Did you notice the wait for a table at Eat Well in Silver Lake was shorter this weekend? That Jet Blue tickets for flights coming into Long Beach were harder to come by? Get your blame on and point your finger towards the Coachella Valley Music Festival. Though this year's lineup wasn't as inspiring as last year's apex booking - we even skipped out on Saturday because most of the bands that we'd want to see had either been touring for all of the past year or would be touring for the rest of this one - by Sunday morning we were geeked to hit the desert.
After a slight detour for chicken sandwiches and root beer floats at A&W we made our way down Indio's Jefferson Ave through surprisingly mild traffic and into the Empire Polo Field's parking lot. Once inside the main grounds there were tons of awesome boobs and bellies hanging out, plus a lot of tattoos. Terrible, terrible tattoos.
The first stop (after one of many trips to the water stand) was the newly air-conditioned Sahara tent to watch Diplo's always good times DJ set of baile funk, dancehall, English new wave and hip-hop. His roommate/homeboy System D128 was at his side supplying live-mixed visual projections of old rap videos and footage of Brazil. The closing “Wait”/”Walk Like An Egyptian” mix was fresh, but the nicest surprise was that Diplo has stopped mixing Soft Cell's “Tainted Love” with “Project Chick” and has moved on to using the “Like A Pimp” remix.
Next we headed over to watch Autolux play. They sounded well rehearsed and never looked at each other. Or the crowd. Did they look at their shoes you ask? Nah. It was more like the space on the floor a few feet in front of them.
In a unfortunate series of scheduling events we were then forced to choose between two of our favorites: MIA and the Fiery Furnaces. We ended up picking the latter. Though the FADER spurning MIA sounds like blasphemy, we realized it's been longer since we saw the Friedberger siblings live, and MIA is rolling back through Southern California in about two weeks. The Furnaces burned through their tongue twisters and complex compositions with nimble agility. Maybe it was the outdoor setting, but they played their non-stop set with classic VH power and finished it so quickly that they had ten minutes to spare. The “so I joined the police force” to the “I started seeing Jenny” segment of “Inspector Blanceflower” and “Name Game” were total killers. Man, do we love this band.
Beans played backed by a full band. He crammed a lot of words in his verses and has great taste in sunglasses.
Tegan And Sara seemed incredibly nice and used the word “crapper” in their stage banter. We listened to them while laying on the grass as a nice breeze started blowing in around five o'clock.
Gang Of Four started their set by playing a recording of Native American chanting to remind us of our “own history of imperialism.” Dudes, we're all on the same team here, you don't need to make us feel bad. They started off strong, got a little boring in the middle, but picked it up at the end. For one song lead-singer Jon King beat on a microwave (What's the statement behind that? "We hate reheated Chinese food"?) but spent most of the set running across the stage like he was doing his b-ball defense drills. We thought there'd be more people excited about this reunion performance, but Chloë Sevigny dancing in daisy dukes and this one dude who spent the entire set with his hands in the air were good enough. We're just stoked they got back together because you just don't see overweight drummers anymore.
Z-Trip played AC/DC and Whodini records and then brought Chester Bennington from Linkin Park on stage to do “Walking Dead” from his new album. Bro, what happened? Three years ago at Coachella Beck rode your buzz and made a guest appearance at the tail end of your session, now you're relying on Jay-Z's back-up screamer?
New Order were really fun and we had a blast watching them play old songs, new songs and the songs by Joy Division that everybody knows. John Hawkes from Deadwood popped up next to us looking like a regular dirtbag in a ripped wife-beater and was going nutso during “Transmission”. When the big screens projected the view from behind the band and we could see the entire field stretched out until the sunset it looked incredible. Then we noticed the teleprompter by their feet and Bernard Summer looking down a lot during some songs. That was kind of a bummer, but we're over it because they recorded “Blue Monday.”
The decision to have Nine Inch Nails play second to last on the main stage confused us at first, but after seeing what a bummer they bring we understood why the promoters didn't want folks ending the weekend on that note. We're saying though, we listen to those NIN albums a lot (kind of) and are generally happy people, but when Trent hit the stage the positive vibes we had been enjoying all day took a nosedive.
We watched the Faint for a little bit, but our ride had somewhere to be early on Monday morning, so we bailed and escaped the parking lot in record time. We slept in the backset for the entire two hour ride back to LA. It was awesome. The whole day was awesome.