Blake Snow

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My jaded review of Coachella 2008

img12.jpgI had the opportunity to mix business with pleasure and attend Coachella in Palm Springs over the weekend. Here are my fragmented thoughts:

  • The facilities are top-notch. From condiment tables, cleanliness, artist murals, and precise sound systems, to the easy-going crowds made it an enjoyable experience. I was dreading Lollapalooza-like mayhem, but the polo grounds were a delight. Did I just mention the facilities as the most memorable part of the show? I think I did.
  • Lackluster bill. Prince as the headliner of an indie and electronic festival?
  • Kraftwerk look like they surf the internet during a live performance. With exception to The Man Machine, We Are The Robots, and Music Non Stop, the set was forgettable at best with forced applause. Cool lighting, but boring enough to make me feel like I was in a bad German nightmare at times.
  • Fatboy Slim spun other people’s house music for most of the night instead of playing his own infectious big beat grooves. Disappointing.
  • Jack Johnson is boring live, unless he’s playing as you sunbath on a beach in Hawaii.
  • Boys Noize was a pretty compelling (but aggressive) techno act. I think I’ll check them out.
  • Cold War Kids were pretty cool, but not standout.
  • Vampire Weekend aren’t nearly as good live as they are in the studio.
  • MGMT is so overrated, both their debut album and live performance. Meh.
  • Portishead has sadly gone from the pioneers of gritty trip hop to… uh, let’s play sad songs with absolutely no edge whatsoever. That makes me a sad panda. I was hoping for more of this.
  • Minus The Bear was more indie live than electronic, which I didn’t like.
  • Death Cab for Cuttie was (surprisingly) the best band of the show. The crowed absorbed the band’s on-stage energy, as did I.
  • Crappy bands were in abundance (cont.).
  • Excellent format, location, and amenities (cont.), just lacking in live music.

Note: Attendee mileage may vary. I didn’t stay for Prince’s two hour set. It was impossible to catch all of my favorite acts and/or notable bands due to time constraints. I didn’t see any Sunday performances (sadly missing Justice as a result). I don’t experiment with fleeting recreational drugs of any kind.