photos by Rachel Carr, words by Daiana Feuer
The third and final round of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival was funky, and not just because the port-a-potties reeked. Keeping a loose theme every day (see Friday & Saturday), Sunday focused on relentless rhythm and groovy basslines. The absolute golden moment belonged to Yo La Tengo's blistering final song. Rhythm that revels in repetition + guitar that tries to destroy itself = wee mind blown. Sometimes the moodiest things are the most uplifting.
Thom Yorke brought his dancing shoes, his favorite Flea, and Nigel Godrich. His band Atoms For Peace played almost every song off The Eraser, many of which featured strong world rhythm sections. When Yorke didn't have a guitar in hand, he danced, whirled, and punched the air like he was rehearsing a scene from Fame. We wanted a high kick, but it didn't arrive. King Khan & The Shrines, on the other hand, featured legs flying all over the place, DJ Lance Rock and Yo Gabba Gabba characters, burning money, as well as a visit from the police-who crept on stage to snap pictures. Probably the first time Khan runs into cops and doesn't leave wearing cuffs. Sunny Day Real Estate had the audience offering bids to buy property, and Phoenix had people choking on dinner as they tried to dance and eat at the same time.
King Khan Gabba Gabba
Not every Julian Casablancas song captivated, but his band delightfully binged on rhythms. Each musician had a personal backbeat player supporting each fill. The drummer plus his sidekick especially sounded great. Matt & Kim's ebullient smiles inspired chaos in the audience, as usual. Mayer Hawthorne and the County revived Motown soulful brassiness and covered Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." The Big Pink played some new songs from next year's album, reaching out for Depeche Mode with a drummer in a pink bathing suit. Electro sweet popper Little Boots forgot her pants as well, wearing a sparkly shirt and knickers, and played with the lasers on stage. Charlotte Gainsbourg inaugurated her "first tour, first everything" with a feminine "Candy-O" sensibility, sometimes in French. Florence & the Machine rounds out the great lady performances of the day, and brought on Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids.
All clad in white, France's DJ ego-powers Club 75 demonstrated the ability to cooperate together with just a few elbows thrown. Cassius, Justice, Busy P, and DJ Mehdi still use CD's (so old school), and took turns passing on the headphones between them and finishing each other's remix sentences, trading places at each station. Backstage security bobbed along while staying tough. When it was their turn, Rusko turned the Sahara tent into a mechazoid robot battle and Orbital live-produced virtual reality anthems for Satan wearing Matrix miner lights around their heads. Infected Mushroom instructed on the benefits of "Becoming Insane" flanked by two mushrooms with red eyes.
The Middle East should not be confused with The Soft Pack, formerly The Muslims. The former may be from Australia but it sounds like a back porch band from Woodstock, and the latter offers a "Parasite" infestation that's as pure as sunshine and a neat drum set up that packs a giant tom punch. What appears as regular rock on headphones reveals its brilliance when experienced live. One of the strangest live moments of the festival belongs to Sly Stone, who played four hours late and on the wrong stage. He bitched, he slurred, he cursed, lay down, walked off, stopped songs and good grief, made a total mess of himself. But that's rock and roll.
Sly Stone made history look unable to get past its youthful drug phase, but Jonsi, Pavement, and Spoon come from a music scene that did a little bit less cocaine. Jonsi repped the awesomeness of Sigur Rós and great hats. Steve Patterson of White Rabbits joined Britt Daniels and the rest of Spoon to add percussion on "I Turn My Camera On". Spoon's tour-mate Bradford Cox (who played earlier in the day in Deerhunter) also joined Spoon on stage, like he did on their recent Kimmel appearance. Pavement ran through the hits during one of their first U.S. shows since reuniting. "That's the 90's in a nutshell," said Stephen Malkmus after the angsty "Unfair"...
"...Pavement, the iconic slacker band of the '90s, who took the main stage against what turned out to be one of the fest's chief attractions, the finally wildly popular French dance-rock band Phoenix, who wowed possibly the biggest crowd of the entire fest ... while Pavement played to a field half-full of true believers rather than the massive throngs many expected, and thought the band deserved.Virtual Snoop Dogg introduced the Gorillaz set, but Blur's Damon Albarn appeared in the flesh, with a few special guests including Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, De La Soul-who kicked their own old school jams earlier in the day-and Little Dragon's Yukimi. One unique rhythm transcended the next, showing the mutability of hip hop and dance music. And then that was it, suddenly. The festival ended and tens of thousands of people started wondering where they left their car keys...
No matter, though. Pavement still delivered a set that vindicated the group of prior crimes -- namely a Coachella performance near the end of their career so notoriously bad, many in attendance point to it as the moment the band decided to break up.
This night, however, they were tight, they were loud, and they sounded large on that vast field -- an odd statement, given the fact that in their heyday they were far more known for being introspectively small rather than arena-ready..." [The OC Register]
Radiohead Peppers For Peace
Daiana's Weekend Top 10:
1. Yo La Tengo's last song
2. Little Dragon's Yukimi
3. Gossip leading a revolution
4. Thom Yorke dancing to African rhythms
5. PiL giving a history lesson
6. Sly Stone wigging out
7. Bouncing penises + fat people in undies (Die Antwoord + Major Lazer)
8. Devo putting on the hats that ushered in modern pop culture for "Whip It"
9. John Waters corrupting many young minds
10. The Gorrilaz lyric: "Super fast jellyfish going super fast. You can't even see him but you wanna eat him."
Owen Pallett, Local Natives, Miike Snow, and Yann Tiersen also played the fest Sunday. Gary Numan was among those who couldn't. Reviews & pictures from Day One, HERE and Day Two, HERE. Setlists (Thom Yorke and Pavement), pictures, and videos from Day Three, below...
The Middle East
The Soft Pack
King Khan & the Shrines & Yo Gabba Gabba
De La Soul
Florence and the Machine
Sunny Day Real Estate
Yo La Tengo
"Go Do" by Jonsi @ Coachella 2010
Little Boots (pics by Beta Mike)
Phoenix (was packed)
Atoms for Peace (Thom Yorke)
And there was a naked guy.
Phoenix @ Coachella
John Waters @ Coachella
Atoms For Peace (Thom Yorke) Setlist:
01 The Eraser
03 The Clock
04 Black Swan
05 Skip Divided
06 Atoms for Peace
07 And it Rained All Night
08 Harrowdown Hill
09 Cymbal Rush
10 Give up the Ghost
12 Everything in its Right Place
13 Paperbag Writer
14 Judge, Jury & Executioner
15 The Hollow Earth
16 Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses
Pavement Coachella setlist
"In the Mouth a Desert"
"Father to a Sister of Thought"
"Date With Ikea"
"Fight This Generation"
"Starlings of the Slipstream"
"Summer Babe (Winter Version)"
"Cut Your Hair"