coachella, day two, part ii: the big rock bang-bang
(I'm going to finish this report if it kills me. Seriously.)
Okay, so after some wandering around in the sun to do some sceney-type reporting on the various domes and such littering Coachella's grounds, the Main Act of the Day, at least in my book, took the stage: Sleater-Kinney. By the way, a minor note on those domes. Impressive idea and presentation on the part of all the artists involved. Each one of them seemed to have a seasonal 'theme,' with a frozen pirate ship (complete with pirate-cicles) in one dome and a freaky springtime dome with a small armada of garden gnomes tittering at its center in another. But seriously, if the intent was for these things to offer shelter from the heat, they failed miserably. Sure, you're out of the sun but without much ventilation the effect was basically like taking a breather inside Shaquille O'Neal's hip pocket. Not good times.
Anyway, Sleater-Kinney. I remember talking to a friend about their last record "The Woods," and he was just starry-eyed about it. In fact, we both were. Much of what he was expressing was his sheer adoration of not only this great classic noise-rock record getting hatched, but most of all that it was being delivered by women, and how amazing that was. At the time I wasn't sure if I agreed--I mean, I wasn't about to admit that it could be considered weird or extraordinary that women could rock out this way. In my mind of course they could (Heart, the Runaways, and on and on).
But damn if his quote wasn't running through my mind Sunday.
"Jumpers," by Sleater-Kinney (Live, at the Crystal Ballroom--downloaded from rbally)
I'm standing there, the sun's bearing down on my big floppy hat and I'm just starting to feel that horrible trail of sweat wandering down my spine from such heat, but it was perfect. It was all perfect. Carrie Brownstein was all possessed leg-kicks and rock 'n roll adrenalyne careening around her side of the stage like a cross between Angus Young and Thurston Moore--in 7 Jeans. Corin Tucker threw her voice--the love it or leave it of S-K--so far across that polo grounds that I was pretty sure the antenna on my car was shaking against it. Janet Weiss...well, Janet Weiss is friggin' Bonham, right down to the Ludwig tubs. Just the three of them, big classic rock guitar mixed with feedback, noise and danger, and Jay's quote is just spinning through my heat-addled head--"And it's coming from women." Yes it is.
Which leads us to the next stop on my tour:
Couldn't get nearly as close to the stage for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (which surprised me--Karen O outdrawing Sleater-Kinney. Who knew?), but I was close enough. I
"Fancy," by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (live @ Coachella--again, via rbally--thanks Jennings!)
I was going to post "Y Control," as song I've got to confess I'd never heard prior to this show (and it was amazing), but since Jennings has been mighty cool enough to post their whole Coachella set we might as well go right to the fiddler for this one--as you should. Besides, "Fancy" is where I think I figured Karen O out. I'd never given them much notice with their first record (obviously), though I enjoyed "Maps" like everyone else with a pulse. But I've really enjoyed "Show Your Bones," especially the jagged "Phenomenon," which they also played. But no, this is where it's at and this is what demands to be posted This is where Karen O unleashed a...scream. This incredible, banshee wail about the two minutes into the song. Then she smiled, this big impish grin that said, "I'm having the goddamned time of my life. Aren't you?" Okay, I get it now.
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that theirs was the only set where I saw the crowd both pogoing and hippie noodle dancing as I got further from the stage. Warrents mentioning.
Part iii coming soon. I promise.