The liveblog didn't work out. Reception was too spotty at the fest, I was losing entries and, honestly, it wasn't as much fun as keeping track of SXSW. This was a vacation, after all. Instead, here are the 20 bands I saw at least one song of, listed in order of my favorites.
just did nothing for me
20. Circa Survive
Was just curious cause I saw them briefly at SXSW 2 years ago before MCR and Lifetime and thought they might have improved enough to warrant a Coachella set, but really not very good at all. Sounded like nice guys in between songs tho.
19. LCD Soundsystem
I swear, I tried. It was just so dull. After hearing how amazing bestshowEVAR the Bowery shows were, I had actually convinced myself to get excited for this, but it was a major, major letdown. Wasn't the only one, either. Most people I spoke to were unimpressed as well. Still happy to give them another shot at Studio B, but not digging the album at all still, and the new songs didn't work for me live either. I swear Daft Punk is Playing at my House sounded like a cruise ship rendition too. Just all around off. James Murphy looked great in an all white suit, however. Bonus points for that.
18. The Jesus & Mary Chain
More like Jesus and Mary LAME! No, but seriously, they were pretty boring. A little more mod/punky than I expected. Thought it'd be more Lost in Translationey. My fault for not knowing anything about music that was semi-relevant 20 years ago, I know.
17. Peter Bjorn and John
These guys prove once more that they can't yet carry a room larger than a few hundred. My roommate went to Webster last night and seemed to confirm this as well.
God is a DJ and Insomnia were pure bliss, but the rest sort of dragged. Maybe the fact that they haven't played the US in 9 years meant they don't have nearly a big enough passing following for the crowd to truly get into it. Surely there are 1,600 NYers willing to drop $35 to see them. You've gotta be hardcore to spend that, and the experience sounded amazing. Few, on the other hand, went to Coachella to see these guys, and the vibe suffered. Still tho...God is a DJ and Insomnia were worth the time spent there.
I'd give these guys a 10 for presentation, but the music never hit a groove for me. The giant glowing cross, the switchboard style exposed plugs and the giant stacks of speakers were amazing. They sure know how to make the show look awesome. But the music didn't keep it going. Too much knob turning and distortion and not enough actual rhythm. It picked up towards the end, but I had really high hopes for them (D.A.N.C.E. was our theme to the weekend) and it didn't quite live up to my expectations.
Nothing wrong with them, really. I danced a bit and enjoyed myself OK. They could probably go in the section below actually, but I remember losing my mind to them a while back, and hearing that they were even better these days with the fab new album and all raised my expectations. Felt more jammy and funky than before and never quite clicked.
Enjoyed, but didn't stay long enough to call great
Saw only the first 2 songs before running over to Faithless. A new one and a classic. Felt the same as they always do...which is not a bad thing, but still. When the most noteworthy part of the set, is Carlos D's ridiculous mustache, it's hard to call it anything but unmemorable.
12. Of Montreal
Seen them on this tour with the same routine already twice. It's amazing, no doubt, and the Irving and Studio B shows might be my favorites of the year when it's all said and done. But having been there a couple times recently, I did not feel the need to experience it once more and opted for SSPU instead, which I'm very glad I did.
Watched/listened from the distance while trying to meet up with the rest of my car to go home. It was pretty cool, I have to admit, tho it's hardly my thing and I'm not sure I could tell the difference between him and the thousand other trance dudes out there. But the lights and the crowd and the sheer enormity of it was very impressive, no doubt. Would I have enjoyed it had I been in the middle of the ape-shit crowd for the full hour? Can't say. Probably.
She was unbelievable, but I was totally pooped by days end and her set started out way too mellow for me to muster up the energy to stick it out. Left mid set with the expectation that seeing her at Sasquatch in a month will be better anyway.
Saw full sets from Patton, Brian and Zach and they were all really really funny. The setting worked out perfect and it couldn't have been a better way to kick off the festival. Only downside is that I missed more than half of the two and a half hour set due to having to wait at the entrance gate for so damn long getting in. (Coachella always fails at the logistics like this. Why keep half the gates closed and create such a massive crush of people outside the festival during the hottest point of the day??? You couldn't hire a few more security guards so people don't have to wait an extra 45 minutes to get in??? Worst.) Anyway, they were good enough that I was OK staying through the end rather than go off and see Tokyo Police Club, so even tho it was officially incomplete, what I got to see was too great to stick in the above category.
8. Arctic Monkeys
They were really really on point. Can't review without covering the well-treaded cliches, but they looked and handled themselves far more mature than ever before. Its weird seeing them on the main stage, yet knowing that over the Summer this will seem like a warm up gig for them, playing for like 10 times the crowd headlining Glastonbury. But they're just good. At the risk of sounding like my Grandfather, I like that I can understand every word they sing. Even tho I could give a fuck about ringtones.
The one act I knew very little about and ended up loving. There's not much room for new band discovery at something like Coachella, since you've gotta be pretty well known to make the lineup, but seeing these guys tear it up mid day Friday, followed by noticing their album leaked that night made for a very memorable experience. I hope they come here play somewhere like Studio B soon.
6. Jarvis Cocker
Everyone had raved about him at Webster the week before, so I knew I couldn't miss this. He was perfect. Charming, witty and a sensational performer. Having never listened to his solo album before the set, I was instantly taken by the set-opening Fat Children (GREAT song) and it just rolled on from there.
5. Silversun Pickups
Covered my thought pretty completely while I was still liveblogging. Really exciting set, just loved them playing such a massive stage.
4. Hot Chip
I like to give these guys (and my friends who are fans) a hard time cause I never loved their albums, but man are they good live. Had a mid-day tent totally bumping, which isn't easy. Closed with Over and Over, which still kills every time despite it being the most overplayed indie dance single since Le Tigre's Deceptacon.
3. The Arcade Fire
They never, ever disappoint. I wanted to leave early to see the beginning of Justice (my most anticipated set of the fest going in), but couldn't. Even with the knowledge I'd be seeing them in a week back home. The new songs sound so great on the massive stage. Better than ever. The first time I ever heard "My Body is a Cage," when that organ comes in like like it's the Phantom of the Opera big, I just couldn't wait to hear it at a show like this. Everything just completely exceeded my expectations. Perfect set, great mix of the two albums. Better than at the church, even tho I was standing all the way in the back behind 30,000 people. Especially thinking about it now with a couple days hindsight, maybe better than any set I've ever seen them play, aside from the one at Coachella 2 years ago.
They're so good. Not sure what I can say to really describe why they get me the way they do, but it's just pure fun. Unlike Justice short spot, they went on for over 90 minutes straight without slowing down, smoking cigarettes, pounding beers and chugging bourbon in perfect cadence with the music. The exclamation point to close the set was the debut of their remix to Justice's D.A.N.C.E., which if you haven't figured out yet will be the song of the summer and, as mentioned before, the theme to my weekend. When this remix starts getting around, watch out...
1. The Rapture
I've seen them half a dozen times total probably, but I guess not in a while. They've always been a solid, above average live band to me. But this set was different. They killed. Everything about it was completely on point. The dance tent at Coachella is always the best place to see an act perform at the fest, and a good chunk of the LCD Soundsystem sheep had left to probably go see some other overhyped piece of shit set like The Good the Bad and the Queen. So it was comfy, yet full enough to feel the crowd, and you could tell that everyone wanted to be there for this. They just nailed it. The tent was the perfect venue, the crowd loved every second, the set list was flawless and the songs were sharp as spikes. Even without the amazing 1980s public access style psychedelic live video feed on the screens and the two hilariously flamboyant men in front of us getting all up on this overweight Hispanic dwarf, this set would have been the most memorable of the weekend. Twice they introduced themselves as The Rapture from New York City, and both times I felt this tingle of proud shoot through my body. I'm comfortable saying they're the best we've got right now.
I'm lucky to have seen 9 acts that totally wowed me. All but 4 were at the very least partially enjoyable. At this festival, the music is always a bonus for me. To get this many great sets, on top of another perfect vacation weekend was a real treat.
I'll add some pictures of the fest (none that spectacular I don't think, so don't hold your breath) a little bit later on when I get a chance to crop and upload them.