Coachella Sunday: No Holding Back Public Enemy, The Cure, The Horrors, K'Naan
Anyone who's ever been to Coachella knows it leaves you with a special brand of Monday morning pain. This 3 day monster will test even the fittest, most fervent music fan. For most attendees this was a call-in-sick day, a day of rest and merciful silence. Or, if you did the weary drive home today like we did, a Coachella-band-iPod-shuffle-mix-on-the-car-stereo, come-down kind of afternoon.
The last day of Coachella was tough (and not just because we were burnt every which way). In terms of deciding what to see and how much, choices had to be made. Leave Yeah Yeah Yeahs near the end of the set for Paul Weller? We did. The Kills or Public Enemy? Went for the later. Get brutalized by My Bloody Valentine or check out some equally dark UK faves (The Horrors) we've never had the chance to see? Again, we did the later and now have a full-on new band crush.
Chuck D. and Flavor Flav know what time it is..
Never made it to any more parties as planned. And the feedback we've been getting about most of 'em hasn't made us regret the decision. The BPM bash was apparently pretty far away, and packed. Some of our friends (on the list) did not even get in for their trouble driving out. Urb's Indioasis sounded like a chill thrill but we're always weary of soirees that tout "walking distance from Coachella." We have trouble with the "walking" part when it's 100 degrees.
Did enough of it at the Fest, and as we promised, lots of dancing too. No where more than at Public Enemy, who covered their entire 1988 classic "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" in track order. Blistering, bombastic and bursting with furious beats (both from the turntables and a full band), Chuck D and Flavor Flav showed they still have a mesmerizing Ying & Yang kind of chemistry. D, imposing, potent and politically charged flow-wise and in between numbers. Flav, the childish jester as always, asking the crowd to holler his signature name chant, climbing the pillars that book-ended the stage and diving into the crowd, not one or two, but three times.
It's great to know the words to every song like we did during Paul McCartney's set (or we would have at X's) but the opportunity to finally see a band we're unfamiliar with or never got around to checking out is almost as satisfying. Recently reunited Seattle sons Murder City Devils delivered a raw and raucous turn Sunday, and the live rager will have us snatching their back-catalog pronto.
The Horrors- style and substance?
The dark ambiance created by the lads in the Horrors had us at hell-o. With their tight black jeans, sassy hair assortment, smug expressions and drony Jesus and the Mary Chain meets Interpol meets Strokes sonics and swagger, we can see why they've been dismissed as pretty boys by some (NME loves 'em, though). They looked to have had a make-under since their guyliner goth-boy beginnings and from what fans told us in the tent, the music has been somewhat stripped down as well. Their image is still a big part of their appeal. They're actually not that pretty, but they do come off pissy, a demeanor that should have been irritating, but we found intriguing. More importantly, they had the goods- a shoegazer-garage fusion with subtly dancey bits that left us curious to hear more. Their newest release, "Primary Colors" is on the post-fest shopping list along with some MCD.
Maybe we're just feeling emo from exhaustion, but reflecting on the weekend as a whole, the stuff that stands out isnt the freaky fashion -or lack there of- in the VIP section or the hippy tripsters we met in the Do-Lab or even the rave flashback-inducing physical abandon of the dance music tent. It's the tender moments that emerged. Paul McCartney announced that it was the 11th anniversary of his wife Linda's death on the very night he performed; Karen O, yelled "This is for Lux," before diving into a vampy and heartfelt version of The Cramps' "Human Fly;" Somalian rap-reggae artist K'Naan spoke of life and death and his country's unrest through a spoken word piece that had a full tent enraptured; DJ AM and Travis Barker were so full of life on stage they seemed to shine brighter than the lightshow behind them; and some serious words even came from the campy Turbonegro crew. "Last year we couldn't come here because we had some disease in the band," said singer Hank Von Helvete referencing guitarist Euroboy, who fought cancer last year. "But we survived!"
K'Naan speaks to the crowd.
The whole shee-bang ended with another touching moment too: Robert Smith and The Cure getting sound cut off for running over time on main stage last night, but crooning on with the help of hardcore fans (some of whom somehow got on stage with him) to wail a melancholy "Boys Don't Cry." Talk about a bitter-sweet symphony.
See more photos in our Nightranger Slideshow (no column this week), up soon.