Coachella 2015 Day 2 Field Report 04-11-15

Live Show Reviews, Music

After a mediocre day on Friday, day two of this year’s fest gave me that “festival high” (unassisted by substance, I assure you) that I come to Coachella to seek.

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Respect your elders

I spent most the day wandering around, lost in thought, wondering if I even really wanted to be there. All the sounds, fashion, artwork… none of it inspired. I wondered often to myself early in the day if after eleven years I had finally burned out. (Spoiler warning: nope.)

Just before sunset I decided to cheer myself up, bought some ice cream, and sat down to listen to Belle & Sebastian. I’d remembered the last time I saw them, at the Hollywood Bowl with a girlfriend at the time, and how I bumped into her at Coachella as a newly minted ex the following year. It got me thinking to about all the astonishing, permanently-imprinted memory palaces the Coachellas of previous years had erected in my mind – Blur singing “Tender,” New Order playing “Temptation,” and so on. I stared up at the balloons in the sky, floating dark shadows laid over the sunset, and walked myself through all those places of another time. I wondered if new ones would ever come to be.

I know that’s all very weepy and pretentious, but that’s exactly what happened!

And then… Father John Misty stole the weekend. No, he kidnapped the weekend. Let’s just say he murdered it. Like some sort of dark sardonic prince, he eviscerated the crowd for its hypocrisy before gently making love with the warm bloody incision he’d made. Slinky, soulful, biting, passionate, funny and tragic… the whole spectacle was a suckerpunch to the soul; both a baptism and an execution.

It was during “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” I had a realization of why I love this awful festival so much it hurts: for eleven years, Coachella is where I’ve gone to medicate and manage my growing social anxiety. It’s where I learn how to talk to strangers. It’s where I remember that everyone’s okay. It’s where I reaffirm myself. All things I knew but never before realized how they tie into the crippling social anxiety I quietly battle with just about every day, a problem that’s disconcertingly worsened with age. How could I have possibly not known this?

From that point on, the night took off like a fucking missile.

Jack White made some kind of wicked noise with his bizarro roots rock band (Jeff Weiss says it all best), and I got to hear “Ball and a Biscuit” live. Then Drive Like Jehu played flawlessly, and thank you Coachella for booking them, or the few scattered songs from Yank Crime I’d stolen on Napster 15 years ago might have been forever forgotten amongst the scores of gigs of data on my drives.

And then there was Swans. Fucking Swans. Every year that Coachella books a post-rock band, it ends up being all I can think about for months after. Apparitions of those sounds from that night as terrible as the morn are still with me now, laying in wait to strike my mind. Gah! Make it stop. The sun fucks the dawn.

I stumbled through the dust in a daze as Coachella shut ‘er down, the human cattle grazing its way back to beds for sleep… or blow. The sweet college girls camping next to me, with the faces of babies, offered me blow when I got back around 1:30am. I politely declined. Always let people surprise you.

Coachella 2015 Day Two Top 5 

  1. Father John Misty – Playing “Bored in the USA” at Coachella, the most materialist and hedonistic of havens, was as vicious as it gets. God Damn. As sad as it was hilarious when he covered “I’m Your Man” by Leonard Cohen… with a fan from the pit propped on stage, surrounded by balloons, a giant teddy bear, and dancer girls with pasties. Whuuuuut.
  2. Swans (Buzz Bands coverage) – Gahhhhhh.
  3. Drive Like Jehu  (Buzz Bands coverage) – “Luau,” man…
  4. Parquet Courts (Buzz Bands coverage) – Some of the best indierock I saw all weekend. My kind of people were at the show.
  5. Belle & Sebastian – Would be easy to write them off as a phase in your music life, but why? All Belle & Sebastian has ever done for me was make me happy.

My Other Buzz Bands coverage…

Also from my field notes…

  • Big festival highlight and total surprise for me was when Andrew McMahon busted out “Woke Up In A Car” from his old Something Corporate catalogue. I was much too old to be listening to those songs when they came out, but that’s what happened, and that record holds a pretty important spot in my personal music history. It’s the little things, Coachella.
  • PHOX was great. I’m out of words to describe the fey and the twee, but I just loved their set.
  • Don’t think the Buzz Bands piece I wrote adequately expresses how miserable I was during Hozier. Dude’s first Coachella and he gets a sunset slot?! For what? That obnoxious radio single?! Ugh.
  • Really bummed Bad Religion didn’t do it for me. Loved them last time I saw them.
  • St. Paul and the Broken Bones were technically impressive with tremendous stage presence… but something about a bunch of nice clean-cut white Alabama boys claiming the mantle of soul music… I dunno. I dunno. Felt wrong somehow. Not saying it is, but it felt that way.



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Improvements have been made.

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New rules at corporate headquarters.

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SWANS.

 


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