Desert Delight

Posted April 23, 2009 in Music

As my friend Matthew told his brother James who told me, “Morrissey was a little bitch.” Well said, and we really, really like Morrissey. And even when he whined about having to endure the smell of burning flesh—and we understood he meant the chicken satay and not the backs of waxed Frisbee-playing frat boys—we didn’t dig him. And we’re vegetarians! Enough already Morrissey! It’s a sweaty, meaty festival. Get over it and put on a show. Oh, and he took his shirt off. Meh. 

Next on the schedule for the main stage was the main event, the reason it took us seven hours in traffic to get to Coachella. The reason we missed Leonard Cohen while inching along the asphalt: Sir Paul McCartney. And he was worth it, hands down. McCartney busted out the Wings hits, solo stuff, and plenty of Beatles songs for any fan or person who rides in an elevator occasionally. Even Friday being the anniversary of Linda McCartney’s death didn’t stop him from rocking the Sgt. Pepper’s faves. Get back Loretta. 


We started Saturday with two more Brits: Joss Stone and Paolo “New Shoes” Nutini. Stone tore up the stage with her electrified white-girl soul sporting a summery white dress that cooled off the entire crowd. Nutini brought some New Orleans jazz-influenced Scottish blues to the day, perfect for sweltering. Sweaty pits seemed like an ode of sorts to the Big Easy. 


Fashion report: Gladiator sandals are still in for the ladies, with the update of a Grecian, Stevie-Nicks style headband. There were lots of Breck Girl floppy ‘70s hats with flow-y sundresses and one-piece Katy Perry-style getups. And there was one maverick rocker wearing a pilgrim hat that strangely enough was not rolling with the bikini chick wearing a full American Indian headdress. We’re not sure what that was about. And the guy dressed like Bozo clown? We just wanted to know what brand of face makeup he was wearing that could withstand the Indio heat.


Favorite T-shirt slogan? “It was a toss up between “Manscaping: It’s Not Just for Porn Stars Anymore” and “Meat is Murder. Tasty, Tasty Murder.” Morrissey would have wept.


While Michael Franti and Spearhead got the crowd irie, we cruised the scene to do some Us magazine-style reporting. There was a serious lack of celebutards in the crowd, except, of course, for Paris Hilton. But we did geek out a little bit when we saw the racist fruit stand guy from Flight of the Conchords. And we saw Shaun White, famous for his Wii snowboarding game.


Favorite quote overheard in the bar line: “I’m Twittering right now dude. With my dick.” 


TV on the Radio at sunset. What more can we say? They live up to the hype. And they like to mingle. MIA: not so much. We kind of hated her. The air horn is not a musical instrument, and it gets extremely irritating after the four millionth time. MIA, please write some actual songs before you come back to Coachella. Now we feel stupid for digging “Paper Planes.” But we always have Slumdog Millionaire


Thievery Corporation was a wonderful surprise, and they brought our old Coachella friend Perry Farrell out. The Killers blew. (Arrissia Owen Turner)


. . .

Time is a precious commodity at Coachella. On Sunday, some acts struggled with (or flagrantly disregarded) their set allotments. The Cure went way over the midnight curfew; power was cut after a strange marathon show that catered to diehard followers (rarities were favored). Robert Smith and Porl Thompson crafted many mesmerizing guitar soundscapes, but the biggest cheers came from a Disintegration triptych (“Lovesong,” “Pictures of You,” “Lullaby”). The reunited My Bloody Valentine tested the crowd’s tolerance level with notoriously loud selections off Loveless. Epic white noise closer “You Made Me Realise” was akin to standing next to a space shuttle launch. I’m sure the yahoos who forgot to wear earplugs are sorry now. Paul Weller put on a killer sunset performance highlighted by a fierce version of The Jam’s “Eton Rifles” and the extended, trippy psychedelia of “Porcelain Gods” and “The Changingman.” He appeared surprised about having less than an hour onstage. Yet the Brit rock legend dutifully wrapped with another supercharged Jam gem, “A Town Called Malice,” featuring Johnny Marr on guitar. Earlier, England’s Friendly Fires lived up to the hype with fun Talking Heads-meets-New Order tunes like “Lovesick” and “Photo Booth,” as fans threw confetti into the air and shimmied right along. The Gaslight Anthem’s earnest punk songs went down well in the sweltering heat (especially “Backseat” and “The ‘59 Sound”) and leader Brian Fallon tossed in some Tom Waits and Ben E. King lyrical references. X was solid as always. “Breathless,” “Los Angeles” and “White Girl” still packed a wallop decades later. Peter Bjorn and John battled a muddy sound mix while one guy ran around on the field waving a large Swedish flag. Fortunately, it all sounded fine by the time they got to “Young Folks.” (George A. Paul)


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