Coachella 2011: The surreal philosophy of L.A. band Health
John Famiglietti, the bassist for the L.A.-based experimental noise rock outfit Health, who played the Mojave tent on Sunday evening, is the band's spirit animal. A shimmering, shaking hallucination in a boldly patterned shirt, guiding the live set to its shattering denouement.
His silken mane of black hair a study in motion, he lithely glides and shakes across the stage like a human-faced leopard on an acid trip. He is impervious to heat and sweat while the band's lead singer, Jake Duzsik regularly towels off his dripping face and hair.
This is not accessible music, and toward the beginning of the band's set there is an exodus of front-row crowd members who are quickly replaced by a wash of the band's devoted fan base. Health traffics in dissonance and extremes. And Duzsik's lilting melodies float over the chaos of the driving, beat-heavy rhythms like Julie Cruise in a Lynchian dream.
Likewise, for the band's fans -- acolytes of the Internet, all -- Health's hyper-sexual, graphically violent video fantasies occupy the shadows on either side of the stage, like phantasms of a primitive digital realm. It's hard to separate the music from the pipe dream of its effect. The two, fuelled by Duzsik's hardened longing and Famiglietti's flights of hyper-real fantasy, reverberate in an echo chamber of studied belligerence. And that's just where fans of Health like it.
-- Jessica Gelt