Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day One: Coachella: Part One

Before the memories become an even bigger music-induced blur then they already are, I thought I'd write up a small, per-artist review, if for nothing else but so that I have a place to revisit, and remember.

We Are Scientists

We arrrived and were waiting in line as We Are Scientists were already on-stage. I could hear 'After Hours' while my backpack was being checked, and had that anxious feeling of wanting to be inside already twisting around inside. We made our way over to the main stage and found a spot on the grass. We only were around for the last song and a half, but they seemed good. They are going on my list of "catch at a later date".

The Great Escape (live, Coachella 2009) ~ We Are Scientists

Airborne Toxic Event

We moved up flush with a barrier wall to watch the next band on the main stage, Airborne Toxic Event. This was one of the bands I was very excited to see, especially since I was too ill to make it to their show at the Glass House. They were fantastic. All of the members had tremendous stage presence, especially the violinist (Anna Bulbrook) and singer/guitarist (Mikel Jollett). They opened with my favourite track from their self-titled album, 'Wishing Well', which soared and far exceeded the sound I'd grown to love on their album. Their cover of 'Goodbye Horses' was phenomenal, and 'Gasoline' blew me away. 'Does This Mean You're Moving On?' pulsed with a rockabilly feel reminiscent of mod/ska events I went to in the mid-to-late eighties, and had the crowd bouncing in the sun. Jollett announced after the song that the song was "fun to perform, but fucked up when it happened". I will definitely not miss them the next time they play here in Los Angeles, which hopefully won't be too long a wait since they are Echo Park/Los Feliz locals.

Goodbye Horses (live, Coachella 2009) ~ Airborne Toxic Event

M. Ward

Prior to this past Friday my only exposure to M. Ward had been to his work with other artists. First, with the work he did on Bright Eyes' album 'Cassadaga', and tour for the same album. Then there was the album he made with Zooey Deschanel, under the name She & Him, that I'd enjoyed. But, when it came to his solo work I really had know experience with his sound, or songs. There were moments during this long weekend when the music and the desert met up and became something near perfect, and beautiful - this was one of those moments. As I sat there on the grass among friends and my lovely daughter, or when I mid-set laid back on the grass and took in the hazy afternoon sky, I felt something close to what I imagine floating feeling like. It seemed as if some of the anxiety and heartbreak I've had over the last few months started to lift off of me, and fly off somewhere in the ether. What a feeling.

Roll Over Beethoven (live, Coachella 2009) ~ M. Ward

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band

For years I have held a special place in my heart for Conor Oberst, a feeling of adoration that began back when I first heard the song "Lua" on a now somewhat legendary Valentine's Day music mix that a dear friend of mine made. His work under the name/guise of Bright Eyes has been well-loved by me, especially the albums 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning' and 'Cassadaga'. That said, I was a bit hesitent in regards to expectations of what his live performance would be like as the last time I'd seen him, on a second night of his Los Angeles leg of the 'Cassadaga' tour he was in a foul mood, and took his disposition out on the audience (though, I have to admit he sounded amazing, even then). I had nothing to fret over this past Friday, though, as he was brilliant - and his new band (who he has been recently quoted as saying he "to Tepoztlan, Mexico to make a solo record – he accidentally formed a band.” - were incredible. My favourite of the set, the song 'Cape Canaveral', was breathtakingly beautiful, and impossible not to shed tears over. I would love to catch him live with this band again - soon - I hope.

Cape Canaveral (live, Coachella 2009) ~ Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band

...More to come from Day One soon...

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