San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Monday, April 30, 2007

Coachella 2007 Review - Part 1 - Friday

I have to say that there's nothing in the world quite like Coachella. You get to do things you never would in the real world, like poking girls you've never met with empty water bottles. And they smile and thank you for it.

That's because one of the greatest innovations this year was the 10-for-one recycling program for water. The idea is simple: return ten empty water bottles to one of two recycling centers and receive a full bottle of water in return. Between that and the few dozen people employed to walk around collecting cigarette butts, the polo field was cleaner than ever by a mile.

First off, we caught Noisettes, who kicked off the Mojave tent at a bewilderingly late 2:30 in the afternoon. Their high-energy poppy punk got the crowd going pretty well, and it was good to catch a whole show from them. They had recently opened up for TV On the Radio at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, but we missed the first part of their set.

Next up, we stayed in Mojave for Toronto's Tokyo Police Club, who have to get the "Band Who Sucked In the Most Original Way" award. Part of this has to do with the fact that the refrain to Cheer It On, the first track on their A Lesson In Crime album has the name of the band in the chorus. For me, that's as bad as if they had a song named Tokyo Police Club. Also, I got sick of hearing others around me repeat the name of the band over and over. Besides that, they wore thin pretty quickly, all their songs sounding pretty much the same.

Off to the Outdoor Theatre for Of Montreal, whose lead singer Kevin Barnes gets the Lead Singer Who Accessorized Best with His Eyeshadow Award. Overall I'd say they were about 70/30 on the good to weird ratio, which is pretty good considering how weird they were. The music is hard to pin down, but I'd say it could be best-described as "sexually ambiguous disco". Not a lot like the Scissor Sisters, but let's just say they wouldn't make strange bedfellows.

(pic by m.conner)

Next, we headed to the main stage to check out Arctic Monkeys. They were a little disappointed that the crowd didn't cheer any louder than they did, but they did a very good set, consisting of approximately half of stuff from Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not and half of the new album Favourite Worst Nightmare. Brainstorm, the first track from the latter, and I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor were definite highlights. Here's a link to a YouTube video I took.

(pic by m.conner)

We stuck around the main stage for The Jesus and Mary Chain, one of this year's big reunion acts. I'd seen them back on Lollapalooza a long time ago (#2?), and thought they were pretty good. This time around, they sounded great, but I came to the conclusion that all of their songs sound pretty much the same. My friend, however, felt that this was one of the highlights of Friday, and I've seen other reports to that effect, so what do I know? Good, not great in my opinion.

(pic by m.conner)

We decided that there was no way we'd be able to get to see Bjork at all if we left where we were standing, which was right up against the barrier of the second section back, so we decided to cling to it and stick around for Interpol. Mike had never heard them and I hadn't seen them for some time, so it seemed like a good idea. While I really liked Turn On the Bright Lights and was tepid on Antics, I'm even less sure about the new material. They've added some keyboards, which does contribute some extra texture to their music, but it largely feels stagnant. It wasn't a bad performance, but I can think of a lot of other acts that should have held that spot, and would have held it better.

(pic by m.conner)

Finally, it was time for Bjork. As always, she was absolutely breathtaking. The set, which included the *first* encore I've ever seen at Coachella, opened with the new single Earth Intruders and went through a lot of stuff from Homogenic and Post, including very hard renditions of Army of Me, Hyperballad, and Pluto. Encore was a super hard techno-type track, where she kept chanting "Don't let this happen to you" over and over.

(this was prolly lifted from a professional s0urce, but isn't it a great picture?)

The coolest thing for me about Bjork's set was the fact that her computer manipulator had a Lemur, which is one of the coolest inventions ever. Also, I'm not sure what the other graphically-based MIDI controller was, but it was circular, and had about two dozen little chips sitting around the edges that resembled sine and other types of waveforms. The engineer would place these runes onto the middle of the circle, which would generate a beam of light between them. He would then turn them and twist them, which would make the beam of light fluctuate and vibrate. It was hard to tell exactly what this was doing (other than tripping me out) but it was a very, very cool effect. I managed to get a very shoddy-quality video of All Is Full of Love, it's on YouTube here.

The worst part about Friday was, as usual, getting through the cattle grind in the parking lot. It seemed like an hour, though it was only fifteen minutes that we were stuck idling in the car. Actually, that's not too bad at all for leaving Coachella at midnight, but I chocked it up to the fact that it was Friday, and anticipated that Saturday would be much, much worse...

Saturday and Sunday to come!

No comments: