Here it is, the infamous Coachella wrap up report....Yeah, yeah, I know, it's been almost a week to the day since Coachella started. I get it... you folks out there in Tripwireland want the up-to-the-second recap deets on how amazing it was to see (insert your favorite indie rock-punk-dance-psych-aggro-acid rave-country act's name here) take over the stage and rock the socks off of the estimated 150,000+ attendees crazy enough to brave the nearly 100 degree weather in Indio. But you know what? Tough toots, music fans.
With over 40 artists performing per day on five stages, the Coachella Music and Arts festival is a music lover's wet dream. You can take your pick of a virtual buffet of delectable music bites: dance, classic rock, hip-hop, and folk all co-exist on a dusty polo field in the desert. With a cocky attitude and a mini battery-powered handheld I totally set out to devour as music as possible over the course of the weekend.
But for serious, kids, let's discuss how rocking out in the California desert for three days has literally turned me into a shadow of my former self. I mean it: I need a vacation from my vacation... Coachella 2008 hath DESTROYED me.
DAY ONE: Surveying the Land and Easing Into The Coachella Groove
The crew and me landed in Indio mid-afternoon, and made our way over to the festival. We entered the grounds to the beginning strains of The Breeders, who clearly owned their slot on the Coachella main stage. The Deal sisters provided one of the day's most exuberant sets, mixing in songs from all of their albums, including a lush-sounding rendition of "No Aloha" (my personal favorite Breeders jam), the classic "Cannonball," and a surprise Beatles cover ("Happiness is a Warm Gun"). Though a few minor sound issues plagued their set, the Breeders really stepped up their already stellar live performance reputation a big notch, and got my day off to a great start.
A quick jaunt across the polo field took us to see Australia's own Cut Copy, who easily turned in one of the most energetic (and packed!) performances of the day. The Melbourne-based trio played a killer 45-minute set mainly focusing on tunes from their new In Ghost Colours LP (so good, by the way) while sprinkling in the hits from their mega-popular debut CD, Bright Like Neon Love.
Taking a bit of a break on the lawn, I caught a bit of Tegan and Sara's and Diplo's sets while mentally getting ready for my main event of the evening: the Aphex Twin DJ set. For those of you that don't know, I idolize Aphex Twin. Like super-duper seriously geek out on the dude. So I was super-excited to utilize my artist backstage pass to get the full birds-eye view of Richard D James in action. Aphex's set started off slow and melodic, but soon built up to a fever-pitched drill 'n' bass session that had the completely rammed dance tent dancing and shouting their approval. When Aphex's stuffed animal dancers hit the stage to dance along to the tunes, complete mayhem broke out... it was, as they say, absolutely mental.
Rushing backstage, I was a bit disappointed to see that Aphex had been completely swamped by his rabid devotees, but also noted that he was cool enough to pose for snapshots with each and every one of them, and signed autographs for at least half an hour. Now that's pretty cool in my book!
Going back to the main lawn, Richard Ashcroft and The Verve were taking the main stage, and can I say that Ashcroft's voice is still one of the loveliest things ever to grace the recorded medium? I can testify that The Verve are still in fine form (especially on classic tunes like ""Lucky Man," and "The Drugs Don't Work"), and completely still know how to command a performance. I will say, however, that the jury's still out on the new Verve tunes that the band debuted during their performance, but "Bittersweet Symphony" is still one of the greatest anthems ever written.
One bummer of the evening was that Spankrock's Naim was not able to make the trip to Coachella... me and the crew were definitely down to end the evening on a funky, booty bass-filled high note. So instead, we dragged our sorry, gritty carcasses to Spicy Pie (mmmm, $6 pizza slices), grabbed one to go, and hit the road before the insane traffic jams.