April 29, 2009

Coachella 2009 | Day Three

Sunday has to work the hardest in this “show” business. We’re a little slower out of the gate. Stand at an underwhelming act for too long and your ass is (on the) grass. It’s a good thing “get weird” is a function of muscle memory. And more importantly, some of the weekend’s best were yet to come:

Friendly Fires
Word of Friendly Fires had clearly spread fast. The Gobi tent was at capacity and the only thing higher than the temperature (105) was the buzz. So much for hangovers. Let's get raw.

As claimed by numerous parties: Friendly Fires was this year’s Hot Chip (almost), just an all out blast.

Okkervil River

With more than a few good records, Okkervil River has earned the big stage (even if it was under-populated – that sun is brutal). There were some moments. “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe” among them.

Lykke Li

With the help of handclaps, kazoos, cymbals, bells, tambourines, megaphones, Swedish accents, and rain dances, Lykke Li caused quite a cute stir at the Outdoor Theatre. Ever wondered what Lykke Li covering of a Lil Wayne or Kings of Leon song would sound like? Me neither. Answer: like Penelope Cruz at a karaoke bar, only awesome.

Antony and The Johnsons

Hey Okkervil River, maybe, maybe it is. At least there are times when our lives seem cinematic; when a moment is so beautiful we watch from outside ourselves.

Shading all of Antony Hegarty’s previous work is an orchestral grayscale, often described as 'moving'. Would it feel at home in the desert? Perhaps the thought had crossed his mind:

"We're going to try something a little different today…something spicier for a sunny day," and with that, Antony brushed strokes of gold and sky blue over his best-known songs.

These were complete reworkings courtesy of electronic artist Matthew Herbert; miles beyond your standard insert-beat remix. The vulnerable debut encountered a few glitches, all taken in serene stride. The slow-rising heart rate of “Another World” had me paralyzed - easily a personal high on the weekend. I pray these versions will surface on an album one day. For now, there's this and this:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"OK, let's meet up at Yeah Yeah Yeahs" - I bet this was the most common phrase uttered/text sent on Sunday.

We role-called for this. The YYYs, more or less a headliner and with all sorts or record release momentum, received a monster turnout in the 6-oclock slot. Quite deserving if you ask me. The songs were big enough (and Karen O was sparkly enough) to engage just about everyone. As predicted, the It’s Blitz tracks hit hard. “Heads Will Roll” is the jam. "Zero" complaints.

Late Of The Pier

Earlier that day during breakfast, housemates Josh and Gabe were so convincing with their Late of the Pier pitch, that I crossed the pysch-folk-jesus himself, Devendra Banhart, off my list to give the UK newbies a shot. This was a killer show (to be fair, I heard Banhart’s was too). Dancing hard to songs you’ve never heard– always a good sign. I’m listening to the album as I type – discovery, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Extremely hard band to label (spacy synths via disco sequins glam) and none of them look older than 18.

My Bloody Valentine

Like Paul McCartney on Friday, I never thought I’d be able to see this band live (that’s where the comparison ends). I guarantee everyone on the grounds that night heard My Bloody Valentine. From a beer garden, it sounded like a wall of feedback. From up close it sounded like a sweet velvet wall of feedback. MBV have a style all their own, and 20 years after Isn't Anything, that hasn't changed. Some called their closing number a finale. Others called it the loudest 15 minutes Indio has ever experienced.

From there we bounced around, catching Public Enemy bring the noise, getting our fill of The Kills, a quick move to Groove Armada, a glance at Throbbing Gristle, and then back to the field.

The Cure

We acted like a bunch of Jimmy Buffet fans here (singing, drinking, hugging). They played FOREVER. Seriously, we went to the Etienne De Crecy set (French DJ, plays in a cube, below) for what we figured would be the festival closer, and returned to find Robert Smith pushing it well past curfew.

What else can I say? It’s almost May and I’m still trying to wrangle this thing. Truly one for the books. A special thanks to anyone who is down with the “transponder”, let’s do it again next year.