For the third straight year, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival delivered an unparalleled lineup of bands in the scorching hot SoCal desert. Six of us made the trek from Oakland to Indio...
... and each of us came back with a half dozen new favorite bands. Here were my personal favorites:
--- Best Performances ---- The Arcade Fire - amazing show with a desert sunset backdrop.
- Teddybears - this year's Gnarls Barkley; party music that turned the Gobi tent wild. If you need some energizing sounds for the gym or car, check them out!
- The Arctic Monkeys - alongside Of Montreal, these guys got the festival rolling
--- Best Random Discovery ---- Mike Relm - a kickass DJ with a great sense of humor who mixes movies alongside beats.
--- Best Discovery by a Friend ---MSTRKRFT - some of the best new club music I've heard in a while
--- "Where Were You When the Revolution Began?" ---- Rage Against the Machine - "What better place than THIS / What better time than NOW? UGH!!!!!!!"
--- "I Finally Saw Them!" ---- Faithless - avid insomniac for over a decade!
--- Best Celebrity Cameo ---- Ron Jeremy introduces Peaches
(note that I missed Scarlett Johanssen at The Jesus and Mary Chain)
----- Music Highlights -----
- Of Montreal - Fun! Must see more...
- Amy Winehouse - if you're into soulful stuff and hotties who can pull off beehive haircuts, this is for you.
- Arctic Monkeys - first great full set I saw. "I _ bet _ that _ you _ look good on the dance floor..."
- Peaches - (R: potty-mouthed, but funny)
- Peeping Tom - Who knew that girls could beatbox, too! "Okay - How many of you just peed your pants?"
- Faithless - I was right up front when they opened with "Insomniac" and the place went berserk! Crowd was absoutely wild for the first 3 tracks.
- DJ Shadow - Right up front again, great beats but the set was cut short as the Outdoor Stage was running a half hour late.
--- Saturday ---
- Hot Chip - (during hands-in-the-air, jumping-up-and-down-clapping climax in 107 degree tent) "Wow, thanks to whoever is spraying the crowd with that cool water! ... wait... that's sweat... ah screw it: 'LIKE A MONKEY WITH A MINIATURE CYMBAL!!!'..."
- The New Pornographers - "Keep it down, Travis!"
- Kings of Leon - much better than I expected, I had to skip the Decemberists to get postition for...
- The Arcade Fire - Eric and I fought off a literally suffocating crowd with elbows and hand grenades to get close to the main stage, and man it was worth it! This set just got better and better as it went on.
- Girl Talk - I missed the part where people threw empty water bottles at Paris Hilton on her cameo, but this was a fun 10 minutes from MTV's Spring Break Beach House.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - from a distance, they were what they are.
- Mike Relm - laughing and dancing for an hour, everyone in our group will be looking for this SF native again...
- Tiesto - a cool beer before a huge dance party on the mainstage
--- Sunday ---
- Tapes 'n Tapes - one of my favorite discoveries of the weekend
- The Coup - Oaktown brings the funk! Eric and I were 3 people back, center stage
- Explosions in the Sky - didn't see nearly enough
- Rodrigo and Gabriella - another amazing discovery - this acoustic Mexican duo drew a huge crowd singing to their take on Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"
- Kaiser Chiefs - I for one had a great time in the middle of this crowd :)
- Cut Chemist - wasn't getting off the ground in the dome, left quickly
- Richie Hawtin - meh. Felt like typical Sahara.
- Paul Van Dyk - good, but got kind of repetitive... I found myself freeing up memory on my camera.
- Teddybears - How can you not go nuts over a party band led by DJs and guitarists rocking out in suits with oversized bear mascot heads? I got to this one early for a spectacular spot, and was extremely glad I came. One of my new favorites.
- Rage Against the Machine - What better place than this, what better time than now to witness 50,000 people jumping up and down and screaming "FUCK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT'CHA TELL ME!!!" at the top of their lungs??? Rage's first show in 7 years was a blast. Paraphriasing: "If they were judged by the same standards we held against Nazi war criminals, every president since Truman would be tried, and hung, and shot ....... But the challenges we face go beyond the current administration. It’s not a system that changes every four years. It’s a system we have to tear down, generation after generation......... [breaks out] WAKE UUUUUUP!!!"
Expect to see all of us back in the desert next April... we've become extremely efficient at hydration.
'cause I'm a punk rocker / yes I am.