Blurt @ Coachella – Day 3 (4-19-09)

 

Blurt goes to the circus… or something
like that! Pt. 3 of our multi-day coverage…

 

By Scott
Dudelson

 

Much like Day 1 of the festival, Day 3’s appeal (and draw)
relied heavily on the reputation and legacy of its headlining artists, which
included The Cure, Public Enemy, My Bloody Valentine, Perry Farrell, and Paul
Weller.   Whether it was due to burnout
from the first two days events, a lack of interest in these acts, or the
sweltering 100+ temperatures, the crowd was noticeably thinner during much of
the day, and the festival as a whole seemed to be moving much slower.   Multiple stages were running behind
schedule, and this caused many concert-goers (including myself), to miss significant
portions of key sets because there was never any certainty when one act would
begin, and another would end.   Not cool.

 

But with the bad, comes a lot of good, and the sets that I
did manage to catch were great.   One of
the most interesting acts to perform was the hard-core punk band Fucked Up from Toronto, Canada.  Just as the name implies, the band’s set was totally fucked up.  In fact, it was so fucked up, it was
awe-inspiring.  The five piece is led by Damian Abraham, a big, hairy beast of a
man, with blood painted over his face, and a wicked intention to remain
perpetually topless.   Much like the
singer of Valiant Thorr (another totally fucked up, crazy front-man), Abraham
plays hard and invites audience participation. 
During the band’s first song, Abraham jumped over the photo pit, and
somehow managed to get his 250+ pound frame over the barricade and into the
crowd.  Luckily nobody was crushed, but
Abraham’s presence ignited frenzy in the most pit, and for the next few songs
this crazy beast tossed fans left and right while his band thrashed on their
instruments behind him.

 

Shortly after Fucked Up blazed their trail of destruction,
the Brian Jonestown Massacre took the stage and performed a surprisingly tame
set.  Singer Anton Newcombe’s reputation
as an eccentric live performer is well documented, but for this performance
Newcombe instead sang dispassionately, facing his band instead of the
crowd.  In fact, it wasn’t until the
fifth song that Newcombe even looked at the audience. Not even a few f-bombs
hurled toward the stage could get a rise out of Newcombe. It’s unclear whether
Newcombe was channeling the sprit of Jim Morrison, zonked on Prozac, or just
simply bored.

 

 

 

As the day turned into night, one of the festival’s
brightest younger acts, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, took the stage and nearly the entire festival the crowd with it (Paul Weller’s set, which was taking
place at the same time, only had thousand or so people watching).  The band, led by the theatrical Karen O, kicked out an hour long set with
tunes from their new album It’s Blitz and favorites from past albums including a stunning version of their hit “Maps.”  Following Yeah Yeah Yeahs was the
one-two-three punch of Public Enemy,
iconic English noise-rock band My Bloody
Valentine
, and The Cure.

 

 

 

 

While the members of My Bloody Valentine, stood stoically on
stage, the sound they produced was akin to an explosion, and lifted and lulled
as the melodies demanded. The band performed much of their classic 1991 album Loveless, while Public Enemy performed It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us
Back
in its entirety on a nearby stage. The Cure closed out the night with
a two-hour plus greatest hits set (and Robert
Smith
would have played more if they hadn’t gone 30 minutes over curfew).

 

After the show I spoke with a few fans and each had a wildly
different take on the festival and what day was best.  To me, it underscored the fact that Coachella
– and any festival with numerous stages and a large variety of acts – is not
unlike a ‘choose your own adventure’ story, and luckily no matter what
adventure you choose, its bound to be a pretty darn good one.

 

[Photos credit: Scott Dudelson]

 

(Go HERE to read
Scott’s account of the first day, April 17, and HERE for April 18.)

 

 

 

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