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so how was coachella?

Old 05-02-04, 10:42 PM
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so how was coachella?

for you lucky bastards that got to go?
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Old 05-03-04, 09:31 AM
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Here's what the New York Times had to say:
Pixie Worship at a Hipster Gathering

INDIO, Calif., May 2 Pity the bands that shared their Saturday-evening time slot with the reunited Pixies at the fifth annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival here. It seemed that the Pixies were the only band that everyone wanted to see among the 45 rock bands, hip-hop groups and D.J.'s on the festival's four stages on Saturday.

Radiohead, the million-selling band that was the festival's nominal headliner for the festival's first day, drew its own packed crowd when it followed the Pixies on the festival's main stage and played a magnificently baleful set. But even Thom Yorke, Radiohead's lead singer, was thrilled by the Pixies reunion. "When I was in school, the Pixies and R.E.M. changed my life," he said during Radiohead's encores. A long-running band that has been dormant lately, the Cure, was Sunday's headliner; the festival's 50,000 tickets were sold out for both days.

Coachella has earned its reputation as the hipster's rock festival. Its lineup brings together the pride of college radio: a few million-sellers along with dozens of acts that have, or deserve, dedicated cult followings. It embraces Latin alternative rock and underground hip-hop along with rock; it also had far more female performers than most rock festivals manage to book.

Saturday's program included a greatest-hits set from the pioneering and famously impassive German synthesizer band Kraftwerk (which has quietly updated oldies like "Autobahn" with newer beats and technology); gorgeous reveries from the Argentine songwriter Juana Molina and from Savath & Savalas; earnest, surging, self-help rock from the Texas band Sparta, including a song denouncing President Bush and "illegal war" in Iraq; tightly wound confessionals from Death Cab for Cutie; clever braggadocio from the Hieroglyphics hip-hop alliance; and punk-funk revivalism from the Rapture, Moving Units and Erase Errata.

But the day belonged to the Pixies. In an hourlong set that charged through nearly two dozen songs, they were anything but a nostalgia act. Once again they were taking on death and love, derangement and destiny. At Coachella, in songs that dated back more than a decade, the Pixies were simultaneously desolate and hilarious, savage and absurd, sardonic and wounded. Along the way they made most of the day's other music sound one-dimensional.

Backstage, the band's leader, Frank Black, who was born Charles Thompson and called himself Black Francis when he started the band, said the reunion was instigated when he joked about it and was taken seriously. Apparently he hadn't realized how many people had cherished the Pixies. Formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1992 after making five albums that were far more popular in Europe than in the United States, the Pixies taught alternative rock a trick that Nirvana would carry to a mass audience: follow a quiet verse with a loud chorus. But there was more to the Pixies than their dynamics. Frank Black latched on to familiar styles surf-rock, folk-rock, garage-rock, punk, metal and then knocked their structures thoroughly askew, abetted by the band.

The members of the Pixies are balder and portlier than they were a decade ago, and they had little stagecraft beyond a winged P on David Lovering's bass drum. It didn't matter a bit. Onstage, as on the Pixies' albums, Joey Santiago's lead guitar traded heroics for hysteria, with wriggling, sliding notes or cheeky dissonances, Kim Deal's bass tugged at the songs from below, and Mr. Lovering's drumming could be full and brawny or suddenly drop away, leaving skeletal bits of cymbal. Pixies' songs can't be done by rote. They need Frank Black to get all worked up: whooping, cackling, snarling and sometimes yearning with true affection. The gleeful noise never hid a troubled soul. The reunion will continue; the Pixies are booked for New York at the Lollapalooza Festival on Aug. 17 at Randalls Island.

The Pixies had their first life before alternative rock was thoroughly commodified and bands decided they had to stick to one attitude. Somehow many rock bands lost faith that their audiences could handle mixed messages. Recently hip-hop has been more likely to mingle manifestoes, humor and come-ons, though lately underground hip-hop has started to develop its own inevitable formulas.

A few bands on Saturday were willing to scramble things. The Desert Sessions, a dozen musicians convened by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, knocked around blues and punk, jokes and love songs; Kinky, from Mexico, did border-hopping dance-music hybrids; and there was a fierce, grandly cantankerous set from . . . and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The Pixies reunion doesn't need to spawn imitators, but maybe it will remind rockers of the joys of inconsistency.
...I would have given my eye teeth to be there.

Last edited by Hiro11; 05-03-04 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 05-03-04, 12:15 PM
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Screw the Pixies... I'd have killed to see half the bands on this lineup. Okay, so don't screw the Pixies, but seriously, what an incredible couple of days of music. Seeing Kraftwerk would have been really.... neato.

I got to see The Fire Theft, Ween and the Strokes over the weekend so at least I had a little fun!
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Old 05-03-04, 01:04 PM
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Will be heading back to Michigan from Coachella in about an hour. The festival was amazing. I am so tired right now I can hardly type. I will post my thoughts when I get home.
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Old 05-03-04, 05:56 PM
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I'm surprised that there are no mentions of how hot it was - well into the 100's, people were passing out from the heat. Then there's the 3 hours of waiting to get out of the parking lot... man, just not worth it.
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Old 05-03-04, 07:51 PM
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I'm just glad I got to see the Pixies last week in Eugene in a relatively small, intimate club setting rather than at some huge sweaty outdoors show. I'm sure they were awesome either way, I'm still reliving the Eugene concert.
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Old 05-03-04, 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by slop101
I'm surprised that there are no mentions of how hot it was - well into the 100's, people were passing out from the heat. Then there's the 3 hours of waiting to get out of the parking lot... man, just not worth it.
Yeah, I'm also surprised no one mentioned this. When I got the tickets for this, I was going nuts. Getting to see The Pixies and Radiohead and AIR and The Flaming Lips and The Cure, etc. etc.

Then I got there, had to walk through three fields of parking just to stand in line for another half an hour at the entrance, all in blistering heat.

You weren't allowed to bring in your own food or even water, and the lines for water and food were often atrocious, and often the places would run out. And forget about going to the free water fountains. Each one (of which there were maybe 4, total) had lines longer than anything else.

The tents got so packed that people fainted from being packed in close with so many other people, and seeing the bands on the bigger stages meant standing in the blazing sun.

The sound system for the main stage wasn't too incredible, in my opinion. The sound was often compressed and when The Cure played, Robert Smith's mic kept going quiet for no reason.

The hour long sets were too short for the bands you liked, and way too long for bands you didn't like, of which there seemed to be many more than bands you wanted to hear.

There was almost no cell phone reception. If you tried to call someone else at the festival (which became necessary because it's near impossible to find one or two people out of 50,000), their phones would never pick up. I got called several times by people and my phone still hasn't registered the missed calls.

People were stuck in the parking lot for two hours or more trying to get out. Disgusting.

That being said, all the bands I saw but two (The Thrills and The Flaming Lips) either met or exceeded my expectations. The Pixies were amazing. I picked up one of the limited edition CDs, thankfully. Radiohead reminded me why I like them, Erase Errata improved considerably from when I last saw them two years ago. Beck and Belle and Sebastian were a lot of fun.

The Thrills didn't sound as good live as on record. My friend disagreed, but they definitely didn't have the same sheen. The Flaming Lips weren't bad, but it seemed like Wayne Coyne felt ill at ease in front of that many people. Also, I seemed to detect a bit of cynicism from some hardcore Cure fans towards The Flaming Lips. This was my sixth time seeing The Flaming Lips and it was easily the worst time. Their other five shows have been five of my favorite shows ever. This one was disappointing.

Two bands exceeded my expectations: Q And Not U and AIR. I didn't know Q And Not U before I saw them, but now I'm a fan. Excellent music played with enough energy for three bands. I've always liked AIR, but I wasn't sure how well they'd translate to a live setting. The answer is: Amazingly well. They were one of the best acts of the whole festival.

The Cure, however, may have been the best. They started late, but they came on and with nary a word started playing, and they were on top of their game. Unfortunately, I had to leave early to avoid being stuck in the parking lot again. So you can see how the cons outweighed the pros at this festival.

I'm not going to Coachella again, even though I did have fun at this one. It's just too disorganized and uncomfortable.
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Old 05-03-04, 11:51 PM
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supermallet, thanks for that review man.

see, its a mixed bag for me. i wanted to go and plan on going to at least one in the future, but im scared. the cons seemed HORRIBLE. im very pale skined so i burn quick. even if i bathed in sunscreen i'd still be red. i dont enjoy being hot. i've had sun stroke before and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. its utter bullshit that you can't bring in your own water. and the parking sounds like a nightmare. if coachella fixed these problems, limited the size and maybe changed the date (it will always be hot in the desert, but come on may?!) then i would like to go. otherwise, i dont think i would do too great.

im dissapointed in hearing the thrills weren't that good. i love their album. that said, it was super hot and crowded at coachella. i think they are more of a band that would be better to see in a small club. glad you liked the cure. i've heard negative things about their performance.

oh and as for the flaming lips bubble thing, what kind of bubble was it? like what was it made out of it?
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Old 05-04-04, 12:06 AM
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Originally posted by whynotsmile
im very pale skined so i burn quick. even if i bathed in sunscreen i'd still be red.
I applied sunscreen (SPF 45) four times each day, and managed to come out without so much as a darker complexion.

oh and as for the flaming lips bubble thing, what kind of bubble was it? like what was it made out of it?
Rubber? Plastic? Something he could walk in on top of the audience without breaking the bubble or the heads and hands of the audience members.
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Old 05-04-04, 04:57 AM
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I love the theory of Coachella, but would hate its reality. After my Lollapalooza experience in Phoenix a few years ago, I learned my lesson about outdoor festivals in the desert.

Re: Air in concert - I saw them Saturday night and would agree that they are a surprisingly terrific live band. Good musicianship all-around.
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Old 05-04-04, 10:16 AM
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Your review definitely puts the experience in perspective. I think I'd agree that all that trouble would weigh heavier in not wanting to go. Saturday night I was watching the Foo Fighters with 10,000 other people... standing near the back just watching a big screen. Didn't really seem worth the trouble at all. Add burning sun to that and it would probably forever make me stick with club shows.
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Old 05-04-04, 12:42 PM
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How was the Trail of Dead.
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Old 05-05-04, 01:33 AM
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Originally posted by zak52
How was the Trail of Dead.
I'd like to know, too.
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Old 05-05-04, 03:24 AM
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Originally posted by Suprmallet
when I got the tickets for this, I was going nuts. Getting to see The Pixies

The Pixies were amazing.

Perhaps you should have also gone to see them at the glasshouse when they played the friday night before coachella. Now that was one hell of an awsome pre-coachella show. Small club and beyond awsome.

I only went saturday cause I've been to both days before and it sucks for weather.

This year was as unorginized as ever. food/water lines like others described, the tents were the best place to stay out of the heat but the body counts kept that from being all but cool. Radiohead wasn't there typical best but blame that on how tom was feeling. The pixies were great (but the glasshouse show takes the cake) enjoyed it.
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Old 05-05-04, 02:23 PM
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I've been to two of these Coachella events (99 & 01) and I swear I'll never go again because of the reasons described above. Got sick both times I went, probably from going inside those nasty hot bacteria tents. And even though seeing Tool in 99 was probably my favorite show of all time, just remembering the nasty hot weather, waiting, long lines, parking, outrageous price for basic food and water....yeah I think I'm done with festivals.
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Old 05-05-04, 08:25 PM
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wow. amazing that so many people on this board have an unfavorable opinion of it. this was my fourth Coachella, and I never plan on missing one ever. this year was definitely the best time I had at the festival as well.

being from Phoenix, the weather doesn't bother me. i'd say that 90% of the people that pass out every year at Coachella are not being wise about attending a festival in the desert...if you drink plenty of water, NOT beer, then you will be fine. i was trapped in a sea of sweaty people in the hot 4:30 pm sun, listening to Beck do an amazing acoustic set in the Gobi Tent. all it took was a light breeze to make me forget that i was completely drenched.

although i completely disagree with that article's stance about the Pixies, i suppose the festival is a different experience for each person. for me, i was completely blown away by Radiohead's performance after i saw the Pixies. i was literally in a daze for half an hour afterwards, contemplating what i just saw onstage. i just saw RADIOHEAD - holy shit. the Pixies were also great, and they came out with big smiles on their faces, which made me appreciate them even more - a band that adores their fans and playing for them.

being my 4th Coachella, i will say that Saturday was freakin' packed like no other time i've ever gone, including Sunday's show. yes, the parking lot was a complete nightmare. but, you know what we did? we all met at the RV, poured our beers into cups, pulled out our lawn chairs, cranked up music, played frisbee, and met new friends. shit, we were break-dancing to Z-Trip's B-Boy Breaks CD and giving out beers to people we didn't even know. we finally packed up at 4 am and headed back for the lake, with extra people following to camp with us. actually, hanging out in the parking lot saturday night was one of the highlights of the weekend. i certainly won't mind in the future if this happens again (for the record, this was the worst it ever was)

on Sunday, Muse rocked my world, 2 many DJs made me bounce, Crystal Method made me dance, Air made me ponder, the Cure made me yawn, and Paul Van Dyk amazed me and then made me realize how truly tired i was and could not dance any longer.

sorry for anyone that had a crappy time! i already know what to expect every year i go though: hot weather, dusty winds, crappy lines, lots of walking...but also: fantastic music, good vibes, new friends, carefree partying, and GREAT people with a like-minded attitude towards music: it's what we came to Coachella for!

i hope my experience makes a difference to anyone contemplating going in the future. it's what i look forward to every year!

edit to add: i am very pale, i wore 30 spf sunscreen and a hat until the sun went down, got into the festival around 3 pm each day, and i didn't get burned at all.

Last edited by professorbooty; 05-05-04 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 05-05-04, 09:06 PM
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Here is a funny story that happened to me after the 1st coachella concert.

-In the doctors office feeling sick-

Doctor: "Uh, Javier, were you in any third world country in the past few months?"

Me: "No.. well I was in the Coacella valley"

Doctor: "Oh, that explains it then."

though I still went this year. the place is tough. Main reason why I only went for one night only. And if I knew of the pixies show before that thursday night at the glasshouse I would have sold my ticket. The glasshouse show was more then enough for me to leave happy. Seeing radiohead is great, but when you are standing in a crowd instead of sitting in a box seat at the hollywood bowl, then it's a different situation.
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Old 05-06-04, 04:29 AM
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Jack, I would have gone to the Glasshouse show if I wasn't driving to Indio so I could spend a night in a hotel so I didn't have to get up at 6 AM to make it to Coachella at a decent time.

And, professorbooty, I would have to respectfully disagree with your review. Clearly it was fun for you, and that's great, but standing in that tent watching Beck, I almost couldn't breathe. And I only had water the whole two days. I don't know where you were getting your light breezes from in that tent, but the only breezes I got were made of sweat.

Also, I have no interest in DJs, and your comment of "The Cure was a yawn" shows that we had different reasons for going to the festival. So I'm glad you enjoyed it, but don't put down people who didn't love it.

The only reason the parking lot thing was any good at all was that the gridlock let me go walk outside and call a special someone. Considering that our cell phones didn't work almost the whole rest of the time, that was the only reason I felt happy about being stuck in the parking lot.
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Old 05-06-04, 06:56 AM
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i don't recall 'putting people down' for not loving it - i only spoke of my experience, and said that it's a different experience for each person. clearly, Coachella isn't for everyone.

and, i wasn't "in" the Gobi Tent, Beck was - i was on the outside edge of the tent, near one of the flaps that people were pulling down to get a better view of him. just to clarify.
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Old 05-08-04, 05:54 AM
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Pixies kick all other asses.
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