Monday, May 01, 2006

Coachella Fitzgerald

Baptism by rhythm and melody.
Spiritual cleansing through dust, grass and sweat.
Physical and mental collapse; then phoenix-like rebirth.

My people wandered in the desert for forty years and here I am, schvitzing for two days, calling myself conqueror.
But it's true: I did conquer Coachella. I effing destroyed that beast.


Accidentally brought my Sunday ticket to the gate. Sprinted a few miles back to the car to get the right one while Megan waited patiently. As soon as I'm in the gate, I am winded, wheezing, dripping, exhausted. Not a pretty site. Two full days to go. Caught my breath, grabbed a veggie gyro, stocked up on $2 water bottles and was still able to see Celebration do three songs. Loved them. Later in the day they joined TV on The Radio during their set.

Found Frank. Saw some of White Rose Movement. We were too close to the speakers, may have done permanant damge too soon in the festival. Excited for a recovening of two 1st wave Boogie Club members, Frank and I danced hard to the generic anti-fascist (but still Gestapo-styled) Britdancerock. Again, I overexerted myself too early.

Then, on to the wonderous S-O-V! Lady Sovereign. So short, so funny, so young, so tough, so sincere, so grime. The perfect woman. Best moments: she asks everyone to raise their beers in the air, but you can't take beer out of the beer garden, so nothing happens. When she begins the song "Hoodie," she asks everyone who's wearing a hoodie to pull the hood up over their heads, but because it's 95 degrees, only like 4 guys have hoodies. I thought her DJ looked a little bit like Skinner from The Streets.

Then we hightailed it from the Gobi tent to the Outdoor stage (the smaller of the two outdoor stages) to get in there early for Animal Collective. The Zutons were still playing, and very well I might add. They were one of those, "Oh I like em but probably won't be able to see em" bands for the festival, but we saw around 4 songs, including my favorite one, "You Will You Won't." They sounded good. Very tight, very good sound mix. And the girl playing sax was a cutie bombootie. As soon as they were done, we made an aggressive dash to the front. Got a great spot, second deep, right in front of Avey Tare, with a good view of Panda Bear. While they were setting up, I realized that the Geologist looks a lot like Joachim Cooder, who was hanging in the VIP area. I wanted to coordinate a meeting of the two bearded men, but I did not. The set was mindblowing, we lost our minds and they got squished and then we screwed them back on. Security guards watched the band with the most baffled looks. The set hyped Frank up a lot, so afterwards we chilled and drank some Acai smoothies.

Then... caught Deerhoof's last song. Love them much. Staight on to the brilliant TV on The Radio set, in the Mohave tent (the middle sized one). Like animal collective, these guys channel the spirit when they play. They tap into a whole other energy set, a seperate vibrational sphere. The songs were from mostly from the first E.P. and they played a lot of material from the new record, "Return To Cookie Mountain," which sounds amazing live. I think when it comes out, people are going to go apeshit over it. It's sonic perfection to my ears and my eyes also found it to be a delight. David Sitek really attacks his guitar and shows you how important his machine gun rythym guitar adventures are to their overall sound -he's not just the token amped up white dude. Tunde, dressed like he was on holiday, hollered. There's something magical about his and Kyp Malone's harmonies and they got even greater when Katrina Ford from Celebration got on the mic with them. It ended with a beatboxing rave-up throwdown hypnosis session on "Ambulance" concluding with a triumphant embrace between Sitek and Malone.

Then on to the wanting-very-much-to-be-messianic Devendra Banhart. Expected the set to be much freakier, folkier, crunchy like cereal. By the end it kind of turned into a soul revue, which made me like the guy more. Plus, his band was very very tight, hand-picked (or poached?) of good folks from other bands: Andy from Vetiver, Noah and Luckey from The Pleased, and Eliza from Bunnybrains. Devendra is so christlike that during his set he let Andy play a Vetiver song, let Noah play a song, and picked a girl from the audience to do a song too. He may be overly diplomatic, he may "smell like a skunk who smoked raw cock" (according to Chunklet magazine), but I have to say I was might impressed.

Then Cat Power blew my mind, playing almost all of The Greatest (and a short/sweet solo medley of covers), with the Memphis Rythym Band. I have to say I was nervous for Chan, because I care for her well-being. I bought a ticket to see her on tour and then it was cancelled. My assumption is she got crazy nervous. Whatever. Maybe she's in therepy, or on meds, or both or neither, but on Saturday night, in the middle of the desert, Cat Power transfromed from a stage-frighting girl to a bouncing, joyous, sare-i-say... rockstar? She owned it. She left the driving to the competant and awesome band (back up singers! horns! string section! oh my!) and came off confident and commanding. Left me feeling so happy for her. It was the first, out of four times, that I've seen her do a show without a hitch. It was like the really fragile girl belting out her Haftorah at her Bat Mitzvah, much to the surprise of all the other 13 year olds. Mazel Tov to Ms. Marshall: today you are a woman.

Finished the night off watching a little kid with rad hair and dope childe grillz creating a whole new dance vocabulary to the music of Atmoshphere, wandered by the mainstage for a little Depeche Mode, then wrapped up over at Daft Punk, who sounded kickass. But after three or four songs, I realized it was indeed time to go. When you're watching two guys in Robot helmets, on a video screen, from very far away, playing songs from their laptops, you can't help but laugh at the situation, right?

All in all, a great day. Exhausted, covered in sweat, headache, ears ringing. Very very happy. And not sunburned.



Anonymous said...

Rahzel is the best in beatboxing/hiphop and rap!


Jacquie said...

Great post on Coachella. I love that little kid pic.