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Some quick notes on Coachella, which I'm back from and only slightly heatstroked:

*My band of the weekend was LCD Soundsystem--I really really like their singles, but the live version is headspinning--I walked away thinking that this is exactly the kind of band I want to be in. Love how they do the dance-music-derived build-ups and breakdowns, and the on-the-downbeat-every-texture-changes thing, with a live band. And I hope they put out another record very soon.

*Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips descended from the heavens in a bubble (well, what he did was close to that, and that's how he asked us to describe it). Lisa said "I think he's my favorite person in show business."

*Also really enjoyed !!!, the Pixies, Radiohead, Belle & Sebastian, the part of Beck's set that I saw in the pressure-cooker-style Gobi tent, the first song from Eyedea & Abilities (and the parts after that where Eyedea shut up and let Abilities tear it up on the decks),
the short film in the Nike tent about the competitors in a one-meter dash ("you kind of have to think like a gazelle," one of them explains), and the raw vegan organic food from Savo.

*Disappointments: Kraftwerk, who got a huge crowd and huge applause for being Kraftwerk and standing their checking their email (or whatever) for an hour-plus; 2 Many DJs, who were just sort of loud and abrasive in a dull way; Pretty Girls Make Graves, who need to be in a dark cool club late in the night; missing Sara's final show with Erase Errata because of Coachella's organizational disasters, and Juana Molin's set, which was at the same time!

*Active annoyance: the organization of the whole event. From the time we arrived in Indio, it took us almost three hours to get in the door of the festival itself, and after that it was still physically miserable most of the time--and the total niceness of the VIP area over on one side (which, as a press guy, I got to go to) convinced me that it doesn't _have_ to be that unpleasant. We ended up skipping the Cure altogether last night so we could get to our car quickly and escape before the inevitable three-hour traffic jam.

*Passive annoyance: the firmness of the participant/spectator divide--as my campmates and I kept observing, it was sort of like the all-commerce-based ($2 per bottle of water, of which I drank at least ten a day, I think), all-spectator version of certain things about Burning Man. Which is to say: almost entirely different, and stripped of the things that make Burning Man so important to me. But there were definite attempts to grab that vibe, especially in the installation artwork--I recognized "Cleavage in Space," from last year (the chandelier) and the scuba diver made of colored-vinyl records from, I think, 1999!

More details once I get some shut-eye.


Matthew said:

Hey Douglas, did LCD Soundsystem perform "Yeah"?

I disagree about Kraftwerk. Their set was totally amazing. Yes they don't dance around on stage, but that's not their style. However, they were mixing the songs live on stage and everything synchronized perfectly with the video. Truly an awesome experience.

Of course the Pixies and Radiohead rocked. I was pissed off that they crammed Beck into the Gobi tent too. They should have put him on the main stage instead of Sparta.

Dan Gibson said:

The "participant/spectator divide" is the thing that drives me insane about Coachella every year. From the beginning to the end, the whole event lacks any sort of community, and it shows when people are shoving you to get a little bit closer to a certain stage, or the quarter-mile-long line at the one outlet for free rather crappy water. When I found myself excited that the water bottles on day two had moved from the 10 oz crystal geyser to the 20 oz dasani, there's something awfully wrong. Coachella is my shortcut to seeing bands that I neither have the time or money to follow the rest of the year, but why does seeing bands I love with people I should have a lot in common with have to be some much work?

Abi said:

I'm so jealous! I saw !!! at the Siren Festival a few years ago -- drawing blank -- it was like 110' and not a breath of air and they were rocking like it was 58' and a beautiful fall day. They won my heart for making me feel like it was worth slithering through the sweaty throngs to be there. I don't remember much else about that show, but they were insane...

Liz said:

Waitasec. Did you just say Sara's final show with Erase Errata? She's not playing with them any more? They're breaking up? Aw, bummer. What's up?

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on May 4, 2004 2:48 AM.

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