By Liz Tracy
No one's really interested in reading about the actual performances taking place on this musical ship of contradictions, the S.S. Coachella, amirite? (Well, if I'm wrong, here's our report from the first day.) Instead, you want a spoonful of gossipy anecdotal sugar, straight from the decks of this funny ship.
So here goes: As you may know, Pulp is headlining the S.S. Coachella. The iconic British band played almost two power hours on Sunday night, making cruisers swoon with Anglophilic adoration. But Jarvis Cocker — the man whose name was being whispered all around the ship, and who is one of our sexiest male musicians — didn't sit in his room or lay low.
No, Cocker made his way around the ship on Tuesday to watch other acts. He appeared to be wearing the same mud-colored suit he donned during Monday's performance. But it, well, suited him. With his hair messy, sipping a drink, in oversized glasses, Jarvis appeared to be having a reserved sort of good time.
He was spotted watching Warpaint who are, hands down, one of the best all-female groups I've ever seen live. I am a full-on Chuck-wearing, cat-owning feminist. But too often, women, especially really pretty ones, like those in Warpaint, get away with making subpar rock 'n' roll. Sure, men make a bunch of crap too. But just saying, these ladies were fantastic and beautiful.
In fact, during the Black Lips' totally not-in-any-way-boring set, I had to use the restroom. Dancing my way to the john, it was clear that I wasn't still bopping' to the music. One of the frontwomen of Warpaint nicely and jokingly (sorta) suggested I pee in the sink or even use the men's room. A gal after my own heart! Luckily, the cruisers are polite and I skipped the line, even making it back in time to hear the Lips play “Bad Kids.”
Not long after, James Murphy invited the crowd to join him onstage in the Silhouette Theater. Cocker didn't get up there with the masses. He simply sipped his drink and watched the goofy moves from a safe distance. Murphy made my heart melt and my bum move with a cover of “Harvest Moon.” I was about to leave at a certain point, only to come back to dance to Deee-lite. Hats off, Mr. Murphy!
The boat was 'a rockin' and not in a cute or funny way. The ship was lurching side to side, and people looked queasy. Gaslamp Killer (who liked my $2 thrift store little-boy tie-dye top) was going nuts on the pool deck, whipping beats into a batter of Luda and the Beatles, breaking songs up with funny hype shit, his halo of hair bouncing like those dumb beach balls that seem to be everywhere. The crowd was grooving, but still looked hesitant to give in totally to the music, any music. At about 1 a.m., things got creepy on the deck, and every drunk man seemed to have hungry eyes and grabby hands.
The Frankie Chan-DJed dance party at Quasar downstairs offered some relief from the pool-verts. As the night went on, the room filled up, and finally, it seemed people relaxed. Har Mar Superstar even attempted a set before his mic cut out at like 4 a.m.
Upstairs, El-P and Killer Mike announced an upcoming collaboration. Killer Mike even gave some fashion advice. To make board shorts, he said, simply, “cut up old Sean Jean shorts.” They also requested drugs. Nothing specific, just drugs.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the thing you can most easy find on the S.S. Coachella is good music. It's everywhere, not just onstage. Like when you're eating from the buffet, and suddenly hear Thurston Moore singing “Sugar Cane.” By the pool, you can lie, half-dead in a bikini, looking at Nassau's port and hear some of the best chilling-the-fuck-out mixes you've ever heard. Let's close with a Black Lips quote of the night. Before destroying “O Katrina,” Ian Saint Pé told us we were about to hear “the original electronic music.” Rock and roll. That's right. And yes, we did.