Coachella…ella…ella…the 2010 festival review – Day Three

29 04 2010

Sunday morning…here it is, the last and final day of the Coachella music festival. The one band I had been looking forward to more than any other was playing that day, and that was Florence & the Machine.  But before that, was Mute Math, who (if you’ve never seen them) puts on one hell of a show.  3:15 shouldn’t be hard to make it to right?  Especially since I was up before 10 am…something about good music just gives me energy.

So we make breakfast, pile into two cars, and make our way down to the site.  Remembering lesson #6 (do not park in the lot closest to the site), we park on the street just under a mile away.  After a few drinks in the car, we are picked up by a very nice local who drives us up to the site entrance and we give the guy like $10…totally worth it.  The first lines were quick, but the second round of lines (where they check our bags again?) took a little longer than expected.  At this point, we can still catch over half of Mute Math though, so I’m ok.

We run (literally) over to the Mojave tent and manage to squeeze our way somewhere about halfway back.  The lovely people who decide to sit in the tents while everyone else is standing around them are kind of a pain in the ass, so we just walk over them.  Today by far was the most crowded and the hottest, but hearing the first sounds of the electronic alt rock band made us forget about all of that.  The energy was just as I remembered it from House of Blues.  The drums were going strong, everyone was dancing, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Paul Meany (vox) makes his way on some kind of platform off the stage (hard to see from where we, were, kinda looked like he was floating), then takes a dive into the audience who holds him up for awhile before propelling him back on stage.

There he goes!

His voice was crystal clear and all the instrumentals were on point and the crowd was singing and clapping along as they mad their way through most of Armistice and even a songs from their older album.  We couldn’t have asked for a better way to start day 3.

Ok…time for the band of the weekend!  Or so we thought.  We grabbed what we thought would be a quick beer (did everyone turn 21 today?) in the beer garden then made our way over to the Gobi tent.  We got there before it started but still weren’t even in the tent.  Lesson #7…if there is a band you really want to see (especially one that just got raves at SXSW), get there right after the last band ends…or watch the band before.  As Florence took the stage and her angelic voice broke out, the crowd went crazy, but we could barely hear it, and seeing anything was impossible.  Why don’t they just raise the stage a few feet taller?  I’ll always wonder.

We slowly are able to maneuver our way up and actually into the tent, thankfully, where we could hear the music much better.  They started off a little shaky (from where we were standing at least), but by song 3, they were killing it!  Florence belted out all the good ones from “Cosmic Love” to “The Drumming Song”.  When we finally got a few glimpses of the band, she was using her whole body to sing every song and the result was nothing short of magnificent.  If only I was a foot taller and could have seen this the whole time.

Florence and the Machine...from our camera's POV

So was she everything I’d hope she’d be?  I’d like to believe yes, I just couldn’t see it.  The band really brought the songs to life though and I’m pretty sure I have a new girl crush.

The next couple hours before Thom Yorke were kind of up in the air.  Sure, we wanted to see Spoon & Phoenix, but I’ve seen them.  Julian Casablancas might be good, but I heard he does most of his songs drunk off of his mind, and not usually in a good way. Miike Snow?  That might be fun.  I know A song.  So we end up in the beer garden again after two back to back great performances, and then opt to go check out Miike Snow.

So how did he sound?  Well, good from what I could hear.  We got about halfway up through the tent (again, lots of awesome people laying on the ground) and still couldn’t hear his voice that well.  Soundcheck anyone?  Either way, it was pretty catch so we just danced anyways.  Nothing that blew  my mind, but not a bad way to spend part of my afternoon.  Soon after we headed over to the beer tent by Phoenix on the Outdoor Theatre stage.  We realized, that you can’t really hear that stage very well from here (we could however, hear the bass from Pavement pulsing on the other side of the field).  It was good enough though.  We danced a little, drank a little, and enjoyed the lightheartedness of the music.

Next up was bathroom time before some camping out for Thom Yorke.  Totally necessary…and of course, the friends we were trying to meet all day just happened to be by the bathroom, go figure.  We follow them to somewhere center stage, waaaaay in the back to check out a living legend.  To preface, I am not a huge Radiohead fan, nor do I think I have listened to much of Thom Yorke besides what I’ve heard on the radio, but I’ve always respected his musical genius.

Nothing could have prepared me for what we were about to experience.  Now granted, I was definitely feeling pretty good by this point, but I like to think the music had more to do with it than anything else.  Thom made his way through Eraser with exact precision and was soon joined on stage by someone…who?  Well, we couldn’t tell from where we were, but we soon found out it was Flea (from RHCP) and he continued to rocked out with him the rest of the set.  Although I remember a few Radiohead songs in there, he didn’t go too heavy in that direction.  He just did what he does best…make amazingly creative music that is as artistic as it is beautiful.  You know those groups of people who are all dancing like crazy spiritual hippies because they are so into the music?  Yup, that was us. So yes, I’m transformed. I’m now a believer.  Thank you Thom Yorke for one of the best musical memories I have so far.

After that, Gorillaz seemed pale in comparison and we somehow found the other half of our car so it was go-time.  It was a little sad, looking back…but honestly, I was on such a high from the last performance that I felt like I was dancing on air (I think I was at some point?).

After a few more drinks at the house, we got to bed at the earliest we had so far, 1:30.  Awaking the next day, I felt like I was still living in my desert dream, only this time there was no music. There was, however, a very hot sun and pool nearby.  We were planning to leave that night.  But for now, we needed to lay down, soak up the rays, and give our feet a break.  We were soon joined by some random group of people who decided to sunbathe topless and performed stunts that were reminiscent of Jackass…but that’s a whole different story.

Heading home that night, I just wanted to enjoy the last of the musical afterglow I was experiencing before reality would come back and slap me in the face.  I even wrote a few songs, which I haven’t done in years.  What can I say? Coachella inspired me…in more ways than one.  After all the rough spots, what really stuck with me was the energy of the music and the feeling that the 9-5 grind we face everyday can somehow be justified as long as you have experiences like Coachella every now and then.  Until the next festival….keep rockin…

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