Friday, May 04, 2007

Coachella 2007 Recap

by Peabs and Damore

editor's note: Thanks to a generous grant from the Dr. William H. Cosby Foundation for the Advancement of Flazzum, recordreviews.org was able to send two of our favorite contributors, who coincidentally get along famously and musically but often disagree critically to the Coachella Festival in California last week... this is their report. Hopefully, if some of our other "grant" monies come in we'll be able to cover a few of the other summer festivals. Hopefully, the moustache commentary will be as strong as it is in this excellent dueling recap-- RRRRRock.-- Gorilla

Friday:


Of Montreal
Peabs: Only caught two songs and wished I would’ve stayed for more. Some early sound problems, but the band sounded strong and as bizarre as usual. Grade: Inc.

Damore: Same. Don’t know much about them other than that their singer has issues with wearing clothes on stage. Grade: Inc.

Silversun Pickups
Peabs: Somewhat of a disappointment, mostly because of their placement on the main stage. The band itself sounded pretty tight, but lead singer Brian Aubert’s voice seemed almost as strained as his unfortunate onstage banter. Grade: B-

Damore: Indie bands on main stage during daylight always blows. Put them in a tent at dark and; they would be good. Agreed, band was solid, singer notsomuch. Grade: C

Arctic Monkeys
Peabs: I never got too high on this band, due to the excessive hype from the Brit music mags. I should’ve listened for once because they’re the real deal. For being only 21, frontman Alex Turner is a star in every possible facet. The songs were super-tight, the stage presence witty and light-hearted. Grade: A

Damore: Going in I had the highest expectations for this band’s performance. Loved their 1st album and currently am gah-gah over the new one too (FWN). The band sounded impressively loud and; tight, getting the crowd into it (while still light outside) with confidence sans pretension, a smart set list, and the overall besteverness of Alex Turner. When they weren’t putting on the best set of the festival, Turner showed his charisma and; charm with witty quips to the audience between songs. Grade: A+

The Jesus and Mary Chain
Peabs
: The first (of many) reunion sets of the weekend, JAMC sounded great despite a few feedback problems later. However, as they "roared" through their hits I found myself becoming bored. When lead singer William Reid asked if we were "having fun," I couldn’t help but want to ask the same of him. Zero stage personality. Luckily ScarJo’s appearance on "Just Like Honey" helped the seminal outfit finish strong. Grade: B

Damore: Very excited to see JandMC, wish they were a quarter as excited to play there. Drummer Loz Colbert (Ride) was solid and; added a strong punch to the rhythm section, but the Reid’s just looked bored out of their minds there. Nothing like the Pixies reunion set there in ’04. Songs sounded great, just lacked stage presence and seemed like they were counting the paycheck in their heads the entire time. ScarJo was a nice bonus. Grade: B-

Jarvis Cocker
Peabs: Sure he was twenty minutes late and spent the majority of his set babbling on in his trademark cockney slur, but Jarvis could recite an instruction manual and make it all the worthwhile. When he was playing, he was right the fuck on. Rock stars like this are a rare breed. Grade: B+

Damore: During the long wait, I was like, "hurry up bro…I’M STARVIN!!". Unlike most, I loved the between song banter from Jarvis, despite the 20-30min tardiness. Total rock star who doesn’t give a shit about pretty much anything. The songs they did play were outstanding, though punctuality counts a little. Grade: B

Interpol
Peabs: Carlos D sported a ‘stache and Daniel Kessler actually riffed. Otherwise, Interpol’s performance was typical: Dark, brooding and dynamic. By no means is this a bad thing. The band played three (maybe four, can’t recall) new songs which sounded pretty good; I would’ve preferred some of the standouts from Turn On The Bright Lights, but I really can’t complain. Grade: A-

Damore: Vocal mix was a little too low, but they were outstanding considering their long layoff. The 4 new tracks sound pretty good. Ever the dapper band, Paul Banks looked more casual than usual (black un-tucked shirt). Set had a little too much from Antics for my taste, but overall they clearly should’ve swapped slots with Bjork. Was hoping for ‘NYC’ as the set closer, oh well. Carlos D needs to lose the moustache. Grade: A-

Bjork
Peabs
: Bjork has always been kind of hit-or-miss for me. However, seeing her brilliant performance from 2002 in the Coachella film, I was excited to give at least part of the Icelandic singer’s set a good listen. Needless to say, two songs in I was ready to head home and prepare for the marathon that would be Day Two. Sleep-inducing. Grade: Inc.

Damore: Not a huge Bork (yes, pronounced Bork) fan, but I like her okay. Watched a few songs from the Beer Garden and decided to stay for half her set. We left 10min later.
Grade: Inc.



Saturday:


Fields
Peabs
: Quite possibly the most stacked festival day in my personal history started with this British five-piece whom I had been high on for the last six months. They did not disappoint. Their harmonies were solid, stage presence charming, and guitars were loud and reverb-heavy. At the Lager House on May 15th – I highly suggest going. Grade: A-

The Frames
Peabs: One of my favorite bands of the last couple of years, I caught the Irish quintet at Lollapalooza 2006 for the first time and found them stunning. Lead singer and guitarist Glen Hansard has a booming live voice and hilarious onstage banter. While their latest LP "The Cost" isn’t their strongest work, the band played much of their older material with its usual tautness and flair. Grade: A-

Damore: Glen made things fun, and; the crowd appreciated them. The heat definitely affected their performance as they seemed a bit fatigued, possibly while hungover. While FOW played, Glen said, "Who is that, Wheatus? Whoever it is they play pop better than us".

The Fratellis
Peabs
: Due to the ever-abundant scheduling overlaps, I was only able to catch the last two songs of the buzzing Scottish band. Sounded better than expected and the general word from those who caught the full set weren’t disappointed at the least. Grade: Inc.
Damore: Same

Hot Chip
Peabs
: Best set of the festival. Fittingly they played at the hottest point of the day, before an overcrowded Sahara tent. Thankfully water and constant dancing keep me from dying from heat exhaustion. Most impressive was the band’s ability to recreate the dense layers (various percussion, guitars and 4!!!! keyboards) so prevalent on their studio records. Hot Chip absolutely OWNED. Grade: A+

Damore: Before their set I was like "who the fuck is Hot Chip?", and when asked if I wanted to stay for them I was "yeah man, fuck it". Didn’t stop moving during their entire set and; lost 20 lbs sweating. Luckily they sound nothing like what they look like—think 4 or 5 Trekies who make the best electro dance music ever. Bonus points for quick cover of New Order’s ‘Temptation’. Grade: A+

Travis
Peabs: Welcome back lads. I was skeptical about Travis at Coachella for two reasons: 1.) They don’t exactly rock like many festival acts do, and 2.) The last time I saw one of my favorite bands perform they seemed a shell of their former selves (I walked out). That said, behind the strength of their excellent comeback LP The Boy With No Name and a newfound angst ("We are not Coldplay-lite!!!" – C-Friggs), the band appeared to be the great Travis of old. Oh how I miss 1999 sometimes. Grade: A-

Damore: Fran and co sounded great. The new stuff sounded good and; their classics off The Man Who/Invisible Band brought back good memories (not related to 12 Memories). They did fuck up a couple intros on songs (once on "Writing To Reach You" and twice on "Driftwood"), but they were probably drunk by then (5pm) so whatevs. Grade: B

New Pornographers
Damore
: Only caught about 4-5 songs but they were ‘Spanish Techno’, ‘From Blown Speakers’, ‘Twin Cinema’ and; ‘Use It’. Played what you wanted to hear and had fun messing around playing the chorus of ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me? while Travis played it on the main stage.Grade: B

Andrew Bird
Damore
: Never really heard much of his stuff prior to, so caught him on a whim. Very good live and; sounds more rocking live than on recording. Great integration of rock violin (think more "Kashmir" than "Ants Marching"). Grade: B

Peter Bjorn and John
Damore
: Caught the last 20min and; was impressed. Til then had avoided them due to all the hype, but they rocked. Shout Out Louds’ Bebban Stenborg flew in from Sweden just to sing ‘Young Folks’, subbing for Concretes' Victoria Bergsman, got the crowd frenzied during the final song. Grade: B+

Kings Of Leon
Peabs: Say what you will about the mumbling warbles of lead singer and guitarist Caleb Followill, Kings of Leon bring the rock. Hard. The quartet played a perfect upbeat festival set, rarely stopping and certainly playing off of the crowd’s intensity. Even those who are not fans of this band couldn’t help but appreciate the rock. Grade: A

The Arcade Fire
Peabs
: Not since Radiohead in 2004 had I seen the mainstage area so packed (that is, until the next night). I have only seen The Arcade Fire in a festival setting (3 times now) and somehow they’re able to translate their passion and dense sound and adapt to the environment. The Neon Bible tracks sounded full of life, and the old Funeral standbys were as fantastic as ever. A great preface to seeing them on their theater tour this month. Grade: A

Damore: 2 things prevent me from giving their set an A+. Their sleuth of annoying hard-core fans that were there---psuedo-hippie types wearing wierd outfits, smiling ear to ear singing every word very loudly and dancing like retards. That and; the guy in the band who does little more than jingle bells and break things—he started breaking drums on the 2nd song. 2 songs in?!? Luckily they rock 50,000+ people as well as they do small clubs. Was amazed at how well they captivated the audience’s attention and; held it until the very end. Grade: A

Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Damore
: Had high hopes for their set. Came out 10+min late after joint sub-committee back stage and laid an egg. Their intro jam sans Keidis did nothing but waste time, which they didn’t have. Seemed to get back on track quickly with 'Can't Stop', 'Dani California' and; 'Otherside', before getting off track again with more half-assed solo John Frusciante songs (and a bad Flea joke). With literally a bag of 30 hits to choose from, why would "Readymade" be played? Flea and; Chad sounded great as usual, but Frusciante’s long improvised solos wore me thin, as did Keidis’ new ironic moustache. Finished strong with "Give It Away", "Under The Bridge" and "By The Way", though by then they lost many (including me). Grade: C

Justice
Peabs
: Holy fucking hell, this was the loudest thing I have ever been witness to. Alas, I was only able to catch the last face-melting track as I prepared to close my night in the Sahara tent. Grade: Inc.

LCD Soundsystem
Peabs
: My marathon, epic Saturday ended with my flavor of the moment (and by moment, I mean since late 2006), the disco-punk outfit LCD Soundsystem. In a day filled with many anticipated performances, this was perhaps the one I looked most forward to. They went on a little late and probably shouldn’t have closed with the ballad "New York, I Love You." Otherwise this was the best possible way to end the arguably the greatest day of music in my life. High-energy, raucous and brilliant. Grade: A-

The Good, The Bad, and; The Queen
Damore
: Was excited to see what all the fuss was about with the Albarn(Blur)/Tong (Verve)/Simonon(Clash) collaboration since I haven’t heard much of their album. Ditched seeing The Rapture to catch them and in doing so waited 30min or so for them to appear and; give no explanation. Then they bored me into a coma starting with 3 or so slowish songs that did nothing for me, or most of the crowd. Oh, and they were all dressed in a Rat Pack motif, or something from the 1920’s. Worst. Grade: D+


Sunday:


Mika
Peabs
: Part-Freddie Mercury, part-Scissor Sisters and 100% flamingly awesome. It was in the Brit vocalist’s favor that he played first for his band was perfectly mixed, clearly taking advantage of a sound check rarely seen in festivals. Mika only played for 30 minutes but made most of his time, playing a catchy and concise set of pop candy. Grade: A-

Mando Diao
Peabs
: I was pretty excited about seeing the Swedish rockers set, having accidentally stumbled upon them a few years back and more recently digging their latest effort Ode to Ochrasy. Despite some early sound issues, they definitely brought the rock. However, Mando Diao is (in a way) a tale of two bands. They boast two frontmen, one of which is far stronger than the other. And if you ask me to even pronounce their names or which one is which, I’ll laugh in your face. Lots of out-of-place "J’s". Just take my word for it that the blonde is better than the brunette. Obvs. Grade: B

The Kooks
Peabs
: I am not their biggest fan, but the UK quartet’s debut definitely had some catchy moments. While the band sounded pretty good, the lead singer was way too all over the place for me to stay interested. Grade: Inc.

Grizzly Bear
Peabs: I’m not gonna lie: I hadn’t even contemplating seeing this group, due to the fact that I thought they’d bore the pants (or shorts, in this case) off of me in a festival atmosphere. I only caught the better part of two or three songs, but their sunny-pop harmonies and strong melodies left me impressed and wishing I had caught their set in its entirety. Grade: Inc.

Junior Boys
Peabs
: The Toronto-based electro-pop trio were dead-on as they leisurely cruised through the best songs off of their recent LP, So This Is Goodbye. While they may not be the most high energy group, they were certainly one of the tightest. Grade: B+

Soulwax
Peabs
: After catching the better part of the Junior Boys set I was intrigued with how Soulwax would sound, their most recent LP, Nite Versions very much on my radar before the festival weekend. Little did I know that it was a four piece live band performing great electronic tracks. My biggest surprise was also one of my favorite sets of Sunday. Grade: A

Damore: Never heard them before but I was blown away by the live feel of their set (had a drummer playing along with electronic loops/etc). Very entertaining. Grade: A

Kaiser Chiefs
Peabs
: A highly anticipated performance due to my appreciation of their latest (and best) effort, Yours Truly, Angry Mob and a strong Lollapalooza 2005 appearance. Unfortunately the group was inconsistent, mostly due to frontman Ricky Wilson’s (mostly) weak vocals and apparent drunkeness, and a lack of backup singing. One of the few disappointments all weekend. Grade: C

Damore: Not a huge fan of them, but figured I’d give them a shot since I like their new album okay. Singer appeared to be pretty fucked up, and; struggled at times to have enough breath in his lungs to sing their songs properly. Natch they attracted a lot of douchebags with talks of riots, angry mobs, and girls named Ruby in their songs, all which hindered my experience. Grade: C-

Klaxons
Peabs
: I’m a fan of the "new-raver’s" debut and unfortunately was only able to catch a few songs in preparation for the highly-anticipated Crowded House reunion. One song sounded great, one okay and one not-so-okay. Grade: Inc.

Crowded House
Peabs: Sloan said it best: "It’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans." No I am not speaking of Crowded House’s fans, but of Rage Against The Machine’s, whose rabid meathead fanbase almost ruined a perfectly great reunion of the beloved Aussie group. Fortunately Neil Finn is a consummate professional, remaining on stage despite being hit with a water bottle and numerous classless slurs. The band soared through their many hits, only to be seemingly and sadly cut short. The true great reunion of the weekend. Grade: A-

Damore: Not even obnoxious "bros" couldn’t ruin CH’s set. Finn and co did not let a classless bottle sniper stop the show. Seemed to cut the set short, but were very subtle about it. Probably one of the more good time fun sets of the weekend.
Grade: A-

Air
Peabs: Exhaustion had begun to set in, and Air’s 40 minute delay wasn’t helping matters much. Luckily it was worth the wait as the French duo played a shortened "greatest hits" set, not playing a single track from the lackluster Pocket Symphony. Unfortunately the first few songs were drowned out by the pan-latin polka fusion jazz funk metal dub reggae goth World-Cup fervor blah blah blah of Manu Chao; however the sound was then turned up considerably, as well as the audience’s spirits. Grade: B+

Damore: Air’s set in 04 was one of my faves, so was expecting another solid performance provided they didn’t touch anything from the awful Pocket Symphony. After waiting half hour for Frenchie and Pepe to get the baguette crumbs off their white suits, Air finally appeared and; played pretty much nothing but their standards. Was bummed that they were on the 2nd stage, as the area was breaking at the seams with bros and douchebags looking for a haven to hit a bowl before Rage. Grade: B

Teddybears
Peabs
: With the reunited Happy Mondays playing at the same time and an overwhelming fatigue taking over my body, it seemed unlikely I’d catch any of Teddybears set. Thank JC for 5th winds. I sacked up and hightailed it to the Gobi and caught the best performance of Sunday (and fittingly my last set of the festival). They may be a gimmick act, but Teddybears definitely know how to put on a great performance. Adorned in teddy bear masks (DUH), the group blew through their set with unmatched energy as a looping DVD of famous movie scenes (with teddy bears superimposed on the characters) played in the background. Worn out after 3 days of fantastic music, I somehow left with the same amount of adrenaline with which I had arrived. Grade: A

Happy Mondays
Damore
: Left Air’s set just before the conclusion to catch this reunion. I should’ve just gone to the beer tent after Air was done. There were 8 people on stage most of their set and; seemed more unorganized than most monkey shit fights at the zoo. Singer Shaun Ryder looked like his former crack addict self. They tried to lip-synch a lot of vocal loops and pass it off as live singing, to the point where it makes Avril’s SNL abortion seem run of the mill. Had high expectations, totally underwhelming execution. Left early to finally go get a beer, which by then was unexpectedly closed. Grade: C-

Rage Against the Machine
Damore
: Wasn’t that psyched for their set having seen them 4 times previously. Guess Murtaugh and I are just getting too old for this shit. They sounded tighter than ever, as though it was still 1996 post Evil Empire. Many of their fans are just plain assholes, and seeing them in the parking lots drinking Budweiser and listening to Rage all day (probably), somehow made me feel sorry for De La Rocha and; co. Grade: Inc

Lemonheads
Damore
: Left Rage’s set 6 songs deep or so to catch Dando and; co. Evan’s been a mess almost every time I’ve seen him, so expectations were low. He looked about 80 lbs but the band sounded better than ever, though a female back-up singer would’ve only helped. Caught 6-7 songs, played almost exclusively louder rocking classics, outside of a few new ones off their self-titled 06 release ( and"My Drug Buddy"). Dando also said "What’s that—Rage Against the Miami Sound Machine?". Indeed. Grade: B

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Jasper said...

Two "A" reviews for Arctic Monkeys? I decided to bite the bullet and get a ticket to the Pontiac show.

Of course, it's sold out now.

I hate the world.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Grizz said...

Great write-ups. One question: What's andamp;?

8:31 AM  
Blogger Dmitri Jr. said...

awesome job, guys. can't believe how many things you made it to. but uh don't we use star ratings on this site? heywhahappen, paul?

10:37 PM  
Blogger Yale Bloor said...

Jasper two words ticket broker, now stop whimpering....with the griz & Jr, no more need for the spell checker, and I thought it was all about the content, what are friends for anyway...but Peabs since coz sponsored this little sojourn why no decadence...i.e. orgy's with the Hilton sisters, drug fueled tail gating, Bjs for passes, backstage bacchanalian celebrations, pix from the Hugo Boss party, maybe these are tales for another time? Maybe we can't handle the truth! keep me posted.....

9:32 AM  
Blogger Gorilla said...

andamp was some weird coding flub, sorry about that.

And yes we use a number system for record reviews, hadn't really considered concert ratings until now... guess in the bullet reviews we do letters.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Gorilla said...

tix for the arctic monkeys on ebay as of today, very reasonably priced.

3:34 PM  
Blogger jasper said...

I hit craigslist. saved 16 bucks.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Uncle Grambo said...

Solid effort, y'all. Recapping three days worth of live music takes a herculean amount of work, you guys pulled it off. Howevs, what I really wanna know is what Damore was doing early Sunday afternoon ... clearly, he wasn't with Peabs. Was he jamming with Dude Jones? Was he mourning the loss of Bananaz? Was he being fed mind-erasers by strippers poolside? So many unanswered questions.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peabs & I roshamBOWed Sat/Sun for 'housekeeping' detail, & I lost. Spent most of the mornings disposing of dead hookers in the dumpsters behind Ralphs since Arbys & Vons had no capacity. Bananaz...RIP. I believe that Le St. Germain(?) is the new Bananaz.

-Damore

12:09 PM  

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