Brothers and sisters, we have returned from our annual trip to the California desert for the Coachella Valley Music Festival...and boy are our brains tired. Jams were jammed. Flesh was burned. Hamburgers were eaten. Pools were swum. For the first installment of the real good times (a good time) wrap-up, make the jump.
After the long, hot trek into the Polo Field's grounds, we started Saturday by getting weird with the Animal Collective. The zoo crew were in their best summer camp counselor attire (bro, can you help me out with this sixteen-stitch lanyard?) and though we probably use the phrase "jammed a session on our mind" too often, they totally JAMMED A SESSION ON OUR SUN-BAKED MIND. Then Avey Tare did that thing where he breaks a pen and rubs the ink all over his face. We'd peg him as the counselor who teaches archery and periodically comes along on your bunk's "forest walks."
After that we bounced to the Mojave tent for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I guess when you have the word "clap" in your band's name the audience gets really into clapping during your songs, which is kind of awesome. For the past year or so we kept blowing opportunities to see these dudes, so we were glad we were finally able to. We'd heard they suck live, that isn't true anymore.
Then it was back into the outdoors for My Morning Jacket's shredness. We're not going to get super deep into, but this was a definite contender for set of the weekend. This band has got their shit together. No big deal.
For us, the MMJ vs Kanye West was the biggest scheduling conflict of the festival, but because A Guy Called West arrived late, we were able to see both. Though West had to turn in an abbreviated set due to his tardiness, he still had the time to bust out "Gold Digger", "Touch The Sky" and his Molly Ringwald dance. He's a real crowd pleaser.
Back on the smaller stages, TV On The Radio got powerful with a mix old tunes and ones from their forthcoming album. Now we know for a fact that these guys used to suck live, but that's definitely not true anymore. Not only did they bring out their buds from Celebration for help on a few numbers, but they also hung wind chimes from their guitars, looped beatboxing and sung through megaphones. The crowd's clapping along was really focused for them too.
A topless Devendra Banhart took to the stage with his band that included tight bros Andy Cabic from Vetiver and Noah Georgeson, as well a few other folks—all of them looking like they came straight from a vision quest in Joshua Tree. Banhart played the waviest of his gravy jams before ending the set with a wine-fueled dance-a-thon to "I Feel Just Like A Child".
Now we, like many others, were concerned about Cat Power's performance. Not just because Chan Marshall recently cancelled a whole string of dates and never rescheduled them, but because when she did play during the past year or so they would be long, often difficult affairs where she barely stopped between songs so the audience couldn't applaud. But then when Marshall took to the stage backed by the Memphis Rhythm Band (complete with a string section, horns and backup singers) she looked glorious and actually seemed to be really enjoying herself. She even executed dance moves including The Cassius Clay, The Hula Girl, The Booty Bop and The Enchanted Goat. Performing material exclusively from The Greatest (save for a few covers), she was magnificent. Let's hope she gets it together and takes this show on the road.
After that we caught the tail end of the Juan Maclean's set. Unfortunately we didn't get to see much of it, but we did get to jump around and scream along to "Give Me Every Little Thing" and "Shinny Skinned Friend".
Then came the day's next big dilemma. We really wanted to see the Saturday night closing set from our shinny skinned friends in Daft Punk, but before they went on there was an hour long scheduling void that was only filled by crappy Depeche Mode and the pretentious Living Things. So...the hot tub felt really good for our aching bones.
Stay tuned for more on our continued adventures in Indio.