Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Coachella Weekend 1

Courtesy of Maryshaw16.
Surely by now all the dust is finally out of your mouth. And hair. And clothes.

All that lingers is the blissful memories of the music you witnessed over the first Coachella weekend?

First, a disclaimer. I didn't attend. But I'm doing what so many other social media mavens seem to be doing: commenting on the action as if I were there. After all, all weekend long, youtube and Coachella itself ran wonderful streams of the music playing. I watched much of those three days, and that's what I'm reporting on.

I also manned the social media desk, and monitored much Coachella activity, just to get a feel of what others were going through.

Just to show you that I'm not alone in all this, at least HALF of the photos that I perused on Twitter were people showing their fancy big TV setup on which they, too, were viewing the action at Coachella.

Let it be known that easily half of the music performed was not on the stream. Thus, I was not privy to the blissful music of LA favorite IO Echo, nor did I see the long-awaited reunion show of The Three O'Clock (though I did hear Sky Daniels wonderful interview with them on KCSN on Monday afternoon). I also was not privy to photos of the extremely sparse attendance of the Friday headliner, Stone Roses.

And, just like at the real Coachella, you cannot (physically cannot) see everything. Although some people described how they had three browser windows open, watching all three streams at once, I preferred to (as I would do if I were there) pick a band I liked and watch what they had to offer. So the following list is by no means comprehensive.

It smacks of Miche's preferential treatment, just seeking out bands I know I'm going to like, and ignoring those COUGHFranzFerdinandCOUGH I'm well over.

There were some surprises.

First, the WORST of the weekend's Coachella offerings.

Let me say this, Coachella itself keeps getting pricier and pricier. If you don't know this, you had to purchase all three days (not to mention the lodging to go with it), and the gas to drive out there. Coachella is no poor man's walk in the park. And for that money, you expect at least ONE headliner is going to knock your socks off. From what I've heard, the only thing knocked off was clothing that blew away in Sunday's wind and dust storms.

Here are the ones I perused that I just didn't like.

I tripped over Wu Tang Clan, whom many were raving about and which reportedly had huge crowds (hoping beyond hope for that ODB hologram which never appeared). But Wu Tang Clan is not my kind of music, so I didn't stay there long.

In the "boring me to tears" category, there was James Blake, Of Monsters and Men, Modest Mouse and The Postal Service, who commented that they weren't really a band. Sure seemed accurate. Worst offenders, though, were Polica.

Mister Shovel, at KCSN, has a real uncanny knack of always finding a band's hit song. KCSN, in fact, is playing a Polica song which is great. I love it. However, this band, in concert, was DREADFUL. No stage presence whatsoever. One of those bands who spend too much time in the studio and not enough on tour. BLECH. Hated it.

Even worse, though, was the return of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now, I admit. I'm more of a film and TV geek. I pretty much am clueless about band members and their names. I am. So I spent the first few songs wondering where the hell Dave Navarro was. I actually even looked it up on Wikipedia. Apparently, he left the band in 1998. Well, that's when the poetry left then, cause man, they were really lacking whatever it was that made them great. I couldn't even watch more than a couple songs. AWFUL.

Thankfully, there were many more bands whom I either liked or truly loved. I put together a ranking of the Top 12, based both on music presented, and flexibility from their normal show to the venue. One must take in one's surroundings and work accordingly.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Metric, Grizzly Bear, Japandroids, Dinosaur Jr., Social Distortion, Cafe Tacvba, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO SEE: The XX, Janelle Monae, How to Destroy Angels, Eric someone that everyone was raving about, Blur, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dead Can Dance, Spiritualized

MIA: Lou Reed, who backed out

Without further ado:
Coachella's Top 12, Weekend 1

I love love love Sparks. They have been around forever, and I have loved them (no joke) since my cousin Julian first gave me one of their albums in 1968. I saw them again at a recent show in Los Angeles, and they were wonderful. For Coachella, they decided to strip down to just the two main masterminds. I am not sure about this decision. Or, for that matter, how well they play at Coachella in general. They are on this list because I love them. But I think the crowd that witnessed them pretty much left scratching their heads.

A band I love from listening to Mister Shovel's "City of Night" show on KCSN. They are local (to LA). And they are great. Really enjoyed their show. Check out their music, if you can.

Mister Shovel again alerted us to this incredible musical talent, another local native. Watching him was just a revelation. His music incredible. His full beard very en vogue at the moment. His songs, his lyrics just wondrous. Not to be missed anywhere he plays.

I actually first heard this band on Mister Shovel's side radio project, Radio Free Indie, then heard them again on City of Night and KCSN in general. Can't get their music out of my head, they were also very fun to watch. The term "catchy tune" was made for these guys.

8. ALT J
Now, pretty much the music I follow is the stuff Mister Shovel has played. That's pretty much it. And I don't recall him ever playing or mentioning Alt J. I'm not sure why I landed on him, but I did, and he was wonderful. Great music. I really want to check out more of his stuff. The crowd seemed to be really into him (and more aware of his music than I was).

Surely when people talk about this first weekend of Coachella, one of the big hits is/was Phoenix. Although many in the Twitterverse seemed to not know they are French, everyone seemed to really dig their vibe. And their surprise guest. (No, not Daft Punk, whom everyone was rumoring, but never happened.) Phoenix, a definite hit.

Hot Chip is one of those rare bands who play Coachella more than once. The first time I saw them, at Coachella a few years ago, I was blown away. This time, they were good, but not superb. But they are the kind of band that Coachella should have back year after year, they really fit the vibe.

This band was kind of a stumble upon thing. Started watching them in between other things, and they were so great I couldn't turn them off. Really enjoyed their music, their presentation, the lead female singer, all of it.

I know this is getting to be redundant, but I heard them first on Radio Free Indie, then on City of Night, then on KCSN. Loved every single song they played. Could be seen muttering, "Tame Impala. WOW," over and over, through their entire set. So freaking good it's painful.

Man, oh man. This band, I first heard on Mister Shovel's Check One Two program, on Indie 103.1 FM. I remember when they, one Christmas, decided they wanted to play an acoustic version of a new number they had for him. A little ditty called "Sometime Around Midnight." From that moment to this one, they've become huge rock stars, traveled and traversed the world a couple times or more. Sweet Anna Bulbrook now has this Parisian blonde tinge to her hair, always gorgeous. Lead singer Mikel has survived a couple of deaths of those close to him. And here we are, now, at Coachella.

This time around, they are gracing the main stage, not the Outdoor as they were last time. Unfortunately, they have a very early set time. They really should've been put on later. (You know how certain bands just lend themselves to a darkness? ATE is one such band, IMHO.) But there they were, in the bright sunlight, with Anna bouncing onto the bass player's shoulders.

Gosh, it was just so great to see them. They are fantastic. I have loved them every time I've seen them. This time is no different. And "Sometime Around Midnight" still makes me cry. Every time. LOVED them.

Now, you will notice (in my list of bands I hated and these bands I loved) that nowhere did I list Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, whom I also watched. Nick Cave, you see, had two bands at Coachella. Grinderman was Friday. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was Sunday.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was too much of a downer for me. I love them normally, and loved the parts of the video I was watching of his LA concert recently. But some of his music (this music) was just really dark. Not just sad and somber but kinda scary. I wasn't into it.

But Grinderman, which also walked the line of dark places, even seedy moments... was just better. Maybe it was just the "No P***y Blues" which spoke to me. I dunno. I just LOVED Grinderman.

The kids' choir and all the scary dark lyrics just didn't fit the location or the venue or the people there. So Grinderman gets on the list, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds don't.

The number one act to me is also a total shock to me. In fact, I was at the end of my evening, waiting for another band to start up on a channel, and I thought, eh. I guess I'll check them out for a minute. I watched every song. THEY WERE PHENOMENAL.

Phenomenal. Wait, wait, seriously, I first heard them on Mister Shovel's radio station in the 80s, called WLBS. They were so much of that time, that gnarly 80s time. I still have vinyl of them from that time. But what shocked me was how bloody current they sound today. Song after song after song. They sounded the most modern of anyone. They just stunned me with how great their music still is.

And their performance was also amazing. The lead singer was dancing the way we danced in the 80s, and truth to tell, the way I still dance now. It was very comforting. But it also fit this very modern music.

OMD just blew my mind. I still cannot get over how great they were. So for me, OMD were, far and away, the standout of the first weekend of Coachella.

Let's see who gets the prize next weekend!~ ;-)


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