January 23, 2008

Coachella 2008 lineup

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:33 PM

I'm a little late blogging this, but the Coachella 2008 lineup has been announced. However, is it just me or is the lineup weaker this year? Or maybe I'm just getting old and don't know who the cool bands are anymore. (There are certainly a lot of unknown-to-me names on the list.) I may skip it this year and just catch Stars on whatever tour date is closest to wherever I happen to be in April. (I've been on a major Stars kick lately—partly their new album from last year and partly a new appreciation of Heart, on which several songs are more relevant than they used to be. They put on an amazing show the one time I saw them live, which was two years ago.)

Last year, when all the high-profile Coachella reunions were announced, I declared at the lunch table that My Bloody Valentine should reunite for Coachella 2008. Then they did reunite last year, and they were rumored to be playing Coachella, but they're not on the list so it looks like I don't get my wish.

It's been a while since I've posted a video so here's "Elevator Love Letter" by Stars, from Heart. (Set Yourself on Fire remains their best album, however.)

May 2, 2007

Coachella 2007: Photos

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 6:24 PM


jesus and mary chain, originally uploaded by arcanegazebo.

The photos I took at Coachella are now up on Flickr. Here's the set.

Coachella 2007: Don't Dream It's Over (Day 3 Report)

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:46 PM

On a recent trip to Shanghai my girlfriend bought me a Communist-style satchel with a red star and Chinese lettering (visible in yesterday's Project 365 photo). This was the bag I brought with me into Coachella, and I figured it would be a fairly unique fashion choice. As the festival went on, though, I was dismayed to see people wearing a red star on military green, and soon ascertained that, in fact, this is also used as a logo by none other than Rage Against the Machine, the biggest act of the weekend. I wonder if people assumed that the Chinese lettering on my bag just said "Rage Against the Machine", or if they were asking for it at the t-shirt booth. (Apparently the bag actually says something like "For the service of the people".)

Almost none of my must-see acts appeared on the last day of the festival, so I took this as a roaming day. Thus, I saw fewer full sets but more partial sets.

Sets I saw Sunday: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Willie Nelson, Lily Allen, Ratatat
(and some of the Feeling, the Kooks, Crowded House, Rage Against the Machine, and others...)

Details below the fold:

Continue reading "Coachella 2007: Don't Dream It's Over (Day 3 Report)"
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May 1, 2007

Coachella 2007: Ocean of Noise (Day 2 Report)

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:57 PM

I haven't reviewed any of these yet, but for context I want to list my top five albums of 2007 so far:

1. The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
2. !!!, Myth Takes
3. Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
4. Blonde Redhead, 23
5. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Living with the Living

Four of these bands played at Coachella this year; three of them were on Saturday. Throw in the New Pornographers and the Decemberists and this was easily my favorite day of the festival, even if I had to skip !!!'s set.

Sets I saw Saturday: Hot Chip, the New Pornographers, the Decemberists, the Arcade Fire, Blonde Redhead

Details below the fold:

Continue reading "Coachella 2007: Ocean of Noise (Day 2 Report)"
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Coachella 2007: Suffer for Fashion (Day 1 Report)

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:04 PM

Didn't get much sleep Thursday night, partly because I arrived late at the campsite, but mostly because other, very loud people continued to arrive even later at the campsite. This was not a problem the next three nights; as everyone was exhausted from the day's events, the nights were very quiet. By about 9 am it became too hot to sleep, and I felt like I was baking in my tent. I spent the brutally hot morning hiding in the shade reading Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, and sometime after noon ventured into the festival.

Sets I saw Friday: Noisettes, Tokyo Police Club, Of Montreal, Arctic Monkeys, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jarvis Cocker, Sonic Youth.

Details below the fold:

Continue reading "Coachella 2007: Suffer for Fashion (Day 1 Report)"
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April 30, 2007

Coachella 2007: Verdicts

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:54 PM

(Posted first so it's up while I work on the detailed report.)
(And here's last year's.)

Obviously, this only applies to the artists that I saw; I'm sure I missed a lot of good stuff.

Instruments category:
Best vocals: Win Butler (Arcade Fire)
Best guitar (electric division): Mike Stroud (Ratatat)
Best guitar (acoustic division): Rodrigo Sanchez (Rodrigo y Gabriela)
Best bass: This has to be Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), right?
Best synth: Hot Chip
Best violin section: The Arcade Fire
Best brass section: Lily Allen

Flair category:
Best audience participation: The Decemberists
Best band name: Travis
No, seriously: !!! ("chk chk chk")
Best costumes (general): Of Montreal
Best costumes (cetacean division): The Decemberists
Most endearing display of modesty: Thurston Moore introducing the band and the lead song as if no one had ever heard of Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation, or "Teen Age Riot".
Most endearing display of immodesty: Carl Newman (The New Pornographers): "Bow before our new album cover!"
Best celebrity cameo: Scarlett Johansson with the Jesus and Mary Chain on "Just Like Honey"

Organization category:
Best stage: Outdoor Theater
Best day's lineup: Saturday
Most agonizing schedule conflict: !!! vs. The Decemberists

Song category:
Best cover: Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" played by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Bands playing songs that appear in Guitar Hero:
Satellite Party covering "Stop"
The Willie Nelson Family Band covering "Texas Flood"
Rage against the Machine playing "Killing in the Name Of"
(Did RHCP play "Higher Ground"?)
Best performance of a single song: The Decemberists, "The Mariner's Revenge Song"

Band category:
Best band I'd never even heard of: The Feeling
Best band I'd heard of but never really looked into before: Hot Chip
Best band at the festival: Arcade Fire
Best overall performance: Of Montreal

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music

Been through the desert on a camera with no screen

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 9:35 PM

I'm back from Coachella, where the weather was hot and the music was awesome. I'll post a full rundown later. In the meantime, the Project 365 photoset has been brought up to date with the last five days of photos. I have a few more Coachella photos to post later as well. (I took many more but the broken screen on my camera was particularly troublesome, and most didn't come out.)

I've been completely away from internet and sources of news for five days; did I miss anything?

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Travel

January 22, 2007

Coachella lineup

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:40 PM

Saw the major Coachella news last night, but today the full lineup has been posted. Not only is Rage Against the Machine reuniting for the festival, so is Jesus and Mary Chain.

If I go for just one day it'll probably be Saturday, which has several of my favorite bands. If two days, Friday and Saturday.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music

May 3, 2006

Coachella Report: Photos

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:22 PM

I meant to post these earlier but I had to give a talk yesterday, after which I finally collapsed from exhaustion. However, they are now up on my Flickr page.

audience at yeah yeah yeahs

The Coachella photoset is here.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music, Photos

May 2, 2006

Coachella Report: Verdicts

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:41 AM

Best vocals: Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio)
Best guitar: Ted Leo
Best drums: Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney)
Best synth: Ladytron
Most engaging: The Go! Team
Best audience: Depeche Mode
Most t-shirts worn by attendees: Tool
Most crush-worthy female musician: Mira Aroyo (Ladytron)
Most crush-worthy male musician: Ted Leo
Best use of a windchime: TV on the Radio
Most cowbell: Sleater-Kinney
Most innocuous object confiscated by a security guard: My Pilot rollerball pen
Best stage (acoustics and layout): Outdoor Theater
Best stage (schedule): Mojave
Most random cover: Ted Leo playing Daft Punk's "One More Time"
Favorite band: Ladytron
Bands I wish I'd had time to see: Sigur Rós, Cat Power, Bloc Party, Wolf Parade
Best new find: Art Brut
Best overall performance: TV on the Radio

Songs on my High Noon Sun mix CD that I heard live:
The Go! Team, "Junior Kickstart"
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Cheated Hearts"
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "In This Home On Ice"
Cat Power, "Love & Communication"
Mogwai, "Glasgow Mega-Snake"
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, "Me And Mia"
TV On The Radio, "Ambulance"

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music

Coachella Report: Lessons Learned

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:10 AM

Would I do it again? Hell yes. Here are some lessons I should keep in mind for next time.

Arrive early. The traffic becomes pretty hideous when the bulk of the crowd arrives, so it can easily add an hour to the travel time. Plus, undoubtedly some of the really obscure bands that play early in the afternoon are really good. (The trick is to find them.)

Spend the night camping on-site. Shuttling back to Pasadena on Saturday night was brutal. I was envying the people who could walk a few yards to their tents and go to sleep.

Get your ID checked right away. The lines at the ID check booths become long by midafternoon and remain that way all day. If you do it right away, you can walk right into the beer gardens anytime you want later. This is important even if you don't plan to pay $7 for a Heineken, because:

The shortest lines for food and water are in the beer gardens. People are going into the beer garden for beer but mostly not for food, but they do sell it there. Generally you can just walk right up and get something rather than waiting in line at the main food court. Water is available where they sell beer and there's hardly any line there either.

If you're going to buy a shirt, do it early on the first day. The better shirt designs sell out quickly.

It's worth arriving early for shows to get close to the stage. Especially in the tents the acoustics aren't so good, and it's hard even to hear the bands. On the main stage the crowd can get so big that you can't see anything if you don't arrive early enough (although hearing the music is less of a problem on the outdoor stages).

See one of the headline shows. The sheer hugeness of the show and the crowd makes it a powerful experience.

Be too cool for one of the headline shows. When everyone's off at the main stage the crowds at the other stages are small enough that the experience is much more intimate, and the bands really appreciate your presence there. Plus you can make snide remarks about fans of the main act.

Stay hydrated. Obvious but true. I had a brush with dehydration on the first day and it really sapped my energy, even after I got some water and started feeling better.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music

May 1, 2006

Coachella Report: Day 2

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:52 PM

We arrived a bit earlier on Sunday, and traffic wasn't as bad, so I was able to make it to an earlier show and then get a terrific spot for Ted Leo.

Mates of State: This is a husband-and-wife synth pop duo that I went to on Julianne's recommendation. It was a good one to start with, not too intense and fairly upbeat. It's impressive what they can do with just a keyboard and a drum kit.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: I've been wanting to hear Ted Leo since I bought Shake the Sheets last year, and have managed to miss them the last three times they visited San Francisco. I didn't intend to miss them this time, and staked out a spot pretty close to the stage. In fact, I was close enough that I could watch his hands while he played the guitar, which was very interesting in itself (damn he's fast). He seemed annoyed by the heat but played like a demon anyway, at one point taking "Counting Down The Hours" into an extended rendition of "Little Dawn" without a break. Definitely as fun and energetic as I'd heard.

Wolf Parade: Well, actually I didn't see Wolf Parade. I waited for about twenty minutes after their scheduled start time, but due to technical problems they didn't get going until after I had already left to get in position for Sleater-Kinney. Everything in the Mojave tent was delayed about half an hour after this.

Sleater-Kinney: This is actually the only band here that I'd seen live before, so I knew what to expect: it would be loud and awesome. Many of the musicians here seem amazed by the experience, but Sleater-Kinney were completely unperturbed. (Of course, they've been around a while and have probably done it before.) Mostly they played selections from The Woods, spending about twenty percent of their set on "Let's Call It Love", along with a few songs from One Beat and "Get Up" from The Hot Rock. At one point there was an exchange something like this:
Carrie Brownstein: We're more like Tool than Madonna.
Corin Tucker: [alarmed] I don't think so.
I also overheard a related dialogue among some people near me in the audience:
Girl: Are you going to see Madonna later?
Guy: I don't know. She is the Queen of Pop. Someday my kids are going to ask me if I ever saw Madonna. "No, I went to Massive Attack instead." "I don't know who the fuck that is!"

Anyway, Sleater-Kinney were awesome as usual, and as a bonus I was close to the stage for

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Despite being a bit disappointed with their latest album, I was quite impressed by this show. Karen O has a ton of energy and really lived up to my pre-Show Your Bones expectations. It also helped that they played some of my favorite tracks from Fever To Tell, namely "Black Tongue", "Pin", "Maps", and "Y Control". Even coming right after Sleater-Kinney, the music was expecially raw and intense, and being near the front of a huge crowd, the effect was pretty powerful.

Mogwai: Watching the sound check I thought it seemed like they had an unusually large number of amps on stage, and indeed this band has a ridiculous number of guitars. At one point they had four people playing guitar simultaneously, and they seemed to switch guitars between every track. They didn't interact with the audience much, and the effect wasn't too different than it would be to play their CDs at incredibly loud volume. However, it does sound good that way.

The Go! Team: This band was on the other end of the spectrum in terms of audience interaction. Although the music didn't sound as good as it does in recording—they make heavy use of recorded samples and it doesn't translate very well into a stage show—they more than made up for it by getting the crowd involved. Their frontwoman, a British rapper who goes by the name Ninja, was expert at getting the crowd moving and singing along, and I found myself dancing more energetically than at any other performance, despite the fact that by that point in the day I could barely stand. As a result it was a terrifically fun show and brought my energy back up for the last hour of the festival.

Dungen: We decided we were too cool for Tool (also, school) and went to the now-sparsely-populated Mojave tent to catch Art Brut, only to find that (due to the aforementioned delays) Dungen were still playing. We only caught the tail end of the last song, though, so I can't say much about it.

Art Brut: I'd heard this band was good but knew nothing about them, so I didn't know what to expect. It turns out that they are total goof-offs. It's not that they play joke songs, although "Rusted Gun of Milan", a song about impotence with sixties-pop style backing vocals, is indeed pretty funny. It's more that they have a kind of playful approach to rock, especially frontman Eddie Argos who carried on a running (but somewhat one-sided) conversation with the audience, sometimes in the middle of songs; played jump-rope with the microphone cable (and seemed surprised when he tried to use it afterwards and it had popped out of its socket), and delighted in running overtime (he claimed it cost the festival $2000 a minute to go over curfew, and then announced he would use the extra time to play b-sides). This was one of the most entertaining performances I saw, and I definitely plan to buy their album when the U.S. release comes up (next week, I think). Between the Go! Team and Art Brut the end of the festival was immensely fun, and I left with a smile on my face.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music

Coachella Report: Day 1

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:35 PM

Now that I'm back in Berkeley I can finally do all the Coachella-related blogging I've been itching to do. Here's what I saw on Saturday:

The Duke Spirit: The first act I saw was this British rock band, which I knew of only through one track on that Snow Patrol mix CD (which has been a fruitful source of interesting music). That song, "Cuts Across The Land", was also the first one they played at Coachella, and I was pleased to find that the rest of the set was of similar quality. They have a female lead singer with a powerful voice, and some catchy songs. Until recently their CD was only available as an import, but it's now been released in the U.S. and I'll be looking for it. . The performance was a bit sparsely attended, as it was on the main stage in the midafternoon—around this time of day the shows in the tents were attracting a much larger audience.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: This show, on the other hand, had an audience nearly spilling out of the Mojave tent which was slowly being exposed to the setting sun. (It's not clear why they chose an east-west orientation for the tents, unless they were trying to sell more $2 water bottles.) I didn't arrive early enough to get a good spot, and couldn't hear much from the back of the tent. Fortunately I was able to work my way forward gradually; a lot of people mysteriously left after "The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth". (Maybe they were going to Kanye West?) So I was able to hear about two songs really well, but didn't get a good sense of the performance as a whole.

TV on the Radio: This is a band that I am mostly indifferent to except for a couple of songs that I really like. I probably would have seen My Morning Jacket instead, except that we wanted to get up in front for Ladytron (who followed TV on the Radio). This was extremely fortunate, because this show was amazing, and a totally different experience from listening to the CD. The band was passionate, dynamic, and relentlessly inventive. Tunde Adebimpe sang with an emotional force that was unmatched by anyone else I saw at the festival (except maybe Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and when their guitarist wasn't playing with windchimes hanging from the headstock he was beatboxing on a rendition of "Ambulance" that was far removed, and yet just as amazing, as the a capella track on the album. I'll definitely be watching for the next time this band visits San Francisco.

Ladytron: This was probably the act I was most looking forward to, and the only disappointment was that it was too short. In contrast to the emotional intensity of the preceding band, Ladytron were cool and detached, coming out onstage dressed like Star Trek villains and looking entirely bored with the whole proceeding, except when they would command the audience to dance with a single imperious finger. "High Rise" was a great choice to open the set, with the sun setting behind us. After this they played songs from all three of their LPs; I was mostly hoping to hear Witching Hour material but it was nice to hear "Playgirl", and "Seventeen" was inevitable (being the major single from Light and Magic).

Franz Ferdinand: I missed the beginning of their performance since I was at Ladytron; does anyone know if they played "L. Wells"? I was hoping to hear that. I did manage to hear "The Fallen" which is probably my favorite Franz Ferdinand song. They put in a strong performance but I wasn't as close to the stage as I would have liked to be, as a result of arriving late.

Cat Power: I only caught a few of her songs, since she also overlapped with the previous act. Moreover, I was in the back of the Mojave tent and couldn't hear anything. I suspected she was playing a cover of "House of the Rising Sun" but couldn't confirm it until I came in much closer. I did get to hear "Love & Communication", with which she closed her set, and I was a bit sorry I didn't see the whole thing.

Depeche Mode: This being the headline show, the audience was huge, and even though I'm not terribly familiar with Depeche Mode it was fun just to be part of such an enormous undertaking. Hearing a hundred thousand people sing along to "Enjoy the Silence" was especially impressive. I was way the hell back and couldn't see much, except for what was on the video monitors, but on the plus side I had enough room to dance. I need to take another look at Violator for my 90's music collection.

Daft Punk: I was really tired by this point and didn't have the energy to make my way into the Sahara tent, so I watched a bit on the screen outside and then left a bit early. I have a feeling this was a little better inside the tent.

We then shuttled back to Pasadena and promptly lost consciousness, catching some six hours of sleep before getting up to make the drive back for the second half of the festival.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music

April 30, 2006

Ted Leo

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:26 PM




Ted Leo


Originally uploaded by arcanegazebo.



Got up close for an excellent show by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Now I'm going to find some shade.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music, Phone Post, Photos

Coachella, Day 2

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:19 PM




Coachella, Day 2


Originally uploaded by arcanegazebo.



Coachella: awesome. Today we are starting with Mates of State, then Ted Leo, at the Outdoor Theater. Hopefully I can post this before the network gets flaky--the cell phone infrastructure here isn't quite equipped for this many people.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music, Phone Post, Photos

April 29, 2006

Greetings from Coachella

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:55 PM




Greetings from Coachella


Originally uploaded by arcanegazebo.



Greetings from Coachella, currently the ironic t-shirt capital of the world. After spending two hours between the freeway and the gates, I have arrived in time to catch The Duke Spirit on the main stage.

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Music, Phone Post, Photos

April 28, 2006

Friday Non-random 18

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:46 AM

In conjunction with my weekend plans, and the long drive required to get there, I have made a mix CD using bands that will be appearing at Coachella. I prioritized recent music since this is most likely to be played; as a result none of the songs here are older than 2004. I also tried to avoid songs that have appeared on some previous mix CDs. A couple tracks are unrepresentative: Devendra Banhart sings in English most of the time, and TV on the Radio normally use instruments. A few of these have been posted here with recent music reviews. Here's the tracklist:

High Noon Sun (Coachella 2006)

  1. The Go! Team, "Junior Kickstart"
  2. Sleater-Kinney, "Wilderness"
  3. My Morning Jacket, "Off The Record"
  4. Mylo, "Zenophile"
  5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Cheated Hearts"
  6. Bloc Party, "Banquet"
  7. Wolf Parade, "You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son"
  8. Devendra Banhart, "Quedateluna"
  9. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "In This Home On Ice"
  10. Franz Ferdinand, "L. Wells"
  11. Cat Power, "Love & Communication"
  12. Mogwai, "Glasgow Mega-Snake"
  13. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, "Me And Mia"
  14. TV On The Radio, "Ambulance"
  15. Sigur Rós, "Gong"
  16. Dungen, "Panda"
  17. Ladytron, "Beauty*2"
  18. Animal Collective, "Turn Into Something"

Copies available on request. (Those of you who are going to Coachella with me are likely to be handed copies whether you want them or not.)

As Lemming has already noticed, Sleater-Kinney and Bloc Party are playing at the same time. Originally I was simply planning to decide between them, but then I realized that I have a quantum mechanical solution available to me. I just have to stop by the lab before I leave...

Permalink | Tags: Coachella, Concerts, Lists, Music, Travel