Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recapping Coachella - Day 3

Okay! So! My last post about this was in May for a festival that happened in April? Who cares! I still have pictures and videos and reflections, not to mention major nostalgia about the event and ANTICIPATION for next year. Seriously - I'm not missing another Coachella in my life until I die.

Anyway, Sunday started off pretty chill - we needed to relax after the epic-ness of Saturday. I started off the day back at the Sahara tent - where else? - to see Rusko. It's interesting now to remember his set, because since then he's released his first solo production album, O.M.G. (see the reviews? they're mixed. that's because this album is, er, mixed in terms of quality,) which was in some ways a lot like how he plays a set and in other ways not at all like how he plays a set. Basically, Rusko's main genre is dubstep. But, when he plays live, he doesn't just play all wobble dubstep. He mixes in d'n'b, some reggae-inspired dub, basically just big beats. That's what the Coachella set was like: insanely danceable for a genre that can be syncopated and even arrhythmic.

Much like the Bassnectar set from the night before, the bass blasted out of the speakers with all of the subtlety of one of those magic hammers from Super Smash Brothers (N64 edition, obviously.) And it was delicious. The album is mixed in a different way, a bad way in my opinion, but this isn't about that, so I'll move on. The set was awesome.

Next we mosied over to the Gobi tent for Florence + the Machine. I don't have any pictures of her, but she was one of my most anticipated acts before the festival, and I was not disappointed. Watching her live recalled some of the performances I've seen from veteran rock goddesses on VH1 Classic - a little bit insane, but overall demonstrating powerful showmanship. Not to mention that VOICE. Miss Florence has got some pipes on her, that's for sure - and not in that kind of generic heady pop voice way that we hear so much of these days; rather it's a solid, earthy, grounded voice that I feel like would be equally great for summoning pagan gods during a cultish ritual and for entertaining a crowd. Bottom line, she's great, buy her album, she deserves to have more people know about her. (And she was recently featured on So You Think You Can Dance, which probably means more publicity for her - yay!)

I next romped back over to Sahara for Infected Mushroom, followed by Orbital. Infected Mushroom played a live set rather than a DJ set, which was very interesting because detractors of electronica will typically bring up the point that there are no instruments so it's not like, real music man, but that's what makes their live sets so engaging: there are instruments. They're actually playing their whacked-out sound live. I'm frankly not sure what to call Infected Mushroom anymore - they used to be known for their wicked psy-goa trance sound (which regrettably has fallen almost completely out of style with trance today, but it was awesome) and they've understandably evolved since then since it's kind of dated sounding now. Nevertheless, they're still making their dark beats relevant, and performing them fantastically well live. A very fun set.

Orbital are just mind-blowing to watch, partly because you have to appreciate how much they've done for the genre, and partly because they've still got it. Their sound is distinctly Orbital, but updated, and allegedly they're putting together some new stuff? I can't wait to hear it. It was in the middle of this set that my camera died, partly because it was spent from the weekend, but also partly because I was trying and failing to get a million good shots during this set of the spectacle of lasers they had going on all over the place. Much like their music, the lights lacked the obvious punch of many sets before them in the Sahara, but instead the visuals opted for a darker ambiance with finessed projections of colors across the top of the tent. Some faceless guys along the side of the stage kept tossing out bucketfulls of multi-colored glowsticks, so that by the middle of the set the front half of the audience participated in the overall lighting effect - lots of colors in lots of thin straight lines. It was rather minimalist, and it was very complementary with the music.

So yeah, I'm glad I got to see them.

Finally, we headed over to Thom Yorke. I had no expectations for this - I had no idea what his solo material was like and half went in the hopes that Radiohead would make a surprise appearance. To my pleasant surprise, I found that I rather liked the stuff he was playing (and he even played a few Radiohead songs, though the band did not join him.) Unfortunately by this point my body began reminding me that I'm no longer a spritely youth that can subsist on about 8 hours of sleep in three days, so I was kinda unable to fully enjoy the set. But I was prompted to check out some of Thom's solo material when I got home, so I guess marketing-wise (if not experience-wise) at least his set was a success.

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