Blurt goes to the circus… or something
like that! Pt. 2 of our multi-day coverage…
Whatever bite that was lacking during Friday’s show, was
available in abundance yesterday. The event was pretty well packed the entire
day and night, and in true Coachella fashion, the field was dotted with dudes passed out from the combination
of beer and heat, the occasional topless chick was spotted dousing herself with
water to keep cool, and interesting acts were stacked up, one after another.
The festival kicked off early with a furious (and
surprisingly engaging) set from Ontario based punk-rock outfit Billy Talent,
and was immediately followed by a performance from the beautiful English
blue-eyed soul singer, Joss Stone. With a ten-piece band in tow, Stone
performed a forty-minute set in which she mixed a couple old tunes, with a few
freshly written tracks (which apparently have “only been heard by a few people
in English pubs”), that stylistically could have been pulled from a early-mid
70’s Stevie Wonder record. At only 22
years old, Stone has both the talent and time, to recapture the early success
she achieved with her debut album Mind,
Body and Soul, and it was surprising that such an amazing talent was
relegated to playing such an early day-time set.
Impish Scottish singer Paolo Nutini followed Stone on the
main-stage, but his set was often punctured by the sound of some ass-kicking
guitar work from a nearby stage that featured Drive-By Truckers (including, of
course, frontman Patterson Hood).
For DBT, though, their day-time performance was simply a warm-up for their
funky instrumental set later in the evening with legendary Stax soul-man Booker T (performing under the moniker
Booker T & the DBT’s).
Following DBT’s and Nutini were a quick succession of
politically charged sets from both Michael Franti and Spearhead, and ex-Black Flag
singer, Henry Rollins. With Franti and Spearhead, you get what you
expect to get – a laid back, no frills good-time, blanketed with some
left-leaning commentary; Rollins on the other-hands, is one crazy,
unpredictable, and brilliant mother-fucker.
Rollins’ 40 minute spoken word set was a mix of political commentary and
stand up comedy, and although he no longer has George W. Bush to focus his
anger on, there was no shortage of topics for him to wax poetic, be it airline
security, our relations with Iran, and even Cat Steven’s detention at a US
As dusk began to settle, one of the festivals most
interesting acts Tinariwen, laid down their authentic Western Saharan desert
blues, while Calexico, on a nearby stage, treated fans to their authentic
vision of dusty, desert Americana.
Although the Killers were the night’s stated headliners,
much of the advance buzz was focused on sets by TRV$DJ-AM and M.I.A. Coachella marked only the second appearance
by Travis Barker and DJ AM since
they survived a plane crash late last year, and when the duo hit the stage, it
was hard spot an audience member without a smile on their face. The duo kicked
off their set with a wicked re-mix of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and for fifty
minutes the jam-packed crowd roared with excitement as the duo remixed
everything from MGMT to Bloc Party, and introduced special guest Warren G to
the stage. By virtue of circumstance,
TRV$DJ-AM’s set was truly a celebration of life.
The advance buzz for M.I.A’s appearance was helped by an unexpected ‘Tweet’ that the Sri Lankan singer sent
out to her fans early Saturday morning, suggesting that crunk master Lil Wayne
will be joining her for a couple songs.
Although Young Weezy didn’t turn up for the performance, at least 35,000
fans did, and M.I.A in turn delivered an exciting set that took the party over
the top. Although there were moments when she was clearly uncomfortable
performing on such a massive stage (toward the end of the set she noted “next
time, I’m back in the tent. I prefer people to sweat.”), and had to make
clear that “just because [she] played the Grammy’s, doesn’t mean [she’s]
sold-out,” her fuck-all attitude and natural charisma was enough to keep even
the most demanding critic satisfied.
Lets just hope that she will be able to keep it together.
Day 3 here we come!
[Photos credit: Scott Dudelson]
(Go HERE to read
Scott’s account of the first day, April 17.)