Coachella: Sunday In Photos

By Amrit Singh & Brandon Stosuy
When we arrived Sunday we didn’t have to wait in line or battle our way through the parking lots. Not because we’re some important VIP’s — there just wasn’t anyone there. The crowd picked up a bit throughout the day, and was more than respectable for the last couple nighttime sets, but otherwise this felt like a graveyard filled with palm trees and girls in bikinis. Yes.

The first band we caught was Holy Fuck (our least favorite of the current crop of “fuck” bands). OK, sure, we liked it better when Faust — or insert some other Kraut-y name, or Cul De Sac, if you will — did it, but Holy Fuck had plenty of energy, looked happy to be there, and own interesting equipment. It’s the little things. Still, The Toronto quartet sound pretty much the same as they did two years ago, so we’re trying to figure out the sudden popularity surge. Ideas: Crowds have come to terms with how much they love to chant “Holy Fuck” (as they did at the Gobi Tent), indie-rock kids are have since learned how to dance and groove to instrumental acts ala Battles, or people went and got them confused with Fuck Buttons or Fucked Up.

We went from Holy’s set to see I’m From Barcelona: Yes, everyone fit on stage. The confetti poured off of it, though. After working the audience into a froth, members of the band spilled off the stage, some into the audience and onto the makeshift dance floor, while others stood on the crowd barrier and cheered folks onward. This many happy Swedes makes up for the Field’s cancellation. As did other Swedish folks, Shout Out Louds, who sounded a lot like Robert Smith and friends — but not in a trill Black Kids way — out on the Coachella Stage. Nothing amazing, but solid. Hooray for Sweden.

Swervedriver were more than solid, but sadly the Mojave Tent was only 1/3 filled (if that) during the band’s reunion set. Sonically, Adam Franklin & Co sounded great — the heavy interplay of those muscular shoegaze guitars washed over us, brought us right back to Raise and Mezcal Head. We look forward to the sold out Bowery show, sirs (tix for Music Hall of Williamsburg are nearly gone — get ‘em, you’ll be happy). In the Mojave’s following set, fellow classic Brits Spiritualized had more luck with the attendance, though Jason Pierce & Co had plenty of feedback swells/sound problems for the first few songs in their Acoustic Mainlines set. Still, it’s hard not to like “Lord Let It Rain On Me,” “True Love Will Find You,” and “Hey Man,” etc., backed by three perfectly pitched female gospel vocalists and a small string section.

After catching two bands we loved as teenagers, we figured we should see an actor who once did a good job playing a teenager.

We think Sean Penn was drunk during his speech, basically an attempt to rile the crowd into going on his Dirty Hands Caravan (a trip from Indio to New Orleans and back). The problem was, Penn was never quite clear what the Caravan did … only that Ben Harper and Everlast would be there … and he couldn’t remember the website address. Or where exactly you should meet it. (“You guys can figure that out.” Very inspiring.) He, did, though, let us know that “revolution is a young man’s job” and “volunteerism is the ultimate party,” which gave him an opportunity to segue into his Spicoli thing … and then smile like a man blitzed out of his skull. Note: When trying to convince someone to take a bio-diesel ride with you, don’t use Everlast as bait. At least, not for a crowd waiting for My Morning Jacket.

MMJ didn’t give us any “Sec Walkin'” (so Brandon’s new “left leg, right leg” dance didn’t get its proper debut) — but Jim James, wearing some lovely white moon boots, did give us one hell of a show. He also had some of the weekend’s most memorable banter:

How great is it to have Portishead back? Whenever I listen to them I feel like I’m trapped in a horrific fun house, but Beth’s voice guides me like a spirit angel.

Word. Note: “Evil Urges,” “Highly Suspicious,” and “Smokin’ From Shootin'” sounds great live. As does “Gideon,” but you already knew that. As he did the last time we saw James. M. Ward joined-in on guitar. Here, it was just for one track, “Off The Record.”

After living in the present for a little bit, we ended Coachella firmly planted in a collective teenager stoner past with Roger Waters and his Dark Side Of The Moon extravaganza (modernized Obama-ready inflatable pig and all). The guys in the front row were excited. As was Waters’ David Gilmour replacement, Dave Kilminster. (Nice guitar, Kilminster.) It was an interesting nostalgia trip to end a festival of nostalgia trips, but it was a long nostalgia trip. Still, he had that inflatable pig.

Well that’s all for us from Coachella ’08. If you’re just joining us, here’s a quick click guide:

Thanks Kyle Dean Reinford for the help all week with img processing.

See you next year, Indio.











[Band photos by Amrit Singh, ink photos by resident tattoo expert Brandon Stosuy.]