Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coachella 2012 Day 2 - Weekend 1

The magic continues...  with Doug in purple sprinkled with some of my own commentary.

Seared Ahi Tuna Wrap
WIN:  A hearty vitamin-enriched breakfast thanks to Jake's in "downtown" Palm Springs. I refuse to believe a town so small has a downtown, however; felt more like a Village Square.
Surprisingly large portions.  Doug could barely finish his plate of tacos with salad and he paid about the same price as he did for the tiny ones at Coachella the day before.  We felt very healthy afterwards. 

FAIL:  We missed Childish Gambino because we were unable to get up before 1 pm and they decided to change up the parking on Day 2 and we had to take a few laps around the Indio Polo Field before they finally guided us into the newly opened lot next to the camping area.  On the bright side, the lot was pretty close to the entrance, so less walking. As a consolation, on the way there, I played Gambino's Camp album in the car. Hey Hey Scenester seemed impressed. 
Thanks to the Disneyland-style line to parking, we missed AWOLNATION, and Childish Gambino's nerd rap.  
I was impressed by what I heard of Gambino in the car.  Creative use of hipster and skinny tie in a rap song. 

WIN:  The day after rain made for probably the prettiest day at Coachella I've ever had.  The sky was blue, the clouds were fluffy and white, and there was a happy breeze rolling through.
I was especially happy about the weather when we were packed into the Radiohead show and no one was sweating on me and I could feel a lovely breeze.  

WIN:  We only caught the 2nd half of The Buzzcocks' set upon our arrival into the grounds, but damn, they were awesome. This is the 2nd time I've been at Coachella and a group of old fogies well past their prime showed everyone how it's done (first time was Devo in 2010).  Bonus - when you recognize a song you've heard a million times and finally learn who the band is.  It was a good start to the day.  English punk rock FTW.

WIN:  Noel Gallagher and his Birds played half Oasis songs. That's enough for a win, but they weren't the songs I knew.  I only knew Don't Look Back in Anger (written by Noel) and that song's awesome so that guarantees them a win. Other than that they were...whatever.  I think Noel Gallagher secretly hates himself and really wishes he could write a song that is even 5% as memorable as anything Oasis did in 1994/1995. His self-loathing came through with his poor, disinterested stage presence. 
Too bad the rest of the set sounded like generic versions of Oasis songs without the unique vocals.

FAIL:  The free water refill station was just a sink...and it was far.  The water was of questionable potability.

WIN:  I've always thought of The Shins as that pleasant-sounding band from Garden State and that's pretty much what they were here, an enjoyable set.  They played songs that I recognized, like New Slang and that other one I know, and they get an EXTRA MILLION BONUS POINTS for an excellent cover of Pink Floyd's Breathe.  That was a nice surprise.

Their lead guitar player is also a girl but I'm undecided if she was actually cute or just cute because she plays guitar. I get easy crushes on girls who play instruments. I've gone off on a tangent now...moving on...
The Shins (aka the singer James Mercer) sounded great despite the completely new lineup from when I saw them years ago.

FAIL - Some a$$hole left some gum on the barrier I was leaning on.  My track jacket now has a sticky white glob of gum on the back. And napkin bits. F**k that guy.
Don't understand why people put gum all over the barriers.  There were trash bins everywhere.  Maybe the garbage situation got out of control...

WIN - Burgers, hot dog, and a bag of fries for dinner.
The hot dog and fries cost the same as those stupid cage-free / grass-fed tacos and we couldn't even finish the fries!  Still angry over the tacos?  Yeah...

WIN:  The 10 minutes of Flying Lotus we caught.  I'm not that big on the whole DJ / remix / electronic / computer music thing, but sometimes with a good crowd, and an actual live band behind you, it can sound really good. I was intrigued enough to get some tracks once I got home.  

FAIL:  Now, admittedly, catching 10 minutes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's set is not enough to pass judgment on this prog-rock band, but they didn't grab my attention in that amount of time.  But for the sake of full disclosure - their songs often span 20 minutes and, in fact, during this 50-minute set they only got through 3 songs. So my need to leave early and get a good spot for Radiohead really ruined their chances. So I guess really it was a fail on my part.  But I choose to blame others.
I was curious about them, but it all sounded the same after awhile.  

FAIL:  Bon Iver.  Stop it.
The only reason to see him was because he won a Grammy.  Luckily, we missed most of his sleepy music. 

WIN:  Can Radiohead ever not be awesome?  Their stage was well-designed with several cool screens portraying each band member transposed against another.  Their sometimes polarizing songs from their latest album, King of Limbs, sounded great live.  By adding extra members to the band (at one point, 4 people played drums), their new songs were able to come very close to sounding like the album; when they didn't, they were often more interesting.  They also played older tracks (nothing earlier than OK Computer though), like Lucky (a personal favorite) and also a couple of new songs and B-sides like The Daily Mail and Identikit. Great great stuff. Their slower more subdued songs, such as Pyramid Song and Give Up the Ghost, were hauntingly beautiful in the desert night.  Bonus - Thom Yorke's brief cover of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush that segued into Everything in its Right Place. Beautiful. I can't possibly gush further.

Day 1
Day 3
Best of Coachella: Sat - LA Weekly
Top 10 Awkward Coachella Dance Moves