Coachella Day 3

COCHELLA DAY 3

With nearly 30 acts under my belt in the first 2 days I decided to not do too much bouncing around and focus on what I considered to be some very important acts scheduled for this day.

My first order of business was to be FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE (an act I had seen just 2 weeks previous). It is obvious that I am not the only one obsessed with this molten-hot electropop songstress from across the pond. Flo and Co. were playing one of the smaller stages but this “tent” still held between probably 3,000-4,000 people. It’s a good thing I had seen her earlier as even at 4pm the stage viewing area was overflowing and there was no way I was catching Flo this time. Lesson to you? If Florence and the Machine plays anywhere near you…RUN DON’T WALK and get your tickets and catch what I feel will continue to be a very important and influential artist. Plus she sings her ass off!

The kings of Austin indie rock SPOON have managed to amass a major following despite no radio hits in their 15 year tenure. However, with each release, they sell more and more units in their initial release week (their last release debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts). They may never have a radio and that’s just fine with me as long as they keep ‘em comin’ with discs of what indie rock should be. With just the SLIGHTEST Texas tinge and not afraid from time to time to go slightly dissonant on your ass, Spoon continues to be an indie band by which many others are and should be measured. My first time to see them live will take me back for another serving anytime I can get it.

I mentioned the band SIGUR ROS in a review of BKLYN’s version of the Icelandic wonders, YEASAYER (Day 1). It just so happened that Sigur Ros frontman/leader/writer/

language inventor JONSI was on tap for today. His set was surprisingly accessible and sung mostly in English (much his singing with Sigur Ros is in Icelandic or a made-up language of his own, Hopelandic). Still his quivery falsetto, unique performance style and strange yet beautiful writing is present and makes him the special artist that he is. Hopefully there will be more Sigur Ros (the band has announced a Tiger Woods like “indefinite hiatus”) but one hopes Jonsi at least will continue to bless us with his oddly intriguing solo music.

NOTE: IF YOU HAVE NEVER LISTENED TO SIGUR ROS DO YOUR SELF A FAVOR AN DIG ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR ACTS ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT IS UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE…STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL, ETHEREAL, OTHER WORLDLY, SIMPLY CAPTIVATING AND TOTALLY SUBLIME

File under: “I KNOW THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GREAT BUT I DON’T GET IT”. The fact that one of the biggest and best music festivals in the world chose GORILLAZ to close things out had seemed and odd choice and my fears for my ears unfortunately came to fruition. I actually didn’t hate them but I had my issues…1) Never had so many people on stage made so little sound. There was a full string section, 4 back-up singers, more keyboards than Carter has little pills, God’s own amount of loops and sequencing… yet it still managed to sound like a Depeche Mode song mix in which the engineer forgot to punch up a few channels. B) I’ve seen more energy and excitement at an Olympic preliminary curling match between Zimbabwe and Bermuda than was happening up there on the main stage. I mean… I understand being chill and cool…but damn brothers, you are playing for 100,000 people…get up for it a bit.  III) Where the hell were the funny cartoon characters? For those that don’t know Gorillaz is a fictional band of actually cool animation characters with actual personality. What we got was the guys that actually play the music (with no personality) and some weird politically oriented videos and only still frames on the jumbotron of the funny little dudes that made Gorillaz famous. These laid back (to the point of inducing head bouncing sleep) electronic groves were a strange vibe to bring at the end of an otherwise incredible festival. I’m sure I’m missing something…maybe I had just overloaded my cranial iPod but as I say, I just didn’t get it.

The time for the act I had most anticipated had come. It was 7.30pm and I was firmly entrenched 20 feet from the front of the big stage for an act that was now playing out for the first time in over 15 years…it was the reunion of one of the most important bands of the alt/indie movement of the 90s….PAVEMENT. Leader, singer, writer, lead guitar player STEVEN MALKMUS has continued on with his solo work and a couple of great discs with his new band The Jicks but the rest of Pavement literally had to come out of musical retirement (at the ripe old ages of 30s-40s) to put Pavement back together. Some had to quit day jobs to start the tour. In an interview, one member talks of quitting his job parking cars and was unsure as to whether he will return to it when this world tour is over. As they took the stage a lackadaisical sense of “hey wow this is cool…these people all came to see us? You mean people actually listened to those little records we made?” seemed to be their point of view of it all…so much so that the drummer was on his cell phone with seemingly his mother or wife literally as he sat down behind the kit…10 seconds from counting off the first tune. I wasn’t the only one excited by what was happening…at least 50,000 showed up to see this musically historic event. Tickets for the tour sell out at every stop (the Central Park shows sold out in 2 hours and 2 more had to be added). A study in simplicity and low-fi sound, Pavement reminds us that music doesn’t have to be complicated or produced within an inch of it’s life to be good. Malkmus is the glue that holds them all together with brilliant writing and passionate guitar playing style. The question of whether it would work or not after all this time later has been answered with a resounding YES!…on Sunday April 18th at 7.45 the Lord did grin and smiled down on the laid back boys from Stockton, Ca. He smiled down as well as the rest of us who were fortunate enough to be there. All present smiled as well… even the guys in the band… even if they weren’t sure why.

I caught a piece of THOM YORKE (leader of RADIOHEAD) and FLEA (bass player of The Chili Peppers) and it was interesting…I am not sure about a whole disc of tribal style, slowly growing grooves but it is as unique as one would expect from Yorke. My buddies who stayed for the whole set said overall it was very good and that finally they let the thoroughbred that is Flea out of the starting gate and he managed to cut loose and show why he was there. PHOENIX is a bit poppy for my taste so I decided to leave my other music loving friends to check them out and go and secure my spot for the Pavement set. My cohorts who did check it out, swore it was a great set and with their taste in music I will trust them. MIIKE SNOW who I saw at Lollapalooza, was reported to have had a good set as well as JULIAN CASABLANCAS(THE STROKES) and MATT AND KIM but as I said in order for my ears and body to have the stamina I wanted them to, hard choices had to be made on this day. For the most part I was happy to take in the full acts I did, save one, and hopefully I will catch the others soon.
FINAL WRAP TO FOLLOW LATER TODAY
CLEM
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