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 year’s 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 Ain’t So.” A rush stageward anticipated the landing of Britain’s 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 Lugosi’s 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 Spoon’s Britt Daniel trail off, “I’m 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,
Indie-rock boys don’t often shed their ironic T-shirts, so when they do, it’s . . . 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 Four’s “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.
Scene Report: Coachella goes Hollywood!
It was like a Beanie Baby freakout for drunk hipsters at Filter mag’s
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 ain’t 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 O’Connell and
Nicole Richie were chauffeured from the show to the swanky pad,
where they got free bikinis and massages. We ended up riding in Richie’s 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 Timby’s 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 Interpol’s 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
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 Lugosi’s 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 Park’s 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 Miller’s “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