Coachella dropped into the Indio desert three years ago and undid the damaged reputation of music festivals. The setting is a stretch of palm-tree lined grassy polo fields just outside of Palm Springs. This year, like years past, the bands ran the full spectrum from established headliners (Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, Bauhaus), Deejays (DJ Krush and DJ Z-Trip), weird bands you’ve maybe never heard of (Buck 65, Gram Rabbit), reunion bands (Gang Of Four, New Order), and ones you can’t get tickets for because they keep selling out the small venues (The Arcade Fire, Dresden Dolls, Pinback …).
This year’s line-up didn’t quite have the mass appeal of last years Radiohead, Pixies, and The Cure trifecta, and I skipped out on New Order (I got weirded out when I found myself talking about them in the past tense … when they were on stage playing), instead it was the opportunity to see bulk smaller bands. I’ll spare you the boredom of reviewing all 14 bands we spectated on the five different stages during the two-day festival. I’ll also not mention all the LA movie stars we saw milling around, because we’re not planning on turning into Star magazine just yet. Instead I’ll leave you with some slightly dark, a little bit out of focus photos, and a few word of advice, go see The Arcade Fire and Bloc Party.
And if you missed Coachella, here’re two other festivals that come with the TWS Sounds stamp of approval; All Tomorrows Parties on the Queen Mary in Long Beach in November, and the Sasquatch festival in Hood River, Oregon this Memorial Day weekend. Put down the iPod, unstrap the board, and treat yourself to some really live music this summer.
To quote Elvis, here’s “A little less talk and a lot more action.”