Saturday, April 25, 2009

Coachella - Musings on Sunday

Sunday at Coachella got off to a little bit of a slow start. We headed in to Palm Springs to the first place that popped up when I searched for breakfast on Yelp, Cheeky’s. It was a bit pretentious but ended up being good. If somebody opened up one of those in Silver Lake they could print money. The bacon flight’s a good idea. We spotted Keenen Ivory Wayans for the second time of the weekend.

After eating, we headed to Rancho Mirage to meet some friends who were watching the Lakers game at the Yard House. The named turned out to be a tease when the bartender explained that the police had recently barred them from selling yards of beer.

We ended up with a Lot A parking pass for Sunday. It turns out they charge $20 for Lot A parking. Kind of high, but well worth it (esp after the long ass walk on Saturday). From the parking lot, we could hear Okkervil River finishing up their set. One of the only bands I was excited about seeing on Sunday. Oh well.

Lupe Fiasco was up next on the Coachella stage. Like his record, there were a couple of good moments. Matthew Santos came out for a few songs, including the big hit, “Superstar.”

Being completely lazy and uninspired by the lineup, we stayed in the shade of the VIP area. Peter Bjorn & John came on next. I’m still a big fan of their second and third records, Falling Out and Writer’s Block and enjoyed seeing them at the Roxy a couple of years ago. I put their new record (Living Thing) on last week, and thought they just sounded uninspired and bored with themselves. They seemed even more bored to be performing the songs live. A guest appearance from Lykke Li couldn’t save “Young Folks.” Background music.

At this point we ran into a friend who offered us a couple of catering tickets. If anybody ever offers you catering tickets at Coachella, do not turn them down. The food blows away the shit they sell. They offered up salmon, chicken or vegan and had a fresh salad bar. It’s the best place to see all the bands hanging out too. We saw Public Enemy, Okkervil River and The Knux hanging out. I’ve never been a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan, but they were playing in the background.

We finished the best meal of the weekend and walked over to the Outdoor Theatre for Paul Weller. I know the first five Jam records pretty well, but I’m not super familiar with The Style Council or the solo records. Weller looked and sounded great. Johnny Marr even came out to help on “A Town Called Malice.”

If I hadn’t just seen My Bloody Valentine play a fantastic show at the El Rey, I would have been way more excited. Much to our surprise, we were able to march up as close as we wanted to the stage. After a couple of rough songs, the sound guy finally got the mix right. The band is so boring to look at, but they sounded great. Hopefully hitting this new creative stride will finally give them the confidence to finish some new material in the studio.

By this time, going in to work early Monday morning was weighing on me. I’d walked out about half way through the Cure’s set when they played Coachella 2004. Coachella 2009 turned out to be no different. The first song was new and I didn’t recognize it. The second song was an intense, dark song from Disintegration. The third song was a decent song off of Pornography, during which we said, if they play a hit next, we’ll stay. Instead they played another new song. “OK, we’ll give them one more.” And they played another new song. As we were walking to the car we heard “Lovesong” and as we drove away we heard “Pictures of You.” They ended up playing an epic set, got fined for going over and eventually got the plug pulled on them. Our loss.

Conclusion: I’m not really a festival guy. Even with free artists wristbands, VIP parking and meal tickets, it was just okay. I still wish I’d seen McCartney though.

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