Oh, man, our West Coast counterparts at the LA Weekly and OC Weekly were on the ground reporting from Coachella all weekend, and they brought back some really great stuff, giving a chance for land-locked music lovers like us who watched the stream on YouTube to live vicariously:
Below, we've also posted a couple reviews of sets by Radiohead and Flying Lotus from the first weekend of this year's edition of Coachella. Page down to read the highlights from those sets.
RADIOHEAD AT COACHELLA | 4.14.12
Radiohead might have a problem. They are so consistently great that an elite performance, such as the one turned in Saturday night at Coachella, could be seen as missing that element of surprise that comes with headlining the festival. No beach ball deluge, no guest stars. Just a Radiohead show. Just the highest-grade psychedelic rock performance achievable present-day. But is that enough?
Coming into the show, audiences knew a few things: the set would draw heavily from King of Limbs; the band would feature their live-performance-specialist, electro-percussionist Clive Deamer; and, as always, the performance would be spot-on and huge-sounding, with intense visuals. And that's exactly what it was -- two hours and 21 songs worth of near-flawless execution.
The band wasted no time featuring its newest stage member, opening the show with "Bloom," a song built upon a tapestry polyrhythms woven by Deamer and drummer Phil Selway. With Deamer, Radiohead sounded fuller, busier and have a subtle tribal lilt that sneaks into even their older material. Last night's most obvious example of this was during Kid A staples "Idioteque" and "Everything in Its Right Place," both of which grooved harder than ever; and "15 Step" from In: Rainbows sounded denser and more visceral than on the recording.
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But the show wasn't all frenetic energy: one early set highlight saw the band rein it in for haunting version of "Pyramid Song," showcasing Radiohead's trademark quiet intensity. Another quiet song, "Daily Mail," came next. Fans who took the opportunity to make a beer run were seen moments later hustling back towards the stage as the band exploded into the opening notes of the hard-charging "Myxomatosis."
Only a handful tunes from Radiohead's first three albums made it into the setlist: "Lucky" from OK Computer was a gem, the first of six songs in the encore. "Paranoid Android" rained down to close the show. Earlier in the set, the festival audience sang along to "Karma Police" to which Thom Yorke quipped, was "just like an '80s rock film." And then, "The '80s were shite in case you missed it, which you probably did," acknowledging that the Pablo Honey record outdated good chunk of the audience.
Surprises were never Thom Yorke's thing. They make him nervous. And standard classic rock cliches, like inviting the audience to sing along, or floating a giant inflatable pig over the stage, aren't really his style either. Nothing will ever be disappointing about a Radiohead concert. But then again, when you're the Saturday headliner at Coachella, it's best to have at least one extra trick up your sleeve. -- Adam Lovinus
Personal Bias: Radiohead have a permanent spot in my all time top ten.
Overheard in the Crowd: Give me some more OK Computer!
Random Notebook Dump: At "Give Up the Ghost": Too cold for acoustic ballads, c'mon Thom.
Radiohead Coachella - 4/14/12 Indio, CA
Bloom 15 Step Weird Fishes Morning Mr. Magpie Staircase The Gloaming Pyramid Song The Daily Mail Myxomatosis Karma Police Identikit Lotus Flower There There Bodysnatchers Idioteque
Lucky Reckoner After The Gold Rush (a capella) Everything in Its Right Place Give Up the Ghost Paranoid Android
FLYING LOTUS at COACHELLA (GOBI TENT) | 4.14.12
Flying Lotus' appearance at Coachella felt like an occasion; it felt like something huge, actually. Swag oozing from his pores, he took sips from a bottle of Jameson while spinning the beat music he helped pioneer, as the crammed tent went ballistic.
Among so many "epic house" DJs on the Coachella roster, FlyLo's brand of hip-hop influenced electronica was a much appreciated change of pace. After a bevy of well placed samples("Niggas in Paris," "Yonkers," Jaylib's "The Official") he launched into "Massage Situation," as his light show played a tripped out version of the zodiac calendar. One of his best songs was a jam that featured a loop of Wu Tang's "4th Chamber" -- everyone had their W's in the air. Waka Flocka Flame's "Hard In The Paint" had a bunch of white guys deliriously shouting the n-word.
Flying Lotus also played a bunch of new cuts, presumably tracks off his upcoming album Until the Quiet Comes. They sounded slightly heavier and more dance-oriented than his older stuff, but that could have had to do with the fact he had to rock a Coachella crowd that had on their dancing shoes.
An all-star hip-hop crew crowded the wings -- including Hodgy Beats and freaking Dr. Dre. "Damn everyone's here!" Flying Lotus said, astounded himself. He took a moment to specifically bring out Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt, who grinned from beneath a floppy hat.
Neither Sweatshirt nor the others spit any flows but, to close the set, fellow Brainfeeder fellow Thundercat came out to slap the bass. Along with a live drummer, they brought the energy up another level. It quickly got funky as hell; we're definitely looking forward to Thundercat's set today. -- Kai Flanders
All in all, it felt something like a coming out party for L.A.'s beat king, well deserved and well received.
Personal Bias: It's hard to have a bad time at Coachella, especially watching hometown acts.
The Crowd: A mix of EDMers and hip-hopers, everyone feeling it.
Random Notebook Dump: The Gobi tent has had some of the festival's best acts thus far.
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