Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Post Coach

There is a great debate between my friend Jenny and I: how do you say Coachella? Is it Coh-chella or Coh-ah-chella? Our ears were perking up every time somebody said the place and each time we were racking a score for our respected sides. According to my unbiased buddy Larry, only me and Prince say Coh-ah-chella whereas the rest of the world does it the other way. Obviously Prince is correct...

What is NOT up for debate is what a fantastic time people had. We all saw (in order of aud/visual enticement, yes ranked):

La Roux
This should come as no surprise as who my #1 pick is. After some initial hesitation starting up with Tigerlily, Elly took control and had a blast on stage especially when there was a roar in the crowd of everyone singing the lyrics with her (I lost my voice as a result). I appreciate the fact that Elly doesn't seem to smile to change the mood, but rather to reinforce it.

In a close second is Mr. Dewaele showing up and rondvoll killing it. There isn't much time to set up after Die Antwoord's 20min set, so to get things kicking he plays around with a radio trying to find a proper station while the background the equipment is getting connected. He finds a station he likes and then starts mixing their version of Hey Boy Hey Girl into it, quickly moving to Dominator. Damn it's a jam... especially 5 people away from him.

Fantastic energy notwithstanding, probably the best aspect of the show is the fact that while doing the mix, his brother (I'm assuming) was doing the VJ work by taking the album covers of the remixed tracks and turning them into a Monty Pythonesque Flash animations. After looking for videos, it's not a new concept to them but I had never seen it before so Larry and I were blown away and the sheer simplicity and joking manner in which they were done.

Everybody likes techno music. Not to mention a techno ticket tape parade. youtube playlist

I can't listen to Music for Men all the way through, but individually they hold muster well... and at the show they are amazing. Beth Ditto has amazing presence and an equally amazing voice. She always connects with the audience with he chatty Kathy attitude and what seems to be everyone she meets. Damn she's good. But what really got me piqued is the finale. They already did Standing in the Way of Control, they already did Yr Mangled Heart, Coal to Diamonds, Dimestore Diamond, what could she have up her sleeve? about a Grace Jones cover? Perfection:

Major Lazer
I couldn't believe that I was finally going to be able to see Switch & Diplo do their thing. I missed them in Chicago... twice. I can't imagine a similar show being done at the Metro or Smartbar: people flying off ladders, booties in the air, ...CHINESE DRAGONS! Oh shit. I wish I could experience it from a 15-year-old's perspective. This was a show and a half.

Fever Ray
We had a quick glimpse of Fever Ray. Same setup as at the Metro but it didn't have the same ambience as there were too many people that were already pumped up rather than being in a relaxed w/ pupils wide open state. It was still intense for me with its Nordic soundtrack of wicca approaching on tundra while riding Banthas. I highly recommend going to see their show.

Great show at the Aragon. I took a nap. Great show!

Passion Pit
Ahhh! I had to skip them in order to go to the La Roux signing. I don't care, I'd do anything for Elly. Great show at the Congress!

Gil Scott-Heron
I'm an idiot. I thought Gil Scott-Heron was Jill Scott, which my senior year art teacher would play on repeat while giving my friend attitude. I should have come early and not been so ignorant of the sweet tunes that they played. Billy Glen Turner, the fellow on bongos killed it at the end (when I got there), after the rest of the group got off. Gil's voice is the perfect raspy embodiment of blues: too much singing, too many smoky rooms, and just the right mumble. Even his look is classic: overgrown facial shadow, needing a haircut, worn jacket, and flat cap that comes to his eyes almost like Rudy from Fat Albert. If ever I have the chance to see him at House of Blues in Chicago or hopefully at Kingston Mines, I'm def there.

Hot Chip
After seeing their show at the Aragon the day I came back from LA, they totally got cheated out of an extra hour they needed to do a proper show. Part of the issue at Coachella was that the vibe also wasn't there but if you go to a sold out show, you have 5000+ people going nuts for the one artist while being squashed up in the front jumping up and down (this is turning out to be a theme in my life). Yay!

Mayer Hawthorne
Winner. See him. Once.

the XX
I love the XX, but I just grazed by them this time. They were unfairly scheduled between the Gossip and dinner. Go see them for sure. They opened up for Hot Chip at the Aragon and they blew my mind. Again.

I always like Gorillaz, but I never delved into learning more about them or hearing the latest album. So if you already know, skip this part. Gorillaz is a collab between the fellow from Blur, Damon Albarn, and the co-creator of Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlett. I didn't know anything about Tank Girl but now the animation style carries over.
The trouble is, I never was a fanatic about Blur, nor do I read comic books so I wasn't instantly captured by them. Knowing the premise now, and the fact that they opened up with Snoop Dogg doing Plastic Beach as well as seeing all the intense animation I'm more interested. I think I'll pick up their DVD's as you'd think this would be the true method to experience these guys, other than the actual show. Larry, Jenny, and I skipped the last half of the show to jet back to LA early and beat everyone else.
For kicks, here is my favorite Blur song, that I found using Soulwax as my source (of course)...

Blur - Song 2

Matt & Kim
Saw them from a distance. Seems like the same show everytime and everytime they play it's awesome. No show would be complete without Matt standing on his chair but still playing the piano at seat-level. They are so intense.

I listened to enough to know that I need to investigate more. He was excellent to just hang out and take a mild nap to. He, the lead singer of Sigur Rós, has a voice that can melt Reykjavik away. What I like most about his work are all of the different instruments that he brings into it. Executed incorrectly it can propel into cacophony, but in this case it makes the pieces well rounded by telling a story through the different voices. I feel like this is the kind of stuff you need in order to test hi-fi systems since everything is so balanced.

Beach House
These guys are nice to listen to and it's cool to see how they've progressed since I first saw them at Pitchfork '07. They seem to be a staple at every festival. Yup, that's about it.

I can't say anything about these guys that hasn't been said already. I'm a little disappointed that they decided to take their music in a departure from Oracular by not being as dreamy and druggy and turning more into what I regard as the general alternative genre. Have they gone mainstream? Oh shit...

Die Antwoord
Um. Who are these guys? There were a pile of Antwoord fans as we were waiting for 2manydj's to come on and they were going nuts. Nuts! This guy was explaining to me that this was their debut performance outside of South Africa. And they only had a 20min set. Unfair, right? Dude comes out on stage and starts up the bumping tunes. All of a sudden, this little girl comes out on stage and starts rapping. Crazy! No way! This is fantastic. She's wearing white sweatpants and a white hoodie filled with black doodle tags. Then she takes off her hood and keeps going. I'm feeling it and it's pretty good.
Then the guy comes on. Ok tight flow, he's got the same tight clothes. Aren't these guys getting warm? They think so too and they start taking off their hoodies. Ok, this girl is not a little girl but just looks like a little girl. The guy has a sweet flat-top that reminds me of Guile from Street Fighter. Now the visuals are turning into some sort of happy hardcore, flash-based, cartoony yet suggestive, trippy craziness. "Huggy Huggy Party Party Fun Fun Fun!"

And then the masked fat guys with no shirts came out as backup dancers...

By the way, according to this video, this actually wasn't their real US 'debut' but it happened before at a Dim Mak party night.

Larry and I have decided that Z-Trip is old. Whereas mashup styles have been cool, he really has been stuck where I first saw him back in Denver in 2004. Style notwithstanding, he is a fantastic scratching DJ, something that is seemingly rare nowadays especially with the perpetual rumors of hip-hop falling off the face of the earth (P.S. it's not true, it's just not as popularized). Also the guy has great energy and loves the stuff that he does. I just found myself getting bored at his sets because of his selection. I think the most recent track that I recognized was Pon De Floor... which is turning into MGMT's Kids in my book.

Gah! Don't end it on a low note! Go to Coachella next year! Find a cheapo hotel! Have a fantastic time! Here, get excited about this:

Caplin Band - Il Veliero
Boney M - Nightflight to Venus
The Three Degrees - The Runner (Soulwax Edit)
off of As Heard on Radio Soulwax v12. Play them in order. Mmmm rough disco...


Tim F said...

dude are you kidding about MGMT? That second album is probably the most uncommerical thing they could of done. Everyone was expecting more Time to Pretend and they released an awesome, weird, fucked up album.

Conman said...

I wasn't blown away by it like I was Oracular. That's fine that they didn't keep it in the same style, but the elements I hear feel like it's been done before. No, they aren't traditional pop songs, but I wouldn't go so far as to categorize the stuff as weird.

Larry Nguyen said...

I have two words: Die Antwoord! and I do mean DIE!

That was a whole 20 minutes of WTF, but it just made 2many DJ's that much more awesome.

Yes, everyone should go to a cheapo motel, and also, get the Horchata at Aldo's. It's delicious!