Gemini Club is a four-piece indie-electronic band from Chicago, Illinois that have been earning a lot of praise recently opening for the likes of Chromeo, Two Door Cinema Club and Chateau Marmont. When I was doing research to decide which bands I wanted to see perform at Culture Collide, I found a couple videos of this band’s live performance and I was immediately interested. Though the band’s stage set-up was flanked by two stacks of keyboards, Gemini Club’s live music isn’t preprogrammed. Centered around a drummer, the electronic dance music is a live as live can be. Taking full advantage of MIDI, who says a laptop isn’t an instrument?
I was new to their music, so I wasn’t too familiar with the lyrics of their music, but in this particular instance, I was more focused on their vibe and sound, dancing and grooving to their tunes. Phoenix, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club … Gemini Club’s music is on par with the bands listed. Though the set was cut a little short due to set times running late at the venue, their set was filled with the kind of energy that only a confident band with devoted fans could evoke.
There are a lot of electronic bands flooding the music market these days. Gemini Club is an independent band that lacks the backing of a major so it’s their live performance and the word of mouth circulated by their fans that’ll get them noticed in the marketplace. Their live show is solid, and it’s my opinion that if they keep touring relentlessly, they’ll be able to lock in fans for the long haul. Follow them on Facebook, and check out their music. You may want to check them out when they are in your neck of the woods.
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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.
Ben 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.
Oats in the Water
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.
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.
Puscifer 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.
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.
A 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.
World Up My Ass (Circle Jerks cover)
Balls to the Wall (Accept cover)
Conditions of My Parole
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.
Blister in the Su
Please Do Not Go
Add It Up
Prove My Love
To the Kill
Gone Daddy Gone
Gimme the Car
I Held Her in My Arms
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.
Speak in Rounds
On A Neck, On A Spit
While You Wait For The Others
Sun In Your Eyes
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.
I 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.
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
We Will Become Silhouettes
This Place Is a Prison
A Tattered Line of String
Such Great Heights
Brand New Colony
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.
No You Girls
The Dark of the Matinée
Do You Want To
The Blackpool Illuminati
Right Thoughts! Right Words! Right Action!
Take Me Out
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)
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.
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.
Long Distance Call
The Real Thing
Sunskrupt! (a combination of “Love Like a Sunset” and “Bnkrupt!”)
Too Young / Girlfriend
Trying to Be Cool/ Drakkar Noir/ Chloroform
Bump and Grind/ Ignition (Remix)/1901/ I’m a Flirt/ Chloroform
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.