Coachella 2009

We just got back from the biggest music festival on the west coast, Coachella! For those who are out of touch (like I was before my daughter asked me to take her) Coachella is a three day festival that’s in it’s 10th year. They feature mainly indie bands but for the past several years have balanced that with some big name headliners. This year my daughter decided she wanted to go and so I told her if she paid her way, she could go. She did and so we went!

This is not normally my kind of event. There’s no metal there. There’s no hard rock. There’s a lot of happy sounding indie bands, folk bands, techno and house DJ’s, and a spattering of rap. But I gotta say I had a good time. The art displays were really cool and there’ so many people to watch that there’s never a boring minute. I did get to see some bands that I would never have heard otherwise and that was cool too. It’s always good to be exposed to something out of the ordinary.

I would say the highlight of the weekend was a DJ named Zane Lowe. I’m not a huge techno fan, but I do like to dance (yeah, I admit it). So we were walking along and I hear the typical techno pulse in the distance and then I hear a Metallica riff dubbed over the top. What? I headed over to the tent and this dude was totally shredding metal riffs over dance beats and making it work! The crowd was going ape. So I grabbed my daughters hand and said let’s go dance! So we pushed our way right down to about 5 feet from the stage and for the next hour we became part of the throbbing crowd, dancing to a constant stream of really clever beats. It was way cool.

The worst band had to be an act called My Bloody Valentine. I’m telling you right now they should change their name to My Bloody Eardrums. My first impression of these guys was “hey this is pretty cool, but kinda boring”. They had a good sound; Heavy rock guitar with fast beats and really creamy smooth vocals, but they just stood there on stage, stone faced. They didn’t move, they didn’t smile, they didn’t show any emotion whatsoever. One of the guitarists looked like my third grade teacher in a red dress and pumps and bobbed hair-do, but yet here she is playing really loud guitar and holding this emotionless gaze. It was bizarre, but tolerable. Then they came to their last song. Not a bad song really, but about 3 minutes in they hit a big power chord and just started strumming it like all bands do at the end of their show, you know? I figured the show was over and they were going to make some noise for about 15 seconds or so then finish off with a big bang, say “thank you Coachella!”, and walk off. Well, a minute later and they’re still going. Then two minutes.  Then three. These guys are still just wrenching on that final note and I’m starting to wonder what’s going on. FIVE minutes later and now I’m starting to take it personal. Are these guys just trying to drive me crazy? Are they trying to piss me off? TEN minutes later and now my ears are starting to give out. The power chord has turned into a stream of straight up static and booming noise. I’ve pulled my hood over my head, plugged my ears, and folded into the fetal position to just try and ease the torture. FIFTEEN minutes later and I’m wondering if I’ve died and gone to rock and roll Hell. People are walking away in droves, holding their ears. One dude is flipping them the bird. I would have left by now but I figure this can’t be real, it’s got to end any second now, right? RIGHT??? TWENTY minutes later, the band actually goes BACK into the song! Holy crap, there’s more of this???? Luckily, a few bars later they end the song, simply set down the guitars and walk off.

I’m telling you, I’ve never been so angry at a band in my life. I spent the next 24 hours secretly wishing their tour bus would crash or somebody would see that gal in the red dress on the street and deliver a karate chop to her trachea. Absolutely ridiculous. My Bloody Valentine; YOU SUCK! You suck like nobody ever has or ever will. You have taken suckage to a whole new plateau. You are the King, the Queen, and the Duke of Suckinborough. Your suckiness goes to eleven!

So after that mess was done, Robert Smith and The Cure came on and they were really good. Though I have to say that watching an overweight man in his 50’s wearing eye shadow, teased hair, and red lipstick made me feel a little weird.

Some other big names included Paul McCartney, who we didn’t stay for. I’ve never been a fan. We did catch Morrisey though and except for his stupid ranting about the smell of cooking animals coming from the vendor booths, he was good.

All in all it was a really fun time despite some of the weirdness and lack of real rock bands. But I really didn’t go for the music anyway, I went to hang with my girls and make some memories. I think we did that.

Pictures are posted on my picture site.

You can check out my highlight video on my YouTube site.