En route to Indio my taxi driver was so desperate for my business that he offered to help disassemble my tent on the Monday after the festival before driving me back. Such a unique situation set amongst a landscape of palm trees, desert and wind farms helped me entertain the notion that Coachella is indeed a dream come to earth. I mean, where else in the world would you see trip-hop heroine Beth Gibbons share stage with the godfathers of electronic music, Kraftwerk? Not to mention Prince, Portishead, a two and a half hour festival-closing set by Roger Waters (accompanied by an inflated flying pig) and, for the younger gurning generation, Justice’s more kosher showcase of electro.
Friday night I arrived to catch the first twenty minutes of Diplo's set before wandering back to my tent to grab a jacket and return for Spankrock, only to find that even if you have been travelling for well over 36 hours, the ‘no-returns’ policy meant you were unable to be readmitted onto the festival grounds! I was left instead to sit at the campsite and get to know my neighbours and reminisce about days gone in music where your waist size didn't help to determine your record sales. One thing that can be said for Coachella goers is their willingness to mix LSD types no matter what the mental cost. It’s not hard to see where Hunter S.Thompson, who wrote about this very 'bat country', got his inspiration from.
The Bird And The Bee
Saturday saw me visit the concert site and catch this LA two-piece composed of Inara George and Greg Kurstin. Carrying a love for Hammond organs and dreamy spazz jazz licks, the duo make music that sounds like a soundtrack to a futuristic 1960's American film set in Brazil. Inara sings in a sweet whisper but taints any notion of naivety with her sexually suggestive, clever lyrics. In fact, 'My Fucking Boyfriend', taken from their debut album has been lovingly remixed by the queen of electro smut herself, Peaches. Alongside two back-up singers and a bubble machine, Inara and Greg managed to awaken the early morning festival attendees and charm those still asleep into the deepest, dirtiest wet dream imaginable - all whilst smiling sweetly and addressing the audience with their Brady Bunch dress sense.
I awoke on Sunday morning after a mere three hours rest to drag my weary, sun cream soaked bones onto the festival grounds where I was serenaded by Austin TV who sonically resembled Sigur Rós but with a distinctively Mexican flavour. I stood entranced by 'El secreto de las luciemegas' in particular. Perhaps the Sigur Rós comparison is unfair; Austin TV’s set reminded me of the soundscapes of shoegazers like Ride but with a true D.I.Y edge and music so intense that if it were to have lyrics I couldn’t bare listen.
After Austin TV's truly stellar performance I ventured to the Sahara tent to take audience with Berlin based, Modeselektor. Being a Berliner at heart, I wanted to witness the nomadic culture shift from the once divided city to the heart of the American desert. Following Danny Tenaglia's brain lobotomy of a set, the two geeky button pushers of Modeselektor took to the stage. From the first high pitched squeal that introduces the opening bars of 'Deboutonner', my senses were immediately heightened and my feet danced uncontrollably. Not content with being compared to Warp Records’ former cash cow, Aphex Twin, the duo take their bleepy messages beyond the bounds of expected techno/electro/glitchcore by adding their own infectious optimism to high tech rhythms. Their entire set felt like I was part of a mass ritual with Modeselektor well and truly the masters of ceremony.
Modeselektor - Deboutonner mp3 (download here or listen below)