Coachella: Day 1

Death to the Pixies

And I thought I was a flop-sweater before, check me out after a few hours in arid desert heat, away from shade.

I lost 20 pounds today I think. But oh, the toxins released…

Actually, the detoxification began at 8 am when I got my first deep tissue massage. Heavens, why did I wait so long? The experience is worth its own entry, but I can say that almost every part of my body let out a joyous creak, save for my center. I suppose I’ll have to take Body Electric class to enter that region.

Anyways, fresh from that, filled up on a big breakfast that included dates in a variety of forms. This fruit’s a bumper crop here in the Palm Springs area. And I’ve been told I should have a date shake before I depart.

We got to the festival right on time and caught Sahara Hotnights, Stellarstar*, Black Keys, Junior Senior (with a guest appearance by Fred Schneider), a glimpse of Beck, a few songs by Kinky and Death Cab for Cutie, the Pixies and Radiohead.

Whew. Ran into Alex, her other half Green and their two friends both named Chris.

I’m too tired to write all the details that will help cement the day in time for me, but I can say, Stellastar* continues to please me, though I’ve yet to unwrap their album. Black Keys make monumental sound with only two members. The Pixies well, they brought me back a decade to rowdier times and I loved every minute of their set. And for my first time seeing Radiohead live, I was impressed with how their albums translate outside the studio.

Aside from the gallons I lost through perspiration, I have to admit, this is the best lineup/music fest I’ve been to in my formative years. And there’s more tomorrow…

Damien Rice & The Frames

A handmade tote I picked up
(If memory serves, it’s not canvas, but muslin)

Found free parking and a scalper’s ticket within the space of 15 minutes after making my decision to go out and catch Damien Rice perform tonight.

As I entered Bogarts, The Frames were just at the start of their opening set, and like Damien, these folks hail from Ireland.

I’d never heard them before, but once the chords from their cover of the Pixies “Where is My Mind” broke in, all the way up until the spooky, echoey “ooooo ooooo” at the end, I was smitten.

And aside from a Willy Wonka song, everything else was original music. So moving I picked up every CD they had at the merch table.

As the stage was cleared in between sets I reminded myself how nice it is to be super tall. My view was un-obscured and I could hang back by the mixing boards with a great vantage.

Yay freakish height.

Damien Rice opened with “Delicate,” (my favourite song) sporting a mohawk, accompanied by a cellist, bass and drums.

His set twittered between acoustic and full-out rock and every moment was enjoyable. One of the better shows I’ve seen in my years with a just the right bit of melancholy and spirit lifting.

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stellastarr*

Rockin’ the Southgate House

I met up with a couple friends last night to check out a band I had never heard. These guys both have excellent taste in music, and with the description “The Pixies + XTC” — I was sold.

I don’t think the comparison was intended to be dead-on, but I can guess that if you like those two groups, you might also enjoy this one.

Sometimes it’s great to be introduced to a band from a live show. This was the case with stellastarr* and their fancy name with asterisk.

I mused at the crowd. They were relatively subdued until the band played their single from the music television. Everyone started pumping fists and jumping up and down. Strange— all the music had a similar vein of rhythm.

At one point, I had to regain my concert-going zen when I payed too much attention to threesome beside us, enjoying their drinks and petting each other’s hair, their backs to the band, chatting away with the occasional snort and coo.

They did of course, stop their banter and hip-bump to the single.

Lasting impression though, is that I like this band, and will buy their album to hear what it sounds like mixed down.

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Northside Tavern

Doodling at the keyboard (of a laptop)

I’m getting hot tips from Alex up in Columbus of music I should check out.

So I wandered down the street and into the Northside Tavern around 10pm last night. The band I was encouraged to see was still setting up, but it would take a while. They had all these video monitors and robots to plug in. Not only that, but that had to get in their special outfits.

You have to respect a band that makes an effort to dress the part of rock and roller.

Their set was energetic, though the acoustics of the bar didn’t quite complement theirs. More room for dancing would’ve been good. Oh yeah, and people that dance. On the video monitors, snippets of PaRappa The Rappa, Underoo commercials and Mattel action figures. Lots of blast from the past stuff that put a grin on the faces of those that knew of them – nerds. (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

A strange crowd filters into this tavern. This is where all the hip kids are, I think. Out of college or luck, sporting the fancy expensive shoes meant to look beat up and old. One chick in particular, decked out in white sequined stretch pantsuit kept tugging at the fabric bunching up around her pooch. I felt bad for her. Some burly biker types occupied the pool tables in the back alongside the Banana Republic boys.

Hell, folks even talked to me and there was enough light to see faces and read lips. Of course, most were asking questions about the camera. It’s like walking a dog in the park.

After Oxymoronatron left the stage, I hung out on the curb to watch their stuff as the next band crammed into the corner of the bar. Infinite Number of Sounds was most excellent. I could blather on and on, but it’s Saturday and I have stuff to do.

PhotosThere were photos

She Bangs

Had to happen

I’ll be honest, I never understood the lyrics when Ricky Martin sang.

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Blarney

Basement rehearsal

So you know how you have one of those nights where you are just havin’ one helluva time, eating and drinking and listening to loud music and laughing a lot – and you just wish you had a little notepad to write down all the far-out ideas that get slung around?

I had one of those evenings. It was this past St. Patrick’s Day, in fact.

After work, I went to hang out with Alex, her husband and their friends up in Columbus.

While his band, Junior High Mustache, practiced and mixed with another band downstairs, I hung out for a tour of their abode, rich with color and the most carefully placed knickknacks, music, memorabilia and artwork, ever. My blank walls hide in shame.

There was Pasta.

Beer in green bottles.

Tears from Tenacious D – The Complete Master Works DVD.

Laugher as Courtney Hole made mild entertainment history on Letterman.

Framing all this absorption of sights and sounds, was good fun conversation.

PhotosI took some really bad photos

The National: at the Comet in Northside

Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers

Living in Northside is already paying off. After hedging and complaining that we’re old fogies, Tom and I made it out to the Comet up the street to catch a band. Small world, he knew some of the members from college and here they were back in town, on the verge of becoming something big. Now based in New York, they looked skinny and scruffy from being on the road so much.

The cafe was relatively empty, with about 30 folks all told. Dim lighting and the glow of brake lights through the steamed windows as a backdrop, The National played a couple handfuls of songs.

The lead singer’s gravelly bass colors the music a dark mellow shade. Hanging on to his makers and soda along with the microphone, you get a sense of the desperation fueling the lyric. It’s not shiny happy music, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

I hope they find an audience, as it looks like they could use a string of good meals. I “borrow” lots of music from folks, giving it a spin on the hard drive, deciding which ones I want to have in high fidelity. I gladly forked over the cash for their latest, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers. If you like My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, or The Shins, but dark and heavy, you might check ’em out.

Beta Love

A mixed bag

I made a mix a while ago, just by doing a search for love in my playlist. I figured it was a good a day as any to see what else had been added over the year and see what I had imported, bought or borrowed. Here it is: The Love Playlist.

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I’m worth more than Britney

Fine, I’ll drink it.

I am a Coke guy.

It’s just a preference.

I have no ill feelings toward the Pepsi Generation.

But I will give Pepsi (and/or Apple) credit. They created a campaign that will make me, at least temporarily, drink their engine cleaning solution.

I consider this a very relevant and powerful campaign. And frankly, why spend millions on Britney or Beyoncé when a company could invest that money directly to me, the customer.

I’ve never typed in a code from a bottle cap on the internet before today.

I hope this is a harbinger for advertising of the future.

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a Hot DVD Package

I like people who like music

After work, I went to a Christmas soirée up in Columbus for pizza, glühwein, and a gift exchange with the marketing department. It was fun.

I had only gotten my recipient’s name on Monday, so I made excellent use of their color-laser printer to make a CD-cover for an iTunes gift certificate after lunch. I threw in 600 megabytes of MP3 albums she didn’t have on her hard drive.

iTunes sharing is pretty dang nifty I must say.

Playlistism is rampant. I’ve determined the fulfillment department is on bad drugs.

Anyway, my gift from (the bobblehead collecting) Alex, was DVD sized. She played up on this blatant clue with a custom wrap-job (featured partially above). The photo of shirts and jeans is My Morning Jacket. The DVD inside? The Work of Director Michel Gondry.

I made reference to this group and DVD in brief conversations we have between dragging and clicking.

Damn she’s a good listener, and the custom giftwrap made it all the awesomer.