Coachella Preview 2008
Mon, 21 Apr 2008 15:51:06
With more than 125 artists, bands and DJs performing over the course of this year’s three-day Coachella festival, there will be no way to see them all. Trust me, I know—I pretty-much tried last year and fell a wee bit short by seeing at least a respectable song or two from little more than half of them. So who do you see? If you’re like me, the Coachella Media Player launched via the festival’s website is the first place to start, as it features a song or two from every band on the lineup. No, one song doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s a damn good way to tell if you want to dig a little deeper.
My original intention was to preview each stage in a series of five separate pieces. Of course, as my deadline loomed Coachella had yet to break the lineup down beyond who was playing each day. I’ve even talked to some of the artists themselves, and they didn’t even know when they were playing (“Dance tent, Saturday, hopefully at night,” said Junkie XL). So much for the best laid plans of mice and men, right?
Everyone has a different plan of attack when it comes to the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, and other than recommending that you drink a lot of water, allow plenty of time for traffic, and not forget the sunscreen, to each their own. What I’ve decided to do is break down a few of my highlights, and after each, when possible, list a few like-minded acts. Fully aware that I can’t realistically cover every band that deserves print, I’ve chosen more than enough to get things started (69, to be exact). From there, via the newly-launched interactive portion of the ARTISTdirect website (sign up here!), you come in… Did I miss someone? Do you have something you’d like to add? You can, and should—Leave your comments here, and help play your part in educating the ever-expanding Coachella tribe. Who knows, the person you inform about a new band might be the stranger giving you suntan lotion when your face is a bright shade of red by 2pm Saturday.
Niceties aside, get ready to break in those walking/dancing shoes…
I’m so white, I feel awkward even writing about hip-hop, let alone listening to it. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m just a big old (and getting older) blue state stereotype, right? Not so fast. I used to be the house photographer at a hip-hop radio station, and I’m getting married in Detroit. I’ve got cred, just not street cred. I’ve also got a thing for the thick grooves and deep grind of Aesop Rock, who’ll bring his dark urban blend to Coachella Friday night. A friend of mine who’s a hip-hop writer (and might even have street cred, even though he lives in white collar, coastal Connecticut) told me that I’m not alone on this fan wagon, and that I also shouldn’t be so hard on myself, because despite the fact that I don’t consider myself a hip-hop fan, I do tend to gravitate towards the good stuff. Word.
HIP FOR YOUR HOP: Spank Rock (Friday), Little Brother (Saturday), The Cool Kids (Sunday), Kid Sister with A-Trak (Sunday), Murs (Sunday)
Experimental electronic pioneer Richard James, aka Aphex Twin, will make his domestic return as a Friday night headliner, spinning his sonic brew of acid-laced ambience and techno crossbreeds into what is sure to be one of the weekend’s most talked about DJ sets. Making his first United States performance in five years, expect a poignant blend of artistic innovation and mainstream irreverence, the same unflinching combination that made Aphex Twin one of electronic music’s most revered artists as he rose to prominence through the ‘90s. You may never hear sound the same way again.
PIONEERS OF SOUND: Kraftwerk (Saturday)
GOGOL BORDELLO Driven from his Ukraine home in the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz bounced between Poland, Italy, Hungary and Austria before landing in New York City in 1993. That last stop must have been his breaking point. Pushing musical and visual flamboyance to twisted extremes, Gogol are as nomadic musically as they are culturally, swirling their bizarre gypsy fare and punk rock credo to stupefying ends. Their Sunday night set will make you want to dance like you’ve (hopefully) never danced before, and probably throw a few plates in the process. Hey, it’s all in the name of culture (or something like that). Good thing they only serve food on paper at Coachella.
THE CULTURAL VACUUM: Slightly Stoopid (Friday), dan le sac VS Scroobius Pip (Friday), Architecture in Helsinki (Friday), Flogging Molly, (Saturday), Café Tacvba (Saturday), Linton Kwesi Johnson (Sunday)
Johnson’s buzz may never be stronger, as the announcement that he’d be headlining both Coachella and it’s ironically titled East Coast spin-off All Points West was immediately followed by a cover of Rolling Stone magazine and the February release of his chart-topping new album, “Sleep Through The Static.” That said, there are two types of people attending Coachella this year: The ones that can’t wait to see Jack Johnson headline the main stage Friday night, and the ones who can’t wait to see anyone who’s performing anywhere else during his set. And that is the beauty of Coachella. Light and airy, his acoustic guitar melodies are buoyant and bouncy with a spring in their step, much like Curious George, the mischievous little monkey that helped make Johnson a favorite with the toilet-training sect by starring in the Hawaiian singer/songwriter’s soundtrack hit “Upside Down.” If you’re looking to find me at Coachella, I won’t be the man in the yellow hat… But I may be going bananas.
MELLOW MELTDOWN: John Butler Trio (Friday), The Swell Season (Friday), Brett Dennen (Sunday)
Junkie XL ripped the early-afternoon dance tent to shreds three years ago and promises to do it all over again this year when he appears Saturday in support of his new release “Booming Back At You.” It’s no coincidence that Tom Holkenborg is the first artist to be released by Artwerk, the record label backed by video game giant Electronic Arts, as his sound provides a perfect soundtrack to our digital age, blasting infectious dance beats with a hard rock aesthetic and lush pop reverence. He may not be the most innovative artist on the bill, but he’ll hold his own against any of his Sahara Tent brethren when it comes to crafting a song that sends a dance floor into a frenzy. If his cover of Siouxsie And The Banshees’ “Cities of Dust” doesn’t solicit a seismic response throughout Sahara, nothing will.
BASS, BREAKS AND BEATS: Fatboy Slim (Friday), Adam Freeland (Friday)
» keep reading
1 | 2 | 3