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Coachella Music & Arts Festival, April 27-28, 2002

Reading back on this now, I can honestly laugh at my youthful enthusiasm. My writing style has changed a lot since then, but it’s always nice to see what was running through my mind at that age…

Day 1 – Saturday, April 28, 2002

12:58 PM – Here I am at Coachella! It’s hot & I’m waiting on the grass while my brother gets our tickets. He doesn’t feel like talking to me, so I’ve decided sit down and start my Coachella diary. Lots of good acts today. I?m most excited about Pete Yorn, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Bjork, the Chemical Brothers, Folk Implosion, Cornershop, the Charlatans UK, the Beta Band, Cirrus, the Vines, Kosheen, and Groove Armada. Hopefully, I’ll get to see all of them!

1:31 PM – Princess Superstar (Coachella Stage)

A white female rapper who sings about babysitting for $6/hour? Totally fly! Really nice atmosphere while the band rocks out on stage. I can sit and enjoy the ambiance of the next song: pretty cool mix of rock & rap, she sounds kind of ghetto for a white girl – like Pink, but harder edged. Next song features some wicked scratching – really cool stuff, maybe I should check out her album…

3:18 PM – meeting DJ Z-Trip (URB tent) & Beta Band (Virgin Mega Store tent)

Just met DJ Z-Trip and got his autograph, we thought it was Groove Armada. We passed by KRS-One rapping “ring-a-ding-ding” over & over while Citizen Cope doing something less interesting. Folk Implosion just finished – or are they still going? The Beta Band were cool, because they seemed so funny! They read and edited the article I brought about them, while doodling over other people. Right now we’re waiting in line for Pete Yorn’s autograph, I wonder if we’ll see another performance? The tent Cirrus was in seemed too sweaty to enter. We saw Jason Bentley DJ-ing over at the URB tent and got lots of magazines and stuff from them.

3:30 – 4:06 PM G bands: G Love & Special Sauce and Groove Armada

3:30 PM – G Love & Special Sauce are on the main stage right now, they have a funky sound – a little too funky for me. Another the white rapper – at least the music isn?t metal – the funk makes it a little cooler than that. Sounds like some good rhymes… 4:06 PM – Just met Groove Armada and got their autographs, they were nice. Unfortunately, Pete Yorn?s too popular and the line was cut off for him. There are some huge weird-looking instruments played by 2 (skinny) people called Mass Ensemble, very cool w/an unusual sound.

4:42 PM – Cornershop (Outdoor Theatre)

Cornershop has started and they’re pretty cool. They just started playing “Brimful of Asha” after playing a Hindi version of “Norwegian Wood,” which was very nice to hear. I’ve been reading an article about Bjork & I think it would be cool to be like a rock music version of her. I could do some electronic music too… She’s a music geek like me or vice versa, and we share the same birthday (November 21st). I got some nice close-up pictures of Cornershop, and one from the sound stage. It’s getting really hot now, I hope the sun sets soon! Back to Bjork, when I first heard “Human Behaviour,” I just had to know who she was. She spent time in punk and new wave bands before going solo, so I should also try being in some bands. I think Angel would be a great name for a band, but it most likely is taken. I could find a synonym. BRMC were the Elements before they knew that other bands used the name. This Cornershop song is pretty space-y and Indian-sounding, cool mix of styles. They aren’t just singing in English right now!

Pete Yorn (Coachella Stage) & The Charlatans UK (Outdoor Theatre)
5:41 PM – Pete Yorn just finished his set, pretty good from what I saw – we didn’t stay too long. We’re waiting for the Charlatans UK, who are tuning up or their roadies are – I can’t tell. Jacob’s taking a nap, I already had one while Cornershop was doing their long closing song. 5:55 PM – Charlatans UK just started w/”Love Is the Key” – much better live, really loud & cool! This one they just started must be new because Tim Burgess is in falsetto mode – which makes me less interested in getting their Wonderland album, though I’ll probably get eventually since I need to complete my collection. It’s too bad the Charlies aren’t more well-known.

Cool, they’re playing “Tellin’ Stories” from the album of the same name, I believe. I love hearing how prominent the keyboards are in their music – it gives me some hope in becoming a keyboardist. Current song: “A Man Needs to be Told,” must be another new song, and probably from the female perspective, given the title and falsetto vocals. Maybe the entire Wonderland album is from the female point of view because of the falsetto. Tim must really love his new singing style. Next songs: “Disco in a Day” and “One to Another,” one of my favorites!

6:13 PM – “The Only One I Know” – great to finally hear this song in concert! Alright! Now they’re playing “North Country Boy,” yet another of their many great songs! Next, is “We’re So Pretty” – kind of a darker sound for them, with spooky keys! I see a beach ball being thrown around up there. That song was kind of funky, got some people back here moving. Now, it’s “Weirdo,” makes me get up and want to be one! Last song, what could it be? “Sproston Green”… excellent! Yet another of my favorites – the Charlatans UK could easily play a show with all their hits alone, but they’re always doing something new! How great they are, if only they could play longer. It’s now 6:34 PM, they started late. Long closing song, love those keyboards (6:38 PM)!

Groove Armada (Mojave Tent), Siouxsie & the Banshees (Coachella Stage), and Beta Band (Outdoor Theatre)

7:36 PM – Just got back from dancing to Groove Armada’s DJ set, pretty cool – like a rave! So, now we’re waiting for Siouxsie & the Banshees. We passed by Queens of the Stone Age on the way over, nothing too interesting – though I was a little curious about them. (Sunday, April 28, 2002) 5:28 AM – It’s late or early, depending on how you look at time. The night acts were pretty cool. We saw some Siouxsie & the Banshees – very loud angry weird stuff. Not bad, but outside my range of favorites. The Beta Band were cool, though their sound check took forever so they didn’t start until 8:36 or so. Most people left for Bjork before they ended, as did me & Jacob. Actually, I really enjoyed dancing to the Beta Band’s music – one song even sounded like EMF! The rest of the songs were funky and interesting. I got up close for a picture and a girl offered to lift me up for a better shot! That kind of embarrassed me, so I refused.

Bjork (Coachella Stage)

Bjork has the most hardcore fans. I got to the side near the fence, getting anywhere near the stage was nearly impossible, so I asked a tall guy in front of me to snap a picture of her. She’s very pregnant now! Such a pixie on stage, there’s definitely something mystical about her. She’s so cute in every way, she could say anything and seem totally charming. Maybe not anything, but usually she?ll say such weird and unusual things which seem so cool! She’s had a great career so far and done practically all the things a pop star would want to do and more. For me, the best songs were “Isobel,” “Army of Me,” “Human Behaviour” and anytime she started dancing. The more electronic songs that I’m less familiar with were also very good. After Bjork’s set, Jacob wanted to check KROQ’s tent for more cards, but it was too dark and the selection was low. Then, I realized Jurassic 5 was on, who I’ve taken a liking to. Good stuff from far away, but we never got close enough to experience their live performance.

Lost in the desert dancing to the Chemical Brothers (Coachella Stage)

My brother found a cell phone, which I took to the security officers on duty. After that, I realized that I was starving so I told Jacob that I was going to buy a churro. He must not have heard me, and we got split up. So, for at least 2 hours, from the start of the Chemical Brothers’ set (which was awesome, by the way), I was on my own in the crowd. It was kind of scary and I was kind of mad at first because I thought Jacob might have ditched me for wanting to spend $3 on churro (worth every penny!). So, I danced out my frustrations with a bunch of strangers, which is exactly how I would expect a rave to be. The music was amazing and kept me from being too upset. It was only upon entering the parking lot did I realize how difficult it would be to find Jacob and the car.

After wandering around for awhile, I approached a guard, who was very nice. He suggested I wait by a gate and even gave me a couple drinks, which totally hit the spot – Red Bull and Mountain Dew. I was so dehydrated from dancing and walking the whole day that anything would do. So I wandered over to the Lost & Found to see if they could help, but they didn’t aside from making a dumb joke. That was fine, since Jacob spotted me as I was walking to the gate. He must have been more even more relieved to see me than I was b/c he gave me a hug, which is quite uncharacteristic of him. He was very worried, which was nice. I felt a little callous for not seeming totally thrilled to see him again, though I was. Eating in the parking lot was cool, we had lots to eat. The bigger problem would be finding a place to park for the night…

7:29 AM – McDonald’s: parking troubles & crazy theories
So, I just finished my McMuffin and now I’m ready to recount the time after leaving the Polo Grounds. Jacob didn’t want to drive home, so we went farther down the 10 East to the Indio Travel Center. We stayed there until 4:30 AM when we heard a couple guards talking about us, kind of scary. They were about to tow us or something! So, we drove back & found a Stater Bros. with a dark but not completely empty parking lot. By then, I was wide awake and couldn’t shut up, so I started writing… I really couldn’t stop about theories on music appeal, social class, & success. I was trying to liken the middle-upper class bands like the Strokes, the Rolling Stones, or Blur to more modest working class bands like the Beatles, Oasis, and possibly Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who seem too modest to be upper class. So, I still need to fill in the gaps of their backgrounds. Blur and Oasis confuse me a little, since both can be arrogant – but Oasis has so much attitude for a working class band… they must be in the middle….

Coachella Day 2 (Fairview, meeting Elbow for the 2nd time, more crazy BRMC theories)

1:05 PM – Just passed by Ping Pong Bitches – um, no comment… though Lords of Acid, Spice Girls come to mind: unfortunately, the best description is 3 young girls in hot pants posing to video game music. Now, it’s Fairview: good hooks, driving drum beats, keyboards, loud fuzzy guitars… good indie at least! Punky, poppy & loud, they also seemed to like Elbow alot. They also seemed interested in seeing the Foo Fighters, who they sound a little like. Good thing they’re local, so we can see them anytime. (1:51 PM) Zero 7’s running late, so we’re waiting for Elbow now – my 2nd time seeing them (the 1st was at Virgin Mega Store in Hollywood). It’s exciting, especially since I’m going to see them plugged in & get more autographs.

I wonder if music industry people go to as many signings and in-stores as I do. I wonder if I’ll ever meet BRMC. My theories about them being too nice to the point of pushovers are pure speculation, but considering all the shows they’ve canceled that upsets their fans seems more of bad move by their management. If their A & R man doesn’t like dealing with them, then maybe their managers are even worse. I think they’re just misunderstood, too sweet to say no, but too shy to come out of their shells during interviews. Maybe they do so many interviews against their will because their management dislikes them.

2:28 PM – Elbow (Mojave Tent)

Elbow just started their set w/”Any Day Now”: a bass/keyboard/guitar-heavy droning sound fills this song – a nice start. The singer, Guy Garvey, now has a guitar which must need tuning since he keeps strumming – technical difficulties. Next is “Red,” beautiful so far… The stage is very smoky and lit w/red & yellow lights, which actually fit the anguished mood of the song – though it sure does rock for such a moody song! The crowd really loved it too, next is “Powder Blue” and seems more optimistic & louder, I can feel the music, yet it still has the same moody sadness of the first two songs. Now its a song about “bad behaviour in Manchester on a Friday (or Saturday) night” – I think it’s called “Bedroom Telephone.” Interesting staccato drum beat, heavy bass, noisy swirling guitars a la My Bloody Valentine, like Jesus & Mary Chain or BRMC.

So, the regular drummer is having a baby, so Owen from the Stereo MC’s has been doing a good job filling in for him. “Asleep In the Back” is another very heavy song, they seem to rock harder in concert than on the album, which isn’t even a snoozer. It’s great that they can play so loud and still follow it up w/the quieter more melodic “Newborn” dedicated to the audience! Guy sure knows how to work the crowd. I like how this song builds up & then takes off w/soaringly beautiful guitars – just lovely! Even the screaming guitars are like layers on sonic noise assaulting your ears. After a joke, they start “Scattered Black & White” (another color song). It’s lighter on the noise w/delicate percussion in the background. This one’s like a lullaby compared to the last few songs, definitely more hopeful but still plaintive.

6:59 PM – BT signing (URB tent) and Belle & Sebastian (Outdoor Theatre)

Meeting BT was so cool! He was really friendly and nice, everyone got their picture taken with him! He’s such a people person! Now, I’m watching Belle & Sebastian, the singer has such a sweet little voice – so charming! He made a funny Oasis joke about the 2 hot air balloons in the distance. They sound so happy and delightful, how could anyone resist them? They’re great at joking around with the audience. What a fun performance! The music was very pleasant and the lyrics could be mildly subversive, but their charm really allows them to say some weird things and still seem cute and charming. I just love twee/indie pop or whatever it’s called!

Prodigy & Oasis (Coachella Stage), Zero 7 (Outdoor Theatre)

2:40 AM – Home at last! So much happened after the sun set. Prodigy put on an amazing & loud show that got everyone jumping. The music was amazing, I still felt like dancing even after I left the area near the stage because it was so loud & insane! After that exciting and energetic performance, most everyone went to see Zero 7, who produced a good electronic chillout sound… cool blissed out beats. Oasis were the big special guest closers. I was never a huge Oasis fan, but I really enjoy a lot of their music. They put on a great performance of many of their hits, along with some new songs. I think it was Andy Bell who was wearing a Duffy T-shirt, which I thought at first said “Ride.” I enjoyed seeing Oasis perform close up, they are definitely rock stars with the egos to match. That’s fine because they will always hold their place among the few bands w/talent and good taste in music, since they like BRMC. I wonder if Andy Bell has any opinions on the fact that Robert from BRMC always mentions how much he likes Ride.

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