There’s nothing like gathering thousands of people together in the desert heat to listen to music for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. In the desert heat sounds so much better than, say, in the rain of last year’s Glastonbury (pass) or slogging through the mud of the legendary Woodstock (pass). Coachella is the hot ticket. There is a recessionist aura to the eclectic lineup and recent addition of car camping. The headliners are Jay-Z, Muse and Gorillaz along with Them Crooked Vultures, Faith No More, Pavement, LCD Soundsystem and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.
This year’s Coachella celebrates a wide variety of noteworthy and mentionable landmarks. The cartoon supergroup, Gorillaz, celebrates a new album. Public Image Ltd. (PiL) celebrates 30 years. PiL’s lyrical musings resonate afresh with the advent of international economic troubles. Perhaps PiL can convince Jay-Z to perform Afrika Bambaataa’s part in “World Destruction/Time Zone” for a “best of fest” moment.
In the spirit of the ongoing 80s nostalgia movement, there are quite a few bands whose roots go back to the 70s and 80s contrasted with much fresher rock ‘n’ roll meat. Echo & the Bunnymen, Devo, The Specials, Grace Jones, PiL, Sly and the Family Stone, De La Soul, Faith No More, Orbital, Yo La Tengo, Gary Numan, Porcupine Tree, and Pavement grace the stage with their 70s and 80s roots. Even Them Crooked Vultures isn’t really a new thing when the band’s members were in Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and Kyuss.
Liverpool’s legendary Echo & the Bunnymen will perform on Friday, while “ot” rockers Frightened Rabbit and White Rabbits will perform on Saturday along with Porcupine Tree. A thematic oddity worth mentioning: the Bunnymen’s third album was titled Porcupine and both the Bunnymen and Porcupine Tree have rightly or wrongly been classified as neo-psychedelia. It’s amusing that they are all listed together at Coachella. But whose hare-brained scheme put the Bunnymen on a different night?
Being that art is a part of the festival, there is a contest for artists to compete for tickets along a recycling theme. The website also has information on how to make submissions for that contest and for other displays with a warning that “a bad idea or artwork will be passed along internally at your expense.”
Coachella takes place from April 16-18, 2010. Tickets cost a whopping $269, however day parking is free and onsite camping is reasonable. All things considered, $269 is a bargain for 130 acts in 3 days.