By Amrit Singh & Brandon Stosuy
You know what sucked for every band following Les Savy Fav yesterday? The fact that they had to follow Les Savy Fav yesterday. Under intensely blazing Indio heat, Harrington and his hockey blogging art-punkers set the bar high for hijinx and outright spectacle right from the go, with Tim coming out in miner’s gear, yelling “Daggummit, get off my property!” and then revealing there were 500 gold coins buried under our feet. Of course the old timey character was stripped by song two, replaced by red skivvies and a trash bag. The combo of bright sun (“Hey sun we dare you to get hotter you puss bag!”) + Tim’s reflectively white belly made for some washed out photos, but you’ll get a sense of all the sweat that descended. Also on the menu: Tim whipping out his prick (sort of), riding kids like horses, and soul kissing two dudes and a girl front row. As much as we highlight those antics, though, know that as always Les Savy Fav also brought the hot rock. We could’ve gone home happy if there weren’t 11 more bands to see.
Next up was Black Kids. It’d be tough for anyone to follow up that LSF set, but especially five kids with not enough songs and not much stage presence. We’re still trying to be nice because we like the Cure, but we’re thinking Black Kids’ rhythm section should spend a bit more time in the basement practicing before they sign on for another festival. Things shifted for the better with Mr. Indie Rock himself Jens Lekman, looking and sounding as swoon worthy as ever. Nice surprise to see Marla Hansen on violin, breaking the unspoken “all Swedes all the time” Lekman code. Also worth noting the stacked sidestage rafters, which hosted members of Black Kids and Vampire Weekend. Study well, young ones.
The Breeders main stage set started shaky, “Overglazed” coming unhinged and stalling after a minute, Kim jokingly rephrasing the cut’s mantra to “I CAN’T feel it! Stop!” But even when the instruments were unlocking, Deal’s voice was spot on — especially when she harmonized with sis Kelley on “Divine Hammer” and then, of course, “Cannonball.” The sororitorial (is that not a word? Fine we’re inventing it and you’re sexist, English) love continued on the main stage with an outstanding set from Tegan & Sara, who were as geeked to follow the Breeders as we were to hear The Con standouts “Nineteen,” “Back In Your Head,” and “The Con.” Even the tuning breaks were great, T&S bantering and bickering and cracking us up. They should start a variety show. (UPDATE: Looks like that might happen some day!) Tegan advised us all to wear sunblock under our clothes so that our boobs don’t get sunburned. Noted.
We didn’t get to see Dan Deacon, but we did see him sidestaging it to Cut Copy who scorched the Gobi tent with their ghostly colours. Next up, yup, Vampire Weekend. We were happy to see Rostam stuck to his shoulder drapery despite the weather (check the pic below). We’ve always thought it, but in these desert climes it’s all the more obvious: VW are one step (and some skipped haircuts) from being a hippie band. It can all get very Junta (and remember, that SPIN feature mentioned drummer Chris Tomson’s a “genial recovering Phish phan,” just sayin’). As much hate as the band has foisted upon them, they write great, simple, clean songs. There wasn’t a muddle or a dud in the mix.
The National brought the horns, Doveman, the tight-ass Boxer songs “Mistaken For Strangers” and “Brainy,” and some Alligator via “Baby, We’ll Be Fine,” etc. Fittingly, the sun set during their performance, casting a softer light on their always elegant sounding pop. Berninger has reached a point where he can just pull back from the mic and look into the crowd and elicit a roar. He’s the anti-Ashcroft, and it works.
The Raconeturs sound more like a band than ever. Also, Jack White looks more like Michael Jackson than ever.
As always, the Coachella party scene resided at the Sahara tent. We got there in time to see Diplo jump start a crazy crowd with a little T.I. before switching into “Paper Planes.” If the screams weren’t loud enough at the outset of the cut’s “Straight To Hell” sample, they got there when Maya herself came out for a few. Then it was Aphex Twin. We love Aphex Twin. We love Aphex Twin even when he’s not spinning Aphex Twin, like last night. Richard David James started the set with some Public Enemy, further certifying this as the summer of resurgent PE love (the countdown to P4K Fest begins … now), and kept it interesting all set through.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings soul revue made for lots of body moving at the Mojave tent. She brought an awkward dude on stage and professed her love to him. Pretty cute. The Dap Kings? Pretty fierce.
Yes, we saw Jack Johnson. Because when else could we see him? Oh right, every festival ever. We saw one song, it was painfully mellow, and it’s all we needed because they all sound like this. No way we were ending the night on that strum pattern, though, so there was time yet for a nice and scuzzy aural washing via Black Lips. There was no piss drinking, but there was plenty of raw garage rock, Vice-y trucker caps, and mustaches. And a drummer who likes to move around a lot, but maybe doesn’t hit his drums hard enough. Here are pictures. Time for Malkmus.
LES SAVY FAV
JENS LEKMAN (W/ MARLA HANSEN)
TEGAN AND SARA
SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS
[Photos by Amrit Singh & Brandon Stosuy]