COACHELLA: DAY 2

by Scott Iasillo

Day 2, a day that really did not have the affirming promise of live acts as day 1 and day 3 gave me. With that said, I was extremely surprised at what I witnessed. Perhaps going into a music festival with no demanding expectations is the proper way to enjoy such a day. Here’s the breakdown:

Artist: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Song: Up From Below

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Band of Skulls

This band’s always playing LA and appear to have a core fan base. The cal- and-response rock songs this trio plays, gritty wah-wah guitar with heavy basslines, was a great way to kick off day 2 in one of the smaller tents. I was just a beer deep and enjoyed the swampy hard-rock from the lead singer/guitarist and his female bassist (picture a tougher Chrissie Hynde in all black). The ending of their set consisted of a heavy drums and bass smashing off one another.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

The crowd here was packed for a 2nd stage act, so packed they could have easily performed on the main stage. Feeding off an energized crowd, the Zeros came across with the anthemic tunes in the sense of Arcade Fire. Horns, violins, drums, and chanting, all in front of a back drop Emerald City.

The XX

This was an empty set, sound wise. Their music doesn’t seem to translate well to the magnitude of the outdoor second stage. I think they would work better in a tent. With a very mellow and somber set, the trio (bassist, guitarist, and drummer using only drum machine) played a set that wasn’t energetic at all. Dismal and bland, I left for the Dirty Projectors.

The Dirty Projectors

A band David Byrne gives props to and works with, so naturally they’re going to be off-rhythm and worldly sounding. Using island rhythms and off-beat guitar and drums, the band was a more peaceful, much less agressive Mars Volta; but equally chaotic. The harmony from Projectors’ female singers was outstanding. Ending their set with “Stillness In The Move” was the right call. Rarely do we see a soulful, hip-swinging white blonde hottie with that voice. There’s hope folks, it’s out there and it’s at the Mojave tent.

Hot Chip

Caught the second half of the Hot Chip set. British electro dance pop isn’t my bag, but joining a conga line through the crowd was quite fun. Best part was while dancing in the conga line, I jumped on either someone’s bones or a mound of empty water bottles. Either way there was cracking and I didn’t care.

MGMT

Opening up with acoustic numbers isn’t the smart thing to do. MGMT decided to go this route and the outcoming was devastating. The New York band simply didn’t come to perform with any energy. “Electric Feel” might have been the fourth song in their set. Such a poor choice, as the energy and luster was gone. By not playing their hit, “Kids,” MGMT did a fine job of getting the big thumbs down.

Z-Trip

A sick DJ. Think Girl Talk but with actual scratching, not just layering of samples. Z-Trip came correct like no other. I entered the tent just as he was cutting Wu-Tang’s “Method Man” remix version over AC/DC. The blends, or mash-ups as they’re referred to now, were unbelievable and highly unexpected: “Shout” by Tears For Fears over Alice In Chains’ “Man in the Box.” Stevie Wonder with dirty south booty bass, The Killers over trip-hop, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Andre 3000′s verse from “Spottieottiedopalicious.” House to hip-hop, all over the place and so was the crowd.

The Dead Weather

The band of the night. Shot in black and white, the seductive blues tones of The Dead Weather was the show of the entire night. Taking the stage at 11pm, I caught Jack White singing while on drums, then moving to guitar and “shredding the axe,” as I described it to the bearded weirdo to my right. Female lead, Alison Mosshart, emits attitude on stage. In black leather, she smoked cigarettes and looked like she wanted to kick everyone in the balls (which is cool. I dig that. I’m a weirdo). Sharing one mic with Jack White, Alison and Jack actually butted heads, almost making out while singing on the mic. It was sultry Nashville rock: very film noir and sexy. Picture the video to Chris Isaak’s wicked game without the bitchass in the wife beater (Chris Isaak).

Devo

I ended my night back at the tents witnessing post-punk pioneer weirdos Devo. Their backdrop video consisted of rhythmic color bars, french fry animations flying into donuts and breaking (which is a weird broken dick sex innuendo). Devo started in grey technician suits and their patented blue pyramid caps, before stripping into yellow one pieces a la Dr. Evil employees, right before performing their off-kilter cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Eventually, they stripped down to just black t-shirt and pants. Devo never took themselves seriously and it shows, and in turn they capped off the night with post-punk performance art. Mark Mothersbaugh keeps it mega real.

Day 2 is complete. I’m hopping in the shower with this girl who has a tattoo of Felix the Cat on her back. Getting weird for day 3. Over and out.

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