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Photo courtesy of BrooklynVegan.com

Waking up from a generous two hours of sleep on Sunday didn’t really do wonders for my outlook on the day, and it was obvious from the moment I entered back onto the festival grounds that a lot of people felt the same way. The whole vibe on Sunday was entirely different from the rest of the festival, a feeling of comedown shaded with “I can’t believe this is almost over.” It was sort of depressing, but the lineup more than made up with it with more of my favorite bands than either of the two previous days.

I first proceeded to the Sahara to see English dubstep producer Rusko, despite my earlier promise that I couldn’t handle any more wobble in my life. Rusko has always been more accessible than the darker dubstep that many of his countrymen prefer, injecting elements of house and dance with an upbeat sound that had the mid-afternoon crowd shaking off any Tiesto hangover they might have brought along. Following that I hustled over to the Outdoor Stage to see a bit of Deerhunter’s trippy live act, a frenetic set unfortunately marred by numerous technical difficulties. Bradford Cox’s unveiling of a new Deerhunter song that name-dropped “Coachella 2010” in the chorus was the clear winner amongst the crowd.

Florence and the Machine had the Gobi tent packed far past capacity by the time the redheaded songstress finally made it on stage fifteen minutes past her scheduled 4:15 start time and damn, can she sing! She was totally into the crowd from the beginning, beckoning them to sing along and thoroughly dominating the stage with her presence and that Voice. Her light duet with Nathan Willett from Cold War Kids, playing their song “Hospital Beds,” was one of the odder couplings of the festival. The band fairly paled in comparison – on tracks like “Dog Days Are Over” and “Kiss With A Fist,” Welch practically drowned them out, particularly the weak guitar tone. It was a shame in what could have been a flawless performance, but Welch’s fiery pipes more than made up for it.

Photo courtesy of BrooklynVegan.com

Despite it’s ridiculous lineup, Sunday had the most set conflicts of any day, causing me to make several difficult choices, resulting in me missing Yo La Tengo, Julian Casablancas, and Miike Snow (who I heard lit up the Mojave with an electrifying DJ set that remixed the majority of their self-titled to great effect) for Florence, Jonsi, Spoon, and Phoenix. The Sigur Ros frontman was his normal ethereal self, performing his extremely well received Go album to a relaxed, picnicking audience at the Outdoor Stage. His voice translates quite smoothly to a live venue, and his ability to hold incredible falsetto notes carried well past the stage grounds. While some of the sounds by necessity had to be pre-recorded and played without the benefit of a full orchestra, the five songs I caught were uplifting, especially the swelling optimism of “Boy Lilikoi.”

I had to skip the latter half of Jonsi’s set to catch Spoon, who was performing on the main stage at sunset. The band fairly reeked of cool, strutting onstage and launching into the jagged “Is Love Forever?” with precision and intense focus. Britt Daniels had one of the best frontman presences of the entire festival, and his ripping work on the guitar was ridiculous on the main stage speaker system. Highlights included the furious “Don’t Make Me A Target,” Bradford Cox’s guest spot on “Who Makes Your Money,” and the bouncy “Rhthm and Soul,” which featured a full horn section.

My only regret was not being able to see the band close with “Underdog,” because French indie rockers Phoenix were scheduled to go on shortly after seven on the Outdoor Stage. Although the group’s light technicians were stranded overseas thanks to the Iceland volcano eruption, frontman Thomas Mars promised that “tonight would be all about the music,” and they followed through admirably. The band sound exactly as they do on their record – in other words, they killed it, especially journeyman drummer Thomas Hedlund and Mars, who jumped into the crowd at several points and seemed overjoyed to be playing in front of what was easily the Outdoor Stage’s largest crowd of the weekend. Nearly every song was a hit with the audience, who seemed to know the word to every song and relished the extended buildup the band gave the “Love Like A Sunset” suite. The one-two punch of “Rome” and “1901,” meanwhile, was perhaps the best of the entire weekend, creating an almost rave-like atmosphere with “Rome”’s shimmering guitars and “1901”’s pile driving beat. Numerous people I talked to later on said Phoenix might have put on the show of the weekend.

Photo courtesy of BrooklynVegan.com

I caught a bit of seminal ‘90s rockers Pavement at the main stage shortly afterwards, where Stephen Malkmus and company seemed content to relive the glory days of their past by rocking out full throttle in the present. They sounded like they hadn’t lost a step, a feeling aided by the crowd, who seemed to be Pavement diehards to a man and sang along at every opportunity. As a rollicking cut of “Cut Your Hair” closed out the set, Malkmus’ declaration that “we’re happy to see you too” had every Pavement fan practically drooling onto the grass.

Having just missed British electro diva Little Boots and her seizure-inducing light show at the Gobi, I decided to check out Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, who was closing out the Outdoor Stage at nine o’clock sharp. He didn’t disappoint, mostly straying away from any Radiohead songs until the end of his set and performing most of his solo record, The Eraser, to great effect. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers unexpected cameo brought a whole new groove-rock dimension to the songs, which just as often meandered into refreshing jams as Yorke kept things focused on his distinctive vocals and masterful keyboards. It was initially shocking to see such seemingly opposed musicians collaborate, but the result was something surreal, something the crowd almost immediately realized: something truly special.

Photo courtesy of BrooklynVegan.com

Plenty of people remarked that Yorke and Flea should have closed Coachella itself, as Gorillaz were more of a disappointment than a revelation in the coveted closing slot Sunday night. They certainly knew how to put on a show – an entire symphonic string section backed up frontman Damon Albarn, along with soul singer Bobby Womack, two members of the Clash, and a kaleidoscopic series of videos matching each song in their set. Most of the songs were from their newest effort Plastic Beach, although the best received song of the evening didn’t arrive until the end, when everyone launched into “Clint Eastwood.” There was nothing inherently wrong with the performance, just a feeling that Gorillaz’s chill vibe was not up to closing down such an epic weekend. They would have been far more suited for another headlining night, where their unique spectacle could have been appreciated for just what it was instead of being compared to the superior acts that came before. Of course, maybe everyone was just too damn tired to really get into it.

But it was impossible to be disappointed with Coachella, which once again lived up to its billing as king of American music festivals. You can argue who was good, who was merely okay, who disappointed, but it’s all relative – Coachella is an experience that can’t be judged in subjective terms but must be felt by everyone who goes. You immerse yourself in the heat and sweat and the utter lack of sobriety and come out incredulous at everything – the bands, the people, the overwhelming feel of it all. It’s been a week since I left for Indio and last weekend simultaneously feels both years ago and just the other day. I can’t fucking wait to go back.

Photo courtesy of BrooklynVegan.com

Top 5 Sets

1. Phoenix

2. Jay-Z

3. Tiesto

4. Thom Yorke

5. She & Him

Coachella by the numbers

  • 75,000+ people per day
  • 128 total artists
  • $500 for ticket/camping pass/camping equipment/gas/food
  • $75 worth of merch
  • 37 bottles of water (only $2 each!)
  • 9 hours of sleep
  • 3 autographs (Florence Welch, Britt Daniels/Jim Eno from Spoon, Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura)
  • 2 days of PCD (Post Coachella depression)

Day 1 Coverage

Day 2 Coverage





klap
04.23.10
bands i wish i'd seen: too many
and i'm off to vegas for the weekend, hope everyone liked the article

Skimaskcheck
04.23.10
Awesome write up, again, sounds immense!

Kiran
04.23.10
PAVEMENT yesss im seeing them in a month. i wanna see phoenix and spoon badly though, youre just piling on the jealousy.

JWT155
04.23.10
Wish I could've have gone to this. Really enjoyed reading your 3 day blog about this Rudy.

thebhoy
04.23.10
nicely done Klappy

IsItLuck?
04.23.10
so jealous, thank you for this write-up, good choice of videos as well.

EVedder27
04.23.10
Cool stuff Klapper

combustion07
04.23.10
Awesome read, I wish I could've been there sounds like a great time minus the camping lol.

Waior
04.23.10
really depressed I didn't go after watching that florence video ughhh

cirq
04.23.10
[quote]•2 days of PCD (Post Coachella depression)[/quote]
ive still got it :'(

JacobsLadder
04.23.10
Great article I'd give anything to have been there.

bungy
04.23.10
Nice, I'm so excited for Sasquatch

Deviant.
04.24.10
Good thing you caught Rusko, man's a musical genius

SetTrip
04.24.10
How long does Sasquatch last?

DaveyBoy
04.24.10
Absolutely sensational 3 part write-up Rudy. You should be proud of it man. Perfect length, insightful opinion, great use of photos & videos. Well done mate.

Sounds like you were well & truly rooted by the end of the 3 days, but I'm certain you'll look back on it with fantastc memories.

Circa4life
04.24.10
You did a great job summing up an amazing weekend at Coachella and informed me on bands that I did not get a chance to see and will have to check them out in the future. There is this article at Pitchfork about this years Coachella and basically the dude had nothing positive to say... here it is if you wanna take a gander http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/7795-coachella-2010/

henrymckenzie
04.24.10
Wow looks like a fabulous event. Would love to check it out. Hopefully they could get a couple of the greats like U2 or Coldplay to do sets. Experiencing Bono and the lads belt out With or Without You, in the flesh, in a setting like that would be super duper amazing.I must see Damon Albarn live -preferably with Blur, but I love the Gorillaz too. I can't believe you left the headliner early Chris!

dj equipment


tombits
04.24.10
Loved these three articles klappy, good job man.

Urinetrouble
04.24.10
i loved the gorillaz performance. someoen needs to do coverage like this for download

klap
04.26.10
thanks all! watching these videos is straight giving me flashbacks

JWT155
04.26.10
I love watching concert vids from shows I went to, kinda briefly gives you the feeling of being there again. My bro usually takes a shit load of vids at concerts we go to.

eggsvonsatan
04.26.10
Sounds like you missed a lot of key shows. No mention of Dillinger Escape, Porcupine Tree, or Them Crooked Vultures. You barely talk about Faith No More. No Sly & Family Stone. SLY AND THE MOTHA FUCKIN STONE!
Seems like you just hopped from one pile of indie garbage to the next.

klap
04.26.10
word around the festival was that sly stone sucked hard. and i had no interest in any of those other ones except maybe them crooked vultures. can't be everywhere at once!

Kiran
04.26.10
all this indie garbage, its overwhelming

guitarpicks
01.27.11
I love indie bands and going to a concert that lasted for days is something I've yet to experience. I imagine I'll be right up to the very front hoping one of my favorite bands will throw a guitar pick my way. I am an avid collector of famous artists' picks and also collect one-of-a-kind picks. Recently stumbled into this useful resource for these nifty accessories -- http://v-picks.com/. Anyone else know a great resource for picks?

couldwinarabbit
01.27.11
SPUTNIK HAS SPAM!!!!

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