Coachella Announces 2013 Dates and Presale Information
Remember last Friday when we posted that image that the Coachella folks asked us to pass along? Not shocking at all, the announcement was that the 2013 festival will once again be two weekends. Those weekends will be April 12-14 and April 19-21 2013. Pre-sale tickets will go on sale on May 17th 2012 at 10 am PST. Click here to check out the official Coachella site for more pre-sale information.
For the final day of my first Coachella weekend I arrived to the Empire Polo Fields much later than I had the first two days. I could tell by the time that I was to the Beats Antique tent that the energy had changed. You could see the exhaustion on the collective face of the crowd, sick and tired of having to walk into a cage to get a beer or take a leak. Security was a bit tighter on this particular day as well as for the first time all weekend I had to throw away contraband at the front gate (clearly Coachella is no place for Gummy Bears, especially the Haribo variety). Most important on this sunny spring day, it was a final shot for me to get my head straight one last time before returning home to reality and a new chapter in my life.
Fitz and the Tantrums
Fuck these guys. No, really fuck these guys. This is not a band, this is a fucking product. They make me so fucking angry that I am left but no choice to overuse the word fuck. The songs are simple, uninspired and I felt for the first time all weekend that I was at a Pop radio station summer festival and not Coachella. This metro-sexual Motown shtick doesn’t work. The fact that “Steady As She Goes” by The Raconteurs was stale, cheap and generic made me wonder if they add it in just to look cool? Fitz is nothing more than mass produced music for people who don’t want to be pushed outside their comfort level. I wouldn’t even bother to steal their retro recordings. Oh and spare me the “they are a fun band” argument, because the world has plenty of fun bands who make great music. Fitz isn’t one of them. Next please.
I’ve had a crush on Carrie Brownstein because she once did an experiment for NPR where she became a Phish fan for a week. I decided to check out Wild Flag because of this. I managed to catch three songs from up front before enjoying the rest with a few friends in the beer garden. While many in my group thought the music was terrible I had to disagree. While it would have been better suited inside one of the tents versus the massive Outdoor Stage, the all-female super group had a good energy going throughout the set and quenched my festival hunger for grrrrlrock.
For those who follow me on Twitter, you know all about my sworn duty to bust wooks. We all hate the dirty crusty scum who sell bad drugs, refuse to shower and call your sister “brah.” Well what if I told you they started a new genre of music to spread their message of filth and dishonesty? WOOKSTEP is here people; I nearly choked on my $5 churro when I saw this in action. Truly dreadful, I went and found an officer from the nearby Cathedral City Police Department but he refused to do anything. Check the footage below and then warn all your friends that WOOKSTEP is coming to a Wal-Mart near you.
I’d be lying if I denied being bored for a good chunk of Coachella on Sunday. I ended up taking a seat along the fence and watched a beautiful California sunset as The Weeknd took the stage. Before a single note played, I already knew this band was going to be huge based off the thunderous cheers from every young girl at Coachella. The Weeknd were not bad, but Canadian indie rock infused R&B sung by pretty boys is never going to win me over. So instead I just watched the day, reflected on the wonderful weekend that was coming to an end and thought about the day when I take my daughter to see a dreamy front man like The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye live.
The Airplane Boys
As I walked in a sea of people to go see Gotye, I noticed the Gobi Tent was deserted as a hip hop act played. I decided to go check it out and what I saw reminded me of being 16 and checking out a local show. The Airplane Boys are from Canada and what they lack in talent, they make up in enthusiasm. From running around the empty tent to getting what few fans were there to raise their hands and scream, you would have thought these guys were arena headliners. Alas they were just a few guys praying for folks to give em a chance on a night headlined by some of hip hops brightest stars.
This dude should have been on the Outdoor Stage and Wild Flag should have rocked this tent as there was a massive crowd gathered to witness the greatest one hit wonder of 2012. I can only assume he played the song everyone will be sick of by Memorial Day and it changed the lives of girls not old enough to get into the beer garden. Good times.
I would like to pat myself on the back as I successfully completed the Girl Talk Triple Crown. Three Girl Talk sets at three festivals in one single year. First we had Outside Lands in San Francisco. Then we had Voodoo in New Orleans. Coachella completed the Triple Crown. What I have realized with Girl Talk is that every show is exactly the same. Stressing that he only had 45 minutes, I stayed for about 20 before leaving the mash up madness and heading back to the main stage to wrap my weekend.
Fuck these guys. No really, fuck these guys. Unlike Fitz they are unique and talented. But the fact is long before Girl Talk started I gathered at the main stage to check out their 7:45 pm set. I watched my watch and 7:45 pm came and past. It was 8:05 pm when I finally said fuck this and left as fans started to get ugly. This is a festival set, you have an obligation to be on time for your fans. Justice wasted my valuable time and it was not appreciated. I heard they finally came on around 8:15 pm and only played for 30 minutes versus the entire hour that was expected. I hope they only got half of their paycheck. I did manage to catch the last song after Girl Talk, so enjoy the one photo I took of these tardy twats up above.
At The Drive-In
This was a moment I have waited years for. I never got to see At The Drive-In and I knew Coachella was my chance. With the sun now set the masses flocked to the main stage for a taste of El Paso in Indio. I knew the second the low end rumbling began that we were opening for “Arcarsenal” and I was ready to rage. For the next hour, the five piece band unleashed an all-out assault on Coachella that managed to sound well-polished while never losing its raw grit.
I really enjoyed the construction of the set and how the songs flowed. I believe it was “Lopsided” that flowed perfectly into “Sleepwalk Capsules” without pausing to quickly tune or allowing front man Cedric Bixler-Zavala to insult the audiences’ choice of clothes.
While I could have listened to the band play all damn night, I am happy that most of my favorites were performed. I was a bit worried that we would see two separate bands (The Mars Volta and Sparta) trying to be one, but on this particular night you could not see any divide upon the stage. The one thing I did find disappointing was the lack of energy from guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. After wishing us a Merry Christmas, the band wrapped the set with their lone radio hit “One Armed Scissor.” No longer yelling at folks not to mosh, At The Drive-In is back and sounds better than ever.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
Unless you are an E-Tard losing your cell phone out at the Sahara Tent, the final set of Coachella 2012 was the one set I was most intrigued about since the initial artist announcement. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg together again. I managed to catch Snoop last fall at Voodoo and found myself bored to death thirty minutes into the set. Could Dre and Snoop keep the interest of a casual hip hop fan? As it turns out they not only did but put on one of the best performances I have ever seen.
The celebration of West Coast Hip Hop from the past, present and future kicked off with “The Next Episode.” It was clear that the duo were well rehearsed and about to put on a show for the ages. Keeping the parting rolling, “Kush” and “Gin N Juice” followed giving tens of thousands of concert goers the chance to get in the right mental condition for a Death Row history lesson.
Now that we were all in the right mind frame, it was time to pay tribute to Nate Dogg. While we never did see a hologram performance as rumored, we did get to see Kurupt come out for a rocking take on “ Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).” After the tribute, it was time to get high again as Snoop Dogg brought out Wiz Khalifa to perform their hit “Young, Wild & Free.”
The first half of the show was jam packed with hit after hit. Some not even their own as both Dre and Snoop had a chuckle after a tongue and cheek performance of the House of Pain classic “Jump Around.” From there we got such timeless memories as “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and of course “Ain’t Nothing But A ‘G’ Thang.”
With massive energy in the venue, Dre sucked the life out of the show for a few minutes to show off his newest weapon Kendrick Lamar. Thankfully it was the breather we all needed as 50 Cent came out next shocking the Coachella nation. 50 breezed through three tracks in about six minutes. Fans went nuts as he performed his biggest hits “P.I.M.P” and “In The Club.” 50 sounded great and was no doubt a welcome surprise.
After a massive group rap-a-long for “California Love” it became time to pay tribute to Tupac via hologram. I will be honest, where I was standing, it didn’t look very good. In fact it looked more like a videogame than anything. This was cheesy, out of place and distracting in my opinion and I am going to pretend as if it never happened.
The biggest highlight of the night was Eminem. Em joined the fun for three songs, “I Need A Doctor,” “Forgot About Dre” and “Till I Collapse.” The reclusive rapper had a hoodie over his head the entire time and the good Dr. of course had to beg him to play the final song. Yet the excitement in the air after what had already gone down was not matched all weekend.
The set came to a roaring conclusion with “Still D.R.E.” as the incredible backing band jammed out the songs tail end, Dre and Snoop said their thanks as their respective platforms brought them below the stage. As someone who does not claim to know much about hip hop, Dr. Dre is one of the few artists whose catalogue I know. The set truly was one of the greatest performances I have ever seen as far as pure entertainment level and it was the perfect way to end my first Coachella.
I had three goals for Coachella on Saturday. See as many acts as possible while getting inebriated enough to enjoy Radiohead after having my Kasabian live cherry popped. All I have to say is Mission Fucking Accomplished.
One of my top twelve bands to see at Coachella, I made it to the stage about ½ through the Flower Punkers set. I saw no barfing; I saw no guitars being played by cocks. Instead I saw a rather small crowd gathered around the band. Oh and I saw the wonderful Adrian Garro, who I then spoke with instead of actually watching the band. How is that for a deep journalistic review? (Update – per the user comment below I guess I missed the cock show. This is why you should never hang out with your friends).
I don’t watch a lot of TV, and what I do watch certainly isn’t on NBC (and if it was, do you think I would actually admit here that I am a fan of Parenthood?). So while I can’t talk about the skills at his day job, Donald Glover’s side job as a rapper is pretty fantastic. With a massive crowd at the main stage in the hot afternoon sun, Gambino delighted the crowd more with his charm than his mic skills. Highlights included “Heartbeat,” “Fire Fly” and a cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I think for most in the crowd (at least the two in front of me) the highlight was no so much Gambino’s ZZ Top T-shirt, but his song “Asian Girls Everywhere (UCLA).” Then again, how could that song not be a hit in sunny Southern California?
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
There was a moment on Saturday when Miss Potter was dancing on stage in her bikini top and leather shorts and she spotted me amongst a sea of hippiesters. Perhaps it was the Phish shirt, or the fact that I was not moving to the groups hit “Paris (Oh La La)” but she gave me a look and it clearly said the following: “Hey, what am I supposed to do, I can play tiny shit hole clubs as a respectable jam friendly musician or I can be a whore. You whore in a cube all day, I whore on stage all day it is what it is honey now stop looking at my rolls when I turn to rock out with our drummer.” I get it Grace you are living the rock and roll dream we all have and I refuse to knock you for that. But damn I wish you had stayed more Bonnaroo instead of going Hollywood and for the record this performance was 1,000 times hotter than anything you have done in the past two years.
After checking out some of the installations at the festival/finding out Kasabian had cancelled their signing I decided to check out Zed’s Dead on the recommendation of our pal Jakob. The fans inside the Sahara tent were obnoxious and I really wanted to like the music but as more time went on it got on my nerves. This was the first real sign on this particular weekend that there is now an entire generation of music after the generation of music I grew up with. I am the old timer and I am going to need to learn how to accept that.
Just stopped in for a quick hello. They are legends after all. I dug the song I heard, it reminded me of Phish. On to the next thing.
The Head and the Heart
Knowing it was a long day, I sat just outside whatever tent these indie country types played at and found it rather enjoyable. Mellow, which was exactly what I was looking for at that point in time. Perhaps better in a small club than a festival tent but the band sounded good. The only thing that bothered me about the set was the pants worn by Charity Rose. Dreadful.
As far as old punk bands go, Buzzcocks came into my life about a decade ago. I was drawn in by their unique melodies and how they incorporated things like keys into their jarring sounds. With a massive circle pit causing a large dust cloud to rise inside the Gobi Tent, the few fans of punk who made it into Coachella were pumped for the career spanning set. The Buzzcocks saved most of their well-known songs including “Orgasm Addict” and “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” saved for the tail end of the set. I tell ya, the kids go crazy for car commercials as “What Do I Get?” got the biggest reaction from the crowd. Personally I am just glad I finally got a chance to see these guys live, a great high energy set performed by the boys from Bolton.
Caught the tail of the set by catching up with an old friend I grew up with. Not bad, but it felt like they tried too hard. But hey, better them on the main stage at 5pm than Kasabian. I did feel bad when the band begged fans to tell all their friends about them. Perhaps it is time I start a PR firm that promotes solid UK acts who never get a chance stateside? Oh and how bad ass is the above photo as I took it from about 800 feet away?!?!?!?!
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Gallagher’s stop last year at UCLA’s Royce Hall was magical. I didn’t know how well Gallagher would do on the main stage during dinner time but as it turns out that just shows you how lame I am. Gallagher is a genius and after playing show after show in the worlds largest venues he knew just what to do. He cranked the distortion up to 11, made sure the drums were heavy in the mix and rocked the fuck out. Songs from his self-titled solo effort like “The Death of You and Me,” “If I Had A Gun,” and “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach” were transformed from well crafted pop songs into all out stadium rockers. While many in the audience shows zero reaction to Oasis songs like “Mucky Fingers” and “Little By Little” they did indeed go nuts when the band performed “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” This of course was problematic to Mr. Gallagher as scolded the audience for cheering when he said he had a final song and not boooing. Well played Noel, well played indeed.
We all know St. Vincent is incredible. Where Grace Potter failed at being sexy, St. Vincent oozed it. Opening with “Northern Lights” St. Vincent was not only confident she was dominant in seducing the large Gobi Tent crowd with her music. A flawless version of “Cheerleader” followed as the sun was now fully set upon the Empire Polo Fields. “Chloe In The Afternoon” came next and sounded even heavier than on the record. I would love to know what kind of pedal she is using to get that beefy crunchy low end distortion from her guitar. After being won over by her set last fall in Hollywood, I wish I could have seen the entire set, but as she launched into her fourth song “Actor Out Of Work” I knew I had to depart in order to experience a life changing event.
No, Squeeze was not the life changing event. They were just the act playing to all the parents who brought their young kids out to the desert. The song I heard, well I will just say if you don’t have anything nice to say, you must be listening to Squeeze.
If you have read the site, you know that this band has been my long running obsession. As soon as Squeeze finished I forced myself up to the front of the Mojave Tent and quickly discovered that it is not just I who had waited a long, long time for this moment. I met fans from Europe, Saudia Arabia and Reno who had made the trek to Coachella just to catch an hour with Kasabian. In the minutes before the band hit the stage, fans began singing to chorus to the groups hit “Fire.” It was the only time I have seen this kind of pre-set energy at Coachella. When the band did hit the stage at 8:35 pm sharp they opened with a fierce 1-2 punch of “Days Are Forgotten” and “Velociraptor!” I see a lot of bands, but I was truly freaking out like some 13 year old girl who just met Justin Bieber. It was Kasabian and they were loud and three feet away from my face.
The band playing a much shorter set than their typical headline shows did a superb job of mixing new material in with classic jams from their first and third records. With no proper US tour for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum it was a treat when the band tore the tent to shreds with “Underdog” (which included some sweet improved lyrics from lead guitarist Sergio Pizzorno about the large amounts of marijuana being smoked in front of the band). Joking about how they were kids when they last played Coachella in 2005 “I.D.” from the bands self-titled debut was not only a welcome treat but the perfect song for the electronic heavy festival.
From what I could gather the band was winning over fans left and right, especially after a jaw dropping take on the Noel Gallagher dedicated “Club Foot.” A humorous moment came right before “Re-Wired” as lead singer Tom Meighan pointed out a fan with a mask of the Queen of England before promptly booing her Majesty. Sadly before things really began they were coming to an end. Now with a full on mosh pit going down in front of the stage, the group closed with the effective combination of West Ryder classics “Vlad The Impaler” and “Fire.” It didn’t matter how tired I already was at that point, I gave it my all jumping up and down per the instructions of Pizzorno. In closing, I have noticed many times in life you long to see a band you love and when you finally do see them it’s amazing yet expectations are not met. Kasabian in 50 minutes are the one act I have seen who went above and beyond my high expectations and I can’t wait to do it all over again on Tuesday night.
All I can tell you is that he was bummed he was almost out of time. Honestly, having just seen Kasabian, I don’t even remember what I heard here.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Godspeed is one of those bands I have always heard of yet never heard. Nothing like I expected, I think I assumed these guys were more like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. With little or no lighting, what appeared to be about eight musicians sat down and made these crazy post rock instrumentals. Really mellow, really different. Took in about two or three songs before going to grab a quick bite and beer before Radiohead.
I tend to be a music snob and have hated everything this band has done since OK Computer. I often get into fights with folks on twitter by comparing their music to “pussy farts.” Yes, two hours was way too long to be alone in a field, but I actually really enjoyed most of Radiohead’s set. Sure, I recognized the hits like “Karma Police” “Lotus Flower” and “Idioteque” but it was some of the non-hits that most intrigued me. The opening song “Bloom” reminded me a lot of Phish which was awesome. I was shocked to hear the band play the song “Lucky” but perhaps that is just because I recognized it. The entire presentation from the light show and video screens was incredible (I can’t believe I am calling something Radiohead related incredible). Hell they even teased Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” before playing “Everything In Its Right Place.” So perhaps I was wrong, perhaps Radiohead is more than pussy farts?!?!?! I am not rushing to call them the greatest band, but they no doubt changed my feelings on them with a pretty spectacular Saturday headline set.
There was a reason I have always avoided Coachella and that reason is the sun. Fact is my white ass doesn’t do so well out in the middle of the desert. So it is fitting that my first trip to Coachella felt more like my hometown of San Francisco versus the Palm Desert. Strong winds, sporadic showers and thick fog were a downer for everyone but me. But enough about the weather, let’s discuss the first Friday of Coachella 2012.
I have a pal, his name is James and the album title Get Laid by James has always made us laugh. So to pop my Coachella cherry I decided to start off with this long running Manchester band’s main stage set. I honestly couldn’t name a single song they played, I didn’t get to hear the song Laid, but I did run into my pal Brian so that was pretty sweet.
Gary Clark Jr.
I ran across the Polo Fields from the main stage to the Gobi Tent for the first act I was truly excited to see. With the wind blowing hard through the tent, Gary Clark Jr. hit the stage with a fantastic set of rock/blues revival. Song like “When The Trains Pull In” and “Don’t Owe You A Thang” felt more like Bonnaroo as the crowd danced under the tent. I ended up sneaking off right after he teased some “Third Stone From The Sun” action as I decided to check in on another hippie heavy act.
As I have shared in the past, I have been trying to see Grouplove since last summer. I still need to see Grouplove. With hurricane strength winds and extremely douchie fans assembled under the Mojave Tent I only lasted two songs. Sadly the band sounded terrible and I am not sure if it was the wind, the fact they are blowing up before they have the time to grow as a live act or a combo of both. I am sure Hannah Hooper is a lovely gal but someone should mention to her that when winds are whipping she may want to actually sing into the mic when she dances around instead of projecting from eight feet away. I split after “Itchin on a Photograph” with the thoughts in my mind that perhaps the third time is the charm.
In my pre-Coachella YouTube session, Death Grips caught me off guard. I have a thing for noisy bands and I am always down to check out any act who call Northern California home. With their road crew rocking San Francisco Giants hats, the band hit the stage to a very small crowd. I lasted about ½ the set and I have very mixed emotions on the band. Unaware of how long they have been performing live, you can tell the group needs some work on their stage presence, especially lead vocalist MC Ride. What I do like about this group is they are a new wave of acts that are the evolution of heavy music. I like the combo of aggressive beats matched with a hip hop meets DC hardcore vocal flair. It’s unique it’s refreshing and God damn did it make me feel old.
If you have followed this site for a while you know I love Girls. I showed up about ½ way into their Outdoor Stage set and was delighted to see bassist Chet White rocking an old school San Francisco 49ers jacket. The part of the set I saw was heavy on last year’s outstanding release Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Highlights included Saying I Love You, Alex and the set closing Vomit. Towards the end as the song gets heavy and lead singer Christopher Owens is singing “looking for love” with the help of backup singers, the rain began to fall heavily upon the crowd. It was as if it was in synch with the San Francisco based group and the first truly magical Coachella moment I was lucky enough to experience.
After catching up with some pals, I caught my third Arctic Monkeys show from the beer tent. Shockingly, while I was not exactly watching them it was the best I have heard this band play. Highlights included “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and the track recorded with Mr. Josh Homme just a few miles away “Crying Lightning.” The perfect dinner band, even if dinner is two quickly pounded cups of Heineken.
Hey look it’s Madness. Cross them off the list of bands I have never seen.
As I mentioned sarcastically in my Coachella preview, I know “Common People” and that’s about it. Yet despite not knowing much about the band they were the highlight of day one. The Jarvis Cocker lead act sounded incredible and he is a helluva front man. I love his rambling banter on everything from learning how to have sex to the admission that Coachella wanted them last year and it simply didn’t happen. Oh and Cocker hit me with a grape before performing “Babies” that was pretty awesome. I went to see Pulp knowing they don’t make it across the pond to the states very often, and I left their set as a fan. Oh and just to make assholes like me happy, you know they closed with “Common People” and it was all I had dreamed of and more.
The Black Keys
I knew this band was ready for headline status when I tried to catch them at Outside Lands and was at least two football fields back. Thankfully I was much closer on this evening and enjoyed most of the Akron duos set. Opening up with the 1-2 punch of “Howlin’ For You” and “Next Girl” the massive crowd erupted for the main stage headliners. Some of the background videos seemed to be glitching but no one really cared as the duo were bringing it hard. Other highlights included the duo ditching their back up band to go at it alone on older songs like “I’ll Be Your Man” and “Your Touch.” One of my favorites from their stellar new record El Camino, “Little Black Submarines” was the perfect way to close out my first proper show by The Black Keys in order to get a quick beer and a slice of pizza before ending my night at the Outiside Stage.
Explosions In The Sky
Granted most of the set was watched from the beer garden as I ate the earlier mention pizza and drank the earlier mentioned beer but I really liked what I heard from this Texas based post rock instrumental act. The music was beautiful and with no lyrics found a way to bring out emotions I wasn’t expecting to feel. By the time I finally got to the field, they were unfortunately just wrapping up their set. There is going to have to be a next time for these guys.
I never thought I would see these fine Swedes live. But there it was just past 11pm with the rain coming down rather hard. Opening with The Shape of Punk To Come my arms were forming goose bumps while the younger generation were forming circle pits. The band sounded amazing as if they had not been broken up for the past decade plus. In between rants of how the band has moved on from trying to overthrow our government, the band was crushing us with classics including “The Refused Party Program,” “Rather Be Dead” and “Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine.” What I thought was most interesting was how the band discussed their reunion. They explained how it would be wrong of them not to do it since so many fans wanted it. The band was humble (their last US gig was in a basement to 40 people) and appreciate of the fan as they rewarded the crowd to a balls to the wall set closing “New Noise.” As I sit here today, I still don’t believe it happened. Refused are alive and well and I saw it with my own two eyes.
In closing day one of Coachella was a blast. I am out in about 90 minutes for round two with the likes of Kasabian, Grace Potter and those pussy farting wastes of talent known as Radiohead.
The Top 12 Must See Acts of Coachella 2012 According To Our Shit Talking Loud Mouth Founder Reverend Justito
My only trek to Indio for three days of music in the desert was nearly 2 ½ years ago. It featured one band performing 8 sets for 45,000 devoted fans. Truth be told, I am a bit scared of my first Coachella experience. I am not really the violent type, but the right mix of mind altering substances as well as the heat and general stupidity of 89,989 fucktards rocking fedoras may just send me into a murderous rampage. I suppose it’s a good thing that the fine folks at Goldenvoice don’t allow weapons onto the lush green lawn known as the Empire Polo Fields. But enough with the hate, weekend one of Coachella is just days away and I want to share with you the top 12 artists I am looking to forward to enjoying in the middle of the fucking desert.
I tried to catch these lovable Silver Lake by way of the UK and Brooklyn yet formed in Greece hippiesters at the 2011 Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. Booked on the festivals smallest stage yet performing to a massive crowd my pals and I were so far back that we had no choice but to enjoy some whiskey and pretend that we could hear what was going on. With tours of a land down under and a few national TV appearances under their belt since Outside Lands, hopefully I can get a bit closer to the group this time around. If not, at least I will spend Weekend 2 of Coachella at my Best Friend’s House.
11) The Black Lips:
You don’t go see The Black Lips for the music (well maybe you do) you go see these Atlanta based Flower Punkers to watch them urinate on stage, puke on stage, chug beers on stage and spit snot rockets into the air only to catch it in their mouths and swallow it down. Hopefully around the time they play their guitars with their penises, I am vomiting all over those annoying racist white girls who dress like Native American Princesses. Don’t worry honey, I drink microbrew your moccasins will be just fine it’s the headdress that you need to worry about.
10) St. Vincent:
While I would prefer more METAL at Coachella, one thing that the festival is stacked with is great female talent. From Feist to that Florence chick who sounds like a dying pigeon when she sings this may be the best collection of ass kicking females in one place since Lilith Fair 1998. I was shocked at how impressed I was with St. Vincent when I caught her in Hollywood last fall. While I am not sure if her show will translate from a small dark theatre to a sun baked polo field if nothing conflicts I look forward to finding out. Oh and she may be the one individual at Coachella whose skin is more fair than mine. Perhaps we can share sun block after she gives me tips on how to kick ass on guitar as hard as she does.
9) The Buzzcocks:
For me classic punk bands are like Pokemon, I have to catch them all. With the likes of Angry Samoans, FEAR and Youth Brigade checked off the list, Coachella 2012 is my chance to catch the pride and joy of Bolton England. Here is hoping that “Orgasm Addict” and “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” make it onto the setlist.
8 ) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals:
Unknown to her, Grace Potter is my future ex-wife. Long before she was rocking VH1 award shows wearing fancy clothes, this Vermont native was winning me over with her hippielicious 70’s arena rock. Oh and the best thing about seeing Miss Potter and crew at a festival is the fact I can still enjoy her without violating that nasty court order saying I must stay 250 feet away at all times.
7) Childish Gambino:
If Foxy Shazam is White Music For Black People, does that make Childish Gambino Black Music for White People? Granted I don’t know much about hip hop, everything I have heard by this dude is great. It’s like Drake, but not a total fucking joke. Plus we both drink whiskey till we are grounded, here is to passing out in the tent during his set. That is of course when I am not puking on Asian girls from UCLA?
As an American, my vote is that you play “Common People” and then get the fuck off the stage so The Black Keys can rock. Oh and have a meltdown, because I have always wanted to see a Brit-Pop band have a breakdown on stage. I kid of course, granted I don’t really know much about Pulp, I have a thing for bands from the UK who don’t get the respect they deserve on this continent. So knowing they don’t come over here often, Pulp you best amaze the fuck out of me.
I get the feeling Girls will make a lot of new fans at Coachella this year. Their performance at the Music Box last December was their biggest US headline gig to date and they blew the roof off the fucking place. Their 2011 release Father, Son, Holy Ghost made it onto numerous top ten lists for good reason. From lush ballads like “Love Like A River” to Sabbath inspired rockers like “Vomit” and “Die” this band is truly something special and not to be missed.
4) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds:
While I fully expect to see a water-downed version of Gallagher’s stunning November 2012 appearance on the campus of UCLA, that will still be far superior to the performance of Saturday headliners Radiohead. Having hit arena headliner status across the pond in Europe, I have no doubt that Gallagher’s well crafted songs will captivate the masses as the sun sets in the west. Likewise, ladies if you are crushed over his lack of “Wonderwall”, you can cry on my shoulder while Radiohead blow pussy farts across the Polo Fields.
Dead my ass! Refused are back and they are going to kick the living crap out of the hipster nation. Granted I get the vibe they would be better in a small club instead of on a massive stage, the fact is that in 2012 Refused are alive and I will get to see them with my own two eyes. I never thought I would have a chance, but Lord knows I plan to make the most of this one.
2) At The Drive-In:
You can pretty much take the above statement on Refused and put it here. The only difference is that I was going to see At The Drive-In live and then they went and broke up. I kid you not, when those loveable fucks over at Antiquiet broke the news that these mad men from El Paso were reforming I knew I had to finally make the trek to Coachella. Fingers crossed no one moshes thus ending the performance before it even begins.
CAN YOU FEEL IT COMING? Anyone who knows me already knew who the number one band was going to be. It has been 5 long years since Kasabian blessed North American with their presence. Super stars in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are many theories as to why this band has not taken off in America, but who cares. The fact is Kasabian is here in America right now and you are a damn fool if you miss their Saturday performance. Massive anthems from real rock and roll stars, Kasabian is the one act you can’t miss at Coachella 2012. See you in the fucking pit.
Kasabian, Refused, At The Drive-In and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – oh my. The 2012 Coachella lineup is out and it’s epic like elephant titties. Tickets go on sale Friday January 13th 2012 at 10 am PST via coachella.comWe hope to see you in the desert in April.
Update 01/13/12 1:00 PM PST
Both weekends of Coachella 2012 sold out in less than three hours. Our man Reverend Justitohas purchased tickets for the first weekend. If you are heading out to Indio, leave us a comment. Maybe he will buy you a beer.
That’s Not A Mirage – Coachella 2012 To Take Place Twice
Good news for folks who hate a bunch for the nation of self-righteous hipster dipshits who still can’t grasp the simple fact that artists like The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Kayne West suck giant donkey dick. The 2012 Coachella Music and Arts Festival is adding a second weekend. Don’t believe us? Here is what is currently up at the main page over at Coachella.com.
We’re excited to announce Coachella 2012 will be held over TWO WEEKENDS. In an effort to try and accommodate everyone who wants to experience the festival, COACHELLA 2012 will be two separate events, held over two consecutive weekends. We will attempt to produce two identical festival weekends. That means same lineup, same art, same place, different people. We know many of you were unable to attend this year’s festival because passes sold out much sooner than anticipated. We were truly surprised by the overwhelming response and remain honored by your passion and enthusiasm. We also know some of you purchased through non legitimate sources and were inconvenienced, gouged or totally scammed. We hope that these changes will give everyone the opportunity to purchase directly from Coachella.com. Passes go on sale beginning this Friday, June 3rd, 2011, at 10am PST until the following Friday June 10th, 2011, at 10pm PST. This advance sale will be the only opportunity to take advantage of the Coachella Payment Plan. Passes will be available through a payment plan of 10% down and 8 equal monthly payments OR by payment in full. The price of three-day passes remains at $269 plus fees for the sixth consecutive year.
Coachella Weekend 1 – April 13-15, 2012 | Coachella Weekend 2 – April 20-22, 2012
Perhaps Coachella wants to give The Hoff and Troll Foot their own weekends? Perhaps they couldn’t find enough thrash metal legends to play in-between Coachella and Stage Coach? Perhaps it’s just the simple fact that the festival sold out so quickly in 2011? Whatever the reason, at least our own Reverend Justito can now skip Coachella twice a year* instead of only once.
By now I am sure you have heard that The Big Four are coming to Indio. That’s right, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica will be rocking the Empire Polo Fields on April 23rd, 2011. Tickets are on sale Friday January 28th at 10 am PST. Rumor has it this will be the only North American date for these four acts. For all the latest information on this once in a lifetime event, click here. If you want to give our very own Reverend Justito a ride to the show, please leave a comment below.
Upon coming home from Festival 8, my goal was to write8 reviews of the epic Halloween party hosted by the rock band Phish. However fatigue, writers block and the real world reared it’s ugly head and I tapped out at 7, or so I thought. While clear from, Speculation back in October was that Phish was going to release an IMAX 3D film from the bash out at the Empire Polo Club, with large cranes and camera crews around the festival ground only adding to the hot rumor. While the IMAX part was false, the band has indeed put together a 3D film event and, on a windy 4/20 evening in Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to witness the sneak preview.
Walking into the theatre at The Bridge I knew I was in for a once in a lifetime cinema experience. Within the first few seconds of the lights going down as the opening notes of “AC/DC Bag” blasted in surround sound, multiple fans took the chance to light up. You sure as hell didn’t see that during Alice in Wonderland 3D– Well at least I didn’t.
Over two plus hours, about 294 of my phellow phans and I were treated to a non stop musical barrage. The film was broken into three sections. The first focused on classic Phish songs played over the course of the weekend. Highlights include a funky “Undermind”, my favorite song from their recent release – “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” and a beefy “Tweezer>Maze” that featured a glow stick war within our theatre.
The second part featured songs from the crack of noon acoustic set which took place on the final day of the festival. This section opened with arguably the greatest “Back on the Train” the band has ever played. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I got very excited when I found myself (with backwards SF giants hat) on screen videotaping songs like “Wilson” and “The Curtain With.” I could have done without the lackluster “Sleep Again” but hey, you can’t win them all right? As you may recall from the acoustic set, there was an epic battle over whether or not phans should sit or stand. This battle raged onto “The Bridge” theatre – as many fans stood and danced while others begged for them to sit down and watch the show.
The final section focused on the band performing songs from their Halloween Costume – Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones. The first song is one that has been in the Phish catalog for years “Loving Cup.” Backed by a three piece horn section and singing sensations Saundra Williams & Sharon Jones, I know I am not the only fan who feels this was hands down the greatest Cup the band has ever played. From there we got the Fishman led “Happy” before wrapping up with “Shine A Light” and “Soul Survivor.”
For many the highlight of Festival 8 was the Halloween night encore of “Suzy Greenberg.” Only a fool would have left this out of the film. Heck, just like it was the highlight of Festival 8, Suzy is the hands down highlight of the entire 2 hour and 20 minute 3D concert event. The final song of the festival was also the final song of the film. With guitarist Trey Anastasio looking all goofy, the band blew the roof off the theatre with a hard rocking “Tweezer Reprise.” Then just like that, it was over. Scary how fast two hours and twenty minutes can fly by.
I will be honest, I did expect a lot more from the 3D. I thought we surely would see glowsticks jump out at us, lights up in our face and perhaps 8 shaped donuts fly at us. However, we just got mic stands that protruded and the occasional balloon. I had also hoped for more behind the scenes/phans/campground footage, but perhaps we will get those in the eventual DVD release. The film both looks and sounds great, and the fact I got to boogie down in a movie theatre to the music of my favorite band is an experience I won’t soon forget. So if you missed Festival 8, or perhaps just want to relive the weekend one more time, do not miss Phish 3D when it opens nationwide on April 30th.
So while concertconfessions mastermind/general pop off and wannabe cult leader Reverend Justito! didn’t make it out to Coachella, my co-worker Christina did. She was kind enough to let me share some of her photos here. We hope you enjoy.
Early 4:20 screening cities will take place in the following cities:
Boston – National Amusements Revere
Burlington, VT – Majestic 10
Chicago – Muvico Rosemont 18 Theatre
Denver – Aurora Movie Tavern 10
Houston – Rave Motion Pictures 18
Los Angeles – The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center
New York – Pavilion Theatre
Raleigh/Durham, NC – Wynnsong 15
Washington, D.C./Fairfax, VA – Fairfax Corner 14
Keep checking concertconfessions.com for updates and a full review of Phish 3D
Note: Minus some video of Free, with full memory cards I decided to simply enjoy the music vs. messing with my camera)
As I made the long walk from Hunky Dory to the concert field for the last time, cold can of beer in hand, I stopped for a few moments and just took it all in. The phans, the security and of course the beautiful mountain backdrop which the sun sank behind an hour earlier after the conclusion of daylight savings time. How was this coming to an end already? It seemed like just yesterday I was watching states disappear on a “Save the Date” teaser. Yet here I was walking towards the final 1/4th of the weekend, the final two sets of Phish. By now it was old habit at what felt more like summer camp then a rock and roll show. Get felt up, enter into the venue, get our water jugs re-filled, pee, grab a beer or two and find a spot to boogie. We were a bit late on this particular evening, and got a spot just before the band came out for Set II –which started on a high note with “AC/DC Bag”. While nothing will be as memorable as the wasted dude getting on stage and rambling a Valentine’s Day message into the mic for my first “AC/DC Bag”, this particular version the most solid of the three I have seen. In carrying over the acoustic sets Gamehendge theme, it got the show off to a rocking start and flowed very nicely into “Rift”. Maybe it was just the moment, but it felt as if this version was sped up, almost a punk rock/metal version of an already fast song. Not being a huge fan of the Farmhouse album, any momentum the band had going was killed. Sorry, I don’t care what you say, “Gotta Jiboo” is a terrible song, but thankfully the mini jam that came from it made up for the otherwise dreadful number. Speaking of dreadful, am I the only one who is hip to the “Heavy Things” warning alert? I think Trey does it as a favor, that lil annoying guitar note he plays/records and then loops during the poor attempt at a commercial hit. I guess I should be grateful for the warning/lack of volume pedal, as it warns me to sit down and take a break. Once we left the Farmhouse, things started looking up again with the phan favorite “Reba”. My focus on this one was intense, so you can imagine my shock when the band totally train wrecked a transition late in the number. At least most of the crowd and band laughed and moved on. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Phish are only mere mortals, especially when a train wreck become long forgotten when the band busts out gems such as “The Wedge and “Guelah Papyrus”. Both live debuts for me, I had no clue Trey and Mike did a nother silly dance during the later number that was pretty cool. I figured momentum had been killed again when the band busted out the version 2.0 song “Undermind”. However, I was glad they proved me wrong; as this one had a seriously wicked almost start stop jam that forced me to re-evaluate my feelings. That’s one of the great things about Phish; they constantly challenge how you think and feel. After a rather typical “Sparkle” the band closed the second set with an intense version of “Split Open & Melt” that while stretched out, never even reached pre-hiatus jam length. If there is one thing to say about all three days of Phish, it’s that while not long, the jams are focused, and actually a lot more solid than their drugged out late 90’s early ‘00 years.
Expectations for the third and final set were as high if not higher than most of the crowd that weekend. We were not disappointed as things kicked off with a solid “Tweezer”. Sure, it may have not been the most epic Tweezer ever, but the heart is there, and that’s what’s important. Having already heard a few numbers from 1993’s Rift, I was not shocked at all when the band segued into “Maze”. An upbeat number and a fan favorite, this is another Phish song that I never tire of hearing live. Speaking of songs I never get tired of, one of my favorite songs “Free” followed. The band firing on all cylinders, this “Free” is perhaps the best I have ever heard, as the band just got nasty on it. As I knew I would, a huge smile came across my face as the band belted out the line “I Feel the Feeling I Forgot”. Really, that was a theme in my head all weekend, and I would have been bummed had they not played this. Things kept getting better with “Sugar Shack”. One of my favorites from the new record – Joy, I started to think they wouldn’t play this, but was very glad they did (even if my wife claims it sounds like a Fergie song). I was starting to thing I had escaped “Limb By Limb”, but was mistaken. I have seen LXL live more than any other song, and with this version, it manages to keep a one run lead on “Chalkdust Torture”. After a solid “Theme from the Bottom”, we were treated to a very unique Mike’s Groove if you can even call it that. From the opening riffs of “Mike’s Song” I knew we were on a journey, I just didn’t know where. After perhaps one of the shortest “Mike’s” I have heard the band went straight into their cover of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (aka the theme from 2001) with never disapoints when you are there in person. With spastic lights and tight riffs, it rocked the house down and went straight into another new song “Light”. Looking back, I can’t say that “Light” was very memorable, but hearing it segue into “Slave to the Traffic Light” at least was. As a California native, this song has always held a special place in my heart (especially anytime I am stuck on 5 heading into downtown LA when I see both the city and the zoo). The song really built and broke well, and as the band wrapped and exited the stage, I was both shocked (no “Weekapaug Groove” which usually is the tail end of any Mike’s Groove) and satisfied.
The band returned with a lengthy encore that included Trey thanking a quick list of people who helped put on a truly amazing weekend. But before that, we were treated to “Grind” which is a cooll acapella number that I guess I never really paid attention too. For the third time since 2000, the band busted out the rare “Esther”. Can I be honest? While I was stoked to get a rarity, I really don’t get the big deal about this song? Is it because of the Armenian man? I mean it’s somewhat slow and boring, but hey, maybe I can get my first “Ha Ha Ha” at show 18? It all came to an end with “Tweezer Reprise”. So short, (bitter)sweet and full of enerfy, I couldn’t believe it was over. 3 days, 8 sets and 96 songs later, I once again was able to feel the feeling I forgot.
Sunday morning/early afternoon at Festival 8 was nothing short of perfect. I made my way to the venue pretty early in hopes of getting an 8 shaped donut and coffee along with a free scoop of Phish food in exchange for a busted old cell phone. While I managed to get my ice cream, I never made it into the 45 minute line for a free donut and coffee. Why would I when the only NFL game available at Festival 8 just happened to be the undefeated Indianapolis Colts vs. my beloved 49ers? I instead grabbed a Magic Hat brew and enjoyed a solid first half of football that just happened to have my team in the lead.
After getting some highlights at halftime, I headed towards the stage to get a good spot for the acoustic set. Having been lucky enough to see both nights of the 1998 Bridge School concerts (which Phish were apart of) I was excited to see what the boys could do with a full length acoustic set. Shortly after the crack of noon, the band took the stage in reverse stage positions (Page on stage left, Fish on stage right and Trey and Mike standing on their opposite sides) and encouraged the crowd to take a seat. The crowd did not oblige as the band launched into “Water in the Sky”. Somehow, the band managed to tone down the already mellow song. Up next was a song that is not a favorite of mine – “Get Back on the Train”. I must say, in the acoustic format, the song had a lot more twang, and was actually pretty fun.
It was around this time that the band once again asked the crowd to sit, and the masses finally agreed. Front man Anastasio joked that the band would be playing a lot of mellow numbers, and that he had never played to a sitting Phish crowd before. “Brian and Robert” followed Anastasio’s words and basically sounded the same acoustic as it does electric. The next song however was a treat to my ears at least, as I had never heard it before. I assume it is from a Mike Gordon solo record, but “Invisible” was a cool little ditty lead by the band’s bassist. I got my first “Strange Design” next, lead by Page McConnell who pounded upon the keys of his grand piano.
During this time, arguments began to break out in the crowd. Perhaps they couldn’t see because of the height of the stage, or maybe it was the “I got here when gates open and I wanna boogie” mentality, but the first few rows of audience was very upset that they had to sit. As they stood, the crowd behind them who wanted to sit quickly became aggravated. An epic battle of screams of sit down versus screams of stand up broke out during “Mountains in the Mist”. I was hoping to see some fist flies as things started to get ugly between the two mobs, but sadly time didn’t permit. The debate was settled by the next song.
The final song of the bands epic fail last festival known as Coventry, everyone stood up as the Vermont natives busted out an acoustic version of “The Curtain With”. Even stripped down, it’s hard not to shake your rump on this classic, and I stood up with the rest of the crowd (personally I enjoyed sitting as it had been a long weekend of partying/walking and I could take better video footage upon my rump). Musically, this may have been the highlight of the lengthy set. It was at least more impressive than a few of the songs that followed, such as the McConnell lead “Army of One” and Anastasio’s “Sleep Again”.
Things started to pick back up with some more classic Phish jams. While not a stretch to be played acoustic, “My Sweet One” is always fun. Same could be said for the Gordon lead song from 1996’s Billy Breathes – “Train Song”. Two big moments in the set were “Bouncing Around The Room” and “Wilson”. As much as I love “Wilson” the highlight of the song had nothing to do with music, and everything to do with Anastasio’s banter. Before the Whack boom balaba do laba do scream into the guitar solo, Anastasio cut off the rest of the band to confess to the crowd that it was not his idea to have us sit down. Apparently multiple members of management had told Anastasio that the crowd wanted to sit down, and begged him to ask. Being a lil ADHD himself, Anastasio admitted he could no longer sit upon his barstool and launched into guitar solo.
The Gamehendge theme continued with “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” which while a rare treat for many was actually my third time seeing the song. As folks screamed for the first full Gamehendge in 15 years, many groaned as the band left the stage. Sweating like a pig, I deiced to head back to grab some water as the band to my surprise returned to the stage for an encore. I headed for the very back of the field beyond the towers that had shot fire the night before and found a large section of empty grass to lie down upon. Perhaps the most requested song of the day, “Driver” made many sweaty hippies happy, but I was more stoked about “Talk” which is rarely played during electric sets. In fact, I wish the band had stopped there, but instead they closed with the painful “Secret Smile”. While many joked that it was the best “Secret Smile” ever (and truthfully it probably was), it was a rather lackluster way to close an otherwise beautiful set.
I don’t know why, but I heard many complaints about the acoustic set amongst various phans all day. I heard that it didn’t work, that they didn’t go off and that the song selection sucked. While I agree that some of the songs were not my particular favorite (Secret Smile and Army of One come to mind), how could anyone be upset by the chance to see Phish not only surrounded by beauty in any direction you looked, but hear them stripped and vulnerable? Clearly Phish is an electric band, but to strip songs like “Wilson” and “The Curtain With” down shows that beyond the jams and funk are well crafted songs. Personally, I hope Phish doesn’t wait 11 years to unplug again.
Writers note: All encounters as told below are true. Names are changed/made up to protect the not so innocent. It is suggested that you make a strong drink or eat some paint chips before reading this report on Phish fans, as it is NOT to be taken seriously and does not reflect the entire Phish community (I am talking to you PHISHMEAT).
Phans #1 – Kid A (and Deb)
I met Kid A Saturday afternoon as I drank a Sierra Nevada FOAM Pilsner and attempted to charge my phone at The Overlook. If it was not for the inability to grow facial hair, Kid A could be a dead ringer for a young Wook #17. Kenny had hitched a ride to Festival 8 from Minnesota with a woman named Deb. Deb was suffering from Menopause, and was at least 400 pounds. While I have no problem with 400+ pound women with a case of Minnetonkapause, I do take issue when they wear daisy dukes. Kenny was struggling big time with the California heat. He was also very upset with Phish, who was charging $1 to fill up water bottles inside the concert venue (it was free if you purchased the $10 phish water bottle). When I informed him that other festivals held at the Empire Polo Field charged a lot more for a lot less, he didn’t care. Phish was out for his money, and he was not happy. He asked where I was heading post show, and if he could get a ride. He seemed upset about Minnetonkapause and her ignorant views on life or some shit, I don’t really remember. With Deb having wandered off to God knows where, he told me he had planned to hitch to San Francisco where he would play guitar on the street for cash to get a bus ticket home. Intrigued, I asked where in the City he planned to play. He told me Haight/Ashbury was his ideal location and I just laughed. Sad, I informed him he should go to the Tenderloin district to earn cash. When he asked if there was a good music scene, I was honest. I told him there was not, but he could sell his body to a variety of junkie, perverts and or law enforcement officers and make cash for a bus ticket in half the time. Confused, he said he was going back to camp to play guitar and asked me to watch Deb’s phone. I never said I would, but when Deb came back five minutes later, she thanked me and told me her plans to ditch Kid A as he was not worth the gas money. I agreed with Deb, and thought happy thoughts as the California sunshine reflected poorly off her white cellulite filled legs.
Phan #2 – Polar Bear
Polar Bear camped next to us. He seemed nice, shared a name with a famous polar bear, but didn’t have much to say. You could tell Polar Bear was an OG Deadhead, and never gave up on that 60’s dream. He also had a super sweet van. I tried to talk about the good old days with him, but he’d much rather just eat all of our Halloween Candy (which is fine, we had plenty and we were willing to share). I will say it was pretty sweet when he cruised by camp and played along to the Hunky Dory record with his Clarinet.
Phans #3 – Leroy and Steve
I spoke to Leroy for one reason and one reason alone. He was black. In fact, he was the only black fan I saw all weekend. I asked him about Phish, and he informed me he could care less. His pal Steve was the fan, he was just there for the drugs. At least he was honest, but I am still looking for a Phish phan that is not white or Jewish. Hit me up if you are out there.
Phans #4 – Wook Families
By now, you have probably caught on that I have a mild obsession with Wooks. They manage to bring a smile to my face, much like midgets. Sometimes, God smiles down on you and blesses you with families of Wooks. I saw at least five wook families over the weekend, including a family with two Mama Bears (they were selling rocks and jewelry out of the back of their van) and a Ginger family of wooks. My pal had to pull me away from the last one, something about my behavior being inappropriate as I laughed hysterically at them. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
Phan #5 – Darling Nikki
We met Nikki right after the third set on Halloween. It was obvious from the get go that Nikki was a sex fiend. After all, her costume was a white T-shirt marked in Sharpie pen. It read “What Happens in Vegas Didn’t Stay In Vegas”. She tried to convince us that she managed to get to the front of the stage because people actually believed that she was pregnant. Her baby bump was a couple of t-shirts stuffed in a bag from the local supermarket Ralph’s (the only form of ID that “The Dude” has for those keeping score at home). For as far gone as my two pals and I were in that very moment, it was clear that Nikki was far deeper in a trip than us. She had lost her friends, and decided to invite us back to her Orange tent in the MGMT campground for beers and group sex. I informed her I was married and offered to video tape my two friends pounding her holes in glorious HD and she agreed. As we walked back, she kept stopping folks to feel the baby kick. Most just smiled and obliged, realizing how twisted out of her mind this gal was. During the small talk that occurred during our journey, we discovered that she and I were neighbors. She mocked me for living south of the 10 freeway, I mocked her for renting. Then before we knew it, she was gone.
About two hours later, after we walked around looking for a party that didn’t seem to exist, we ended up watching the last 10 minutes of Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Coming down from our various trips, we decided to head back to camp and cash in on that extra hour of sleep. As we walked past the Ferris Wheel, we saw Nikki with two frat boys. They were both taking turn touching the baby and other parts of her body. It was for the best my friends and I decided, as the general store didn’t carry penicillin.
I was somewhere near Life On Mars Ave when the news began to take hold. It was Halloween 2009, and I was in the middle of the f’n desert where Phish would be covering Exile on Main St by The Rolling Stones in just a few hours. If my father has taught me anything, it’s that The Rolling Stones are nothing more than a glorified bar band, and out of 99 possible musical costumes, they were pretty low on my list. Briefly disappointed, I did what any 30 year old white collar worker who enjoys journalism as a side hobby would do. I headed back to my camp and began chugging Wild Turkey 101 (part of my Raoul Duke costume for the evening) from a glass bottle in the hot sun. If Phish was going to urinate in my ears, then I had to make sure I was good and ready.
I am not sure when we left for the concert field Saturday afternoon. I know I had enough time for the important things, such as drinking a plastic cup full of Kentucky Bourbon, or getting an eye exam from a sexxxy nurse who was kind enough to allow me to put my purple dinosaur between her thighs. I made it just in time to catch Phish open Set 1 with “Sample in a Jar”. I know many hate this song, but I am not one of those fools. Sure, it does not stretch out to 34 minutes, but it’s a solid rock and roll song, and a perfect way to open a set, besides it was all uphill from there. I got my second “Divided Sky”, and with the sun about to set behind the mountains behind us, I couldn’t think of a better time to hear this classic. The middle pause seemed much longer than usual, and did anyone else notice the first cool breeze of the afternoon during it? We all did.
After a solid version of “Lawn Boy” (with guitarist Trey Anastasio acknowledging the very large lawn we all danced upon) and my first “Kill Devil Falls” the boys really busted loose. “Bathtub Gin” was raging with a solid jam lead by Anastasio. I always chuckle when the dirty crowd all sings the “we love to take a bath” line. Surrounded by mountains all around, and with beautiful palm trees rising tall all around the stage, this was the perfect environment for “The Squirming Coil”. Always a favorite of mine, keyboardist Page McConnell gracefully tore up the end piano solo. On a personal level, we all had a laugh at the 1-2 punch of “Runaway Jim” and “Possum” as they are perhaps the two most hated (after “Julius”) Phish songs from one in our camp. While I have been known to get sick of the later, both were solid version that while somewhat stretched out, never lost focus. The highlight of the ever building set was “Run like an Antelope”. An already tired and dehydrated crowd managed to give it all they had and danced like crazy as Anastasio lead the band through the slow building middle jam that ends in pure carnal chaos. Have any coil, man?
We headed back to camp to poop, nap and get a bit more loaded (in that particular order), but before long, we were headed back in. I have never even heard Exile on Main St. I know all of two songs, and one was because Phish has covered it for years. Despite my ignorance for the record, I was very excited. Phish was doing a Halloween show in my state, and I was blessed enough to see it. Yet standing on the field listening in the moment, I had mixed feelings. I think the hardest part was just not knowing the material. It was a weird vibe to look in any direction, and see some people in pure ecstasy while others were in pure agony. You can’t please em all right? At random, I videotaped “Torn and Frayed”, which upon listening again (and I am glad to see some YouTube comments agree) this could be the one that stays in the Phish catalogue for years to come. Speaking of the Phish catalogue, if there was one thing we could all agree on, it was “Loving Cup”. A staple of live Phish shows for years, the McConnell driven tune went places I didn’t think it could go with backing musicians such as Sharon Jones (of the Dap Kings) on vocals and a three piece horn section. One song that really stuck out for me for whatever reason was the softer “Sweet Black Angel”. Likewise, who can’t love drummer Jon Fishman singing “Sweet Virginia” especially when he gets to the part about California Wine? Towards the end of the set, after taking a nap for a bit to rest up for Set III, I realized I actually recognized “Shine a Light”. Further proving my Stones ignorance, I had no clue it was there song (hey, I’d rather spend my time with other classics like Floyd, Maiden, Yes or Hendrix, so sue me). The set wrapped with “Soul Survivor” and I cannot lie, I was somewhat relieved when Anastasio said “Thanks, we’re The Rolling Stones”.
Set III was just nasty. I rewarded myself for sitting through the Stones set with some food I had purchased earlier. It may have tasted like cow shit, but it sure did the trick. After opening with the new song “Backwards Down The Number Line”, things really took off. I got my first “Fluffhead” which came nicely out of Number Line and brought a huge smile to my face, especially as Fishman sang the lines “life is just a bundle of joy” in a sinister tone. However, it got real funky when the band busted into the predictable, but always welcomed “Ghost”. Wow, when bassist Mike Gordon goes off, he goes off. The bombs he dropped during this jam mixed with the lights made me worry he was dangerously close to the brown note.
After a solid version of the Los Lobos cover “When The Circus Comes To Town”, the Vermont four piece went to town with perhaps the quintessential Phish number – “You Enjoy Myself”. I have heard this song at least 329,208 times, yet still can’t find the proper words to describe it. A crazy musical journey, four words that mean nothing followed by feet and my favorite city in Italy, some trampolines, a jam and if you’re lucky it ends with a vocal jam. For as much as I knew I was back the previous evening, this was the one that brought tears to my eyes, and not just because Anastasio almost fell of the trampoline. If I had to pick, I would say it’s my favorite Phish song, and just to be able to hear it played live again, well yeah what more can a Phish fan want? Plus they had pyros! For years I have joked with my metal head pals who used to come to Phish shows that one day they will have pyros to keep em occupied, and that day had finally come (too bad none of them were there to see it). The mix of the pyros and the LOL end vocal jam mixed with a party now raging on three nights was the climax of the perfect weekend – the high water mark of the entire fucking event.
The band came back for one more song. With the “Exile” horn and backing vocal crew – the nine musicians launched into perhaps the best version of “Suzy Greenberg” ever. With a rich end jam with Sharon Jones taking the lead, it was more soul revival than poppy jam song. It was also the perfect way to end the night. Really, even though I am not a fan of Mick and Keith, I can’t complain with the choice of musical cover. The Stones are legends, and most of the masses loved it. With the band playing where the hipster rock fest Coachella takes place, I had hoped for something more modern such as Kid A or Jane’s Addiction. Perhaps next year at Festival 9? I really expected to be miserable for the costume, but I am glad I listened with an open ear. Who knows maybe one day I will even pick up the original?
10/30/2009 -11/01/2009 – Empire Polo Fields: Indio, CA
Words by Justin
It was a week ago to the moment that I was at the beautiful Casino Morongo in Cabazon, CA when I saw a tweet that more or less said the following:
Got raped by security going into @phishfest8. Thought I could hide a bottle of beer in my anus, but boy was I wrong. #F8
I can’t lie; this brought a Secret Smile to my face. You see, I hate authority, especially minimum wage pigs that enjoy getting off by busting hard working folks who shell out $200 a pop (plus $15 for a camping pass) to have a good time. If Festival 8 was part playground, well you could damn well bet that I would have fun playing with Pigs – Three Different Kinds.
Pig #1 – CSC security:
When dealing with event security, it is important to remember one thing. YOU OWN THEM. They work for you, and you don’t owe them a damn thing. I had no fear entering the search area at Festival 8, and I have to believe this made our search easy. It is important to find common ground with the pig raping you, and thankfully mine came in the form of a tattoo. With a big LA on his right hand, I knew I was golden before the light skinned Latino asked if I had any illegal drugs. I informed him that he was searching the car of a San Francisco Giants fan (I have the license plate frame to prove it) and that I would not tolerate any form of discrimination from him, especially after his team beat my team all year long. A smile and some trash talk quickly came from the guards face, and we were underway. He informed us that he was “tired of taking people’s shit” and asked if I had any bottles. Lying, I showed him my cooler and all the beer cans up top. He informed us that he had to at least act as if he was looking around, and as we talked sports, he pretended to search us down. Nothing confiscated, and let’s give credit where credit is due – this guy was not that bad.
We had others in our camp whose search was simple as long as they left a $20 bill on the dash. Others were not so lucky, as they had various items confiscated on site. I will say this; there are two types of CSC guards. Some are very nice people, such as the one who was guarding our gate Halloween night. He fell asleep standing up, but managed a laugh when I asked if the local police got first crack at the 8 shaped donuts the following morning. Then there are the ones who go and bust kids for selling posters or drinking beer from a bottle, because well they can. It’s rather disgusting to think that one can pay good money to camp in a horse pasture, only to have their campsite looted by paid staff, but it is what it is. With bottles being a big no no over the course of the weekend, we made sure to chant BOTTLE BOTTLE BOTTLE whenever one would pass. I also made sure to offer them lots of Halloween, and when they refused, I started a line of questioning that led to me calling them no good commie bastards and walked away. This of course is only after I get them to admit that they are allowed to take candy from strangers, and simply don’t want any verses some form of oppresive cororate policy.
Pig #2 – Jarheads
First off, allow me to say that I have nothing but respect for our armed forces. While I appreciate these fine individuals, I don’t have an ounce of respect for whoever decided it was a good idea to have groups of plain clothed Marines walk around the venue looking for drugs. Even at my sloppiest, I was not dumb enough to fall into that trap (what do you think I am, a wook). Let’s look at a conversation between myself and a marine while I was in line for a post show crap at the Hunky Dory porta-potties:
Jarhead: Hey dude – do you know where I can get some Acid?
Concert Confessions: Ummmmm, my guess would be the Phish show in town
JH: Well yeah, but like do you know where I can get drugs here.
CC: Like, here here?
JH: Yeah, like here here.
At this point in time, the Jarhead is starting to get annoyed knowing I am not dumb enough to offer drugs I don’t even have to a clean shaven white boy with huge muscles and no personality.
CC: Hmmmm, you may want to try the Electric Ladyland campsite.
JH: Do you know anyone there with acid?
I clearly stop to think, finger on my lip eyes rolled up and to the left
CC: You know, I think I do.
JH: Can you take me to him?
CC: Nope, sorry sir, no can do.
JH: How come?
CC: Because next year, Jimi Hendix will have been dead for 40 fucking years bro.
It’s at this point that the marine walks off frustrated, knowing that I am on to him, and he is wasting his time. Hey pal, it could be worse, you could be in Iraq. However, I get the feeling that perhaps he wished he was. By day three, things started getting ugly between the various security and the crowd. It was clear that security was overworked, underslept and their nerves were all but gone, as they were sick of chasing after half naked hippies whose only sins were heavy drug use and the tendency to throw glow sticks in their general direction.
Pig #3 – Local Law Enforcement
By now, you already know the tale of the dead hippie on the dance floor, but what about other cop experiences? I mean, these guys are here to serve and protect, yet each time I asked if they got one of the 8 shaped donuts, I got a dirty look. What’s up with that? I guess cops would rather just see people crushed to death (One cop made a The Who Cincinnati joke as the crowd of campers tried to get into the concert venue Saturday night, yet were held up by a very slow security line) then actually protect and serve. Watching this made me glad I had decided to mess with one of these foul swine earlier in the day. You see, it’s a well known fact that many law enforcement officers love the sauce. As I walked up for the afternoon set Halloween afternoon with a plastic cup full of Wild Turkey, I tried my best to share it with a police officer from near by Banning. I informed him as a tax payer that I was his boss, and it was his civic duty to share a plastic cup of Wild Turkey with me. As a CSC security guard with ESTRADA glasses tried to pat me down, I begged the officer to share this tasty treat with me. I could tell the pig wanted some, but he held strong and said I had to finish it. As I stood there, slowly slipping the beverage, I made sure to rub it in just how tasty it was. He watched and watched as I drank and drank, before finally gulping down the final sips of tasty Kentucky Bourbon.
In closing, I know I am not some hardcore rebel; I didn’t throw a brick in the face of a cop, or kick the shit out of a jarhead. But I did get to have a lil fun harassing the folks who harassed the folks who paid good cash to party in the desert. But hey, it is what it is right? We all knew going in that Riverside County (where Indio, Ca is located) is Jesus land, and they want to keep America safe by voting against gay marriage and busting people for selling mind expansion and that’s fine it’s their right to be ingnorant. I just hope that if Festival 9 does take place, the fine folks at Goldenvoice (the shows promoter) and county of Riverside understand that it’s a phucking phish show that is pumping buttloads of cash into the desolate and dirty wasteland they choose to call home.
A few hours after the sun crept below the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountain range, a thick cloud of smoke hung above the Hunky Dory (named after David Bowie’s classic 1971 record) campground deep inside the Empire Polo Fields. With no open fires or BBQ’s allowed within the lush campground (declared the nicest out of all 8 campgrounds by Jamtopia.com) it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what was causing the pollution. Phish was in town for their first three day festival (not to mention their first festival west of Florida) and those fortunate enough to arrive a day early were wasting no time in getting the party started.
Sunset over Camp Hunky Dory 10/29/09
Early on, the plan was to invade Camp Genesis (based off the simple fact that Phil Collins is a douche), but between three Magic Johnson Jell-O Shots for $5 and all the cans of beer (and did I mention a cloud of smoke), the 8 of us were in no shape to walk a few miles to wage war against those who were unlucky enough to sleep there. Besides, the robust Police Officer from nearby Cathedral City had informed us that we were the rowdiest/craziest campground on site. I mean, would a police officer lie to us? I think not.
The first night was the hardest. With temperatures dipping into the mid 40’s, even my seven companions from Eastern Washington struggled to stay warm. One member of our crew hung a sign upon his tent looking for a female to help him “keep warm”, but his request was never fulfilled. After staying up well past my bedtime, I was awoken by what I assumed to be the worst sound one could wake up too (Journey blasting from the automobile of a neighbor a few spots down). However, I was sadly mistaken as I had a much uglier wake up call around the corner. It was just past 4:30 am when the first one started. I assumed it was just a wook being obnoxious with his mating call, but as my mind began to focus, I realized it was a Rooster. Heck, not one rooster, but a gaggle of them. I tried and tried to fall back asleep, but it was no use. Once a rooster has penetrated that wall of sleep, you are done for. While some card carrying members of PETA debated denouncing their beliefs of equal right for all creatures great and small by plotting to murder the foul fuckers’ feet away from our camps, I managed to drown them out the next two nights by making sure I was beyond loaded at bedtime.
As annoying as the rooster problem was, it could have been worse. I could have been one of the vendors inside of our camp ground. Towards the back, by the showers (by the way, who the fuck waits 90+ minutes for a shower at a Phish show, shame on you) we had our own mini strip mall. I can’t lie, I was (heck am) still shocked and appalled by the conditions the individuals who worked these booths were under. Cooking (or running a general store) from 7am till about 3am for four days straight is no easy task, especially considering that most of these folks did not own the businesses they were working for. With breaks coming during show times or an hour or two after clean up, but before set up, my mind can’t comprehend how one serves Cheese steak or Pizza for such tedious amounts of time. Yet these fine souls did and I have nothing but respect and praise for them (I know prices were high, but I sure hope you tipped em each time you were there). These individuals are the true heroes, and I thank them for all they did to ensure we had a wonderful weekend.
I knew our campground was S.O.L on being the record Phish picked for their musical costume when front man Trey Anastasio informed us from the stage Friday night that they were giving us a Halloween hint before the band launched into their 1980’s classic “David Bowie”. For as hard as I took the loss (because lets be honest, we ALL knew it was Exile on Main St. weeks ago), one gal took it much harder. Walking around early Saturday morning, local police had to clear the dance floor when one gal dropped. Now, keep in mind, they didn’t actually help remove the dead* hippie from the makeshift rave, they just drove their car up, flashed some lights and watched as her pals quickly removed her body
Late Night Rave Inside Camp Hunky Dory 10/30/09
While I had never heard Mr. Bowie’s Hunky Dory record upon entering camp Thursday afternoon (did hear it via D Brown’s IPOD Friday afternoon), I now know I need to purchase it. It truly was a great place to spend a few days in the desert. Not too big like Electric Ladyland, not overrun with Wooks like Purple Rain. The size was just right, the grass was nice and green (on the ground and in your bong) with easy access to porta-potties and friendly faces around every corner. It was even a relatively close walk to the concert grounds; I mean what more can you ask for? With the exception of a few roosters, I already miss my home away from home.
*Note, I don’t think the gal actually died, she just took too much, too much man.
In case you missed part one of our (hopefully) 8 part series – you can read it here.
Writers Note: In honor of the 8th Phish festival, I plan to write 8 separate confessions of my four days in the desert with Phish. Having left the Hunky Dory campsite 30 hours ago, I have still not fully processed everything I experienced within the grounds of the Empire Polo Grounds. In the event that some non-phish fans read this, I have tried my best to provide links on lingo that is often discussed in Phish circles.
Part I: The Feeling I Forgot
In the time it takes to drive Brittan Avenue from Alameda De Las Pulgas to El Camino Real, I became a fan of Phish. It was late 1996, and on that ride from Youth Group to Jack in the Box, I heard the first couple of songs from 04-27-91 show. Acapella openers and songs about someone named Jim who ran away were weird enough to have me hungry for more. The next summer, I went to my first show (7-31-97) and went from casual fan to obsessed overnight. For years, Phish was my number one past time. I went to shows up and down the west coast. I traded tapes, and then CD’s then various files. I even had a failed attempt at dreadlocks, and well let’s just say I am embarrassed to tell you how many times I showered in February 1998.
All was Hunky Dory with Phish and I, until 7-10-03 when I walked out of Shoreline Amphitheatre with my head down in shame. After a self imposed hiatus, a strung out and uninspired version of Phish criss-crossed the nation playing more subpar concerts than stellar ones. Gone were the tight jams and crazy chord progressions. In their place was embarrassing slop that made me wish I was seeing some terrible band llike The String Cheese Incident. While sad that something I truly loved called it a day, I was actually glad Phish called it quits less than a year later. As the calendar progressed, I started to forget all about the band that in many ways became my identity for six years.
In those six years since I left Shoreline in disgust, a lot has changed for the members of Phish. Most important was front man/cult leader Trey Anastasio getting pulled over in upstate NY, driving on the wrong side of the road with a serious collection of drugs in the car. I was skeptical at when this reunion was announced, would they still have it I thought to myself? Much to my relief, after three solid nights in Hampton, VA they indeed did. As the year progressed, I grew restless waiting for tour dates. Upon finding that Wooks lied to me on PT and the band was not playing the Hollywood Bowl during summer tour, I actually fell into a slight depression. Spirits were quickly lifted when the rumors began that the east coast rockers were planning a serious left coast desert shakedown over Halloween Weekend. Spirits went through the dang roof when Festival 8 – a three day Phish festival over Halloween (a high holy day for Phish fans, as the band covers another artists record front to back as a musical costume) was finally confirmed for the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, CA. The first three day Phish Festival featuring 8 sets of music two hours from home? Well I sure as hell can’t think of a better way to get reacquainted with an old flame.
I won’t lie, it took a bit. Perhaps we were too far back from the stage, but the first set of the event (10/30/09) was rough. Sure the upbeat “Party Time” was a logical opener, but the mix of songs simply never seemed to click. “Chalkdust Torture” seemed a bit more rushed than usual while guitarist Trey Anastasio managed to crack himself up during “NICU”. A personal highlight for me was the opportunity to finally see drummer John “Henrietta” Fishman bust out a “suck and blow” solo on the vacuum cleaner during the somewhat rare “I Didn’t Know”. My love for the new song “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” only grew after seeing the Vermont foursome tear it up. With a chorus of “Got a blank space where my mind should be” the line really hit home after having partied for 24 hours straight under the Santa Rosa Mountains.
The bands second set was much better. It took me 15 shows, but I finally got the Gamehenge classic “Punch You In The Eye” which kicked things off. However, what took place next was what I came in search for. Down With Disease>Prince Caspian>Wolfman’s Brother>Piper>Joy. I am pretty sure it was sometime during the big build in Piper when I finally let go and was totally entranced in the music. With a backdrop of palm trees lit up by one Chris Kuroda and the constellation Orion high above us in the sky, a huge smile spread across my face. The Feeling I Forgot was back. Phish had me in their pocket, and could do whatever they wanted to me, even if that included bringing out some weird balloon type prop that flashed vibrant colors during “Harry Hood”.
No one and I mean no one can take me musically on a journey like Phish does. It really has been close to 10 years since I truly experienced the band max capacity. Walking out of the concert area and back to our tent, I had a tear or two running down my cheek. I finally got to experience what millions across the country have already discovered this year. Phish is back, and they are BACK. With about 30 hours in the desert under my belt, and six sets remaining, I grabbed a slice of pizza and did what every other phish head inside the lush Empire Polo Fields were about to do. Phish is back, Halloween had arrived and it was time to party, even if it meant denouncing ones membership from PETA by killing a couple dozen roosters. Party Time indeed.