit mind blowing for me.  I was in my law schools basement lounge getting ready for a class when 9/11 happened.

Anyways …

Like me, they were “betting” that Daft Punk would make a surprise appearance. Nope.  It didn’t happen.  Instead, we got R. Kelly. From off stage we heard a voice singing the introduction to “Bump and Grind” when R. Kelly made a “dramatic” entrance to the stage.  He then proceeded to perform an interesting mash-up of “Ignition (Remix)” to the music of “1901”, and though I found it quite interesting, it wasn’t the “surprise” I was hoping for.  And honestly, it wasn’t the surprise that people around me were hoping for. I could definitely heard a few, “What?!?!” echoes around me.

I could tell that the balloon had popped a bit, but I still wasn’t all that disappointed.  After all, I’m still a huge fan of Phoenix, and they still played a killer set. I there was one thing I’m bummed about, it’s that I couldn’t take a good picture of anything because I was standing too far away.  C’est la vie.

  1. Entertainment
  2. Lasso
  3. Lisztomania
  4. Long Distance Call
  5. Fences
  6. The Real Thing
  7. Sunskrupt! (a combination of “Love Like a Sunset” and “Bnkrupt!”)
  8. Too Young / Girlfriend
  9. Trying to Be Cool/ Drakkar Noir/ Chloroform
  10. Armistice
  11. 1901
  12. Bump and Grind/ Ignition (Remix)/1901/ I’m a Flirt/ Chloroform
  13. Countdown
  14. Rome
  15. Entertainment

With the evening winding down, I met up with my friends, and we traveled back to our lodgings. We spent a better park of the late evening talking again about the highlights and lowlights of the day, when some random folk came through the door. They seemed like well-worn festival goers, clad in their eccentric garb. I really didn’t care to get to know them as I was extremely worn out. I popped in some ear plugs, and passed out on the couch. Day three of Coachella was just a few hours away.

Click Here To Continue to Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Sunday

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Sunday

IMG_0886

Continued from Coachella 2013 | April 12-13 | Saturday

I woke up Sunday morning from the couch, wiped the sleep from my eyes to notice bodies strewn across the floor.  In the corner, there appeared to be what looked like a pillow fort… and a feet protruding from its cushioned walls. Interesting I thought … it would turn out that those feet belonged to either the bassist or drummer of Father John Misty’s band. The morning was definitely starting out rock-and-roll.

IMG_1035I had a friend who happened to be in Palm Springs that weekend for work, so I ditched the group to head out to where she was to grab a late breakfast/early lunch.  We met at a Hard Rock Hotel sponsored “party” and I given a “media pass” so that I could dine from the special menu.  I get that lot of people forego a lot of the music at Coachella to attend these parties, but it’s really not for me.  A bunch of people dancing in a pool to a DJ playing some innocuous dub-step music. I suppose the “perks” (massages, hair braiding, etc.) may make it worthwhile, but there are bands from across the world performing half an hour away, and you’re listening to dub-step from some no-name DJ?  It was great seeing an old friend, but I had to be curt and hightail it back to the festival. Plus, the food was pretty bad… but that’s besides the point. Lol.

When I got the festival, I walked by the stages and tents where Jessie Ware and Kurt Vile, respectively, were performing. Jessie Ware sounded decent enough, but I wasn’t particularly drawn to her music in the first place, and Kurt Vile just didn’t sound very good.  It reminded me of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks from a few years ago, and I left that set early too.

There was a singer that I was interested in by the name of Alex Clare.  From the United Kingdom, his biggest hit to date was his single, “Too Close” which, ironically enough, is a rock song with dubstep and soul influences.  Now, I know I was just complaining about bad dubstep music, but when it’s produced by Diplo and Switch, it gets a pass.

IMG_3123

Alex Clare blew my mind. That dude has some serious pipes.  I wasn’t too familiar with his entire catalogue of music, but whatever he sang, I was feeling. He may have hit the stage five minutes past his starting time, but I’m not going to blame him for anything.  His voice had a soulful rasp to it, and boomed.

Not only did he kill his set vocally, but he was extremely humble.  When he addressed the audience half way through his set, he went out of his way say, “This is my dream right now.”  I wish I new more of his catalogue, and I’ll probably buy his CD at some point in the near future, but what I do remember from the set was that his cover of Prince’s when “Dove’s Cry” was a pleasant surprise and perhaps the most impressive part of his set was when he sang sans accompaniment, a cappella.  His crowd, which was particularly sizable, knew all the songs that I didn’t and the sang choruses quite pleasantly.

After Alex Clare’s set, I decided to wait around for Rodriguez. I hadn’t seen the documentary “Searching for Sugarman”, but I did have a copy of “Cold Fact” on CD. I knew about his legend, and I was really anticipating seeing him perform.

As I waited in the tent for his set to start, I noted that there were many others, like me, who wanted to get there early for a good spot. Some girl gave the stage manager a note on a napkin.  He looked at it, and then pointed to his wedding ring. You can only speculate what was on that napkin.

IMG_3136When Rodriguez took the stage, he had to be escorted. It was at that moment that I felt like I was having a bucket-list moment. It took a moment for him to get set up, and you could feel the anticipation in the tent. Then the music started … are at least, I thought the music started.  The levels across the board were a little off. The bass was to loud and the vocals were to low. In between the first couple songs, the crowd chanted, “Turn it up!”  It wasn’t until “I Wonder” that I thought that the levels were correctly set, and that was about a third of the way into the set. “I Wonder” was perhaps the highlight of the set as everyone knew the lyrics and sang along.

Though I wish that the sound was perfect from start to finish, I’ll take what I got and appreciate it.  Half an amazing set is better than none at all.

Another band that I had seen before at Coachella was Vampire Weekend. IMG_3158The last time I saw them, they were playing the Outdoor Stage. This year they were on the main stage. I had a good time then, so I knew I’d have a good time now. I didn’t get as far up as I would have liked, but it really didn’t matter.  I just got lost to their music and danced with the other free souls in the area.

  1. Cousins
  2. White Sky
  3. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
  4. Diane Young (New Song)
  5. Step
  6. Holiday
  7. Unbelievers
  8. A-Punk
  9. Ya Hey (New Song)
  10. Campus
  11. Oxford Comma
  12. Giving Up the Gun
  13. Walcott

At this point I was hungry, so I decided to eat between the Outdoor Stage where Pretty Lights was performing, and the Mojave tend where Father John Misty.  The whole time I was eating, I was thinking, “Some dude on stage made a pillow fort next to the couch I was sleeping on,” …

After eating, I headed back to the Main Stage to get as far up front as I could for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.IMG_3205

I have a friend who had kicked it with Nick back in the day. She told me a few stories about him, and I can say- if those stories are true- Nick Cave is the living embodiment of punk. I’ll be honest with you, I have a few of his albums, but they’ve always been more mood music to me than anything. His performance at Coachella changed my perception of him.IMG_3190

It was a relatively dark set, heavy on mood, but pure rock-and-roll. It was almost chilling when he brough up the Silverlake Conservatory children’s choir to sing the refrain of “Keep On Pushing”.  Having watched him perform, I actually regretted not catching his other band, Grinderman”, perform the other day.

  1. Jubilee Street
  2. From Her To Eternity
  3. Red Right Hand
  4. Deanna
  5. Jack the Ripper
  6. Stagger Lee
  7. The Mercy Seat
  8. Push the Sky Away

After Nick Cave, I walked over to the Wu-Tang Clan to catch up with my friends. I came half way through their set, but I could hear them “bring the mutha-fuckin’ ruckus”. As tired as I no was from the three days of music, I pushed on to search for my friends. Once I found them, I sat down on the ground rest.  At that point in the evening, the wind was picking up, and dust was flying around everywhere.  Thankfully, I had purchased a bandana and used it to cover up my nose and mouth.  The sand storm was actually bad enough that Wu-Tang actually acknowledged it on stage.

They’re set was a greatest hits compilation, and I should have been more pumped for it, but I think my exhaustion, coupled with the fact that I saw Wu-Tang a few years back to the entire “Enter the 36 Chambers” album, kind of left a been there, done that vibe with me.

  1. Protect Ya Neck
  2. Bring da Ruckus
  3. Shame on a Nigga
  4. Clan in da Front
  5. Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
  6. Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing to F’Wit
  7. Can It Be All So Simple
  8. Method Man
  9. Tearz
  10. C.R.E.A.M.
  11. Bring the Pain (Method Man)
  12. All I Need (Method Man)
  13. Ice Cream (Raekwon)
  14. Winter Warz (Ghostface Killah)
  15. Duel of the Iron Mic (GZA/Genius)
  16. 4th Chamber
  17. Reunited
  18. For Heavens Sake
  19. Shimmy Shimmy
  20. Brooklyn Zoo (Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
  21. Da Rockwilder (Methodman and Redman)
  22. Gravel Pit
  23. Triumph

Before the Wu-Tang ended their set, I went to the main stage to check out The Red Hot Chili Peppers. My friend and I positioned ourselves toward the exits, with enough of a view that we could tell what was going on, and in line with speakers so we could hear everything clearly.

A this point, the sand storm was getting pretty intense.  People started to leave the festival grounds.  They started playing “Under the Bridge” and, for the first time all weekend, I lay on the sand covered grass.  My friend was absolutely beat, so I promised her that I wanted to hear two more songs, then we would leave.  The second song they played after “Under the Bridge” was “Higher Ground”. If you know me, you know that I love my Stevie.  It was a sign that it was time to go.

  1. Monarchy of Roses
  2. Dani California
  3. Otherside
  4. Look Around
  5. Can’t Stiop
  6. Snow (Hey Oh)
  7. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
  8. Tell Me Baby
  9. Parallel Universe
  10. Under the Bridge
  11. Ethiopia
  12. Higher Ground
  13. Californication
  14. By The Way
  15. Jam
  16. Around the World
  17. Give It Way.

And with that, my Coachella 2013 had concluded. Sandstorm notwithstanding, I’ll be back next year.

IMG_3165

The Stone Roses Headlining Friday Night of Coachella!

Image

The lineup for Coachella 2013 came out last night, and the first band listed, to my immense joy, was The Stone Roses.

There are other notable acts that were listed: Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand (2004 anybody?), Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, Hot Chip and Passion Pit (Coachella 2010 revisited?), Lou Reed, Postal Service, OMD and New Order (British New Wave contingent?), Descendents, Violent Femmes and DInosaur Jr (80s, early 90s, throwbacks?)… BUT, my quest for the a “golden wristband” (Coachella issues wristbands instead of tickets) is ground in the fact that The Stone Roses are headlining Friday night.

Their self-titled debut album was a sensation. From the moment you pressed play, there was no reason to fast forward or skip through tracks because, as a whole, that album was perfect. Their brand of indie rock fused guitar pop with dance culture, but it’s attitude was all rock and roll.

Lead singer Ian Brown’s vocals assumed a laid back and nonchalant approach which seems almost to be contradictory in style to the underlying music, but it all meshed together. “I Am the Resurrection”, “I Wanna Be Adored” and “She Bangs The Drums” are highlights from the album.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the “kids” responding to the line-up news seem to be disappointed with some of the selections. They seem to be more upset that Daft Punk or other “dance” acts aren’t on the bill. What they don’t seem to understand is that The Stone Roses have musical, historical relevance in that they created an album that brought, and in late 80s and early 90s, “dance music to an audience that was previously obsessed with droning guitars, while it revived the concept of classic pop songwriting and the repercussions of its achievement could be heard throughout the ’90s.” (quoted from http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-stone-roses-mw0000653335)

It’s too bad that the younger generations can’t understand how big this act is in the context of music history. Hopefully, newbies at their crowd at Coachella will hear and feel the the amazingness of their music like I did when I first pressed play on that used cassette tape that I bought back in high-school.

Cheers, Goldenvoice and Coachella. You’ve made one hopeful patron very happy.

UPDATE: Click here to read my blog entry about Coachella and The Stone Roses performance.