Coachella, day two, dawned and when the heat wakes you up before 9, you know youíre in trouble. What was even more trouble was that Sundayís lineup beckoned far earlier than did Saturdayís. This was heatstroke just begging to happen. Luckily, we had our daily pre-party poolside to help keep us cool before heading off into Danteís Inferno.
As was also the case the day prior, Dennis Blair, Mark Czarra, Dave Cash, Matt Smith (ask him about his Sharpie incident), Adrian Moreira, Aaron Axelsen, and Warren Christensen were in the mix, but Sundayís event was a much larger affair. Mike Halloran and his raft-surfing son Declan were also enjoying the festivities, as was Halloranís punk rock posse and, best of all, the chef of Red Square in Las Vegas, who provided a barbecue feast unparalleled in music industry party history. Also enjoying the snacks were Howie Miura and his lovely wife Julie, Stephanie Perez, Pete Cohen and another twenty of their closest friends. It was 107 degrees in the shade, according to the thermometer at the house, but it was 3PM and time to motivate to go see Muse.
When merely walking from the car to the entry gate causes rivers of sweat to pour down, itís HOT. That was the overwhelming theme of the day. Being hot and sweating. No matter, because Muse were so incendiary, they could cause sweat in a meat locker. Rocking through much of their new record, Absolution, the trio was as tight as ever. How one guitar can make that much sound is beyond me. ìPlug In Baby,î ìTime Is Running Out,î and set closer ìStockholm Syndromeî were all unbelievably amazing and the set cemented Muse, with Radiohead and Pixies, as the top bands of the weekend.
The rushing from tent to stage to tent started now and virtually didnít end all day or night. The Killers were next up and the strength of their breakthrough single, ìSomebody Told Me,î meant that their tent was rammed. That many people in a tent in direct sunlight means HOT, yet again. Luckily the sides of the tent were exposed, letting in some fresh air. The single and ìMr. Brightsideî reacted most strongly, but the entire set was well received. As at South By Southwest, the band were joined by a choir for a rendition of ìAll These Things That Iíve Done,î and as the band left the stage to rapturous applause, it was time to head back for a quick beer before heading again off to another tent, to catch a bit of 2ManyDjs. These Soulwax bitches are about the best DJs around at this time, mixing songs you know with ones you donít to create the perfect party experience. Well, normally. That tent was so packed and hot that after about 10 minutes it became unbearable and we rolled to The Cooper Temple Clause. Why this band isnít bigger here is a mystery, because they always bring it live, in a big way. Overly dressed in jackets and in Didzís case, a scarf, TCTC rocked tracks off their debut, See Through This And Leave like ìBeen Training Dogs,î ìFilm-Maker,î and ìLetís Kill Music,î as well as anthems off their US release of this year, Kick Up The Flames And Let The Fire Break Loose, like ìBlind Pilotsî and set closer ìPromises, Promises.î These kids could teach a class on Riffology and still have time to throw in all the atmospherics that take it to the next level. Excellent gig by the Reading sextet, as always.
Next up, 15-minute blocks of bands aplenty. I caught chunks of Belle & Sebastian (good, but a bit quiet), Bright Eyes (was that Yeah Yeah Yeahsí Nick Zinner playing guitar with Conor Oberst and gang?), Dizzee Rascal (still spitting faster than a speeding bullet and with crazy flow. Dizzee rules!), Sleepy Jackson (equally rocking and psychedelic; Iím kinda scared of frontman Luke Steele but the kid has undeniable talent), AIR (amazing as always; a perfect way to chill as the sun set), Crystal Method (all live! First time Iíd seen them like this and they were truly great. Wish I had more time to spend there), BRMC (blew up two basses and had to go acoustic, but still sounded on top of their game), Flaming Lips (they only played four songs ñ frontman Wayne Coyne had trouble getting into this giant plastic ball/hamster ball thing he walked out into the crowd on, and spent a lot of time talking politics to the crowd), Mogwai (wow. MBV for the 21st Century. Transcendent), and Basement Jaxx (only caught two tracks, but the fans were LOVING it). Whew!
Time for another round of beers (and time to run into Stephanie Harty, Rob Goldklang, Maridi Nalle, Kenny Weagly, Tim Bergevin, and Sheneza ìCleavageî Mohammed) and then time for Robert Smith and his highly anticipated Cure set. Sadly the sound was a bit thin for the first half hour and we headed off to see Ash. Fuck, do these kids bring the rock energy. I guess after rocking for over 10 years, you know how to get the job done, but Tim Wheelerís brigade looked like they were having the time of their lives, and the songs were note perfect. The tracks from Ashís pending full length, Meltdown, sounded awesome as well and the crowd ate up every last morsel. Robert English, Patrick Schmidt, Scott Hurwitz and Paul Driscoll looked to be having a ball, as did Linda Yang, Steven Taverner and Martha Parava. Back to the Cure for their last set of songs, which included a virtual hits package: ìLovecats,î ìClose To Me,î ìWhy Canít I Be You,î ìBoys Donít Cry,î and finally, set closer ìA Forest.î The sound problems had been remedied by the time we returned and these songs sounded as good as they did twenty years ago. The Curefest this summer is going to be something special, for sure.
And with that, and a 15-minute walk to the car, Coachella 2004 was over. Tons of good bands, way too much sun, and lots of great hangs made it one of the best Coachellas ever. Thanks to Christine Chiappetta, Rob Goldklang, Adrian Moreira, and Aaron Axelsen for being my enablers, big ups to all my peeps, sorry to those I forgot to mention and roll on Coachella 2005.