Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Day In the Sun At Coachella

100 degree heat, more people than the eye can see, and no shade to be found anywhere (except humid tents) - sounds like the inner most circle of Hell. No, no it's just another weekend at Coachella. A place I find myself at every year - where the conditions are hellish, but the music is sent straight from God.

This year, with the expanded concert and hiked up prices, I could only afford a one day ticket; however, Saturday's show had the perfect blend of artists to make my 90 dollars a great investment. On the list of must see acts I had a couple of shoe-ins, some exciting newcomers and a wild card. The reason I keep coming back to Coachella, is because of the genuine excitement of the crowd and the heightened quality of the musical performances. Every band I've seen (except for some of the reunion bores) takes it upon themselves to play a precise and exciting set.

Based around my own experience: the shoe-ins were Arcade Fire and The Rapture. The exciting newcomers were Justice, Peter Bjorn and John and LCD Soundsystem and the wild card was Hot Chip.

As expected, Arcade Fire played the best hour of music at the concert. Their set was comprised of a perfect split between old and new - Power's Out, Haiti, Tunnels, Rebellion and Wake Up (from Funeral); Black Mirror, My body is a Cage, Intervention, Ocean of Noise, Keep the Car Running and Antichrist Television Blues (from Neon Bible); No Cars Go (a staple live song). Somehow people were still complaining that they played too much of Neon Bible - go figure. I forgot that it's not cool to like a band's new material.

One sentence: The Rapture kicked the Sahara tent into gear for one final dance party of the night.

Coming into Coachella, I was most curious to experience a DJ set from the infamous Justice. The French DJ duo took excess to a new level by piling up 24 sets of Marshall stack amps around their laptop station, and playing the loudest set of the night (in my life?). It was all there - the lit up cross, the fist pumping, "Phantoms."

The standout artist that I've always admired from afar was LCD Soundsystem. I've known him as the genius behind great dance tracks and remixes, but I had no expectation of how his live performance would play out. Close your eyes and listen to "Daft Punk is Playing in My House" - picture all the electronic tools used to create that track. Now open your eyes and see a group of musicians onstage recreated every drumbeat and electronic swirl on live drums, guitars, and keys. It was a pleasant surprise and another example of why I love Coachella.

My only slight disappointment of the day was the so-so music of Peter Bjorn and John. Outside of a great last few songs, the music seemed void of any magic.

Ok this is dragging out to0 long...

My last observation is that Hot Chip kicked ass, and were the perfect opening act for my day in the sun.

[mp3] Arcade Fire - Rebellion

[mp3] Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
[mp3] LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
[mp3] Hot Chip - Boys From School



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