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The best band at Coachella played early on Friday in the Mojave Tent Black Joe Lewis the Honeybears out of Austin. They were better than everybody. Way better. Lewis is a kick ass guitar player who channels Muddy Waters and James Brown with a bit of Sly and Jimi in there as well. A stellar band behind him made it all work, including a shredding three man horn section that could've stepped off a Bobby Bland record from 50 years ago. If more blues were like this, there'd be more blues fans.
Ultimately, Coachella is the place to see all those bands you've heard about and read about. It's the kind of experience that reminds us all of why music is essential to our lives.
While way too many bands have zero good singers, the Freelance Whales showcased their five part harmonies to great effect. Later that day, Jenny and Johnny were as good as the heaps of hype suggested; Bright Eyes played cerebral, literate pop; and Mumford Sons sort of a Celtic Avett Brothers played love lost songs with real religious fervor. No wonder Bob himself used them as his backup band recently.
of pancakes. Why ask why?
Cage the Elephant played an energetic set, alternating between cool pop but occasionally leaning toward the dreaded scream o. Frontman Matt Shultz dressed to impress, wearing a red sundress. Due to his pale Kentucky complexion, he started looking more like his dress than not as his band's set wore on.
Coachella is a people watcher's paradise black, brown, yellow, white (glowing to pink), gay and straight, tall and short, fat and skinny. There were Playmate potential hot chicks and buff Hollywood hunks.
Another early, interesting band was New Pants. They looked like a bunch of kids but, in fact, have been playing for 15 years and are one of the most popular bands in Asia. About the only English the members of this Beijing group knew was, "We love g g g g gay!"
With more than 60 bands a day to choose from, Coachella plays perfectly into the short attention spans of today's young music lovers. The festival sold out in about six seconds and cost an arm and a leg but, even at that, it was still a great deal. To prevent people from having too much fun without paying the price something like 15,000 people allegedly snuck in last year no physical tickets were issued. Instead, concertgoers were issued elaborate encrypted wristbands that were scanned as you came and went. The gates opened around 11 or so last Friday morning and a sea of people streamed in, the vast majority dressed for the beach. Many of the ladies wore bikinis, plenty of the guys went shirtless even the fat dudes. The best T shirt spotted featured this nonsensical statement: Drunk On Pancakes. Pictured was a bottle of Jack Daniels on its side, the contents spilling out like syrup over a stack Omega Seamaster 300m Co-axial
All were gathered on a huge field normally used for polo tournaments. The field is grass, not dirt, with nary a gopher hole in sight thus making it very barefoot friendly.
Many of the early arrivals passed by the outstanding, in bloom rose garden and headed for the faraway Sahara Tent to see the only game in town at that point the first act at Coachella, DJ Alf Alpha. It was a homegame for AA as he lives in the neighborhood. Alf was the only guy all weekend to come back for an encore he played again on Saturday.
The 12th edition of the Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival this past weekend was another cultural Omega Seamaster No Date
And so it went for the day and the weekend a bunch of bands on a bunch of stages, making for some tough decisions, especially when several interesting bands were playing at the same time. And time was of the essence. Coachella runs with parade ground precision and the relatively short set times of 40 to 50 minutes forced bands to edit and play only their best stuff, which is a good thing. Cee Lo Green was late, which reduced his set to 20 minutes and inspired the crowd to parrot the F word sentiments of his T shirt, which probably shouldn't be worn to work. When the Chemical Brothers hit the stage, the sound was so loud it could make your liver quiver in the parking lot and the light show so intense one could imagine the power supply to the entire Golden State being temporarily sapped.
Needless to say, water sales were brisk two bucks a bottle and selling by the thousands as hydration was the name of the continuing game. Just inside the Omega Constellation Diamond
Coachella once again delivers a mammoth dose of soul
About a block away under the same warm sun, the members of Los Angeles group Ozomatli had their world beat thing going on. The letdown band of the first day was Interpol, who must have left their good tunes back in New York City. Best band name of the day was The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Gotta love that.
gate was the T shirt booth, which was larger than most people's homes. On sale were shirts representing bands that were playing that day. Cost was 25 George Washingtons a pop, or $30 for headliners like the Chemical Brothers.
On Saturday, the second day of the fest, there were lots of must see bands in the sun on the two main stages. The first band on the big stage Saturday was Trampled by Turtles, sort of a Split Lip Rayfield meets the Bottle Rockets type of country bluegrass band. These Turtles were all acoustic, all cool (especially the harmonies) and definitely all right. I'm thinking that Erik Barry, the mandolin playing Turtles dude wearing the straw hat and coveralls, did not work on his tan or else just teleported in from "Hee Haw."
landslide of popular music. The three day desert epic, held April 15 17 at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, drew more than 75,000 fans per day and featured such high profile acts as Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and Kanye West.
On the Gobi Stage under a tent, that slinky French ingnue known as Yelle fronting the band of the same name did a much better job of filling her red dress, but didn't do any Elephant songs, being European and arty and such. Also that day you could hear superior and raggedy and energetic power pop from Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Gmt 43.5mm Goodplanet the Henry Clay People, named for the great Kentucky politician of the 19th century.
The Rural Alberta Advantage, a pop rock trio out of Canada, was the first band to play in the sun, followed by those Civil War enthusiasts out of New Jersey, Titus Andronicus.
Everyone knows that anyone who ever played a note or sang a song either will come back or refuse to go away. The axiom holds true at Coachella, too. Each year the festival resurrects several interesting geezers of rock. This time out it was Wire with their wild guitars, Big Audio Dynamite with their Clash flashbacks and Duran Duran with their made for MTV hits. They ruled.
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