Photos by Wild Don LewisConcert Report: Pop rocks, vampire bats, evil stabbing you in the face SATURDAY The drooping, near-heat-exhausted festivalgoers faces gracing the guidebook made one give thanks it was 20 degrees cooler and much roomier than last years oppressively hot Coachella sellout. Jeff Tweedy and Wilco appeared at dusk, yellows on the left and dark pinks on the right playing off the underside of brushstroked clouds. We were supposed to play here last year . . . but I was too fucked up, admitted Tweedy before launching into Handshake Drugs. The familiar bzzzzzzz-CRAKKA-CRAKKA of the Burning Man Lightning Machine then lit the air nearby, before Weezer emerged to open with my fave, Say It Aint So. A rush stageward anticipated the landing of Britains Bloc Party. With a sheepish shrug, drummer Matt Tong acknowledged the ecstatic cheers that greeted his sound check, and the Party eventually proved their mettle with a blistering set of manic disco-rock. But I missed Bauhaus Peter Murphy swooping out and singing Bela Lugosis Dead upside down, suspended in midair, wrapped in a vampire-bat suit. Fuuuck! Best use of Pop Rocks: Mike Patton crackling with Fantômas, his eclectic cartoon-metal collaboration with the fern-mopped King Buzzo (of Melvins fame) and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. Broke off a block-rockin beat with Chemical Brothers; heard Spoons Britt Daniel trail off, Im movin on now, if I like it or not; on the way out, waded through couples cuddling to Coldplay. SUNDAY
Also in this issue: To see Cocahella backstage photos by Mark "Cobrasnake" Hunter, click here. Indie-rock boys dont often shed their ironic T-shirts, so when they do, its . . . nice. (Hey you, gorgeous blond in yellow T-shirt emblazoned with plumed cock, were you being ironic?) The U.K. Missy Elliott, Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A., got booties quakin, backed by Diplo, who nimbly remixed some of her glitchy London-Kingston-Rio-Miami beats live, while M.I.A. waxed sex/politics in a homemade sequined number. Then caught one Fiery Furnaces tune before resuming my swerve with Miss Kittin. Bathed in the sick bass groove of Gang of Fours Anthrax as I paused to chug a beer before Arcade Fire. The Montreal boy-girl collective practices preschool diplomacy: Everybody sings, everybody gets drumsticks. They vaulted from accordion to glockenspiel to violins, some scaling and beating on the scaffolding (and each other). New Order sure plays a lot of Joy Division songs these days.
Only band I wanted to be front row for was also the easiest to get close to. Maybe 30 had gathered at first to observe Wolf Eyes Nate Young prepare his DIY suitcase of sine-wave surgical instruments, tricked out with various knobs (all of which start at 11). Not grating enough? Add the sound of a pipe raked along the edge of a metal box. Fucking-evil-stabbing-you-in-your-face: This is what it should sound like when you open the Gates of Hell. Rushed over to dance to The Faint before they returned as backup for Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes on its face a supremely odd pairing (80s dance punk plus emo folk balladeer). But the Omaha supergroup from rival high schools, actually played quite nicely together, despite the lack of a rumored cameo from Vote for Change tourmate Springsteen. Mark Hefflinger Scene Report: Coachella goes Hollywood! It was like a Beanie Baby freakout for drunk hipsters at Filter mags pre-Coachella bash Friday night: Things got a little aggro in the Converse giveaway room, as greedy partyers shoved each other and stuck as many free sneaks as they could in bags, under arms and over shoulders, all while impressively downing cocktails. (The All-Star/Chuck Taylor quotient at the concert the next day was ridiculous, of course.) Coachella aint the new Sundance, but it did seem like it at the Jaguar/DKNY house in Palm Desert, which was open all day Saturday and Sunday. Rebecca Romijn, Jerry OConnell and Nicole Richie were chauffeured from the show to the swanky pad, where they got free bikinis and massages. We ended up riding in Richies Jag by mistake and had a grand old time checking out her crammed swag bag lucky bee-otch. More shameless Us Weekly reportage: Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake were seen cuddling on a blanket just like any ol nobody couple (sans bodyguard), while Timbys ex-bandmate JC Chasez was accompanied by a big black dude who never left his side. What up wit dat? Urb and Spin went head-to-head Saturday night with dueling on-site afterparties, the former featuring Interpols Carlos D on the decks, the latter offering DJ Peretz, a.k.a. Perry Farrell, spinnin mixes. And the winner was . . . Urb. They had the bigger line, better tunes (everything from Yaz to Trans X) and even a hot live band, Team Sleep. The Mohave tent, where bands such as Kasabian, The Bravery and Bloc Party played, was the place to hang for the indie actor set, including Vincent Gallo, Giovanni Ribisi, Bijou Phillips and beau Danny Masterson.
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But it was Chloë Sevigny and her crazy cameltoe shorts that everybody seemed to be eyeballing. (The new cleavage? ed.) Meanwhile, those lucky enough to get backstage passes (a step above VIP) got to ride amusement-park-style trams from stage to stage though the golf carts for performers were even better. We followed the Dresden Dolls on a cart to their set and were treated to a private pre-set pantomime performance! Also ran into Bauhaus Peter Murphy backstage Sunday morning, sipping Starbucks (he went out for it), who revealed that in practicing for his batlike entrance during Bela Lugosis Dead, he hung upside down on a broom. The festival rumor mill was buzzing all weekend, as usual: David Bowie to join Nine Inch Nails, White Stripes appearing in the Mohave tent, Linkin Parks Chester Bennington joining Z-Trip. (Only the last one was true.) While watching Weezer we came to realize the new hit Beverly Hills and old fave The Sweater Song are one and the same. (I was thinking El Scorcho crossed with Steve Millers The Joker. ed.) Chicks really do rule: Tegan and Sara, Rilo Kiley, M.I.A., Jean Grae, Gram Rabbit, and The Raveonettes all rocked. One more thing: Trent Reznor is God.