Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Coachella Wrap-Up

Coachella came and went. To read Lucas and Chase's review of Coachella, click the link below

Well, Coachella came and went in a blur. I'm still recovering from sore legs and sleep deprivation. One of my few complaints is Hercules and Love Affair were suddenly not on the lineup which was unfortunate. They were one of the groups I was most looking forward to seeing.

Here is a review written by me, Lucas Vocos, and Cameron Reed available on Coastreportonline.com:

The catch phrase for the 10th annual Coachella Music and Art Festival was “Happy Coachella,” as if the festival was some sort of holiday or pilgrimage rather than just another hippy jamfest.

Concert goers spared each other the traditional greetings for free hugs, free kisses and moments of shared bliss.

The Black Keys, from Ohio, played dirty, grungy blues-rock amid a sweltering sun on Friday. They were messy, unpolished, and at times not together. This was true rock 'n' roll. The “stick it to the man” attitude emitted by the rock duo was a bit lost on the audience however. Their sound equipment was turned too low for a rock revolution.

NASA, which stands for North America South America, played an engaging, theatrical space and alien themed DJ set. Their live show included dancing green martian ladies, a spaceship DJ booth, robots and aliens, and a guest appearance by Fatlip from 90s hip hop group Pharcyde. A highlight of the performance was during Fatlip’s appearance, in which DJ’s Squeak E Clean and Zegon showcased their mixing and scratching skills by switching beats on the rapper repeatedly mid-song, from Biggie’s “Juicy” to Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It,” without missing a beat.

Setting the tone for the weekend, Paul McCartney rocked the crowd Friday night with a set for the ages. From “Can't Buy Me Love,” to “Band on the Run,” he played all the hits, taking over the festival.

In an emotional moment midway through his set, McCartney revealed that Friday was the 11th anniversary of Linda McCartney's death. She died in Arizona, and McCartney was visibly moved by the desert landscape, perhaps brought back to a time and place he shared with his lost love in her final days.

Minutes after McCartney and his band took their bow and as fans were funneling toward the exit, the blistering chords of “Helter Skelter” blasted out over the speakers, sending crazed fans rushing back to the stage in a mad dash to catch the encore.

Most music festivals don't allow encores, but Coachella isn't just another music festival.

Saturday saw an increase in the temperature and the tempo. The mercury rose to nearly the century mark, but the cool sounds of Thievery Corporation gave the crowd the breath of fresh air it needed as the sun set behind the mountainous horizon.

An amalgamation of sounds and musicianship from guitar to sitar, Thievery Corporation's sound can be described as ambient and enlightening, perfect music for a sunset.

Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio played on the Coachella Main Stage to a yearning and anxious crowd. The group played their unique style of music, soul and jazz inspired electronic indie rock, with a rich full sound that filled the festival. The stage was adorned with quilts and flags as a large horn section accompanied the band. Synthesizer, trombones, drums and vocalist Tunde Adebimp’s unique vocal improvisations created a spacey and atmospheric setting easy to get lost in. After a shaky start to their 2006 hit “Wolf Like Me,” TV On The Radio powered through their hit “Staring At The Sun” filling the air with a thick and deep bass to a dancing crowd.

Appearing together after their September jet crash and weeks of therapy, Travis Barker and DJ AM played a wildly energetic set that never once slowed down or hesitated in the Sahara dance tent to a jumping, roaring crowd. DJ AM mixed songs on turntables while Travis Barker played live drums, remixing songs on the fly across the spectrum of musical styles and tastes to create some truly unique sounds. Everything from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the theme from Rocky and “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns and Roses were warped and mixed into a continuous, pounding dance party. In a surprise moment, Warren G, best known for his 1994 hit “Regulate,” stepped out to the stage and flowed over his hit.

Outspoken former Black Flag front man, Henry Rollins spoke of the state of the world, music, life and love. Rollins talked about being angrier every year, but having more hope for the world. Rollins discussed his plan for world peace. He wishes to bomb Palestine and Israel..... with Ramones records. The key to world peace, according to Rollins, is listening to great bands such as Devo, hugging your mom and letting people be themselves.

Sunday was a day for rockers, the highlights being the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and X. Other performances included legendary hip hop troupe Public Enemy, featuring an energetic Flava Flav, Obey Artist Shepard Fairey.

Five guitar players strong, Jonestown—as the band is fondly referred to by fans—reminds listeners of a time when rock 'n' roll wasn't about shock value or image, but about strong song writing and stage presence.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs took the main stage as the sweltering hot sun was setting. The New York art/dance/garage/new wave/punk group pirated on to the stage, with vocalist Karen O taking control of the wheel. The band, only three members strong, filled the air with more power than most heavy rock bands could ever attempt. Karen O convulsed, shouted, cried and danced her way across the stage and into the hearts of the audience. Karen O and her band mates played old songs and new, including a cover of “Human Fly” by the Cramps.

All the 80s kids who grew up and got jobs in the 90s and had kids after the millennium were sporting their old tattered jeans, dayglo spandex for X, the influential Los Angeles punk band.

In a departure from all the rock, Antony and the Johnsons played an intimate and experimental set. Known for light piano and guitar instrumentation paired with Antony Hegarty’s soaring and fragile voice, Antony and the Johnsons re-imagined their set for Coachella. Hegarty worked with Bjork’s beat maker Mathew Herbert to make his music with a deeper electronic sound. In an interview with BBC, Hegarty said that “festivals are so impossible to do with my instrumentation because it’s all so twee, it just fades away in the distance.” Hegarty’s soaring, shaky voice carried over the electronic mash-up of his music to create a vastly different sound.

Public Enemy stormed the stage with Chuck D and a clown-resembling Flavor Flav and performed their 1988 smash album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Down” in its entirety, including their smash hit “Don’t Believe the Hype.” This performance was the first time in 16 years they played the album in it’s entirety in the US.

To end the weekend, The Cure took the stage in a 3 hour plus performance. The festival cut off their power, but The Cure kept on truckin’.

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