Saturday, April 28, 2007

Reports From The Field at Coachella - #4

it A new Day At Coachella
But Before we get to round two [Which the web cast (which is all taped) beging at 6 EDT)

Let Clean up Last Night

The Palm Spring Desert Sun:

Cool kids at Coachella

I can't get over how many people are here with strollers. And then, I look inside the strollers, and I can't believe these kids are dressed hipper than I am.

Why didn't my mom and dad think to buy me Chuck Taylor All-Stars when I was 2?

These kids have good taste, too.

Take Gemma Walker -- age "4 and seven-eighths" according to her adult companions -- who was dancing her tail off to Jesus and Mary Chain earlier.

That kid could boogie.

And she was barefoot.

Who needs Chuck Taylor anyway?

Jesus & Mary Chain

This was a very successful reunion for the Jesus and Mary Chain, I think.

The band actually sounds tighter than when I saw them more than a decade ago, and their new songs have a dreamy freshness. They sounded just as great as when I first heard them, on a lovey mix tape from my high school boyfriend.

Sadly, I missed their first song tonight -- I was in line for pizza.

But after that, the band offered up a one-two punch with "Head On" followed by "Far Gone and Out."

Sore to my Sole

This is how Coachella always ends up for me.

I begin the day with the best of intentions, with plans to hop around to see some old favorites while also experiencing some new music.

But by the end of the day I'm so tired, I'm content to sit and listen to anyone who's playing.

My feet ache. So I'm going to watch the rest of Interpol -- who are offering up many of the tunes from their new album -- then rest up until Bjork.

Sorry, Brazilian Girls. My feet are much more persuasive than my ears right now.

VIP Trash

It seems like this new recycling plan -- turn in 10 empty water bottles for one free full one -- is working splendedly. There's very little litter on the grounds.

Except in the VIP area, where the hipsters seem perfectly content to throw their trash everywhere. This place is a mess. You can't swing a glow stick without hitting an empty bottle or plastic cup.

And I'm sorry I had to resort to using the word "hipster," which I vowed I wouldn't do during Coachella. But what else do you call people with highlighted fauxhawks, oversized Juicy sunglasses, skinny jeans and platform shoes?

Hipsters, that's what.


There are 3-D glasses hanging from ribbons on the fence outside the VIP area, for no apparent reason at all.


Th\e art seems much more extraordinary and over-the-top this year than in the past.

I spent a good hour or two wandering in and out of misting tents, domes, tubes and other structures filled with DJs, fabric, spinning lights and so much more. Each little nook and cranny reveals more upon closer inspection. It's fantasically fun -- I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland.

This is also my boyfriend's first time experiencing Coachella, and he was blown away by all the creative work.

"I'm a little overwhelmed," he said. "I think I need some ice cream."

Night Moves

When I got here today, the temperature here at Empire Polo Grounds was reaching 102 degrees. That didn't stop gloom-rockers Interpol from gracing the stage in their trademark attire - full suits.

Winding down

The mood here is definitely turning lethargic. At the Outdoor Theatre, Sonic Youth started very late but put on a solid set. But the crowd just wasn't in it, at least not in my general vicinity. People were leaving, sitting down, laying down and heading over to the main stage to catch some Bjork. I thought maybe it could be because the speakers were about half as loud on this stage as at the main stage.

But even as Monica and I walked through the bjack of Bjork's crowd, we saw the same lack of energy. Maybe it was just too hot today. But get used to it, and rest up, 'cause it's gonna be just as hot tomorrow.


the crowd waiting for dj shadow is silent as the sounds of bjork drown
out the anticipation.

Sonic Youth of my youth

I had to be 13 or 14 when I first heard Kim Gordon's voice carry over my stereo. I was hanging out with my best friend, Amber. We were making a mix tape, and "Bull In The Heather" was an absolute must.

Gordon hasn't lost her touch -- nor have the other members of Sonic Youth. They still sound strong, commanding. And the band that Courtney Love once lauded for groundbreaking work in the 1990s appears to still be having fun.

When Sonic Youth took the stage tonight, they were without one little lady who wields a big bass guitar.

Thurston Moore made light of the delay, commenting on how it was a late hour after a long, hot day. "We're taking a breather ... and waiting for Kim," he said with a light laugh.

The VVVVIPs (very very very very important people) standing off the side of the stage began applauding wildly, signaling to the masses in front of the stage that Gordon had finally arrived and was ready to pick up that Fender.

"They wouldn't let me on the stage because I'm a girl," she told the crowd.

But Gordon's the kind of girl who knows how to play well with the boys -- still.

Sonic Youth's guitars and beats and vocals cut through just as strong and gritty as they did when I was a teenager. It's still the Sonic Youth of my youth.

Bjork rules

I've always like Bjork OK, but I wouldn't say I was a huge fan.

Well, she made a convert of me tonight.

I had been familiar mostly with her dance tunes, but tonight she presented a soulful palate of music -- much of it from her new album, Volta, due out in May.

I felt as though I was hearing Bjork for the first time. Her words felt like poetry, and I hung on every bit of it.

I had read that "Volta" is much more of a feminist work than anything the Icelandic songstress has done in the past. She has a daughter now, see, and had begun thinking about what kind of role models were surrounding this child.

I definitely felt the pro-woman vibe tonight. Bjork is a powerful female voice anyway, but tonight she was also backed by an all-female brass band, who also added some vocals. The songs were strong and complex, very much coming from a modern woman's perspective.

I felt like the crowd really respected her as an artist too. The people who surrounded me swayed together quietly in the warm desert night. When they did speak, it was in hushed tones.

I left a little bit early to avoid parking bottlenecks, so I didn't catch the last couple songs. I'd love to hear how the show ended. Tell me what I missed.

One more thing

I don't understand how it took me three hours to drive down Jefferson Street this afternoon -- but after the show, it only took 35 minutes to drive from the polo fields to my home in Palm Springs.

I could have stayed around for the end of Bjork's set!

Arrests few in 'city in a city'

Indio Police Department spokesman Ben Guitron said police arrested about 25 people today -- not bad for a crowd of 60,000, he said.

"We have 80,000 in Indio," he said, referring to the largest city in the Coachella Valley. "This is like a city in a city."

Already looking at the lineup for tomorrow

If I get to bed soon enough, I may be able to get up and out the door in time to catch Fountains of Wayne. But I definitely want to be there in time for Regina Spektor. I'll hang out at the Coachella Stage for Travis, but then it's a hike across the field to the Mojave tent, where I will catch Peter Bjorn and John. (Thank you KCRW for introducing me to them!)

It'll be a late night, as my friends and I plan on seeing the Arcade Fire -- which comes highly recommended from one Maggie Downs -- and Tiesto. Oh, yes, and we'll probably hang out for SoCal favorites Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Who do you plan to see tomorrow? What unknown bands should Bruce's son be checking out on Saturday? Spill it...


just walked into the gq afterparty at the viceroy. the bar is on the
patio of a suite and paris hilton is on a bench at the front door.
borderline by madonna has the crowd dancing. sleep? maybe monday

The L.A. Times Live Coachella Blog:
Some With Live Photos

Desert dealings, Vol. 2
Quick heads-up for Sunday: When Texas hard rockers Fair to Midland play the Mojave Tent, they will have a special guest -- System of a Down's Serj Tankian will perform with the young band. Fair to Midland is signed to Tankian's new label, Serjical Strike.

◊ ◊ ◊

Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, Kate Bosworth, Vincent Gallo ... they'll give tickets to anybody around here.

◊ ◊ ◊

Not only are some of midfield attractions a bit, er, out there, some can be plain scary. In one tent, the walkway spirals and spirals and shrank and shrank until otherwise reserved hipsters were forced to crawl on their undernourished bellies to the central chamber, which doubled as a make-out pavilion. Knees, elbows and unfortunate tattoos abounded, as well as various olfactory stimulation.

Cool reception for Interpol
As somebody who heaped plaudits on Interpol from the very beginning, I very tentatively submit to you that the band's set on the main stage was as scintillating as a long walk to a remote parking lot. True, the band took some chances -- sprinkling songs from its hotly anticipated forthcoming album into its set and adding a little more ache and mystery to a catalogue that's already dark with it. The mix did them no favors, either. But little about the set from Paul Banks and the gang conveyed the urgency that made their first two albums so compelling.

The reception Interpol received was tepid compared to Jesus and Mary Chain, who preceded them. Or maybe it was just that a lot of Bjork fans were already in place for her set.

Explosive set from Sonic Youth, or 'Bwarrang!'

"To me that's what's been lacking all day," a tow-headed guy behind me said to his girlfriend during a prolonged wait for Sonic Youth's set. "The rock. Bwarrang!"

Not entirely sure where the guy's been hanging out all day, but once New York City's avant-rock institution found their way to the stage a little before 10:30 the rock was brought, set down in the grass and slapped about the head and shoulders. After Kim Gordon's initial apology for the delay ("They wouldn't let me onstage because I'm a girl") the band tore through songs from "Daydream Nation," "Dirty" and the comparatively poppy recent release "Rather Ripped." At the forefront was Gordon, flailing about in a violet babydoll dress during "Reena" and "What a Waste" with such abandon she was like a female version of Iggy Pop -- or maybe Iggy's the male version of Kim Gordon?

Once the band chugged though the early '90s staple "100%," the heads were bobbing and the 'bwarrang' was being carried on what felt like the night's first breeze.

"Excuse me, do you know the name of that song?" the kid behind me asked. "That was incredible."

Meanwhile, in Pomona, the house was crowded

"Thanks for hanging in between tours!" Neil Finn told a crowded house of Crowded House fans Friday at the Glass House in Pomona. The stalwarts who'd waited more than a decade for the New Zealand pop-rock band to come together once more sang and hummed along to several of the band's vintage songs:" "Don't Dream It's Over," "World Where You Live," "Four Seasons In One Day" among them. But they quickly found the hits were outnumbered by material from a new Crowded House album that Finn promised "will be released ... sometime!"

The raison d'etre for this reunion, which gets its full-fledged introduction on Sunday on the main stage at Coachella, leading up to the Rage Against the Machine reunion -- is more sobering than most: Finn sought out bassist Nick Seymour for emotional support after drummer Paul Hester committed suicide two years ago. Ripples of the pain of that loss seemed to surface in "Nobody Wants You" and "People Are Like Suns" among the characteristically hummable, artfully affecting new tunes.

But there'd be no point in bringing back this outfit, now rounded out by drummer Matt Sherrod (a Beck favorite) and longtime touring keyboardist and guitarist Mark Hart minus its defining sense of humor. And that was evident throughout the nearly two-hour show in some impromptu band-audience collaborations on the Beatles' "Do You Want To Know a Secret" and the Seymour-led left-field snippet of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me."

The patience of Crowded House fans might not rival that of Police die-hards who've been waiting twice that long for that trio's incipient reunion, or those hardy souls who still cling to hope that Roger Waters and David Gilmour might take Pink Floyd out on the road again (slated for right after Barbra Streisand's concert fundraiser for President Bush).

But they showed unassailable commitment to go wherever they had to when the moment arrived: Finn at one point saluted Pomona, asking how many in the house actually live in that city. Three hands went up; Finn spotted only one, and suggested "That person was probably born somewhere else anyway."

The smart money's on Banning.

Bjork country
[Guest blogger Margaret Wappler doesn't have a swan dress like Bjork's but she does have a few of Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle movies in her Netflix cue so give her a break, will ya?]

After a day of one guitar-driven boy band after another (yeah, I'm talking to you, Arctic Monkeys), Bjork's closing set of otherworldly orchestra-industrial pop was a welcome shot of theater and that certain alien-meets-Norse-goddess element that signals you've entered Bjork country. Or more like she's invaded yours. On the Main Stage bedecked in mysterious flags, Bjork and crew launched a coup d' etat with the Timbaland-assisted track from her hotly anticipated upcoming album, jumping around in a colorful headdress and wailing over a willfully paralyzed beat.

And so the enchanted ragtag performance continued. The Icelandic princess sent chills up the spine with pitch-perfect eerie versions of several songs off of "Homogenic" and other landmark albums, supported by an all-female brass band dressed in gauzy tapestries of turquoise, chartruese and coral. The ladies, apparently representatives from the femininity as cult concept, looked like they'd washed up on some impossibly somber shore. Their guide to Coachella backcountry danced around in bare feet, her cherubic smirk genuine and delectible.

The video screens flanking the stage spent a lot of time on her ultra-techie sound equipment. We might be too heat-stroked to describe, but it involved lots of tactile hand-movements that apparently manipulated the dramatic washes of sound. But what held our attention more? Bjork's pulsating, robot-in-sluggish-heat version of "Army of Me," replete with lasers pulsating from the stage. It felt like a precursor to what might portend for Rage's set: '90s personalized rebellion, with the war in Iraq casting it as sharper and flintier as ever.


And if Anyone is Wondering

The Weather Today

From KESQ-TV Palm spring
Hot - 101

by Compairingson

Sunny and Hot - 94

SD From XETV-TV[Fox 6]
Intermittent Clouds - 70

Here in Detroit [Home Base]
From the offical Weather page
Of Culture City
The Local 4Casters [WDIV-NBC-4]
warmer. Partly sunny. A chance of showers and thunderstorms after about 2 pm. Highs 65 to 69

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