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THE POP FIX Coachella Preview

by Chau Tu 16 April 2009 160 views No Comment E-mail Chau Tu


Rejoice, music fans, it’s finally the weekend of Coachella — the three days of desert madness where you’re free to roam in the scorching sun and enjoy some of the best contempo music around.  But how to choose when there are four rocking stages and only so much energy to run from set to set?  THE POP FIX is here to help and give you some tips on the MUST sets to catch:
This year, Coachella brings out the big guns, but starts everything off slow to get you in the mood.  The first couple hours of this day are perfect for roaming, getting your bearings and letting your sunscreen soak in before you sweat it all out.  Must-catch sets don’t really begin until…
-Los Campesinos!, 4:20pm, Gobi Stage: the young indie pop Brits take that exclamation point in their moniker seriously, bringing fun and bounce-worthy tunes that revel in youthfulness and free inhibitions.  With seven people on stage, there’s more than enough energy to go around, and you’ll basically get peer-pressured into singing along and joining the party.
Afterwards, you’ll have to choose between keeping the dance parade going through the Ting Tings, Buraka Som Sistema and Crystal Castles or going mellow with Conor Oberst and Leonard Cohen, but right after hearing the original “Hallelujah,” go catch…

-Ghostland Observatory, 7:50pm, Sahara Stage: this costumed twosome (think capes and staffs and futuristic sets) may have disappointed many with their recorded debut, but that’s only because their live shows are so passionate and fun.  Frontman Aaron Behrens moves around like a possessed shaman, and if it weren’t for the sonic atmosphere, you think you were calling animal spirits.  Before you get too caught up, head out early to swoon to…
-Morrissey, 8:30pm, Coachella Stage: despite his gray hairs, this man will always remain a performer, the dancer who made gladiolas famous and keeps the pompidour in style.  Even if you’re not a big fan of the Moz, it’s definitely worth being curious about the person at the forefront of Brit Pop, especially since he’s been hinting at retirement soon (we don’t really believe him, but just in case…).
Groove to the Silversun Pickups or riot with Girl Talk, but come back for the grande finale of all finales with..

-Paul McCartney, 10pm, Coachella Stage: as if you could miss this.  Naysayers complain McCartney doesn’t ‘fit’ for the hip Coachella crowd, but you know that his songs helped to make you love music in the first place.  Pay your respect, and Paul will surely compensate you accordingly.

Now that you’ve settled into that barren Indio land, you can start off the day right off, especially with acts who are gaining buzz like…
-Ida Maria, 1:30pm, Gobi Stage: despite her pretty name and her European origins (Norway), don’t expect the cute electronic beats or soulful sounds currently popular among her female peers like Lykke Li or Adele — this chick is all about straight-up garage rock.  And get this (I just read this off of Wikipedia, don’t judge me): Ida Maria reportedly has synesthesia, which means “she envisions colors when she hears music.” Whoa!
Stick with the bar band vibe with Drive By Truckers and Dr. Dog or keep rocking with Liars and Henry Rollins (he still performs?), then head out for…
-TV on the Radio, 6:25pm, Coachella Stage: the critic fave of 2008 has a sound meant for stage — soulful and jazzy with electronic backing, and with so many fascinating details that they could only be singled out and understood fully through live performance.  Keep your fingers crossed for some covers — for which they somehow have a distinct talent — especially David Bowie’s “Heroes.”
Being such complete opposites, it should be easy to choose between TRV$DJ-AM or Fleet Foxes; either see the bombastic duo make a (hopefully) healthy comeback, or see the other 2008 crit faves in what is probably their most natural element (nature/outdoors).  Either way, you’ll have enough time to come back for…

-M.I.A., 8:55pm, Coachella Stage: because she should have been in this spot in the first place.  The new momma is sure to have a few clever tricks up her sleeve to let you know she still has that swagga, and it won’t take too long past seeing whatever fantastic outfit she has on to believe her.
The Killers, Jenny Lewis and the Chemical Brothers‘ DJ set will all bring out the big crowds, but don’t leave before seeing…
-MSTRKRFT, 11:10pm, Sahara Stage: they’ve gotten a little lost and forgotten in the rush of electro-rock DJ duos, but MSTRKRFT was here from the beginning and here to stay, thankfully.  It’ll be nice to end your night with mashes of some of your fave songs, and maybe even of those you’ve seen earlier in the day, and the dancing will help you get good rest for the next day.

You’re sunburned, too full from the beer garden and the hot dogs, but you’ll make it through this day.  Because you have to see…
-Vivian Girls, 12:45pm, Mojave Stage: this new trio of Brooklyn-ites are riding the lo-fi train alongside other bands like No Age (who will be following them) and Wavves, and with great three-part female harmonies.  And hey, big plus: you’ll get 23 more minutes of Vivian Girls than you do on their debut album (meaning double the length!).
Keep on the lo-fi with No Age but then get your moves on with…

-Friendly Fires, 2:10pm, Gobi Stage: one of my new fave live acts.  The young trio bring a ton of energy into their indie rock, and when singer Ed Macfarlane slides and jitters all over the stage, you can help but dance too.  Despite having really only played smaller clubs at this point, their sonic melodies will translate well in the big outdoors.

You might have a hard time choosing between Swedish sweetheart Lykke Li or neo-psychedelic divas Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I’d hate to have you miss some of Antony and the Johnsons sure-to-be haunting set, but you have to catch…

-Clipse, 5:50pm, Gobi Stage: where the heart of good hip-hop still lies.  Raw and tough (and maybe even a bit scary), Malice and Pusha T bring true passion and fierceness into their raps and rhythms.  For duos, they are about as tight as they come.  Be prepared, it’ll be an attack, but one that you’ll be thankful for.
Between the two ’80s shoegazers of My Bloody Valentine and The Cure, you should try out…
-The Kills, 9pm, Mojave Stage: this post-punk duo has been around for a couple years, but their latest album released last year, “Midnight Boom,” showed great promise in moving their sound to be more relatable to the masses.  It’s dynamic and fun, but still has their trademark vicious bite, and it’s your last chance to completely rock out before the house beats of Throbbing Gristle and Etienne de Cercy take Coachella to its sad end.

Check out the set times for all the bands at www.coachella.com/event/set-times.  Oh, and I’ll be the girl swooning to Morrissey and Paul McCartney, in case you catch a glimpse of me.  Happy Coachella-ing!

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