Coachella 2012

We took a decidedly different approach this year to checking out bands.  In previous years, we actually ended up seeing very few complete sets, but lots, and I mean lots, of partial sets.  So this time around, we took our time and set some priorities.  Which I think made it one of the most fun years we've had yet.  The full list of what we saw is below, but overall, we saw 24 bands throughout the weekend.  I think one of the other changes that made this the best of the 5 years going, were the shuttles.  One of the most stressful things about going to Coachella, is driving to and from the grounds.  Especially from.  After spending 9+ hours in the desert heat (except for this year, which was in the 60s) the last thing you want to do is spend up to an hour just trying to get out the parking lot, and another hour or more driving back to your hotel.  The shuttles, when you can find them ;), which we had some issues the first night back, were awesome.  We jumped on board, and within 10 minutes were on the road.  Out of the 6 legs we spent on the shuttles, I think I slept through 5 of them.  The shuttle ride was anywhere between 40 and 60 minutes.  Definitely worth the money.

This was also one of the coolest years we've seen.  In fact, the first day it actually rained.  Usually it's near 100 degrees, and in fact, the second weekend it was 106.  So I'll put up with 60/70 degree temps over 106 any day.  Spending 9 hours a day on your feet, jockeying for a spot to watch or dance, takes a toll on your body.  When it's 100+ outside, it just makes it that much worse.  So the cooler temps were really nice, and made things a lot more comfortable.

Some of my highlights were, Madeon, which had a great danceable set.  Swedish House Mafia for their incredible set, and amazing stage show. Santigold had a great set, which we listened to some of from the beer garden on a sunny day. Justice, although 20 minutes late, put on a hell of a show, driving though all of their hits.  Calvin Harris for the last 2 songs we were able to catch, which featured Rhianna, and closing with his hit Feel So Close, which was a perfect accent on the weekend.  And finally, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.  Not only for an incredible stage show, but the fact that we got to see, Warren G, Wiz Khalifa, Hologram Tupac, 50 Cent, and Eminem.

My disappointments were, SebastiAn, which had a really dark, and disturbing stage show.  Although we were in a good spot for David Guetta, we ended up leaving early because his set was so choppy and honestly, really amateur.  Unfortunately, we left just before Usher came on to sing along live.  I really want to see Miiike Snow, but so did half the attendees, so we couldn't see anything and moved on.  I was glad we saw Beats Antique, because now I know I don't ever have to see them again.  I thought their sound was OK, but pretty repetitive and bland.  Since Dada Life get so hyped about being big name DJs, I was hoping for more.  But it seems like the bigger name you are, almost the worse you are as a DJ.  Again, another choppy set that was just OK. I had high hopes for Gaslamp Killer, but he was so out there, that it turned me off.  I'd like a little bit here and there, but overall was let down.

This year definitely reminded me why I go.  It was a blast and I absolutely cannot wait until next year.

Day 1:
SebastiAn, Feed Me, Madeon, Afrojack (partial), the Black Keys (partial), Swedish House Mafia

Day 2:
Jacques Lu Cont, Zeds Dead, Kaiser Chiefs (partial), Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (partial), Sebastian Ingrosso, David Guetta (partial), Miiike Snow (partial), SBTRKT (partial), Radiohead (partial)

Day 3:
Santigold, Beats Antique, Dada Life (partial), Gaslamp Killer (partial), the Hives (partial), Justice, Calvin Harris (partial), Florence + the Machine (partial), Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg



Spotify Playlists:

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Reptar @ The 7th St Entry

Reptar was a band I discovered by combing through the bands coming to First Ave.  I really liked their sound, and they were playing the Entry for $10.  So how could I not go?  Well, it wasn't until after I bought my ticket and put the date on my calendar, did I realize I was already seeing Kasabian in the Mainroom that same night.  Whoops.  Well, lucky for me the Kasabian show was done at 11:15 and Reptar was still playing.  What the hell I said, let's go see another show!  

I was able to catch the last 40 minutes of their set and I hope I can see them again because I liked what I saw.  It was upbeat, dance-able, and the guys were pretty friendly and engaging on stage.  For their last song they invited a few audience members onstage to dance.  This is something I'm always fascinated with.  For one, how come I never get picked, and two, how do they mitigate the risk of inviting a bunch of assholes on stage?  It looked like Reptar is still figuring out this equation.  It was pretty funny watching the lead singer shove some drunk idiot dancing next to him, for bumping into him and knocking stuff over.  When the song ended, the drunk idiot asked the lead singer something which I couldn't make out.  I could however understand the response, when the lead singer said "Get the f*ck out of here".  So I guess you never know who's going to join you onstage, but either way, it makes for a fun show to watch.

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Kasabian @ First Avenue

I actually have to thank my wife for this one.  I had never heard any of Kasabian's material, although their name was familiar.  But in 2009 my wife had me buy 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum' because of the single 'Fire'.  Which I ended up liking.  So when I saw they were making a stop here at First Ave, I figured I'd go check them out live.  before the show, I brushed up on their older material, along with their new album.  

Here is the City Pages review, which was a lot more positive than I would have been.  The music was good I'll give them that, but the lead singer had a really weird presence on stage.  It was like every move of his was choreographed and he was always a little off.  He did all the normal lead singer things, pointing at the audience, talking to specific people, getting the crowd to sing or clap along.  It was just when he did these things it wasn't like he was actually communicating to OUR audience.  He was pointing to people in the back that I don't think existed or pointing to people that weren't doing anything other than standing there.  As if in his mind he's thinking "here's where I point...ok, point!" or "remember to call out someone in the back 'YEAH YOU!'".  It seemed awkward, a little phoned in, and somewhat phony to me.  Obviously I was in the vast minority in my opinion considering the crowd was going bonkers through the whole set.  I actually had to move at one point because the girl next to me kept whipping me with her hair.  

Like I said, the music sounded good, the stage lights were pretty awesome, but the "show" was a little underwhelming.  I did manage to record "Fire", which I found out by a quick Google on my phone that it was to be the 3 song of the encore.  And sure enough it was.  

And hey,  there was cake. ;)

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Feed Me @ The Brick

Let me start off by saying the night ended with me getting my car towed.  The following morning I fainted, hit my head, and cracked a tooth.  This is all unfortunate obviously, but even more so since I had an awesome time at the Feed Me show.  From the start, I was really nervous about this show.  Mainly due to the fact that it was the 3rd concert at The Brick, and the first one was a disaster.  Plus, going to a new place that I've never been to, by myself, in downtown on a Friday night, I wasn't sure what I was in for.  But to my surprise I found an amazing parking spot, almost across the street from the venue.  This was a great start for sure.  (It wasn't until after the show I realized it turned into a tow-away zone at 11.  I got there at 10.)  

Once inside, I immediately saw why there was so much negative feedback about the first show here.  Luckily, it wasn't nearly as packed and those issues weren't issues at all at this show.  I was there early enough to check out some of Bro Safari's set which I thought was great.  He dropped Dipo's 'Express Yourself', which got the crowd really going.  Then Kill the Noise followed with a pretty solid blistering set.  It seemed like he had a few technical issues, but with all the bass, sometime's it was hard to notice if the sound was accidental or on purpose.  In any case he played it off like a pro.  Finally, Feed Me came on and did not disappoint.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I danced almost the entire set.  Not only did his set sound great, but that stage setup is pretty amazing.  I don't know if it was the same, or at least I didn't get a good look at it at Lollapalooza, but it's amazing close up.  

This is one of those shows that I wished I had my wife, a few friends, or both to go with.  I think anyone would have had a great time, out on a Friday night, dancing their asses off.  Even if you had to drive me to the impound lot the next day.

City Pages pictures

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