“This is how I know I'm too big for my britches,” joked Gossip's Beth Ditto between songs. “I can't possibly wake up before 2 [pm] to see the man who made me what I am.” She was talking about John Waters, who was watching her amazing show from the side of the stage. Ditto had overslept through Waters' lecture at the Mojave tent earlier on Saturday.
Waters stuck around for the whole set, though, like everyone who packed the
Gobi Mojave tent. Ditto is definitely ready to rock the main stage, which makes the organizers' choice to put her in one of the tents and giving the main stage to Tokyo Police Club a little odd.
Gossip's set was pretty much a shortened version of the tour that came to LA a few months ago promoting the Rick Rubin-produced Music for Men. There was no JD Samson this time around, but the band was ultratight, helped as always by the so-solid drumming of Hannah Blilie, who needs to be more frequently acknowledged as the rock goddess she truly is.
Thanks to Blilie's relentless push, the sparse material of Music for Men and Standing in the Way of Control is thrown back to the Washington State punk roots of (The) Gossip, and spat forward as badass, polysexual, hedonist (but not fratty) dance music.
At Coachella, “8th Wonder” became a punk anthem that was completely in tune with the disco-ready
“On the Playground” “Listen Up,” with its interpolations of Talking Heads' “Psycho Killer” and LaBelle's “Lady Marmalade.”
As she does in her non-festival shows, Ditto proved again a generous diva by sharing her stage with her buddies, including a gospel-voiced pal (“These are my friends,” said Ditto, “They're into Jesus, but I'm not. It's ok.”), and even some LCD Soundsystem folk. They all launched into a cover of Grace Jones' “Pull Up to the Bumper” and the tent exploded.
From punk to funk and all points inbetween: Beth Ditto and her crew consistently deliver the kind of energy and release that scores of hipster boy bands are always given credit for.
Seriously, put this woman on the main stage, pronto.