Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Coachella 2013 Day 3 - Weekend 2

We've finally reached the last day of Coachella with Doug's last guest blog post in purple, Chris in orange, and me in white.  

WIN:  The Pool.  Six Coachellas and I've never taken advantage of the pool at whatever motel I'm staying at. So some nice cold pooling to start the day out was the best ever. 

FAIL:  As hard as Chris and I tried to get to Coachella early, I still ended up missing The Airborne Toxic Event.  I got there just in time to hear them yell "Thank you Coachella!" at the end of their set.

WIN:  I thought I was going to get to brag to Doug about seeing JEFF the Brotherhood, but halfway through the set, we realized we were at the wrong stage.  We were actually listening to Thee Oh Sees (I haven't heard music from either of these bands.  Chris pointed it out) and they were actually good.  So cheers to accidentally discovering some new music. 

WIN:  Pedicabs totally rule! I feel foolish for waiting until the last day to take a ride on one of these things. Me and Hey Hey Scenesters rode one on the way in and it was luxurious and awesome. Totally worth every penny. But the end of the day when you’re totally wiped is when these pedicabs are the greatest. We rode one to the parking lot at the end of the night and I was really glad not to have to walk in a cloud of dust for what seemed like almost a mile back to the car. I’m now officially hooked and will ride pedicabs wherever they’re offered.

WIN:  BEST DECISION - Giving Up on the Shuttle.  I haven't commented on this but I didn't care for the shuttle. Seemed to take just as long to get there and get in through the gate and our $80 White Line shuttle had the least busses going.  So leaving the venue on Day 2 took like an extra half hour just waiting in line, plus the half hour to walk to the line, and I really had to go home and drop some kids off at the pool if you know what I mean. So Day 3 I decided to just drive there and back. Felt more in control of the situation. :)

WIN:  The Red Bull Speakeasy was air conditioned and looked pretty good for being in a tent out in the desert.  Too bad their drinks were all (understandably) made with Red Bull.

WIN: Grimes. She was cute and really down to earth with the audience. She even revealed that she was too self-conscious to ever dance in the daylight, so she was particularly moved by the courage of the crowd dancing to all her songs in the middle of the afternoon. Plus she wears crazy outfits that fall somewhere between Harajuku street style and electro punk so how could anyone not love that? I like that she builds a lot of her own equipment to get the sound she wants. Her musical style is hard to describe but I’d guess her influences are industrial, experimental and new wave pop.  

So anyways, we got in kind of late. Half the group was in already. Leading us to:

FAIL:  GENTLEST BAND - The Lumineers.  Let me just say, I don't find this old timey, folk/prohibition era music that's popular with the kids and the hipsters necessarily objectionable to my ears.  Like if they come in the radio I don't change the station like I do with Linkin Park or any song off the last Muse album, but what I do object to is that it seems like these bands are the faces of modern ROCK music to far too many people.  What happened to rock with attitude or severity? Someone I know made the observation that when we were 9 years old The Downward Spiral was a #1 selling album.  Could such an album do that kind of damage in this day and age?  No. The last decade or so has seen a huge pussification of mainstream rock music. And I hate it. And dubstep. I hate dubstep. Oh and Mumford and Sons, I do hate them.

As for the Lumineers, like I said, the music itself is fine and often catchy. I like that Stubborn Love song. But oh so boring. Their set was as energetic as music played with violins and banjos and washboards can possibly be. For having it in the background while chilling on the grass, it was fine.

Also, revelation: Their stage setup had some hanging chandeliers for some reason...chandeliers illuminate things...illuminating chandeliers...Lumineers...whoa...amirite??? I'll see myself out.

WIN:  I, unlike Doug, do like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers.  I definitely agree with him that this type of music is not representative of rock (Dear Grammys, I like rock as much as the next person, but what in hell makes you think Mumford and Sons should be in ANY rock category???), but I'm all for the whole bluegrassy folk movement, anything that strays away from the terribly written pop music topping the charts these days (ahem, all Taylor Swift songs that sound like they came out of her high school diary). 

As overplayed as it is, I still like Ho Hey because it was used in a Bing commercial that I kept seeing after I came back from Hawaii, so I associate it with good times. Anyways, The Lumineers are the kind of band you listen to on the grass in the shade, which is what I did.  They sounded great and I liked the chandeliers on stage. 

After this, it was food time. A word on food...

WIN:  BEST FOOD - BaoHaus.  Those little fried chicken bao thingers from BaoHaus in New York were delicious. I had like 3 each day. They make me want to go to New York. 

HONORABLE MENTION - The Lime Truck.  The Lime Truck had this delightful ahi ceviche with some sort of edamame hummus. Glorious. Coachella really upped their food quality this year.

FAIL:  BAND I KEEP MISSING - Dinosaur Jr.  Second time I missed them due to eating or drinking. Caught two songs. Sounded great. I'll catch them one day...

WIN:  BEST OLD GUY WHO ACHIEVED NOTORIETY AFTER HIS FANS IN SOUTH AFRICA SET OUT TO PROVE HE WASN'T DEAD - Rodriguez.  I caught a few of his songs. At this point he was well into his 70s so his voice wasn't great and it didn't carry well all the way to the back where I was standing.
He's starting to get old man voice.  He definitely sounds better on his records, but I didn't think he was bad.
And his voice wasn't quite as unique as Bob Dylan, who a couple people compared him to when telling me to go see him. I left after a few songs but I did put seeing the documentary about him on my to-do list.
The crowd near the front was pretty rowdy and sang along to all his songs.  It was a little strange since his style of music is so mellow, but I think they just wanted to show their love for him. 

FAIL:  I hate people who spit on me as they’re talking. At Rodriguez, a guy named Josh stopped by for a chat. He offered me some of his half-eaten sausage filled paella, which I politely declined. I offered him mints. He showered spit all over my arm as he talked about his time in Germany visiting concentration camps. So gross! Good thing I had hand sanitizer on me. After alerting Josh to his spitting, I poured the hand sanitizer over my arm and wiped it clean. Someone later commented that it may have been rude of me to do that in front of him, but which is more rude? Spitting on someone with a mouthful of paella or cleaning your arm in front of the spitter? The spitting, of course, duh!

WIN:  BIGGEST RELIEF - Tame Impala.  In the months leading up to Coachella I had gotten really into this band and both their full albums were on heavy rotation in my car. Just a great psychedelic wall of sound that requires a great audio setup to fully bring it out.  However, I had seen them play on Jimmy Fallon and on the Coachella webcast for Weekend 1, and they sounded pretty light and boring. While the band itself doesn't exactly have a dynamic stage presence, with the full PA setup of a live venue, their music sounded great. They kinda just stand there like robots whilst playing this crazy music, but it was cool and they ventured into prolonged improvised jam sessions a couple of times. 

WIN:  La Roux's music makes lead singer Elly Jackson sound like such a pop princess that I tend to forget how 80s androgynous her appearance is.  Great set for a single singer on stage.  I couldn't help but compare her show to Janelle Monáe's lively set, but La Roux was still good in their own way.  Their synthpop style of music made me feel like I was in a Euro discotheque. 

WIN:  BEST BAND I DON'T DISLIKE BUT ALSO DON'T UNDERSTAND THEIR APPEAL - Vampire Weekend.  I honestly don't even know what to call this genre of music. Has some preppy hipster qualities and their songs can be catchy but at times they almost give off this tropical Caribbean vibe or the feeling that I'm at a luau. I listened to them as I drank in the beer garden. Can't comment much, but if you like their music at home then you'll like it live. It translates well and comes off just as polished.

WIN:  BEST BEER (and only option) - Heineken.  I drank a lot on day 3 :)

WIN:  After La Roux finished, I was surprised to see so many people leaving (thank you, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), but happy Chris and I were able to get close to the front (just a few people away!).  I've sadly missed several opportunities to see The Faint live, but this time they were amazing.  I had almost forgotten how many of their songs I had committed to memory until they came out and I couldn't stop singing and dancing along.  They kicked off the show with The Conductor and continued their high energy set with other favorites, such as Desperate Guys, Glass Danse, I Disappear, Take Me to the Hospital, Worked Up So Sexual, Let the Poison Spill from Your Throat, Agenda Suicide.  The Faint sounded even better live than on their already great records.  

WIN:  MOST OMINOUS SOUNDING - Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.  Not too familiar with their work aside from a couple songs. I watched them from the beer garden. I think they had a full orchestra. And they sounded dark and heavy. I liked what I heard and it made up slightly for missing Nick Cave's other band on Friday, Grinderman, which has many of the same members. On a side note, it would have been cool if it was Nic Cage and The Bad Seeds instead of Nick Cave. That's a money idea.

WIN:  '80S BAND YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU KNEW (Yay, my first category) - OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark).  Apparently, they've influenced The Killers, La Roux, Death Cab for Cutie, The xx, and LCD Soundsystem.  Most known for If You Leave on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, I had no idea they also sang Electricity, which I've heard many bands cover.  I have to say, the original sounds fantastic.  I couldn't not jump and dance around to it.  

WIN:  MOST FUNNEST - Wu Tang Clan.  I don't like much hip hop but I love these guys. The crowd was gigantic and I don't know why they got put on the side stage. They could've easily headlined. They ran though a nice medley of their hits and each member got their turn. They even did a little of Brooklyn Zoo in honor of ODB. Fun fun set, though not nearly as long as Weekend 1.

Some poor dehydrated white kid made it out of the pit drenched in sweat and asking me for water. I gave him a bottle I had just swiped from security. He gave me a dollar and would not take no for an answer. :)

FAIL:  BAND THAT SOUNDED THE WORST AS I WALKED BY THEM WHILE LEAVING - Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Caught a couple songs as I left and they sounded like shit. Anthony Kiedis can't sing. Only Flea is giving it his all. 

View from Ferris wheel
WIN:  A few firsts for me this Coachella.  First time I:
  • caught more acts at the tents than at the two outdoor stages - blogger obligation to see bands I've never seen live before
  • went to the Sahara Tent - I don't know how I managed to avoid the largest tent all these years of Coachella-going, but I can see how people can stay there all night.  I immediately became mesmerized by the lights and all the people as soon as I stood before it.  Thanks to Chris for pushing us to check it out
  • went on the Ferris wheel - Chris really wanted to ride it and it was surprisingly cool.  I was amazed by how clear Red Hot Chili Peppers sounded all the way at the top.  I was all nerves in anticipation of the height of the damned wheel, then later learned I get motion sickness instead 

Aaaaand that's a wrap. As usual, I am in doubt for next year but once the lineup is set I always seem to go. Until next time.