Friday, May 17, 2013

Coachella 2013 Day 2 - Weekend 2

Guest bloggers:  Doug writing in purple, Chris in orange, and me in white.

Okay so Day 2, I did a poor job of actually walking around the festival and mostly stuck to the main stage and the adjacent beer garden.  It was a relaxing day, but a sad day for adventure.  As usual, I fail as a Coachella goer.

FAIL:  BIGGEST SUPER FAIL ON MY PART - Getting there too late to see Savages.  So every year, it seems, someone plays at Coachella who is about to break big.  I miss their set, everyone says they were awesome, and I don't get that cool hipster feeling of finding a band/singer before they're famous and pretending like I discovered them.  A couple of examples:

In 2009 I missed Mastodon rocking the Mojave Tent at 11 pm when they played their latest album at the time, Crack the Skye, in full because...I don't even remember why. I'm looking at the 2009 set times right now and have no idea what I was doing at this time.  I THINK me and my ex didn't feel like walking anywhere and sat on some bleachers to watch f***ing Atmosphere.  Atmosphere! Jeez. Luckily, I've gone to a couple Mastodon shows since then and they're awesome but it's this kind of breakout performance I never end up catching at Coachella.  It's especially rare to have a metal band get to close out at a tent.  

Then last year, I missed Frank Ocean (actually I caught one song).  I don't remember who I went to see instead. But this was three months before Channel Orange would come out and holy shit I love that album (and I don't even really usually like R&B).  Plus he did a cover of Bob Dylan's Long Time Gone, which I would have just loved to see.  Missing this one was on me, I just make bad choices sometimes.

This year, I think my missed opportunity will be Savages, an all-girl British post-punk band whose debut album Silence Yourself just came out this week and is all sorts of great.  They were playing at the butt crack of 2pm (getting to Coachella at 2pm is the equivalent of getting up at 4am to go to work), so obviously I wasn't going to make it.  I'm still mad about it. *cries*

My BIGGEST SUPER FAIL will be a yearly tradition, I think.  This depresses me.

FAIL:  I don't know what about me screamed drug mule, but a security lady decided to make an example out of me Saturday and held up the line for a good 10 minutes rifling through every single item in my bag.  What did she find?  Vitamins in my Altoids case along with some mints.
"What are these?"
"They don't look like vitamins."
"You can throw them away if you want."
So she throws away the entire case in the trash.

I had no idea what to say about the manufacturing of vitamins to explain why they look the way they do.  So what else could I say?  BTW, amount of drugs I brought in all weekend:  ZERO.  And if I were to bring any in, wouldn't that be the WORST place to hide them?  Come on!  And she didn't have to throw away the entire tin.  Now I had no vitamins for the rest of the weekend AND no mints.  I was pissed.  Chris was behind me and security barely looked in her bag and merely asked "Do you have any drugs?" then let her through.  Seriously?!  I thought maybe Chris' innocent demeanor would transfer over to me, so at the second security checkpoint, I had her go first.  She got through pretty quickly and RIGHT when I got to security, a new grumpy lady came in and made me take everything out of my bag.  She even tried to make me toss my reusable water bottle.  WTF, I'll pour the water out, but I'm not throwing it away.  My day at Coachella was starting out terribly.

FAIL:  Thanks to the holdup at security and the Coachella app update from the night before (my iPhone app was displaying Violent Femmes' time change before the weekend started.  After the update, it was showing the original set time), I missed the first song (the ONE song I wanted to hear most live) off the Violent Femmes debut album (they played the entire album), Blister in the Sun.  My anger and body heat was increasing, so I separated from Chris and Andrew and went straight to the Main Stage to hear the rest of the set and find some shade. 

WIN:  BEST MUSIC TO LAY DOWN ON THE GRASS IN THE BEER GARDEN WHILST DRINKING BEER AND CHILLING:  TIE - The Violent Femmes and Cafe Tacvba.  Obviously, everyone's familiar with the Violent Femmes from such hits as Blister In The Sun and Gone Daddy Gone, but me being a child of the late 90's whose first introduction to music was KoRn and Limp Bizkit (I've come pretty far, huh?) I'm not well-versed in the song catalog of the Femmes, who came a bit before my time, but they sounded fun and a refreshing counter to the more modern hipster crap that usually pervades these festivals.  It's nice to see earnest and non-pretentious at these things.  Also cool: they played their whole first album all the way through.  A fine time on a sunny afternoon and despite their age they still sound great.
Despite missing the first song, I did enjoy the rest of the set.  They sound great after all these years even though their looks and lyrics didn't really match up.  I still loved them and all the songs.  Gawd, I still can't believe the album is as old as I am.  And I found a new favorite shady spot: the fence along the VIP beer garden. 

As for Cafe Tacvba (I don't know why it's spelled that way if the V is not pronounced), this energetic Latin rock band from Mexico were a fine pairing to my Heineken Light that cost $9.  I don't know any of their songs, but they were pleasant and while I laid on the beer garden grass I found myself bobbing along to their songs.  Go me.  

WIN:  If you’ve ever been to a Make-Up show, you know how infectious their music is. But it’s not just their music, it’s the way they perform, the way they move on stage and totally suck you in, especially the singer, Ian Svenonius. That guy is crazy. The tent was packed and as soon as the band came out the crowd went wild. Of course, the entire band was dressed in black suits with collared shirts and ties in the heat I now refer to as the desert inferno, but that didn’t stop them from playing one of the best sets I saw all weekend.

WIN:  I was able to get right up front for Selecter. Where was everyone? I thought it would be totally packed, but people didn’t really start showing up until the band started playing. Even then, there was still lots of room in the tent which turned out to be great because everyone was dancing. I may have breathed in more dust at that show than at any other, though it’s hard to say now. Everyone at the front was older and the two guys beside me told me a story about seeing Selecter in 1979! I couldn’t believe they could even handle a festival like Coachella at their age, but at the same time it was really encouraging to see some old scenesters still hanging out. Plus those guys could dance! The Selecter show had a super high fun factor because of all the dancing. Even Pauline Black commented on how active a crowd this was compared to the week before. And because of that they played two extra songs! Total awesomeness.

WIN:  COOLEST BAND LEAD BY A GUY WHO LOOKS LIKE THE NERDY DUDE FROM THE OCEAN'S 11 MOVIES (I THINK HIS NAME WAS LIVINGSTON, YOU KNOW, THE GUY WHO HANDLED ALL THE COMPUTER STUFF) - Hot Chip.  I've heard the name Hot Chip but never their music.  To my surprise their singer is not a hot guy named Chip (See what I did there? ...I'll see myself out...) but their frontman is this little nerdy British dude and a bunch of his nerdy friends.  Their electro infused dance music made for fun times while the sun went down but after a while all their songs started sounding kind of same-sy to me.  It was also apparently the main guy's birthday (screw it, I'm calling him Chip).  Happy Birthday, Not-Really-Hot-But-Kind-Of-Average-Looking Chip.
Hot Chip's new songs were good, but I was disappointed that they didn't play more of my old favorites.  They played one or two and the rest were new.  I did enjoy the group of guys next to me bonding over the love of dance music and glowing objects.  I did not enjoy the guy next to me who thought he could dance without spilling his beer...

FAIL:  It was finally dark and I was trying to make my way towards where Hot Chip was playing. It was so crowded around the stage I knew it would not even be worth it for me to try and find anyone so I was just hanging out around the periphery. All of a sudden this guy grabs me by the wrist and starts dancing with me. He spun me around and out and he had such a firm grip on me that I couldn’t get out of the dance, nor could I hear what he was saying. It was particularly bad because he was trying to ballroom dance with me and I’m a terrible ballroom dancer. Finally, he stopped and bowed. It was over. Relief! I stood there for a moment trying to wrap my head around what had just happened when the guy grabbed me again. No! I couldn’t believe I was trapped in the same bizarre dance that I’d just escaped from. After what seemed like an eternity, the guy stopped and bowed again. What was with all this bowing? No time to think about that because I had to get out of there. Fast.

WIN:  BEST MUSIC TO PLAY WHILE STAYING HOME ALONE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT TO CRY INTO YOUR SOB JAR BECAUSE SOMEONE JUST BROKE YOUR HEART - The Postal Service.  I never bought or illegally downloaded Give Up, so I really only know Such Great Heights and The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, and really more so the first song because it was on The Garden State soundtrack and because KROQ never stops playing it, so I figured their music sounded all chipper but with kind of depressing themes, and that's pretty much what happened.  I also just realized I had no idea what Ben Gibbard looked like before I saw him on this day.  He was always that bastard who married my 2009-2010 celebrity crush, Zooey Deschannel.  And God damn it, he had great hair.  
I have to say, Ben Gibbard looks really good post-Zooey Deschannel and far better than he looked in the Death Cab for Cutie concerts I had attended back in college.   
But they're divorced now so I guess she's back in play...ANYWAY, Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley was also there to sing things.  She looks like an older more mann-ish looking Zooey Deschannel to me. 
Maybe it's because I've seen Lewis live back in the day, but I thought Zooey Deschannel was trying to be a brunette, less talented Jenny Lewis.  BTW Jenny Lewis looked and sounded fantastic.     
Anyway, I can't say I'm a HUGE fan of their music, this sort of computer pop isn't really my thing, but it was definitely a highlight of the night.  Being among a crowd of thousands who had obviously been waiting the better part of a decade to sing along to these songs being played live was very fun and since they only had one album I'm pretty sure they squeezed in every song they ever made, so you get that cool feeling where you somehow heard every possible song you liked. 
Jenny Lewis and Ben Gibbard had great stage chemistry.  The set really brought back memories.  I practically cried singing along to two of my favorite songs:  the playful Nothing Better and Clark Gable.

The show was amazing.  My grumpy streak was slowly coming to an end...

BEST NUDITY - This drugged out dude who walked into the crowd after the Postal Service, who just took off all his clothes except for his socks and then just walked around like this was normal behavior and then later wandered off.  I would post a picture, but this is a family blog.

FAIL:  BEST BAND YOU NEVER EVER NEED TO SEE LIVE - The xx.  Ok so I started listening to The xx a few weeks before Coachella.  I really like their music - it's very minimal and atmospheric and moody, but I also thought that minimalism wouldn't translate well live.  I was mostly right - seeing them live pointed out how much more layered their music is, but the singers are two depressing stiffs who are not fun to watch.  The guy looked kind of creepy, and the girl was wearing a large sport coat which was distracting to me.  Costume choices are always important.  It was nice to see them play bass and guitar live but the bulk of the sound was all Jaime xx in the back doing work on a large rig with various keyboards and computers and electronic percussion instruments.  Other than some fog and some lighting, they're not worth actually seeing.  I like their music, but man I needed a nap.  Also, I just saw the Postal Service sing about depressing shit while still managing to sound happy about it, so The xx just continued my Saturday downward spiral of depression and really need to work on their showmanship and stage presence.

WIN:  Franz Ferdinand's lead singer, Alex Krapanos, rocked a leather jacket and the Mojave Tent.  The band played the tent as if it were a stadium.  How they didn't end up on one of the outdoor stages, I'll never know, but they absolutely killed it with such danceable tracks as Michael, The Dark of the Matinée, No You Girls, Do You Want to, The Fallen, Can't Stop Feeling, Outsiders, and the hit Take Me Out (which I've always wanted to sing along to live.  It was magnificent!).  It was hard for me to pull myself away from the music and miss the rest of the set, but I had to run over to the next tent to catch Janelle Monáe. Thank you for helping me decide when to leave (they had last weekend's set list posted). 

WIN:  The Gobi Tent could hardly contain the powerhouse that is Janelle Monáe.  Great singer, great dancer, great theatrics.  I loved that it felt like a party on stage with her and her band.  Everyone was dancing.  I was impressed by the amazing sound that came out of this small, energetic woman.  Her voice was perfect for I Want You Back (even though that Jackson 5 song is a bit over-covered, she did a great job).  I really wanted to hear Wondaland live, but it probably wouldn't have fit well with the rest of her high energy set.  Lucky for her fans, she went over the allotted set time and closed the night by singing Come Alive, in which she got the crowd to sing along, lower themselves to the ground, rush to the front when she jumped off the stage, running back and forth (she brushed past my fingers.  I turned into a squealing fangirl).  She then SWAM over the audience to the back.  My heart was racing afterwards.  Amazing.  This was the highlight of my night.  I would've been happy if she was the last performer I saw that day, which is probably why...  

WIN:  I was too exhausted to get back into a crowd for Phoenix.  That and Chris and I kept barely missing each other several times until I finally gave into Baohaus, which Doug kept recommending.  I wasn't going to NYC any time soon, so why not try it at Coachella of all places.  I had their version of chicken and waffles, Coffin Bao Fried Chicken (a large fried bao stuffed with their fried chicken and topped with chili condensed milk syrup, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro).  It sounded like a weird combo, but taste-wise made complete sense.  I don't know how Eddie Huang comes up with these flavors, but it was delicious (besides the bao being a bit dense).  I picnicked at the fringe of the Main Stage and enjoyed my late night snack to the soundtrack of Phoenix.  I didn't mind not being in the crowd since I had already experienced a pretty much perfect performance a few years back at Coachella

WIN:  AND LASTLY, I COULDN'T THINK OF ANOTHER FAKE CATEGORY, SO HERE'S WHAT I THOUGHT OF...Phoenix.  My Saturday night ended with Phoenix and me finally having to use one of the Porta Potties.  Phoenix was pretty good.  I only know their most recent singles.  I liked their new songs "Entertainment" and that one about being cool.  Can't really say much here.  They were crowd pleasers.  Alas, neither R Kelly nor Daft Punk showed up, so us Weekend 2 kids got the short end of the stick there.  My friends were super impressed that the singer crowd surfed at the end.  They thought it was the most awesome thing ever. I thought that was cute.  They need to go to more concerts...

So that's my Saturday.  I did a poor job of adventuring, but I had fun.  It was definitely a day of hearing a lot of computer music though. 

FAIL:  We had to walk through a Disneyland-like maze to get to our shuttle and wait in a line that also felt like we were at the theme park.  The delay felt like forever compared to yesterday when we immediately boarded the shuttle.   


Monday, May 6, 2013

Coachella 2013 Day 1 - Weekend 2

This year I have not just one, but TWO guest bloggers!  6-year Coachella veteran Doug, who helped out with blogging duties last year, will be returning in all his snarky glory in purple.  Chris, 1st-time (and probably last-time) Coachella attendee, will be drawing up her new experiences in orange.  I will be chiming in here and there. 

Another year, another exhausting weekend in the desert.  Why do I do this to myself? This year's lineup did not get me very excited.  While there were plenty of acts I would be happy to see, none of them screamed out CAN'T MISS for me.  As far as headliners go, this was the worst in all the years I've gone in terms of selling me on going.  I like/own one Blur album (13), I know one Stone Roses song (one more than most people apparently), I kind of like Phoenix but don't know much of their stuff, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers just screamed of last minute desperation for a name after they couldn't get someone better (and I'm not a fan of their post-1999 work).  So the intent for me this year was checking out some smaller acts and hanging out with fun people.  As usual, I got lazy and didn't feel like walking around too much. Meant to see way more than I ended up seeing, and for this I am displeased with myself.  Anyway, let's get to steppin'.

It was my first time at Coachella. I had already mentally prepared for the heat, the crowds, and security. But what I soon discovered was that you can never be totally prepared for a festival of this scope, so when I got there the first day, I didn’t exactly hit the ground running. It turned out ok though, and as the days wore on, I got more into the swing of things.

WIN:  Digging the postcards of past Coachella posters that came with the wristband.  Brings back memories...

FAIL:  The hotter than expected .7-mile walk to the shuttle.  We all tried the shuttle this year.  Doug's friend set the trend by accidentally purchasing them along with their Coachella passes.  Anyways, I once did an insane 3-mile walk to Coachella thanks to terrible car traffic trying to get in the first day, so I thought less than a mile would be nothing.  We were all caught off guard.  This stretch felt like a 5-mile walk in the shadeless 90-degree heat.  We seriously considered driving to the shuttle the next day. 

WIN:  The shuttle was nice and air conditioned.  It even had bathrooms in the back! 
The shuttle bus was clean, but atmospherically it was like an absurd comedy. Coachella had issued the driver mix CDs to play during the ride, and from the look on his face, it was clear it wasn’t exactly his cup of tea.  The riders for the most part were loud and pumped for the fest. Everyone seemed so hyped and I was already starting to feel my 5am wake up call. I needed lunch. I ate a mint instead. It was a pattern that would repeat itself throughout the weekend. Why am I here? Oh yeah, Stone Roses. 

FAIL:  The walk from the shuttle drop off was a terrible dusty maze, which I understand is helpful to separate and direct the crowds to their shuttles at the end of the night, but extremely unhelpful in the day when there is a shuttle full of people every so often.  It's even worse to walk through all that dust knowing that the shuttle entrance is a few feet away from the first security checkpoint.  Also they tried to disperse the crowds with colored roads.  Sorry Coachella, still crowded and on top of that, very dusty.  Thank goodness I was paranoid about the dust storm from Weekend 1 and brought a handkerchief.  It was a lifesaver all weekend.  I don't know if I was spoiled by cooler weather last year Weekend 1, but I don't remember Coachella ever being THIS dusty.   

FAIL:  Due to the Boston Marathon bombing right after Weekend 1, we saw that security was not messing around. They were searching people much more thoroughly than I had expected and this caused a long wait in line in the hot sun. From there it was another long, dusty walk to the second security check point where there was a second search. We saw bike taxis along the way, but it hadn’t hit me yet what a valuable service they provided. Two security checks and we’re finally in. I was delirious from hunger and the heat.
I know Coachella was just trying to keep people safe, but it seemed a bit disorganized.  I was told people entering from self-parking got through pretty quickly.  Maybe I was just getting grumpy from the heat and waking up so early. 

FAIL:  Thanks to the long security lines, we missed Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.  At least I caught some of their set streaming from Weekend 1.  They would've been good.

WIN:  Doug decided to come up with his own categories.  Enjoy!
BEST FELLOW MORRISSEY HATER - Johnny Marr.  Just for reference, we got to Palm Springs around noon, somehow didn't get into the venue until 3, and didn't really see anyone until 4.  That first act was some guy from The Smiths named Johnny Marr.  I don't listen to The Smiths.  Not that I think they suck, they just never did it for me. BUT I really really really hate Morrissey , like as a human being.  I can't stand militant vegetarians. I saw him at Coachella 2009.  He really seemed to hate being there and twice stopped his set because he had to say something about the smell of cooked meat and leave the stage because he had to compose himself. F THAT GUY.  So anyway, Johnny Marr was in The Smiths or something and I guess they all hate each other and Morrissey doesn't like when they play Smiths songs without him.  So of course Johnny Marr plays Smiths songs.  If it gets Morrissey upset, I fully support this.  As for his set, I stuck around for about 5 songs.  He had a respectable turnout (with a much older crowd than I'm used to seeing) and seemed to be enjoying himself. Good for the old guy. He came out with a rose in his mouth and then strapped it to his guitar.  British people...Anyway, this was a nice appetizer to start the day.
Where am I? The festival grounds are massive. It made the map I’d been studying online look like a joke. After a little rest and hydration, it was time for Johnny Marr.  Johnny Marr hit the stage strong with The Right Thing Right. It was a great opener and the crowd responded in a sea of undulating bodies and bobbing heads. I was right there with them. He’s an awesome live performer, a real showman with the kind of natural charisma that always made me wonder why he was never a front man. His talent as a guitarist is unquestionable as he’s proven time and time again in all the bands he’s played in (The Smiths, The Pretenders, TheThe, Electronic, Modest Mouse...) and now with his solo work finally out after all these years, I was overjoyed to see just how truly great he was on his own. Unfortunately, that song was followed by a gratuitous Smiths song, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before. Luckily, after that, I was rewarded with Upstarts.  Energetic and catchy, it was a real pick-me-up and I soon forgot about how hot it was and remembered why I love going to shows in the first place. But too soon again, he played another Smiths song and not knowing how much more of that there’d be, I decided to get out of there with Hey Hey Scenesters and headed to Divine Fits.

Johnny Marr's songs were good.  He's very talented, so I don't understand why he needed to play songs that made him sound like a bad Smiths cover band.  It was weird.  It's not like last year's Coachella performer, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, who definitely needed to play Oasis songs to keep people around.  Their original songs sounded kind of like bad Oasis songs. 

FAIL:  Morrissey.  Did i mention I hate him?  He wasn't there, but he somehow still bothered me.

Giant Snail loved Divine Fits
WIN:  Divine Fits was already playing when we got to the Outdoor Stage. They sounded really good, though I thought Like Ice Cream was a ridiculous song. It’s summery sounding, but lacks substance lyric wise. Baby Get Worse was better with heavier guitar and a more appealing bass line. The keyboard and synth backing this song really picked it up for me and I found their performance on this one to be dramatic. It turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser and for good reason. They’re a good live band and I’d gladly see them again, though maybe not as a headliner. That said, I did enjoy the rest of their set and did not leave disappointed.
This was a good start to my Coachella weekend.  Divine Fits sounded great live, as good as their album A Thing Called Divine Fits.  Their songs are catchy even if most of the time they sound like either Spoon or Wolf Parade (I haven't listened to them, but I'm guessing they are heavy on the synthesizers).  My Love is Real and Baby Get Worse are some of the few songs that sound like they actually collaborated. 

WIN:  BEST BAND THAT HAD A SONG OR TWO ON THE SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD SOUNDTRACK - Metric.  I have a genuine like for Metric's indie electro-y pop music and Emily Haines' voice.  They played at like 4:45 at the main stage and I had time to catch just three songs - and they were all songs I knew!  The main stage audience bounced along nicely and seemed into it.  And Emily brought the swag with a gold mic.  They sounded good and I heard them play a couple of their hits right off the bat - Help I'm Alive and Youth Without Youth.  Wished I could have heard Black Sheep but I had to leave to go see...

WIN:  BEST CANADIAN BAND WITH THE NAME OF ANOTHER COUNTRY IN THEIR NAME - Japandroids.  I was very eager to see The Japandroids.  I have their latest album, and while it has a fun spunkiness to it, it has this very strange sense of polish that seemingly robs it of the full blast of raw punk-infused energy I feel is trying to burst through.  As I suspected, their live show is the best way to experience them. The energetic duo, playing only guitar and drums, just tore through their songs (and guitar strings and broken drum sticks) and really got the Gobi Tent rocking.  They were genuinely happy to be there and it showed in their performance.  Their songs were very catchy and fun to sing along to.  The crowd doing the "OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OHHHH" refrain during The House That Heaven Built was a joy.

BEST STAGE CRASHER - This man-lady in a dress (I couldn't tell, he/she was very androgynous) somehow rushed the stage during the Japandroids set and lasted a good 30 seconds of ridiculous dancing before one of the band techs got 3 security guys to grab her and take her to the back. Rock 'N' Roll.
WIN:  WORST BLACKOUT - I don't remember what I did for the next hour...and no I didn't take any drugs. 
Doug seems to have forgotten that this was when he and friends double fisted cups of beer and had dinner.  I must say, there has been a huge improvement in food offerings this year.  I was never so relieved in my life to see a Kogi truck.  At that moment, I felt like I was eating the best tacos in the world.  This was also when Doug began his love affair with Lime Truck's Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos (fresh tuna, pickled veggies, and edamame hummus served with fresh chips). 
Later, I found myself at the Green Truck. This was sadly one of the best parts of the evening for me. I had a fantastic vegan burger from Green Truck. It had a flavorful homemade patty topped with fresh vegetables and a terrific focaccia bun. They also make their own ketchup which I used liberally. I sat down on my orange mat (it folds up really small and turned out to be a great accessory to have at the fest) and had the best burger I’d ever had at a show. Plus finally being able to sit down was awesome. I could hear Stone Roses playing in the background. They sounded great and I really wanted to see them, but hunger and fatigue took precedence and I was content to just scarf that delicious burger while listening to them in the distance. At the time, it all seemed just perfect, but in retrospect I wish I’d planned better.

WIN:  BEST BAND WITH A JOSH HOMME FROM QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE LOOKALIKE - Modest Mouse.  I've never gotten super into Modest Mouse but the songs I do know I have always liked.  I thought they put on a pretty good show.  They had a pretty huge band with all sorts of instruments up there.  A fine start to the evening hours and made me make a mental note to get more of their stuff on my iDevice to listen to at my leisure.
I was so excited to see Modest Mouse live, but a little disappointed that they didn't play more songs from The Moon & Antarctica (reminds me of college).  They played one song from that era.  It was good.  I did love hearing This Devil's Workday live.  Otherwise, they sounded like what I thought they would sound like.  Not a band I would HAVE to see again.  Hm, I don't know if this was a WIN after all...  I don't think Chris was a fan.  I can see how their singing style could be hit or miss for people. 

WIN:  BEST USE OF CHEERLEADER POM POM MATERIALS TO MAKE A SCARF/BOA THINGY - Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I've seen her wear crazier outfits, but I thought this one was a success because when she bounced on stage some of the pom pom stuff got in her mouth before she started singing and she had to pull it out as if it were hair.  I laughed. Rock 'N' Roll.  Side note: I don't care for her new blonde hair.
Everyone kept telling me I HAD to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs for Karen O's outfits.  Her outfit was crazy alright.  Kind of reminded me of when I saw Björk at Coachella.  She definitely has stage presence. 

FAIL:  BEST BAND WITH WORST NEW SONGS OFF DISAPPOINTING NEW ALBUM - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  Ok so I hadn't gotten Mosquito yet before I saw them play on Friday, but the new songs off the album that they did play were very hit or miss.  The use of the choir for Sacrilege was cool and I liked her crazy vocals on title track Mosquito, but the other songs slowed their usually energetic set list to a crawl.  I've since gotten the CD and given it a few listens.  It's definitely my least favorite of their albums, and I really enjoyed their other 3 (and the EPs).  These new songs just didn't click for me live, and they haven't really clicked for me yet listening in the car.  It felt like half their set was new stuff and I was missing some of their crowd-pleasers like Date With The Night or Phenomena.  But regardless, I'm still a huge fan of theirs and Karen O is like a crazy girl version of Iggy Pop.  Just a great frontwoman. And you can tell she still loves the hell out of singing Maps
WORST NEW CATEGORY I MADE UP (The last one, about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I'm not even sure it makes grammatical sense. But I'm committing to it.)
I tried really hard to like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I just don't.  Karen O's voice is a bit screechy for me sometimes.  I still think she's talented and a great live performer.  Their music is just not my thing.  Also, I couldn't really see anything, so I zoned out a bit.  Makes me kind of regret not going off on my own to see Beach House and Band of Horses.  I was a little scared to separate from the group on the first day. 
By the time Yeah Yeah Yeahs went on, a wave of fatigue had washed over me. This was partly from having not eaten and also from having been in the sun and on my feet for way too long. I learned a valuable lesson here.  Eating and resting somewhere between bands is a must. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but with all the action going on and running from one place to another, it’s easy to forget or just not have time. They were probably great, but I was so tired I couldn’t really tell.

FAIL:  I think at this point we were pretty tired and totally lazed about and missed the Stone Roses.  Whatever, I don't think anyone cared.  I'm also sad I missed Grinderman because I didn't want to walk from the beer garden all the way to the Mojave tent.  I also missed a potential high school flashback by not going to the Outdoor stage to see Jurassic 5.  So....

WORST COACHELLA GOER - Me. In my defense, Friday is always the longest day between getting up early to make the two-hour drive and just being there for like 9-10 hours. I'm old, okay??
Could also be me.  Halfway through Blur I was starting to get grumpy from being cold and tired from being on my feet all day and being awake for 18 hours (I didn't even get a chance to nap!). 

WIN:  MOST FUN I HAD SINGING ALONG TO SONGS I KNEW - Blur.  Despite the thin crowd at the main stage that turned out to see them (Seriously, if I had more interest I could've waltzed right up to the stage), Blur put on a fun set.  
If I hadn't been so tired I would have gotten a little closer to the stage least to keep myself warm..    
I loved singing along to Coffee and TV and Tender and Girls & Boys and also made my own fun by going "WOO HOO!" after every song until they performed Song 2 (a song I'm sure we're all pretty sick of, but hey I've never heard it live).  However, I got this sense like they really were just dragging along by the end and they didn't even do an encore. Hmph! >_<  Again, to reiterate, I like Blur, but I don't think most people know them past "that band that does the WOO HOO song."  I don't think they OR the Stone Roses were very strong choices for co-headliners.
Fueled and slightly rested, I was ready for the final band of the night, Blur.  They opened with Girls & Boys, one of their classic hits. The sound of the keyboard followed by the bass line starting the song was exciting and that energy could be felt through the crowd. There’s No Other Way was next up and is one of my favorite songs from their first album. They played this song a little faster live, but it was still great and Damon Albarn was in full force, belting out the lyrics like a man possessed. I like that they played a lot of slower songs in the middle like Coffee & TV, Beetlebum, and Tender.  Perfect songs for the last set of the night and the end of a long day. They closed with Song 2 and a dazzling light show that zoomed off the stage. It was a sight to see even in my spent state. A totally amazing performance and a super way to end the day.
I think people know more Blur songs than they realize, especially once they hear them.  I loved Coffee & TV, Beetlebum, Girls & Boys, and even Song 2 was great (I actually haven't heard it in a long time since I stopped listening to the radio awhile back, so it was awesome!  They rocked it live).

WIN:  Finally napping in the soft, comfortable seats on the shuttle after a long day at the fest... and free water.