Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coachella @ Empire Polo Fields

Coachella Main Stage Day 3

Got in early on Day 3 to see The Night Marchers, a recommendation from Moz - the new band from members of Rocket From The Crypt. Great start to the day, you can definitely hear the RFTC influence in this band.  Recording by Moz

On the same stage afterwards was The Gaslight Anthem. This is a band I was really hoping to see. But something was wrong. I wasn't feeling well (headache, stomach). So instead of being up close, I was way aways, lying in the shade listening to The Gaslight Anthem pump out a lot of The '59 Sound and other great songs. So sad that I couldn't get into this, but I had to stay well for later.

Gaslight Anthem Setlist
Great Expectations / High Lonesome / Old White Lincoln / Even Cowgirls Get The Blues / We Came To Dance / The '59 Sound / Film Noir / Miles Davis & The Cool / I'da Called You Woody, Joe / Angry Johnny & The Radio / The Backseat

Next up was the Brian Jonestown Massacre in the Mojave Tent. I gotta admit, I went to see the train wreck that I saw on the "Dig" documentary. What I got was a great show of melodic rock (and in the shade). The band gelled well and had the crowd in the palm of their hand.

Brian Jonestown Massacre Setlist and recording thanks to Moz
Whoever You Are / Vacuum Boots / Got My Eye On You / Nevertheless / Servo / Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth (with Zia Dandy) / Anemone / Who? / That Girl Suicide / When Jokers Attack / Oh Lord / Satellite

Next up were the Murder City Devils. A metal act with punk spirit. I was suitably impressed with a band who I stuck around to see, because I had a spot in the shade of the Mojave Tent and was feeling marginally better.

Went back to the main stage for the rest of the evening. First up were the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who I thought were a lot more punk than they turned out to be. Was a good show regardless - some of it was the Karen O poses, some of it was the fact that they had the coveted sunset time, but for me it was the Cramps cover of Human Fly.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Setlist and recording thanks to Moz
Runaway / Dull Life / Gold Lion / Honey Bear / Black Tongue / Human Fly / Zero / Cheated Hearts / Skeletons / Soft Shock / Maps / Heads Will Roll / Y Control

Next up was My Bloody Valentine. I used to like that fuzzed out rock (Ride, Swervedriver,etc) but no longer. Songs bled (like my ears) into one another, and even if I was a fan, I'd rather of heard 2 more songs than the 10 mintues of one-chord-wall-of-noise. I understand that this is their shtick, but not for me anymore.

My Bloody Valentine Setlist and recording thanks to Moz - who superloved MBV
I Only Said / When You Sleep / You Never Should / Cigarette In Your Bed / Nothing Much to Lose / Only Shallow / To Here Knows When / Slow / Soon / Feed Me With Your Kiss / You Made Me Realize

And finally The Cure. Ahh my beloved Cure. I have waited 11 years to see them again and after tonight's show, I will not wait that long again. They were superb! Now, on stage as a compact 4 piece, The Cure has such a selection of songs to chose that even if they don't play the songs you want to hear, there were so many other greats instead. I had my spot 30 feet from the stage and blissfully listened to great song after great song. Every new one bringing huge cheers from the crowd. The longer the set went on, the more Robert Smith conversed with the crouwd, but talking was to a minimum. It had to be to squeeze 33 songs into 3 hours. Eventually they couldn't fit it all in. In the final encore as the band started Boys Dont Cry, the sound was cut to the crowd. Luckily I was close enough to hear it through the monitors. Not to be deterred, The Cure played Jumping Someone Else's Train, again with no sound, or video or lighting. By the time Grinding Halt started the promoter had cut the sound completely, leaving the band to wave while walking off stage. Another epic Cure show done.

Cure Setlist and recording thanks to Moz
Underneath The Stars / Prayers For Rain / A Strange Day / alt.end / The End of the World / Lovesong / To Wish Impossible Things / Pictures of You / Lullaby / From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea / The Perfect Boy / Wrong Number / Push / Inbetween Days / Just Like Heaven / Primary / Shake Dog Shake / The Hungry Ghost / Disintegration / One Hundred Years / It's Over
1st Encore: If Only Tonight We Could Sleep / The Kiss
2nd Encore: At Night / M / Play For Today / A Forest / Three Imaginary Boys / Fire In Cairo
3rd Encore No Power: Boys Don't Cry / Jumping Someone Else's Train / Grinding Halt

So Coachella for me was a success. Although there were supposedly 50000 people a day, being on a large field made it seem not so crowded - unlike the Big Day Out withthe main stage in a stadium, which always seems packed. Great ideas with the water. By a container on the first day for $10 and have it refilled for free for the next 3 days, or bring 10 empty bottles to a recycling station to get a free bottle. And it took only one time for us to work out what's best with parking. But not giving away my secret. Great Music + Cool Crowd = Awesome 3 days. I know I say this all the time, but this may be festival retirement (until the next great line up comes out I suppose). I had a blast at Coachella, but 3 days in the desert sun was a killer - and I saw Paul McCartney and The Cure within the space of 48 hours. How can I top that?

The Crap Facts:
This is my 283rd concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Empire Polo Fields
This is my 3rd concert in Indio.
This is my 4th concert in California.
This is my 90th concert in the USA.
The Night Marchers are the 347th band I've seen.
Gaslight Anthem are the 348th band I've seen.
Brian Jonestown Massacre are the 349th band I've seen.
Murder City Devils are the 350th band I've seen.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the 351st band I've seen.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the 150th different American band I've seen.
My Bloody Valentine are the 352nd band I've seen.
This is my 2nd Cure concert.
The Cure are the 700th time I've seen a band.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coachella @ Empire Polo Fields

Day 2 and a little bit warmer, but a little bit wiser. Drove into the parking lot and run over a witches hat to park closer to the exit to avoid the 2 hour departure fiasco of last night.

Was there early enough to see Cloud Cult, who combined music and art on the Outdoor Theatre. I liked the idea of watching the artist on stage moving and painting to the moody rock being played on stage.

Joss Stone

Next up was Joss Stone on the Coachella Stage. Wow! How does this petite Englishwoman have a singing voice like that? There was so much soul and passion coming out of that tiny body, you may have thought you were hearing Aretha Franklin. She was clearly enjoying herself and appreciative of the crowd, which was shown when she spent a song in the barrier area entertaining the crowd. I think this may be the surprisingly good performer of Coachella.

Drive by Truckers were the next band to entertain me for an hour. Over on the Outdoor Stage. DBT played a great alt country rock set. I'm looking forward to the follow up later tonight with Booker T. Highlight of the set for me was the finale "People Who Died"

Drive By Truckers Setlist
Women Without Whiskey / Righteous Path / 3 Dimes Down / Hell No, I Ain't Happy / Lookout Mountain / Home Field Advantage / Marry Me / Self Destructive Zones / People Who Died

Next on the same same stage was Superchunk. I had never seen them before but couldn't stand the heat, so went and found a shaded seat away from the stage, near one of the food stalls, and watched from there. I remember them being pretty a popular indie band in the 90's and seeing them took me back to a younger age. The only downside was I had to miss Henry Rollins and/or Spearhead (oh well! cest la vie for a festival).

TV On The Radio

Back to the main stage to see TV On The Radio sunset set. I still haven't been able to tell if I like these guys from their CDs, but having now seen them live my mind is made. This is good! Great energy and sound. Again it may have been the fact that the sun went down as TVOTR played that made them better, but am definitely glad I got to see these guys.

TV On The Radio Setlist and recording by Moz
The Wrong Way / Golden Age / Crying / Wolf Like Me / Blues From Down Here / Young Liars / Red Dress / Dancing Choose / Staring At The Sun

My plan was to go and see Booker T & Drive By Truckers in the Gobi Tent, but they could not hold my interest for 3 songs. So this time became a period of wandering from stage to stage. This saw me catch a bit of James Morrison, Fleet Foxes and end up at Thievery Corporation. While dance music is not my thing, you can't help but get infected by the crowd watching Thievery Corporation. EVERYONE was dancing and having a blast. And the band sounded gooood.

Thievery Corporation Setlist
Sound The Alarm / Mandala / Radio Retaliation / Lebanese Blonde / Exilio / The Heart's A Lonely Hunter / Revolution Solution / Sweet Tides / El Pueblo Unido / Vampires / Warning Shots

Stuck around to see MIA. She played Vegoose a couple of years ago and I saw the great Queens Of The Stone Age instead, but read the reviews of how great MIA's show was. If the last review was true, this show couldn't be further from it. It was terrible! An annoying DJ mixed over the top over vocals, and that fucking horn. Are you kidding me? Worst part of Coachella for me.

MIA Setlist
World Town / Sunshowers / Pull Up The People / Bingo / 20 Dollar / Bird Flu / Boyz / Galang / Paper Planes

Decided to miss The Killers (they're from Vegas, I'll see them eventually) and go and see Turbonegro instead. Good choice in my mind. Turbonegro RAWKED!!! Crowd was into them and I ran into Moz for the first time today.

Turbonegro Setlist
All My Friends Are Dead / Do You Dig Destruction? / Self Destructo Bust / Atom Bomb / Are You Ready For Some Darkness / Rock Against Ass / Get It On / Wasted Again / Fuck The World / Age Of Pamparius / Back To Dungaree High (with Nick Oliveri) / Erection

The final band of the day was Mastodon. Metal! Again a great show, even with all the technical difficulties they were having with their video screen behind the band, and it was great to hear something different from the rest of the festivals music. Mastodon are pretty intense, as are their fans. I had a safe spot in front of the mixing desk, as the day had taken it's toll (see I am getting to old).

Mastodon Setlist
Oblivion / Divinations / Quintessence / The Czar / Ghost of Karelia / Crack the Skye / The Last Baron

No trouble getting out of the carpark tonight. Back tomorrow for the piece de resistance. The Cure.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 282nd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Empire Polo Fields
This is my 2nd concert in Indio.
This is my 3rd concert in California.
This is my 89th concert in the USA.
Joss Stone is the 340th band I've seen.
Drive By Truckers are the 341st band I've seen.
Superchunk are the 342nd band I've seen.
TV On The Radio are the 343rd band I've seen.
Thievery Corporation are the 344th band I've seen.
MIA is the 345th band I've seen.
Turbonegro are the 346th band I've seen.
Turbonegro are the 150th time I've seen a band in the USA.
This is my 2nd Mastodon concert.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coachella @ Empire Polo Fields

Ahhh...the music festival. I keep telling myself I am retiring from these big, all day events - this one times 3 - (the last was Big Day Out in Sydney 2008) but I keep getting dragged back. The big draw this year was both The Cure and the fact that my cousin, Moz, was making the trek over from Australia to start a festival tour of the US. We (I actually mean me, but having Moz allows me to share the blame) decided on a hotel in Palm Springs, not knowing how far we were from the venue the Extended Stay was the cheapest option next to camping. We were about 45 minutes away, which is what I drive to work anyway, so no bother for me.

Being good kids, we followed directions into the massive parking lot and followed the crowd into the long line to get into the Empire Polo Fields. Once we were in we had a quick look around the venue before Moz and I went our separate ways in hopes of meeting back at the car later that night.

I started at the Coachella Stage seeing We Are Scientists. Great show but I think the stage and the 2.50pm kick off weren't right for them. They could played a tent for a better set. None the less a good performance enjoyed by all, especially the 9 -10 year old kid who rocked out on his dad's shoulders singing every word of every song.

Setlist thanks to We Are Scientists
Impatience / Let’s See It / Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt / Chick Lit / It’s a Hit / Lethal Enforcer/ After Hours / Cash Cow / This Scene is Dead / Inaction / Dinosaurs/ Tonight / The Great Escape

We Are Scientists @ Coachella

Next to The Hold Steady in the Mojave (middle size) Tent. As per last Monday, The Hold Steady were great. Their energy really projects onto the crowd, who react accordingly. I was disappointed at the size of the crowd, but not the enthusiam. Man this band is good!

The Hold Steady @ Coachella

The Hold Steady Setlist
Constructive Summer / Hot Soft Lights / Navy Sheets / Chips Ahoy / Sequestered In Memphis / Jokes About Jamaica / Unknown Track / Little Hoodrat Friend / Stuck Between Stations / Stay Positive / Lord, I'm Discouraged / Hornets! Hornets! / Slapped Actress

I left The Hold Steady a little early to get my spot for The Black Keys on the Coachella Stage. This was a band I was really keen to see, and they didn't disappoint. They played a blistering set, but again I wish they were on a smaller intimate stage. They've never been to Vegas (that I know of), but I'd love to see them in a small to mid-size venue here. Blues rock is alive and well thanks to The Black Keys.

The Black Keys Setlist
Thickfreakness / Girl Is On My Mind / 10am Automatic / Set You Free / The Breaks / Stack Shot Billy / Busted / Psychotic Girl / Strange Times / Same Old Thing / I Got Mine

Black Keys @ Coachella

After dinner it was back to the Coachella stage for Franz Ferdinand, and as the sun went down, the party started. Perfect pop was blasted to the fun loving masses. Franz Ferdinand were much better than I expected and certainly picked up the mood once Big Yellah had set for the the day.

Franz Ferdinand Setlist thanks to Coachella forums
Dark Of The Matinee / No You Girls / Michael / Turn It On / Walk Away / Take Me Out / Ulysses / What She Came For / 40 Ft / Outsiders / This Fire

The end of Franz Ferdinand bought the first conflict of the festival. I want to see Leonard Cohen - he is no doubt a legend - and previous personal experience is they don't get to that status by doing crap shows, but I also want to get a good spot for Paul McCartney later in the evening. I forgo Cohen, and instead have to endure Morrisey (Oh Henry Rollins, will you ever forgive me?). In hinsight I could have gotten to see everyone. Morrissey came across as wanting to be anywhere but at Coachella. He labored through his songs as well as some Smiths stuff. While it was good to hear This Charming Man and How Soon Is Now, his whining killed the set.

Morrisey Setlist thanks to Moz
This Charming Man / First of the Gang To Die / Black Cloud / Girlfriend in a Coma / Irish Blood, English Heart / How Could Anyone Possibly Know How I Feel / When I Last Spoke to Carol / Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others / Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Seasick, Yet Still Docked / The Loop / Sorry Doesn't Help Us / Ask / Let Me Kiss You / How Soon Is Now?

Then Sir Paul McCartney. Now I was expecting to hear some Beatles and Wings, but I wasn't even close in assuming how fucking awesome his show would be. From the very first chords of Jet, McCartney absolutely blew me away. His showmanship, band, and choice of 36 songs was a great ending to a good day at the festival. Whether he was ukeleling and dedicating Something to George Harrison, blasting fireworks through Live & Let Die or just rocking out to everything. This show now ranks as the 2nd best I've ever seen (The Cure in Portugal in 1998 is #1 and Nirvana in Sydney in 1992 is now #3). One of the biggest surprises was to hear McCartney reflect on the fact that today was the 11 year anniversary of Linda's death - which silenced 50000 people instantly - an eerie hush throughout the field. I thought he may have lost it then, but saved himself with a poignant version of My Love. At 12.50am, 2.5 hours after he came on stage, the greatness finally finished and we were left to make our way of the venue and talk about what we had just seen for the next 2 hours, while we tried to get out of the parking lot.

Paul McCartney Setlist and Recording thanks to Moz
Jet / Drive My Car / Only Mama Knows / Flaming Pie / Got To Get You Into My Life / Let Me Roll It (with a coda of Foxy Lady) / Honey Hush / Highway / The Long & Winding Road / My Love / Blackbird / Here Today / Dance Tonight / Calico Skies / Mrs. Vanderbilt / Eleanor Rigby / Sing The Changes / Band On The Run / Back In The USSR / Something / I’ve Got a Feeling / Paperback Writer / A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance / Let It Be / Live & Let Die / Hey Jude 
First Encore: Birthday / Can’t Buy Me Love / Lady Madonna / I Saw Her Standing There 
Second Encore: Yesterday / Helter Skelter / Get Back / Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) / The End

The Crap Facts:
This is my 281st concert.
Empire Polo Fields is the 76th venue I've seen a concert.
Indio is the 40th city I've seen a concert.

This is my 2nd concert in California.
This is my 88th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd We Are Scientists concert.
This is my 2nd Hold Steady concert.
Black Keys are the 336th band I've seen.
Franz Ferdinand are the 337th band I've seen.
Morrisey is the 338th band I've seen.
Paul McCartney is the 339th band I've seen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bloc Party @ Hollywood Palladium

So because on Thursday I had to pick up my cousin, Moz, and head out to Coachella, I decided to drive down to LA the night before and catch Bloc Party start their current US tour.

Got to the venue, a mile from the Super 8 I'm staying in, early and found out what time Bloc Party were due on stage. I had enough time to wander up and down Sunset Blvd, grab a quick bite at Dennys (Have you ever noticed how many Dennys there are in Southern California?), and get into the Palladium before they took the stage. What I didn't know is that the Palladium only allow so many people on the main floor to watch the bands, and I was one of the unfortunate ones without the coveted yellow wristband.

I took up my spot in an uncrowded area next to the sound booth and listened to the crowd roar as Bloc Party took the stage. I mention this because Vegas audiences are either too cool or not quite as enthusiastic to a lot of bands. I have a 3 Bloc Party albums, Silent Alarm being my favorite, but the others grow on me the more I hear them. It wasn't until the starting bass of Positive Tension that I started to get getting super hyped. They played a great mix of all 3 albums with, obviously, a heavier tint towards Intimacy. The band had a good rapport with the crowd and looked like they were having a good time. Overall this was the best of 3 Bloc Party shows I've seen and was left wanting for more when each encore was was finished with Helicopter and This Modern Love respectively.

Setlist thanks to Blog PartyOne Month Off / Trojan Horse / Hunting For Witches / Positive Tension / Signs / Waiting For The 7.18 / Song For Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet / Ion Square / The Once And Future King / Mercury / So Here We Are / The Prayer
1st Encore: Sunday / Halo / Flux / Helicopter
2nd Encore: Ares / This Modern Love

P.S. Celebrity Spotting: Ignorantly it wasn't until a few days later when I saw TV On The Radio did I realize their drummer, Jaleel Bunton, stood next to me for a couple of songs.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 280th concert.
Hollywood Palladium is the 75th venue I've seen a concert.
Hollywood is the 39th city I've seen a concert.

California is the 10th state I've seen a concert.
This is my 87th concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Bloc Party concert.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Hold Steady & War On Drugs @ Beauty Bar

Here's what I knew about The Hold Steady. My brother in law loves them. And I keep hearing the phrase "Best Bar Band in America". So it's off to my first show at The Beauty Bar downtown to see if they can live up to the hype.

Got there early enough to see War On Drugs play their (incredibly short) set. They play some melodic, slower rock. Nice. Lead singer seemed pissed about something, but they sounded good nonetheless.

By the time The Hold Steady came on (11.15pm - too late for this old guy on a school night) the back patio at the Beauty Bar was pretty full. And yes, I did say the back patio. This outdoor venue is good for a few hundred people at the back of the main bar. God knows why I haven't been here before (and in hindsight am kicking myself for missing the Detroit Cobras last fall). There were some problems wih the vocals for the first couple of songs, but nothing wrong with the band. They were into it from the word go and put on a memorable show. They definitely lived up to the hype and hopefully success comes their way. Now I have to go away and find some of their music, so next time I can fully get into it, though that wont be possible before next Friday at Coachella.

Same Kooks / The Swish / Magazines / You Can Make Him Like You / You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came With) / Multitude of Casualties / Constructive Summer / Hot Soft Light / Navy Sheets / Chips Ahoy! / Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night / Charlemagne in Sweatpants / Bangin’ Camp / Yeah Sapphire / One for the Cutters / Stay Positive / Lord I’m Discouraged / Hornets! Hornets! / Slapped Actress
Encore: Stuck Between Stations / Killer Parties

The Crap Facts:
This is my 279th concert.
Beauty Bar is the 74th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 81st concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 81st concert in Nevada.
This is my 86th concert in the USA.
War On Drugs are the 334th band I've seen.
The Hold Steady are the 335th band I've seen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Everclear @ Silverton

The Silverton Hotel and Casino. Not only is this the first concert I've seen here, it is actually the first time I have been in the Casino - and we've lived in Vegas for 6 years.

A good sized 300 - 400 person tent, that ended up being about 2/3 full, was set up outside in a parking area, and after a good Mexican dinner with the Hill's at Mi Casa Grill Cantina we were in the tent ready for kick off at 8pm.

This is my 3rd time seeing Everclear and here it what was different to previous shows:
- I remember only 3 in the band, not 5 - though that probably added to the music.
- I don't remember so many people with electric scooters in the audience. A bit of a reflection on both the band and the audience.
- I remember them being faster.
- And (really showing my age here) don't remember so many dickheads spending more time texting on cell phones than watching the band.

Everclear looked like they were having fun and Art was funnily self depricating when he forgot the words to 2 songs. They played a bunch of songs off Sparkle and Fade which I wanted to hear (holy shit, that was 14 years ago) amongst others, as well as another fave, Volvo Driving Soccer Mom. My only negative was it was too short - just on an hour. But the positive from that was I was home before 10pm and am not suffering at work as I write this. And while we didn't stick around for it, I thought it was cool that they'd being signing autographs and pictures after.

Overall it was a good show. Not as good as the others ie w/silverchair in Sydney in 96 - that was wild - or in 04 at Las Vegas House Of Blues, but a fun night none the less.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 278th concert.
Silverton is the 73rd venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 80th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 80th concert in Nevada.
This is my 85th concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Everclear concert.