A house may be large or small; as long as the neighboring houses are likewise small, it satisfies all social requirements for a residence. But let there arise next to the little house a palace, and the little house shrinks to a hut. The little house now makes it clear that its inmate has no social position at all to maintain. -Karl Marx
Without a conscience, a hollow ring/Lost in a maze, and forgetting/Throwing firecrackers and dancing/Lost in a maze a hollow ring –Thom Yorke
There are two Coachellas. Or maybe there are 32 Coachellas, depending on whether or not you count the voices inside Sly Stone's head. There is the regular Polo Field, where you can mingle with the e-tards and sorority girls, frat boys and fan boys, 16-year-old Fisher Price Festival Goers and the weird old guy with the mustache and monocle flailing along with Thom Yorke.
Then there is the VIP area, a glorious Xanadu filled with famous celebrities including both Hilton Sisters, John “David Duke” Mayer, Anne Hathaway, Katy Perry, Kate Bosworth and her new beau, the guy from “True Blood,” whose name Hannibal can't and refuses to spell. Hannibal has had a crush on The Boz since “Blue Crush” and if it were not for that fatuous restraining order, he would probably have been the one showing her what a real biter is like this weekend.
But beneath Hannibal's love of gold-plated pocket watches, vintage band tees, and the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll lifestyle espoused by the greatest talent of our generation (Kings of Leon), beats an egalitarian heart, which was torn asunder on Sunday evening. Because of his brief stint as Deerhunter's strength & conditioning/squash coach, Hannibal was able to procure a VIP pass for all three days, which allowed him to roam free among the Hollywood crowd, club kids, and haggard leather-faced leather-jacketed carcasses of the Casablanca-records era. It was like being inside a Sam Nazarian-owned nightclub, but without the bottle service, a fact that Hannibal found out the hard way when he ordered a liter of Gray Goose from what he thought was a cocktail waitress, who responded by pouring a glass of whisky over his head. How was he supposed to have known it was Kelly Osbourne?
Hannibal had a blast Sunday afternoon, spending the majority of his day networking, tweeting, and drinking, the holy trinity of things that you're supposed to do at a music festival. He obtained 74 business cards and even locked in an oral contract to place Sun & Daughter's songs on “Chuck.” To say nothing of the food he ate – wood fired flat bread flax seed and pistachio pizzas, the Kogi Taco Truck, the Green Truck, hand shaken margaritas, ahi sashimi skewers. Finally, Hannibal understood what it was like to be at Woodstock.
But Hannibal had never understood the power of music until he saw Thom Yorke and his band Atoms for Peace. Well, except for that one time on acid earlier this year, when he listened to The Flaming Lips cover “Dark Side of the Moon,” during a savage break-up with his ex-girlfriend, Hannah. “Breathe breathe in the air,” Hannibal muttered to himself, leaving his safe VIP cocoon so he could stand next to Jay-Z and Beyonce on a riser adjacent to the stage. But things got so spell-binding so quickly that neither Hannibal & Hov could finish their conversation about which Gulfstream is the most hip-hop, and the possibility of a “Best of Both Worlds Part 3.” Hannibal's falsetto is so seraphic it makes Al Green look like Tom Waits. Instead, Hov wants to do it with Mr. Hudson. Sell out.
Yorke performed with a backing band comprised of super-producer Nigel Godrich (keys and guitar), Beck drummer Joey Waronker, and a man named Flea (who plays in the Red Hot Chili Peppers but is best known for his performance as Needles in “Back to the Future.”) Unleashing his celestial and hypnotic howl in front of a massive crowd – still standing at the conclusion of a three-day sun-stroked slog.–Yorke seemed liberated from the arch-backed anglophile reserve of Radiohead, He appeared the loosest Hannibal has seen him since the one time Hannibal may or may not have spiked his Earl Grey with Quaaludes. Needless to say, they have not spoken since.
Re-animating songs from the “Eraser,” including a particularly transcendent rendition of “Black Swan,” Yorke's solo project assumed a life of its own. Flea's knee-buckling slap bass gave Atoms for Peace an eccentric funk, while the multiple percussionists pounded a mesmerizing tribal beat. And as for Yorke, he displayed a loose-limbed spastic groove, one gawky but great and entirely sui generis (Hannibal speaks Latin). But it wasn't until the finale, the B-Side, “The Hollow Earth,” that Hannibal understood the problem with the Coachella dichotomy.
Everything seemed hollow. Hannibal thought back to his freshman year Politics 101 class at Bates – before he dropped out to join his first angular post-punk band, The Black Forest). Hannibal considered the inherent inequality of building a first-class leather lounge for the VIP's and letting the have-nots fester in a port-a-pottie that wouldn't be fit for a Winger roadie. Everyone who bought a ticket to Coachella deserves sashimi skewers, not just the privileged few. Yorke understood Hannibal's soul and Hannibal understood Yorke – so much that he's dropping his long-standing lawsuit over the fact that Hannibal wrote the glockenspiel parts on Kid A.
Doing the only honorable thing, Hannibal dashed onto the stage and stage-dived to a mob of adoring fans. Screaming “Let's restore Coachella to its rightful owners. All for One and Nitrate-Free Pepperoni Pizza for All,” he took off in a mad springs towards the VIP, with hundreds of people in tow, screaming chanting and throwing firecrackers into the air (in hindsight, they may have been glow sticks).
Arriving at the VIP, Hannibal demanded entrance backed by a torch-bearing mob. When a security guard tried to get cute with Hannibal, Hannibal whipped out his brass guitar pick and attacked. “No War But Class War,” he cried, his body surging with adrenaline, his hair ready to be immortalized by the cloaked paparazzi in the crowd. And then suddenly, it all went black.
Hannibal woke up in a chamber buried in the hollow earth of the Polo Club. He was partying like it was 1999, again wearing only a wristband and one sock. This is where he currently lies, very naked and very cold. The security guard Gestapo are playing Tiesto very loudly. This is torture. Thankfully, he was able to pilfer a laptop from a sleeping drunkard adjacent. He only has a few minutes before the guards return for another round of trance. Should you read this, call Hannibal an attorney. He is not scared, but it's been 17 hours since he has last Tweeted and he is suffering from severe withdrawal. Remember, you cannot erase, Hannibal Moncrief. — Hannibal Moncrief