Saturday, May 10, 2008

Coachella Music Festival - Day Three

After almost two weeks have passed, now comes my final installment of my Coachella recap. I would've done it sooner, but I think I am coming down with a cold, so the motivation to post isn't that strong at the moment. Plenty of stuff happened on Sunday that made the day memorable, even if the pure awesomeness of Saturday made the day a little bit of a let down in comparison.

Me and my brother got the day off to another somewhat early start as we eagerly wanted to watch the Cool Kids perform at 2PM. We managed to make it inside by 2:15 and caught a good 30 minutes of their set on the main stage. Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish got the crowd riled up in classic hip hop fashion by pitting one side of the crowd against the other (always a go-to move by any hip hop artist) and shooting water at us with some Super Soaker squirt guns. There was also some football tossing with a couple of audience members and plenty of beats and rhymes to leave the crowd satisfied. The Cool Kids definitely managed to live up to their name in the short time they were given to perform (I mean, just look at how sweet those outfits are!).

Next up was one of my personal favorites of the weekend, dance noise outfit Holy Fuck. These dudes rocked the Gobi tent (the smallest of the three tent stages) as hard anyone I saw, with the exception of Cut Copy. There was tons of button pushing, knob twisting and keyboard mashing, along with heavy drums and guitar noise to keep the crowd moving throughout their 45 minute performance. As for me, I loved watching the band bob up and down like headbangers as they jammed away on their instruments. I hadn't realized it before, but Holy Fuck seriously aren't much different than your standard jam band. The only difference is their songs are shorter and you can dance to them.

After Holy Fuck finished up we ended up having a huge gap in our schedule as The Field's set was canceled due to VISA problems (thank you, Department of Homeland Security) and there wasn't much else that interested me and my brother for about two hours. So, we did what most people would've done, we killed time in the beer garden.

After some beers and food it was time to head to the Mojave tent to catch Spiritualized. This was another act that I was anxious to see, but after about 20 minutes of listening to horrible feedback and sound problems we decided to skip out early. It was pretty lame, but at least it afforded us the opportunity to catch the first 20 minutes of A-Trak and Kid Sister's set in the Gobi tent. While we only got to see the A-Trak warm up the crowd with a funky sauce DJ set (Kid Sister came on later, but we left to see Love and Rockets), it was nice to see how far this dude has come. I remember seeing him at the first Coachella Music Festival performing with the Original Scratch Pickles as a 16 year old kid and now he was moving a crowd of 3000 people any which way he pleased.

Next up was Love and Rockets. This was a band that I've always known I should like, but never did much to listen to their music before. I do like the first couple of Bauhaus records, so it only makes sense that I should listen to this band as well. After their performance at the Outdoor Theater, I think I will pick up a couple of their albums soon. They ended up being much louder than I thought they would be, and a couple of songs into their set I realized that Love and Rockets were indirectly responsible for 80's hair metal bands. They don't sound that similar, but if you add in some outrageous costumes, a lot of drugs and alcohol and remove half the talent, then you get Motley Crue. Sad, but true.

Once Love and Rockets did their thing all eyes pointed towards the main stage as Roger Waters' crew was still making final preparations for their elaborate setup. Elaborate is an understatement as the stage included an enormous video wall, something like 15 performers, pyrotechnics, speakers setup at the back of the field that pointed inward (for that 360 degree sound effect), puppets and, of course, a giant inflatable flying pig. When Waters came on at 8:30 the crowd that had accumulated was massive, but not overwhelming, as most people wanted space to experience Dark Side of the Moon sitting down.

Of course, Waters and his crew were given two and a half hours to perform, which means lots of time was filled with non-Dark Side material. I had heard the first hour was mostly solo material with a couple of Pink Floyd songs thrown in, so I only stayed for the first 20 minutes or so and then headed to the Sahara to watch Simian Mobile Disco.

This turned out to be a great decision as SMD threw it DOWN! For one, the tent was packed and I could only get a spot on the outskirts and secondly, these guys never stop moving around the stage. It's not like they are dancing or anything like that, but instead they are constantly moving from one modular synth to the next, twisting knobs and pressing keys at a rapid fire pace. There's four of them in all and they are arranged in a diamond formation to make it easy for each person to move from one to the other. They sounded great and crowd inside the tent was going absolutely bat shit crazy for them. One of the best acts I saw all weekend (non-Prince division).

Once SMD ended it was time to head back over to the main stage for some Dark Side of the Moon action. I only stayed up through "Money," but holy crap was that a good show! If it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to see Black Mountain really bad, I would've had no problem staying for the rest of Roger Waters' set. The sound and presentation were amazing and everything sounded exactly like Pink Floyd that it was hard to imagine that David Gilmour and the rest of them weren't on stage.

After that it was off to the Mojave for one last time to see prog-rockers Black Mountain. I really enjoyed this set, if for no other reason than to watch their guitarist shred away to create the grinding piercing sound that I love. The songs were loud and precise and that's really all I could ask for.

Once I left the Mojave tent I was tempted to make one last trip inside the Sahara to see Justice, but after being propositioned for mushrooms by a group of 17 year old girls and then noticing how many people around me were obviously on ecstasy (really people, it's 2008), I decided to bail and beat traffic home. I'm sure Justice was awesome, but I will have many opportunities to see them again, so I really can't say I left Coachella with any regrets. Another year, another weekend full of wonderful experiences. I already can't wait until the next one.

Roger Waters - "Time" live @ Coachella 2008 from Ivan Juarez-Mrazek on Vimeo.

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