San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Coachella 2012 Review - Saturday

 Photo by Mike

Saturday came with the usual pains and sores of a Saturday at Coachella.  But as I suspected this day was absolutely going to kick ass and take names in crayon, I was more excited than hungover.  Although we swore we'd never make it to the event before the gates opened two days in a row, it happened, and once again we were waiting in a (smaller than Friday's) crowd, behind Weird Trenchcoat Guy With Long Hair.

There was really nothing we wanted to see for the first couple of hours, so we did what everyone else does at Coachella, which is get fucked up and wander around.  There's really nothing like a temporary oasis with 80,000+ freaks stumbling around in the desert.  Especially when you're absolutely useless to anything and anyone in polite society.

The first band I was curious about was Suedehead.  Two words:  The Jam.  Not that they were a jam, they really wanted to be Paul Weller's old band.

Next up, an awesome band that proves they've run out of names for bands, We Were Promised Jetpacks.  They sound a little like fellow Scottish Fatcat Records label chums Frightened Rabbit, but the singer for Jetpacks is much better fed.  He may have eaten Frightened Rabbit.  Maybe that's why he's such a badass.

The Outdoor Theatre once again held our attention as we stayed for Wolf Parade side project Destroyer.  They've been compared to David Bowie, but they're not that good.  They're really good, just not David Bowie Good.   They sound a little like Spandau Ballet meets Lou Reed.  No, asshole, that's a compliment.  I really liked them.  The vocalist has this way of just sort of talking and singing when he feels like it, and their sax player is spot on.

 Photo by Mike

Next up, The Big Pink.  Other than their drummer, this hot little lady who beat the living shit out of her drums, it was pretty forgettable.  Sound wasn't perfect, and neither was the performance.  But that drummer could lift 50 times her weight in drumstick.  She was like an ant.

Photo by Mike

Left the Mojave tent after only a few songs, headed to see fIREHOSE.  I'd seen them back in like 1993 opening for the Beastie Boys, when they opened the show with Revolution 2 by Butthole Surfers.  I have to say, they were good, but I liked what I saw back then better.  Probably because of the Butthole cover.  I mean Butthole Surfers cover, not something you use to blockade your cornhole.

Photo by Mike

Stuck around for Buzzcocks, who I thought were excellent.  I've been listening to the song Orgasm Addict since I was probably 14, and they also did Homosapien, which I didn't even know was them (might be a Pete Shelley solo song, I've been told), and What Do I Get.  All sounded like they were being played on a scratchy old record, just like they sound on the albums.  Mike didn't think they sounded that good and neither did this girl I was talking to before Bon Iver, but they didn't have earplugs in like I did, so they might be right.

 Photo by Mike

Headed out to the car to change clothes and got back in time to wolf down some chow mein and overcooked chicken just in time to catch part of Squeeze.  Man, if I had only known how good these guys were live I would have gone on a hunger strike and let my nuts drop so I could deal with the cold.  It would have been worth it.  We had to take off early, right when they started doing this great version of Tempted so we could get a place to stand for the grand finale on the Coachella Stage.

We started on the right side of the massive soundboard for The Shins.  We couldn't see very well, but these guys were so good I almost didn't care.  I was closing my eyes and listening and just enjoying it as they banged out a bunch of stuff from the new album, and two or three from Wincing the Night Away, which is the only one of theirs I own or have even heard.  They covered Pink Floyd's Breathe, which was a cool surprise, and ended off the otherwise pretty mellow set with Sleeping Lessons, the opener on Wincing.

As the crowd shifted, so did we, so we could get closer for Bon Iver.  I swear, I think I've listened to Bon Iver, Bon Iver about a dozen times, and these guys are just soooooooo wonderful live.  Their harmonies remind me of Grizzly Bear, and it's much more intense and upbeat than you would think from their studio stuff.  Peaks and valleys, emotional rollercoasters, and a sing-along at the end to The Wolves (Acts I and II), where they had the whole crowd singing "What might have been lost" over and over at the end made this a very memorable experience, and was truly a "Coachella moment."

Finally, Radiohead took the stage for a two-hour set of mind melting fury.  They mostly played material from The King of Limbs and In Rainbows, with a healthy dose of Hail To the Thief.  This was actually pretty cool.  I've now seen Radiohead nine times, and it was great to hear a lot of newer stuff.  Sure, I miss the classics, but they still played Everything In Its Right Place at the end of the main set, Lucky and Airbag during the set, and the last song of the night?  Fucking Paranoid Android.  A class act all the way, I simply cannot see how someone couldn't like these guys, but at least the haters aren't snapping up the last of the tickets when they come to town.

Here's their ENTIRE SET:

Milled out of the polo grounds slowly, but once we got in the car it was even faster than Friday's non-eventful drive back to the motel, where we drained beers and marveled at the fact that it was nearly all over once again, and we felt like we'd just gotten there.

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