Well, I had no fucking intentions of hitting up Coachella this year because, let’s face it, until Prince was added, the lineup kind of sucked. Here’s what I thought would happen during each headliner:
Jack Fuck Johnson: This dude comes out in shorts and sandals and plays the Curious George soundtrack for everyone.
Portishead: While performing Glory Box, a huge group of Bros starts throwing bottles and telling Beth Gibbons to take off her shirt.
Roger Waters: While performing any number of songs from Pink Floyd’s extensive catalog, he falls and breaks his hip.
So, of course, I had not bothered to get press passes, and I sure as fuck can’t afford tickets, and when Prince was announced, I died a little inside. No matter who you are, hardcore republican, smelly hippie or BDSM Master/Slave, you’ve rocked a Prince tune. So what if the dude’s weird as fuck? Anyways, I was resigned to let this year, like all the others, pass me by, until I got the phone call. Fun thing about the music industry, free shit. I got a call from some amigos saying that for helping to load some trucks, I could get a couple passes to Coachella. The next day I’m loading shit into a truck in some industrial park. For added muscle, I brought along Racket’s resident Tech Wizard, Patrick. Three hours of work later, and we had “field” passes, which got us past the stupid line, and free water from some amigos working the show. Fuck yea.
On Friday morning, Patrick and I loaded up his truck with some sleeping bags, blankets, food and drink, and like a quart of SPF 50. I did not need to come back looking like a big fuck lobster. Now, Patrick’s gone to like 6 Coachella festivals, so, acting as my guide, he informed me that we would be camping in the desert, rather than pay for anything stupid like lodging. We got in, and walked around, liberally applying Target’s SPF 50 generic garbage. Side note: DO NOT GET THE TARGET SPF 50 GENERIC GARBAGE. I had to go rinse out my burning eyes three times.
Anyways, we decided that the best thing we could do was to scope out a couple of songs of a buttload of people. First up, Les Savvy Fav. Fucking boring. Art rock for art’s sake or some shit. I heard a couple rad tunes from them before, so I was stoked on seeing them, but it’s like seeing a Disney cast member remove the Goofy head, just disappointing. Slightly Stoopid was somehow decent, saw Black Kids and fun fact: they’re not all black! Or all that amazing. Fun enough, I’d like to check them out in a smaller venue, and when it’s not 90 degrees outside. You know what, you don’t want to read all this shit. Lemme bullet point this bitch for you!
Architecture in Helsinki – Fun, but weird. Australians are the new ummm, whatever country made weird rock before. Germany. Yea, Germany.
The Breeders – The whole time I was just wishing I could be watching the Pixies.
Vampire Weekend – Fun, they sing that song on the radio that no one can remember the name of.
Tegan and Sara – First band I caught the entire set. I love it when cute girls say words like “clusterfuck” and “breast burn.” Dibs on Sara.
Goldfrapp – If you don’t come out strong, don’t come out at all. A hippie later told me that the rest of her set was good, however.
The Raconteurs – Say what you will about the White Stripes, but Jack White knows how to write a tune and how to command a stage. Hitting up a majority of their released material, including Steady As She Goes, Many Shades of Black and the fucking amazing jam session that was You Don’t Understand Me, The Raconteurs melted faces and converted some non-believers. Side note, Patrick and I decided that the bass player reminds us of the dude from SLC Punk who looks all nerdy, but can put your head through a fucking wall at any moment.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I’m so stoked that there are still soul bands running around. During their set, they solidified my belief that they’re one of the best you’re going to see.
Pendulum – Never heard of them, but a posse we had somehow collected headed over to the far fuck tent to see a live band rock out some kind of rock/drum and bass combo. Lazers, smoke and epic bass. I never need to be on drugs in that environment. Fuck, even just tired from the heat was overwhelming. Definitely perfect for a huge festival.
Serj Tankian – There’s no reason those songs could not have been System of a Down songs. Nuff said.
Jack Fuck Johnson – Ok, I get it, you’re a laid back surfer with an acoustic guitar. If Patrick wasn’t also a surfer who enjoyed acoustic (grandpa’s) guitars, I’d be out. Instead, I laid back and watched the crazy light shows around the place.
After we got to his truck, we went to task looking for a random spot in the desert to park his truck. After about 40 minutes, we see a small road lead into what we thought was just a bunch of undeveloped land. We parked behind a 20 foot tall bush and started to set up “camp,” which consisted of a long board leaned against his truck to drape a tarp over. Blankets covered the bottom of his truck, and we hopped into sleeping bags and attempted to sleep. At least twice I was awoken by the sound of coyotes, while Patrick claims that he heard a horse. I think we should have known something was up when we made a comment between ourselves that there was a lot of traffic out here for the fucking desert. About 7AM, we heard a tractor, and figured it was probably from a palm tree farm we passed earlier. 9AM, I popped my head out of the tarp to see a Farmer John staring at us, quite confused. I’m sure he was probably even more confused when Patrick and I jumped out of the back of the truck, tossing our sleeping bags and the tarp in the back and getting the fuck out of there. I’m sure the words “brokeback” and “mountain” popped into his head. We grabbed some Coppertone Sport SPF50, and some delicious Farmer Boy’s french toast gave us our fuel for day 2, back to bullet points!
The Teenagers – I could care less. The dude’s vocals were annoying as piss.
Carbon/Silicon – SO DISAPPOINTING! I know it’s my own fault for expecting Mick Jone’s new band to have anywhere near the fury that The Clash had, but come on, coming out in a pink shirt, being polite and singing about a magical suitcase!? Fuck!
Dredg – Forgettable. Seriously, I forgot what they sounded like. The chicken kabob I had was far better.
Minus The Bear – I’d rather listen to the recordings.
MGMT – OK, maybe we’re on to something. Pretty fun.
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Weak substitute for Pavement, but I’ll have to make do. Still pretty fun.
Death Cab For Cutie – Death Cab is NOT a band for festivals. I’ve seen them before at some shitty teen rec center in San Diego (yes, the Epicentre) and they were pretty solid. This was not. I’d rather just listen to the albums and clean my room.
Rilo Kiley – Solid, it’s just weird to see them in, you know, daylight. Also, dibs on Jenny Lewis, too. I’m glad that the songs did not sound exactly like they do on record. I also thought it was funny that you can see half the people stop singing along if they played anything off of More Adventurous or earlier.
Kraftwerk – I had this recording professor back in college (yea, that’s right bitches, I gots me a degree!) who fucking loved this band, and we must have watched half a dozen of their videos in the digital music classes, so I had to see them live. Holy fuck. No wonder these guys were one of the few things that got him excited. Four germans at keyboards/computers have never melted faces like that before. Plus: Robots!
Portishead – Goddamn, I wish I could wrap myself in Beth Gibbon’s voice. During the set, she sat in a chair to perform a song, which led Racket’s Alcoholic Academic, Mike, to text me to tell me to “Tell that lazy broad to stand the fuck up!” He was apparently watching a live webcast of the show.
Motherfucking PRINCE! – Now, I have to admit, I am more stoked about Prince after seeing him than I was before. After being 25 minutes late to start, Prince comes out in a BeDazzled white outfit, picks up a Telecaster and starts jamming. Within 20 seconds I realized something weird was going on, I look at Patrick: “Is that Morris Fucking Day?!” Yes, very yes. It WAS Morris Fucking Day. O-E-O-E-O! Then Sheila E comes out, jams out with her clam out, and Prince finally starts getting back to business: 1999. Fuck yea. We left during Little Red Corvette to bypass the tens of thousands of people who would be heading towards their cars soon. Apparently I missed a cover of Radiohead’s creep. Bust.
And off to home we went, telling day three to piss itself because Patrick had a wedding to go to, and I had a very hot date on Sunday, true story! Moral of the story, free Coachella rules.
– Jonathan “The Emperor” Yost
P.S. – I was too lazy to bring my camera, so no pictures!
And fuck, I almost forgot this horseshit! When Patrick and I first got to the venue, we poked around the merch tables, one of which was a “boutique” merch booth, showing some rad shirts in limited runs. One of the products was a poster, that when it started, was $50. Standard festival price. When we stopped by later, the price was $80! Since some of the peeps we knew were working it, we asked what the hell happened and were told that one of the dude’s upped the price because the posters sold on eBay for a couple hundred dollars. So fucking what? You’re not losing anything, I thought. Came back later: $100. Next day: $150. Fuck that. It shouldn’t matter if Prince was selling one he used as a cum rag for $9000, if you have a problem with people buying them and selling them on eBay, limit the number you sell each day. That’s a fucking dick move in my book.