San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Flashback - Mercury Rev @ 'Cane's - June 10, 2002

I fired up All Is Dream tonight.  I've heard it more than a lot of things over the last five-or-so years because I had it on my phone and it would come up in random a lot.  So maybe it wasn't so random.  Anyway.

This was an amazing evening.  I was with two of my best friends of this time who remain two of my best friends today.  The Shins opened up, and back then I wasn't too impressed, to be honest, so that was wasted on we, the front row Joes who'd shown up super early to get full-on front row for some of our sonic heroes.

At the end of the night, we chased down everyone but Jonathan for an autograph, then hung out outside listening to the surf pound the sand.  We agreed we'd that he had to come out at some point, but we didn't want to seem stalk-y or anything.  There were two other people kind of milling around when he finally came out.  The others ran over to him immediately, but we hung back.  After they'd had their couple minutes with him, we cautiously approached with our Sharpies and rekkid covers.

"You don't have to sign it if you don't want to," I said, offering him both.

"Oh, you know I'm gonna sign it," he replied, mostly exhausted but I'd like to think with a little smile for us.

'Cane's was a venue like no other.  It was literally on the Pacific Ocean and literally a stone's throw away from the roller coaster at Mission Beach's Belmont Park.  It had this rooftop bar where we'd all go and chill on holidays, the drinks and eats were beach prices, but we never felt like they were gouging us.

I saw some amazing shows there.  Spoon.  Spiritualized (in a fucking torrential downpour).  Mogwai (where I met one of said best friends).  Tortoise.  The The.  Front 242.  I'm sure I've forgotten more shows I attended there than I remember.

Anyway, here are the pictures I took that night with my shitty gigantic HP digital camera.

The Shins (1 of 2)

The Shins (2 of 2)

Jonathan Donahue

Jonathan Donahue walking away

Most of Jonathan Donahue

Just the right amount of cowbell

"i remember when i saw them with you & [mediaassassin] at 'Cane's, that was an amazing show!! first row and all... and why? why? why? 'Cane's doesn't exist anymore? :("
-BW, March 2013

That was indeed a great evening, BW. I can clearly recall us being at the front of the stage, directly below Jonathon Donahue: The pickup switch on his Stratocaster remained in the treble (3rd pickup only) position the entire night...and I was constantly wondering if the moisture on the side of my neck was sweat or blood from my ear.
[mediaassassin] and I met and talked to Jonathon outside the venue. He told his he'd be back...that was June 2002 and we're still waiting.

-BY, March 2013

"He told his he'd be back...that was June 2002 and we're still waiting."

never believe the empty promises of a rock star BY!! they'll break your heart... and now he's seen pictures of you hugging Wayne from the Lips!! he's NOT coming back ;)

-BW, March 2013

I was reminded as I got my copy of 'Priest Driven Ambulance' out on the drive home that night that he had been in the Lips. Totally forgot about that.

-BY, March 2013




Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Coachella 2019 Headliners Supposedly Leaked In October

There's nothing officially from Goldenvoice yet, but back in October, it was supposedly confirmed that Childish Gambino (meh), Justin Timberlake (eh), and Kanye West (oh fuck no) were headlining the festy this year.  2018 was the first year I didn't go in nearly 16 years, and honestly I have no regrets.  The more I tried to find even a few acts I really wanted to see, the more disappointed I became.  And while I wouldn't mind seeing JT and I thought This Is America was brilliant, I can't imagine sitting through more than a few minutes of Childish Gambino.  It's just not my thing.

I really felt like the last two years have been a turning point for the worse for Coachella, at least for me.  I not only think they're not trying to book acts that will appeal to me, I think they're actively trying to book acts that will make me run screaming in the other direction.  Between the ever-rising cost of tickets, the now mandatory cross-country airfare (I moved), and this shit show of a turn towards pop and especially rap music, I'm out.

But that just makes better fodder for this blog.

And who knows? I could be proven wrong. It's happened before.  But honestly, Coachella has completely jumped the shark for me.  I think it's past the point of no return, and maybe that's OK.  Mostly I think it sucks, because it used to be something I looked forward to year after year.

Until the true lineup drops, here's an AI-generated poster from The Awesomer / Botnik.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Coachella 2017 Weekend 1 Review - Friday

Coachella 2017 Weekend 1 Review - Friday

The series of poor decisions this little band of malcontents makes every year has concluded, and somehow we are still without a single fatality.  Yes, the events that lead up to (and directly result in) the city of Indio, CA being completely sold out of Tecate and pork rinds, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, 2017, weekend one, has concluded.  The Denny's is once again safe (tip Annie well, she's the best), the Food 4 Less is no longer replete with the stench of thousands of hungover pie-eyed club kids trying to figure out if you can use Sterno to cook a fucking Pop Tart, and the roads are no longer filled with enough inebriated drivers to book jails full in every contiguous county for hundreds of miles.

You're welcome, City of Indio!

And with that, let's get onto the music!


BANKS at Coachella 2017

Friday's highlight, unbelievably, was BANKS. It's only hard to imagine her being my highlight because I've been waiting to see her for so long, listen to her pretty much daily, and had unrealistically high expectations.  Sometimes the patient are rewarded - the high bar I'd set for her performance, she summarily shattered.

It was nearly a dream set, and although there were a few tracks I really was hoping she'd play that she didn't (This Is Not About Us, Brain), I couldn't argue with any of the set choices.  Perhaps one of the greatest things about Banks's set was that she started off with one of my favorite songs, Poltergeist, using two microphones - the "good" and the "evil" one.  This is the same song that Pitchfork panned in their review of her latest album The Altar, calling it "overproduced."  To me, he using this as her set opener was a well-deserved "fuck you" to the snarky hipster site.  I do check Pitchfork, and I do respect some of their opinions, but I also know that they worship some real turds (e.g. Kanye).  And if you think this is a snarky hipster site, you're wrong.  It's a snarky asshole site.

After the opener, she continued on to do a great representation of the new album (Fuck With Myself, Gemini Feed, Trainwreck, and Mind Games) as well as awesome tracks from Goddess (Begging For Thread, Waiting Game), ending the set off with 27 Hours, the CD-only "bonus" track from The Altar, I guess.

There were so many "Coachella moments" during this show, it was mind-blowing.  People singing along to parts of pretty much every song, and she had these two dancers with her, they all did these very precise, jerky movements that were perfect given the setting and the songs.  Virtually a flawless performance from start to finish.

Banks was actually the 7th act we caught Friday, here are one to six and the rest after BANKS:

Klangstof at Coachella 2017

Klangstof - I really liked what I heard, they sounded like they could open for Radiohead.  I have no idea who they are or where they're from, but with a "-stof" at the end of their name, I'm betting it's fucking cold.

Joseph at Coachella 2017

Joseph - Three sisters from Portland, Oregon.  Two were twins, one was not.  I think they were all hot but don't quote me on that.  Regardless, they were a little too Partridge Family for me, but they were talented.  Their harmonies were really good, at least.

Nora en Pure - Blatantly Stolen from Facebook

Nora En Pure
 - When I finally snaked my way through all the damn gates to get into the Yuma tent, I was treated to a couple of great tracks this female DJ was spinning.  I love her production, I've got several of her tracks, including You Make Me Float, Venice Beach, and Iceland, and these first few sounded a lot like her productions.  She kind of started going astray after that, I wasn't really digging the next couple of tracks and so I decided to head back to Coachella Stage to catch the rest of Preservation Hall Jazz Band's set.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band - Probably the most talent pound-for-pound of any band on the roster.  Could have been up to an eight-piece combo band.   When I first started watching (a few songs into the set), none of the band members were singing, but all were trading off on solos.  A few songs in, it turned out they could all sing, the stand-up bassist with the funky hair, the sax dude, and the rest of 'em, I'm pretty sure too.  Great stuff, and totally under appreciated, so I was able to get right up front.   Which put me in a primo spot for Bonobo.

Bonobo - I've seen Bonobo several times before, and this appeared to be a stripped-down version of what he's brought with him before.  While usually I remember him having up to a dozen musicians on stage, but this time I think he peaked at maybe eight, if you don't count the seven or so dudes he brought out to chant on one of the songs, to great effect.  I think the stage kind of swallowed them up - they're usually playing on the Mojave or Gobi stage, if I'm not mistaken, and I think despite the visuals they had going, they didn't quite command that stage the same way they did in the tents.

Glass Animals Singer Enters the Crowd at Coachella 2017

Glass Animals - Probably the most fun-type entertaining vocalist of the weekend.  Dude was carried in on the shoulders of two roadies because he'd recently broken his ankle.  When he spoke to the crowd, he pointed to the giant prop television in the middle of the stage and said, "They got me this so I could sit on it, but I think I'm gonna stand on it.  Fuck it.  It's Coachella!"  I was prepared for a set where he didn't move around much (a la Florence of Flo and the Ma', Axl Rose of Guns 'n Roses and A-shoulda-C-hired-him-/-D-long-ago-C), but this guy was NOT following doctor's orders.  He bobbed around on that massive idiot box (old-school style, btw) for a song, and then jumped down and gimp-shimmied all over the stage for the following tracks.  For the climax, he had the roadies bring him down into the crowd and sang the last song while they fed him mic wire so he could get passed around the crowd like an ever-wetting joint.  Finally, when he came out of the crowd, he stood on the artists' side of the barrier, directly over me, and sang the last couple of minutes of the song.  He was less than a foot from me which made it basically impossible to get a really good picture of him, but I tried.

Glass Animals Singer Decides To Finish Song Standing Over Me at Coachella 2017 (1)

Glass Animals Singer Decides To Finish Song Standing Over Me at Coachella 2017 (2)
Glass Animals Singer Decides To Finish Song Standing Over Me at Coachella 2017 (3)

BANKS - Well, we've already covered her, now haven't we?  OK one more time.  She was AMAZING.

Ritchie Hawtin - Hawtin was doing something called "Close" as in he's closer to the audience because he split the mixing desk into two racks of drum machines, synths, and mixers, leaving a hole between them where the audience could see his stomach.  I was expecting him to move around the stage and use various handheld (or even mounted) equipment at various different stations, all a lot closer to the audience than he was for this whole performance.  When he started, I didn't like the kick drum, and didn't really like the sounds he was creating.  I'm really glad I stuck with it, because about halfway through the set, I got the kick I wanted, and he proceeded to add some more melodic elements to the set.  By the end, I was pretty stoked, I knew he'd been making some very, very slight changes to a lot of the sounds throughout the set (like the kick drum), and Mike confirmed it.  "That was incredible, he's just making such slight changes to the sounds, and he does it over the length of the entire set!" he lauded.  So... "Close," it was not (really), but good, it was. An epic journey of filters, delays, reverbs, and frequency tweaks.

The xx - I can't figure out The xx.  They sound like a band I should really like, but I just don't.  I did like the more house-sounding tracks they played Friday night, but overall, I wouldn't trade a trip to the beer garden to go see them.  I think they'll probably be headlining in a year or two, so I'll watch what they do to see if I feel differently about them in the future.  They've got potential, but I've been saying that for so long I wonder if I'll ever say "I like them" and not just "I like some of their stuff."

Radiohead - Ah, Radiohead.  This would be my 10th or 11th time seeing them, and unlike most bands I've seen in the last 20 years, I've seen the bulk of their shows at actual Radiohead shows, not Coachella.  So when I write this, it makes me sad, but hear me out.  Of all the Radiohead shows I've seen over the years, I'd have to put this one dead fucking last.  And it was all because of the sound kicking totally out twice.  By the time they came back on stage that third time, they'd worked out the sound issues, and they were able to finish their set.  However, given that we were all just waiting for the sound to go out again, it was hard for any of us to really enjoy the music.  

I will say, it was an interesting choice to open with Daydreaming from the new album, but it was great that they actually made it through that one all the way.  The sound issues started in the next song, and totally knocked out the main speakers after about the fourth.  Another quartet of songs, the same problems, and they walked offstage again.  I was bummed mostly for the people there who'd never seen Radiohead, who thought maybe this would be the way to catch one of there legendarily awesome shows, but we got this instead.  Again, i don't blame the band one bit, but whoever was working with that sound and causing those problems should be dealt with accordingly.

After Radiohead, my feet felt worse than they had after any day of the festy in memory.  It was hard to believe this was my 16th time attending, but the way my dogs were barking, it made me feel like I'd been at 16 in a row.  I never doubted I'd finish this one in style, but a little part of me started LOUDLY telling me that, even though it's all but my religion, this might be my last Coachella.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

34 Days 'til Coachella - Banks

Banks first played Coachella back in 2014 in support of her first album, Goddess. I can't remember how I heard about her, but I was curious to check her out.  I don't think I'd heard the album yet, but I wandered into the Mojave tent, sat down in the sweltering heat, and waited.

As the band started, I thought it didn't sound like what I expected.  By the time I realized that Banks was actually playing in the next tent over, it was three songs into Bombay Bicycle Club (who were mediocre at best) and I decided that maybe I should just go check out CHVRCHES instead.  Yeah, I was a little fucked up, and I missed out on what I heard was a pretty amazing performance.

Bitchfork panned the first album, which I couldn't understand, because once I got home from Coachella the first thing I did was order the 2xLP of Goddess, and it was on my turntable pretty much constantly for months after that.  When I heard she had a new one coming out (2016's The Altar), I was ecstatic.  I managed to download the video for the first single, Fuck With Myself, long before it was supposed to be available, and played it in my most important DJ set of the year.  Ears definitely pricked up when that one hit, some people knowing exactly what it was, others coming up to the decks to inquire.

When The Altar finally came out last September, I snapped up a copy, despite knowing it would be something else I'd have to pack for the move.  Once again, it's been on heavy rotation.  It's a much more focused effort than Goddess, and while it still covers a lot of territory and spans a dark rainbow of emotions, it's infinitely listenable, definitely danceable, and catchy as hell.

I have no idea why critics don't absolutely love her like I do, and I don't care.  Bitchfork gave it the lowest review (51/100) while Sputnikmusic gave it the highest (98/100).  Metacritic shows that the 17 critic reviews are "generally favorable" at a modest 70/100, the fan reviews put it at essentially 84/100, based on 113 reviews.

Add one more glowing review to that, mine:

A logical progression from Goddess, Banks' dark, mysterious and soulful style continues.  She still spans a lot of styles, sounding a little abstract like Bjork or FKA Twigs at times (Fuck With Myself, Poltergeist) and more like an old soul spilling her guts at others (Lovesick) but it's a roller coaster of emotion all the way through.  Those who say she hasn't grown or progressed as an artist aren't listening for growth.  If they're looking for flaws, they're not impossible to find, but why focus on minor imperfections when you really should just be dancing?

Banks plays Friday, April 14 and 21, like just about every other fucking great artist this year (and every other year, pretty much).  This will be the one must-see for me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

45 Days 'til Coachella - Lady Gaga Replaces Beyonce at Coachella 2017

Well, I was right.  Again.  When will y'all learn?

Daft Punk would have been AMAZING, but let's face it.  We needed girl power this year.  If Beyonce couldn't bring it, I knew Gaga could.  And she will.  So sayeth the Innernets.

I'd never heard much by her until the time I unexpectedly had to drive several hundred miles for a family emergency.  A combination of circumstances that made me realize it was more than just a coincidence arose, and we were off, driving through shit weather in summer.  Before we left, I looked through my dad's CD collection (he was the one who played me Bjork's Medulla over the phone before I had the chance to tell him about it).  One of the CDs I grabbed was her 2009 album The Fame Monster.  Yeah, it's pop, but it's good pop.  There is such a thing, and that album helped take our minds off of the task at hand.

Truth be told, I'm totally stoked she's playing, and I think she's long overdue for a headlining set in the desert.  It will be interesting to see how everything else falls around this development but hey.  The show must go on.

And we must get fucked up.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Coachella 2017 - Beyonce Drops Out

Well, this is a first.  I think.  Or is it?  I know there was one year where someone pretty big dropped out late, and Beck came to save the day.  I also seem to remember that Goldenvoice was trying to get some major act as a headliner that fell through at the last minute, and had to go whining with their tails between their legs to Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it was BEFORE the poster came out.  Another shocker was Prince snagging the headlining spot from Portishead just days before the 2008 show (2008 was also just the second time the festival was a three-day affair).

But nothing this big has ever happened this late.

And so the rumor mill starts up, slinging shit full steam ahead like some mixed metaphor dopeman working at a McDonalds in Gary, Indiana.  Here's our take on the rumors:

Daft Punk - Never gonna happen.  For all the whining pussies who lament Daft Punk "never" playing Coachella, YOU MISSED THEM.  They packed the Sahara tent in 2006 and THEY WERE AMAZING.  And you missed them.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I pray to GOD, ALLAH, BUDDAH, MOHAMMED, and THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER that this won't happen.  Coachella finally stepped out of the box just a tiny bit this year with Beyonce, and it would suck the biggest balls available to backslide to these guys just because they're convenient and could be there quicker than many other choices.  I'd rather watch Kurt Cobain's hologram bugger Sly Stone for 80 minutes than have to sit through an RHCP set at this stage in their "career."

Rhianna - Now we're talkin'.  Not only is she the rumored artist closest in many ways to Queen Bey, she's pants-soakingly smoking hot.  She was rumored to headline before B's name was printed on the flyer, but one can only hope she's available and willing to step in and make things suck less for everyone who really, really wanted to see Mrs. Knowles this year (she's headlining 2018, which makes this the earliest we've ever known about a headliner for the festy).

Katy Perry - She would also be awesome.  And is hot.  Plus, she wrote like 9 out of every 10 songs you've heard for like the last 50 years, so you can sing along (or preferably, shut the fuck up and watch her in silence).

Justin Timberlake - I used to think I hated this guy, until I listened to him.  Turns out I love him.  My main problem with him for this spot is that he's got a penis.

Adele - Who doesn't love Adele?  She sells out every show she does, her tickets are on the order of several hundred dollars and a testicle, and she's one of the biggest stars and best singers out there.  Which is why it's not going to happen.  Too bad, I'd love to see her if I could keep my Benjamins (and my boys) in tact.

Lady Gaga - Wow, this would be something, wouldn't it?  Hopefully she won't do too much country shit, but if they wanted to, GV could just book her the following weekend for Stagecoach too, and let her go whole hog with that.  Actually, the one song I heard didn't suck too much, so overall I'd much prefer her to a lot of Paul Tollett potential picks that would portray a poking of my pee-pee with a pine cone.

Jay Z - Oh, come the fuck on.  Just because he's her husband?  Really??  Totally unimaginative idea, and if it actually goes through would at least mean we could go back to the hotel and start drinking earlier on Saturday night / Sunday morning, so it wouldn't be all bad.

Kanye West - I really liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and I kinda liked 808s and Heartbreak.  But Kanye West is one of the most disgusting, idiotic, ridiculous pieces of shit that ever tried to pass for a human being in the history of time.  And that includes Shit Man.

There are a few other rumors out there, but really, the fact that just about every single site out there (including this shitty one) is talking about the same 5-10 artists shows you how truly awful the state of music is these days.  At least at the top.  Coachella hasn't been about the headliners for me for quite some time, so if you're pissed off about this situation, just listen to some of the undercard acts and discover some new music.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Coachella 2016 Review (Weekend 1)

I say this every year and I write this every year:  I can't believe it's over.  Again.

Like sand falling through the hourglass, Coachella has expired for another year.

No, it's not like that.  It's more like sand blowing at you from every direction, constantly, for three days... slowly but surely filling up every orifice, scar, pock mark and divot in your formerly-clean body.

In reality, it's only disappeared until next weekend, where festivalgoers will be treated to a moderately soiled polo field, and of course some great entertainment.

So overall, Friday was the strongest day, Saturday was decent, and Sunday turned out to be way above expectations.

In the interest of actually posting something this year (I haven't made the time to do a thorough review in years), I thought I'd go back to a format I did once before.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Coachella 2016 Awards!

Biggest Disappointment (No Show): Lush
Lush are one of the best, most overlooked and underrated bands from the shoegaze era.  I had the luck / pleasure to see them once as the first band on the bill for Lollapalooza 2 in Chicago at The World theater.  Few people seemed to care that they were on, but I was mesmerized by the jangly Rickenbacker guitars and Miki and Emma's amazing harmonies had me hooked from the start.  If they'd shown, this would probably a love letter to the band rather than starting of with a sincere "How could you???"  They're playing weekend 2, so I hope you lucky bastards make it to check them out.

Biggest Disappointment (Did Show): Guns N' Roses
I had high hopes for G&R's reunion, but I was wary at the same time.  I decided not to get pinned in trying to get a good place to see them, so I just sort of cruised by every half hour or so.  I got to see Sweet Child O' Mine, Paradise City and the AC/DC cover of Let There Be Rock with Angus Young, so I feel like I made a decent choice.  In a word, they just didn't have the intensity that they did when they were literally starving heroin addicts in LA (Axl is no longer starving, he's actually very well-fed).

One of the worst pictures of one of the best bands - Parov Stelar

The "I Knew They Were Going To Fucking Rock That Set!" Award: Parov Stelar
Parov Stelar was booked a few years back, and was scheduled to perform during the great dust bowl of Sunday night that year.  They actually had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.  Probably just as well - Coachella looked like a ghost town, hardly anyone was left to check them out.  So it's doubly amazing that they got a decent time slot, showed up, and blew minds for a respectably-sized crowd.  Think of a fantastic jazz combo performing swing tunes with a sexy, old soul kind of singer, with drums and electronic kick in the background.  You can't even think about standing still when this band is ripping it up.

Most Heartbreaking Choice:  M83 vs. St. Germain vs. Underworld
This was the closest thing to a tragedy schedule-wise, and it's a wonder it was only this.  Friday had so many amazing acts I was certain I'd be crying tears of sand and mud over missing more bands.  We ended up doing St. Germain, and from the beginning it was clear that we were there until the bitter end.  I can't say enough good things about St. Germain, but I'll say a few other things about them later.  We actually only missed maybe five minutes of Underworld because I think they started late, so it all worked out.  It was just really sad that we had to miss M83, one of my all-time favorite bands.

Reunion That Most Lived Up To the Hype:  LCD Soundsystem
While the LA Times wrote that Jack U "won," a reference to the ridiculousness of the crowd and the large attendance), LCD Soundsystem came out and did exactly what everyone expected them to do.  A fantastic set, with songs spanning all three albums, opening with the so-appropriate "Us V Them" (The time has come / The time has come / The time has come today), and closing with the festival-defining "moment" - All My Friends.  They even did true fan test song Yeah (Pretentious Version) and other deep cuts including Someone Great, also from Sound of Silver.  They played pretty much right up until just before they would have cut the power, so it was a pretty epic set.

Biggest Pleasant Surprise: Miami Horror (Friday), Cloves (Saturday), Meg Myers (Sunday)
Three bands I found on Spotify literally hours before we hit the road, and all very different.  Miami Horror is a dance band that smacks of Cut Copy, and had the crowd into it the whole time.  The singer actually climbed up the scaffolding in the Mojave tent and danced on one of the speakers.  Then he dangled, legs free, from the scaffolding on the way down for a few breathtaking seconds.  He made it back down, safe and sound, and they kept blowing us away with disco-inspired beats and hooks that could catch any dance-loving listeners within earshot of the tent.

Cloves at Coachella 2016

Cloves probably also got the Least Attended award, but undeservingly.  She's got an absolutely angelic voice, a fantastic register and is absolutely gorgeous.  If you haven't heard of her, you probably will soon, so go out and buy some of her stuff.  If you like the sound of female vocalists who can make you swoon, you'll love Cloves.

Meg Myers was one, I'll admit, that I wanted to see even before I heard her music.  Another gorgeous female vocalist, but with a much different approach.  While Cloves is more subdued and sad, Meg Myers is just batshit crazy.  She can go from a sultry whisper to a melodic scream without taking a breath, and she has the most emotive face of any other singer I saw this weekend.  Pick up something from her while you're at it, chick needs therapy and it ain't cheap.  Amazon Prime members take note: Her album Sorry is available to stream on Prime Music right now.

Band That Stuck With Me Even Though I Wish They Hadn't: The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms sound like a cross between Violent Femmes and a stool softener.  In a good way, if that's possible.  They didn't make me go, they just made it easier to go.  I figured from the name they might be kind of a joke band, and I think I'd have to say I was right to think that.  Still, if you're not doing anything else, check them out.  They might be just quirky enough to love.

Moment Where I thought I Actually Might Lose My Fucking Mind:  Grimes
I got to Grimes early enough to get about 15 rows back, and it was pretty chill until the music started, when she decided to try to destroy her fans' bodies with the loudest, thickest kick drums and the shrillest screeches of entire weekend when she performed SCREAM (yes, that's the title, all caps) with Aristophanes.  The two of them together let out this shriek that would have made a ghost shit its pants.  They say she's a cross between EDM and punk music, but she's better than that comparison.  Despite the poppiness of her new album, her caffeinated performance proved he to be capable of running at 150% for the full 45-minute set.  I didn't even take pictures I was so stunned.

Best Old Punk Reunion: The Damned
In other years, they might have been the only punk band reunited for the festival, but I didn't see Rancid so The Damned get this one by default.  Great energy and I liked the music, probably wouldn't buy anything though.

Most Pitch-Perfect Vocalist: Bat For Lashes
We'd gone out to the car to have a few beers and grab our night wear (hoodies) and from the length of the line, I thought I might have to miss her set in favor of Courtney Barnett (who was also excellent, from what I saw, and a highlight for some others in the crew), I made it in just enough time to get about ten rows from the stage.  I always forget how much I absolutely ADORE this band until I hear or see them.  Her haunting voice had me at the edge of tears for the entire set.  Although the reaction from others in the group wasn't as positive.  Rick's interpretation was, "Can you imagine how many times someone's played that song just before shooting their lover between the eyes while they're sleeping?"

Best Old-School DJ: John Digweed
Dude's still got it.  But then again, was he spinning records?  Does anyone anymore?  Whatever he was doing, he was projecting some deep, thumpy progressive house, and had the crowd moving.  Mostly an older crowd, but some musically enlightened millennials in there as well.  They've also nearly doubled the size of the Yuma tent, and have added a chill room and giant chill mattresses along some of the walls.

Best Show By Something Other Than the Artist: Sia
I don't know what I was expecting with Sia, I hadn't seen her since I saw her (two nights in a row, once at Coachella and then the next night at the now-defunct 'Cane's in San Diego), and I hadn't really followed her music much.  I liked her, but just never took the time.  She never moved during the entire set, and her bisected bangs (one half black, the other bleach blonde) hid her eyes for the entire performance.  She had several different dancers on stage with her, doing contemporary dances while Sia belted it out.  Her voice was narrowly edged out for the next award though...

Best Music For the Sunshine: Kamasi Washington
As I didn't see any of the reggae offerings (there were at least three by my count), Kamasi Washington had the music that best seemed to fit the sunshine.  He and his band recorded eight other albums while they were recording his three-CD epic, The Epic, one of which comes out soon.  Acoustic Bassist Miles Mosley led the group singing Abraham from this one, which really got the crowd stirred up.

Most Guest Stars: Disclosure
I didn't know it was Lorde who came out to sing with them, and I didn't know Lion Babe.  I didn't stick around for Kwebs (who I don't know either) or Sam Smith (who I do), but Lorde did a great job with her song, and Disclosure was solid.  I couldn't get too close, but where I was it was a nonstop party the entire time, including a circle people cleared so one guy could do ballet moves to the music.

No More Awards To Give But Wanted to Mention:  Autolux, Bob Moses, CHVRCHES, Dubfire, HÆLOS, Silversun Pickups, Wolf Alice
Autolux are sort of a cross between shoegaze and noise, and they're good.  I liked their set, didn't love it but wasn't disappointed.  Bob Moses is someone I want to check out more, they sound a lot like Trent Reznor singing over a house / progressive house kick drum.  I only caught three songs from CHVRCHES, two from the new album and the closer, The Mother We Share.  The two from the new album were really good.  I wasn't immediately struck with their latest album, Every Open Eye, but I'm going to listen with new ears and an open mind.  I only saw bits and pieces of Dubfire (Live), but I think it's got potential.  Super, super minimal techno, but it had a warmth to it somehow.   HÆLOS could have won the First Big Nice Surprise award, as they were the second full act we saw Friday, and rocked. Silversun Pickups were pretty good, they didn't do a lot I knew but I liked most of their songs.  Wolf Alice sounded great, especially their first song (which reminded me of Star Sail from the first Verve album, you know, the one when they were fucking phenomenal) and their last song, Moaning Lisa Smile, kicked ass more than most bands' entire sets.  Listening to them now on Spotify makes me like them even more.

So that's pretty much it for this year.  I finally got another review up, hooray!  I think I've earned myself a cookie.  Did I miss anything?  Oh yeah, Mbongwa Star.  They're really good as well, go check them out.

Now go get ready, presale for Coachella 2017 should be in about a month.