Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Coachella Festival 2010, day two
Saturday...Saturday...Saturday...started on the bleary tip, being that the early bands were mostly outdoors and the sun sucked the life out of me...
Chugging water and still ended up dehydrated. Today fit the ideal...all the early shows were in tents.
Laid out on the grass in the tent shade, digging on England's Frank Turner, who was either over here touring already, or has God for a travel agent. His brisk set put the right spin on the day, and helped rouse me to life.
And if i wasn't awake at that point, an hour with John Waters surely would have done the trick. He used his oeuvre, (heh heh...oeuvre), as a touchstone, and freelanced amongst basic topics of interest to those who find his work compelling. Once again, a missed opportunity in the taping department, but needless to say, the hardest i've laughed in a long time.
The Almighty Defenders were entertaining, but not captivating...The group is comprised of members of the Black Lips & the BBQ Show.
Good sloppy fun...
Portugal. The Man, from Alaska originally, via Portland, conducted their business in the Gobi tent. They amped up the volume level and showed off one of the more traditional rock sets, along with Band of Skulls, to grace the festival.
The volcano related cancellation of Frightened Rabbit was a shame, another one that I'd been looking forward to on the heels of their newest record: 'The Winter Of Mixed Drinks'.
The hole in my lineup was quickly filled by Scottish veterans Camera Obscura, working off of their last record: 'My Maudlin Career'. The band warmed the hearts of those who were there, and kept on gamely when nearby tents threatened to overwhelm their sound.
Girls, from San Francisco, brought their Noise Pop A-Game to the Gobi tent, with each song seeming to be deliciously louder. They dropped great chunks of their debut album, and threw in some new stuff as well, (or covers i'm not hip to).
One of the high points of the day for me.
Back to the Mojave tent for Beach House, who've made plenty of waves with 'Teen Dream', one of the years better considered records, thus far. The question was how it would translate to the stage, and i'd heard their stage presence questioned, but i was totally captivated.
Snuck over to see Band of Skulls...they were fine; it was me. Had to return to see the end of Beach House.
Opinions are all over the place on the recorded work of the Gossip, but i've heard very few question their live prowess. Beth Ditto is compelling, and in the bands first Coachella appearance, she gave a performance worthy of the main stage.
She owned the tent, and gave no quarter, controlling the band, and playing with, and off of the audience, culminating in a stroll through the front row, parting the sea of people like you know who...
Caught the brutal ending of a set by the Raveonettes, sorry both that it overlapped with the Gossip, and that i couldn't get close enough for pictures.) Debated running down to see the XX, but given the mass of people at the outdoor stage for them, i sacrificed, and decided to err on the side of pole position for the Dirty Projectors, who did not disappoint.
Hard to explain the band's combination of African polyrhythms on electric guitar with an angular, Gang of 4ish tilt, over which is poured the elastic vocalise of the groups singers...Pretty polarizing for most, but right up my alley.
After a few songs, I extricated myself from the sweaty hordes and plopped down on the grass outside, when i fell prey to one of those moments that makes Coachella magic. I was singing along to the Dirty Projectors and staring off vacantly, when i happened to focus, and notice a young lady staring intently at me. I thought she was mouthing the words: 'are you talking to me', and i shouted: 'I'm singing...', and got that 'oh, here we go' feeling.
She came over and continued to stare, and she said: 'i think i know you', and suddenly all the pieces fell into place...It was Dru, who i worked with a dozen years ago, if it was a day. Since long decamped to the bay area, she had come after a friend bailed out on her. I never ceased to be amazed by the randomness of the world.
A truly, (for me), unexpected treat was the Faith No More set on the main stage. I always felt bad that, having set the Nu Metal template, many lesser bands cashed in on what was theirs, without their style, sense of humor, and presence.
Presence being the operative word; Mike Patton hit the stage in a Pimp.a.licious red outfit, and restaked his claim.
Light flashed across the dark stage, and pin lights spotted various members as they took verses on Peaches & Herb's 'Reunited'...Absolutely...they had me from there on. Bonus points for inserting a riff from Stevie Wonder's 'Sir Duke' into the middle of obvious. The band was tight and hungry, and compelled me to listen to music that isn't in my wheelhouse. No higher praise can i give...if only for a night, Faith No More came back home.