I’m a little late blogging this, but the Coachella 2008 lineup has been announced. However, is it just me or is the lineup weaker this year? Or maybe I’m just getting old and don’t know who the cool bands are anymore. (There are certainly a lot of unknown-to-me names on the list.) I may skip it this year and just catch Stars on whatever tour date is closest to wherever I happen to be in April. (I’ve been on a major Stars kick lately—partly their new album from last year and partly a new appreciation of Heart, on which several songs are more relevant than they used to be. They put on an amazing show the one time I saw them live, which was two years ago.)
Last year, when all the high-profile Coachella reunions were announced, I declared at the lunch table that My Bloody Valentine should reunite for Coachella 2008. Then they did reunite last year, and they were rumored to be playing Coachella, but they’re not on the list so it looks like I don’t get my wish.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a video so here’s “Elevator Love Letter” by Stars, from Heart. (Set Yourself on Fire remains their best album, however.)
I haven’t reviewed any of these yet, but for context I want to list my top five albums of 2007 so far:
1. The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
2. !!!, Myth Takes
3. Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
4. Blonde Redhead, 23
5. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Living with the Living
Four of these bands played at Coachella this year; three of them were on Saturday. Throw in the New Pornographers and the Decemberists and this was easily my favorite day of the festival, even if I had to skip !!!’s set. Sets I saw Saturday: Hot Chip, the New Pornographers, the Decemberists, the Arcade Fire, Blonde Redhead
Details below the fold:
Didn’t get much sleep Thursday night, partly because I arrived late at the campsite, but mostly because other, very loud people continued to arrive even later at the campsite. This was not a problem the next three nights; as everyone was exhausted from the day’s events, the nights were very quiet. By about 9 am it became too hot to sleep, and I felt like I was baking in my tent. I spent the brutally hot morning hiding in the shade reading Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, and sometime after noon ventured into the festival. Sets I saw Friday: Noisettes, Tokyo Police Club, Of Montreal, Arctic Monkeys, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jarvis Cocker, Sonic Youth.
Details below the fold:
(Posted first so it’s up while I work on the detailed report.)
(And here’s last year’s.)
Obviously, this only applies to the artists that I saw; I’m sure I missed a lot of good stuff. Instruments category: Best vocals: Win Butler (Arcade Fire) Best guitar (electric division): Mike Stroud (Ratatat) Best guitar (acoustic division): Rodrigo Sanchez (Rodrigo y Gabriela) Best bass: This has to be Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), right? Best synth: Hot Chip Best violin section: The Arcade Fire Best brass section: Lily Allen Flair category: Best audience participation: The Decemberists Best band name: Travis No, seriously: !!! (“chk chk chk”) Best costumes (general): Of Montreal Best costumes (cetacean division): The Decemberists Most endearing display of modesty: Thurston Moore introducing the band and the lead song as if no one had ever heard of Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation, or “Teen Age Riot”. Most endearing display of immodesty: Carl Newman (The New Pornographers): “Bow before our new album cover!” Best celebrity cameo: Scarlett Johansson with the Jesus and Mary Chain on “Just Like Honey” Organization category: Best stage: Outdoor Theater Best day’s lineup: Saturday Most agonizing schedule conflict: !!! vs. The Decemberists Song category: Best cover: Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” played by Rodrigo y Gabriela Bands playing songs that appear in Guitar Hero:
Satellite Party covering “Stop”
The Willie Nelson Family Band covering “Texas Flood”
Rage against the Machine playing “Killing in the Name Of”
(Did RHCP play “Higher Ground”?) Best performance of a single song: The Decemberists, “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” Band category: Best band I’d never even heard of: The Feeling Best band I’d heard of but never really looked into before: Hot Chip Best band at the festival: Arcade Fire Best overall performance: Of Montreal
I’m back from Coachella, where the weather was hot and the music was awesome. I’ll post a full rundown later. In the meantime, the Project 365 photoset has been brought up to date with the last five days of photos. I have a few more Coachella photos to post later as well. (I took many more but the broken screen on my camera was particularly troublesome, and most didn’t come out.)
I’ve been completely away from internet and sources of news for five days; did I miss anything?
Saw the major Coachella news last night, but today the full lineup has been posted. Not only is Rage Against the Machine reuniting for the festival, so is Jesus and Mary Chain.
If I go for just one day it’ll probably be Saturday, which has several of my favorite bands. If two days, Friday and Saturday.
Best vocals: Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) Best guitar: Ted Leo Best drums: Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) Best synth: Ladytron Most engaging: The Go! Team Best audience: Depeche Mode Most t-shirts worn by attendees: Tool Most crush-worthy female musician: Mira Aroyo (Ladytron) Most crush-worthy male musician: Ted Leo Best use of a windchime: TV on the Radio Most cowbell: Sleater-Kinney Most innocuous object confiscated by a security guard: My Pilot rollerball pen Best stage (acoustics and layout): Outdoor Theater Best stage (schedule): Mojave Most random cover: Ted Leo playing Daft Punk’s “One More Time” Favorite band: Ladytron Bands I wish I’d had time to see: Sigur Rós, Cat Power, Bloc Party, Wolf Parade Best new find: Art Brut Best overall performance: TV on the Radio Songs on my High Noon Sun mix CD that I heard live:
The Go! Team, “Junior Kickstart”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Cheated Hearts”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, “In This Home On Ice”
Cat Power, “Love & Communication”
Mogwai, “Glasgow Mega-Snake”
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, “Me And Mia”
TV On The Radio, “Ambulance”
Would I do it again? Hell yes. Here are some lessons I should keep in mind for next time. Arrive early. The traffic becomes pretty hideous when the bulk of the crowd arrives, so it can easily add an hour to the travel time. Plus, undoubtedly some of the really obscure bands that play early in the afternoon are really good. (The trick is to find them.) Spend the night camping on-site. Shuttling back to Pasadena on Saturday night was brutal. I was envying the people who could walk a few yards to their tents and go to sleep. Get your ID checked right away. The lines at the ID check booths become long by midafternoon and remain that way all day. If you do it right away, you can walk right into the beer gardens anytime you want later. This is important even if you don’t plan to pay $7 for a Heineken, because: The shortest lines for food and water are in the beer gardens. People are going into the beer garden for beer but mostly not for food, but they do sell it there. Generally you can just walk right up and get something rather than waiting in line at the main food court. Water is available where they sell beer and there’s hardly any line there either. If you’re going to buy a shirt, do it early on the first day. The better shirt designs sell out quickly. It’s worth arriving early for shows to get close to the stage. Especially in the tents the acoustics aren’t so good, and it’s hard even to hear the bands. On the main stage the crowd can get so big that you can’t see anything if you don’t arrive early enough (although hearing the music is less of a problem on the outdoor stages). See one of the headline shows. The sheer hugeness of the show and the crowd makes it a powerful experience. Be too cool for one of the headline shows. When everyone’s off at the main stage the crowds at the other stages are small enough that the experience is much more intimate, and the bands really appreciate your presence there. Plus you can make snide remarks about fans of the main act. Stay hydrated. Obvious but true. I had a brush with dehydration on the first day and it really sapped my energy, even after I got some water and started feeling better.