Category: Coachella

Coachella 2012: Pulp's Jarvis Cocker labeled 'sexiest frontman'

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The reunited Brit-pop band Pulp may have just played at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Thursday night, but it didn't diminish the excitement for those who took in the band's set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival the following evening.

"They haven't played the U.S. since 1998 and probably won't again so you have to take every chance you can get to see them," said fan Charlie Ittner as the gloaming closed in on the sweltering polo field Friday night.

"If I were closer I would have thrown my bra onstage," said Ittner's girlfriend, Arwen Byrd. "Jarvis Cocker is still the sexiest frontman I've ever seen."

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

And it was hard to argue with her. Cocker, looking emaciated and electric in all the right ways, writhed on the main stage. When the band launched into its hit "Common People," the generational gap amongst the Coachella crowd seemed to close. The song's keyboard strains sliced through the hot night air like a pulsing knife, and tweens and Gen-Xers melted together.

Coachella has the ability to teach the young'uns about the music they missed, just as much as it can educate the the aged about the current music they need to know. When it works, the give and take is luxurious and magical. It is the stuff that massive festivals are made of.

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Image: Pulp's Jarvis Cocker at the first weekend of Coachella on April 13. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Coachella 2012: Arctic Monkeys survive the heat

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British indie rock band Arctic Monkeys took the main stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on weekend No. 2 at 6:30 p.m. on a scorching hot Friday evening. Yet, even in the sweltering desert sun, the band's rhythmic beats moved the crowd and ultimately signaled the tribal togetherness that would hopefully bind this weekend's installment of rock 'n' roll devotees.

As the sun dipped and the clothes tipped off tan bodies everywhere, the first moment of festival unity took hold.

The second of two festival weekends, which has drawn converts from around the world spending more than $300 for a three-day wristband, became grounds for a religious musical fervor. Fans fighting to avoid heatstroke bowed down to a bass-laden groove.

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

It didn't matter what music you liked, what kind of person you were or how long you had waited outside for admittance. Unity was gained in 100-degree weather, as those in attendance became soldiers for rock.

Word is Saturday will be hotter, but we will still be here, loving our favorite bands more than ever.

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Image: The Coachella crowd Friday. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Coachella 2012: Weekend 2 brings intense heat

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And then there was sun. Early in last weekend's installment of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the conversation was how rain and windy conditions could dampen the festival. Sure, there was a bit of drizzle, but not enough for a soak.

On Friday afternoon, those slowly trickling in to turnstiles during the opening hours of weekend 2 (a.k.a. Coachella redux) were probably wishing for just a little bit of rain. With the sun hovering over the fields beaming down a harsh 102 degrees, the Empire Polo Grounds were noticeably vacant.

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

Staffers fanned themselves as they clutched bottles of water and food vendors slouched as they awaited business -– the heat getting the best of them. But just as the cloudy sky didn’t cast a gloom on revelers last weekend, the intense heat (and, goodness, do we mean intense) didn’t stop excited festival goers from flocking to early sets.

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Coachella 2012: The antics of Le Butcherettes make a mom worry

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Teri Suaréz is trying to finish a record. Her phone, however, won't stop interrupting. It's her mother. "She's freaking out," Suaréz said. 

This past Sunday, Suaréz sent her mother into a state of panic when, at the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, she walked away from her guitar and keyboard and climbed to the top of a lighting rig. Then she locked her legs around it and leaned over backward

"That's why my mom is calling me," Suaréz said. "She said, ‘Please don’t ever do that again!’ I said, ‘Oh, no, Mom. I won’t do that ever again. I’ll be more careful. I swear.’ But she’s still really scared about it. She keeps calling to see if I’m OK."

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For now, yes, Suaréz is fine. If anything, the 22 year old is a little nervous herself. While Le Butcherettes concerts are known for their unpredictability, Suaréz has no intention of putting her life -- or at least a few of her bones -- in danger at Coachella on Sunday. On stage, as Teri "Gender Bender" Suaréz, the artist is reckless, abusing her guitar and her voice with delight. Off stage, Suaréz constantly laughs at herself, apologizes after nearly every sentence and admits to being paralyzed with shyness. 

"It hasn't been a hard time," Suaréz said of harmonizing the two extremes of her personality, and then adds, "but, existentially speaking, it has been." 

Suaréz and her band, which currently includes drummer Lia Braswell and At the Drive-In principal Omar Rodriguez Lopez on bass, is rooted in the anything-goes ethos of punk rock. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and based in L.A., Le Butcherettes are a collision of genres and cultures, as Suaréz quotes from the novels most of us never read, serenades in Spanish, occasionally pretends to be Russian and lashes out at what she sees as political and societal constraints.

When Le Butcherettes opened for Iggy & the Stooges last winter, it was easy to label Suaréz as something of a spiritual heir to Iggy Pop. She's aware of that, and she hasn't stopped thinking about it. "I feel like everyone is expecting me to be crazy," she said of her band's live performances, and she said Iggy told her the "same story."

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Coachella 2012: Brokechella revels in staying home

L.A. Font
The one guaranteed parting sensation of Coachella -- more than sunburn, tinnitus or the suspicion you've seen a ghost -- is mortal terror at your credit card statement afterward. If that was enough to keep you at home this year with the common people, the folks behind Saturday's second annual Brokechella still want you to have some late-April-festival memories.

The debut of the tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the Indio festival drew close to 500 people last year. This year's installment is set to eclipse it, with a nice crop of L.A. rock acts, including Infantree, LA Font, Rumspringa, Big Moves and yOya at the downtown art studio Six01.

Admission will just set you back a five-spot.

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Will a spectral Biggie Smalls appear there to do "Juicy" in rebuttal to Tupac's desert resurrection?

Maybe, but probably not. But for locals frustrated with the high cost and logistical overhead of doing Indio right, this will be much more easygoing.

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Photo: L.A. Font. Credit: Elliot Glass

Coachella 2012: Avicii has reason for good feelings

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If there was a Defining Song of the Dance Tent at Coachella 2012, it might have been when Rihanna popped by Calvin Harris’ set for “We Found Love.” Or maybe the repeat plays of Kanye and Jay-Z’s “… In Paris” that showed up in several different sets. Or maybe Nero’s “Promises”? Or perhaps Swedish House Mafia’s “Save the World”?

Ah, who are we kidding? You know the answer. It’s the song that goes like this: “Oh oh, sometimes, I get a good feeling.

It is Avicii’s “Le7els,” and for the young raver crowd that posted up in the Sahara Tent all weekend, it’s so dance-floor-devastating it probably requires U.N. inspection. The song, built on soda-pop synths and an Etta James sample, completely embodies the year in big-tent dance music. And it took the artist born Tim Bergling into the international stratosphere of electronica artists.

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“It’s great to play, the reaction really makes the place explode,” the 22-year-old Swedish DJ said. But he added, with the sly undertones of Mick Jagger asked to sing "Start Me Up" for the millionth time, “I’m obviously still tolerant of it.”

Though Sunday night’s conversation was dominated by the Tupac Victorian Parlour Trick, the night also represented an interesting turn in Coachella’s dance reputation. Avicii is part of the first generation of EDM artists who grew up in their careers viewing Coachella as a major international destination. That’s why Bergling chose it as the place to debut a good chunk of the visuals (including an incredible graphic-morphing DJ platform) and mixes for his forthcoming arena tour.

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Coachella 2012: Gotye hits it big in the desert

The Australian singer-songwriter knew what the crowd wanted Sunday night, and he obliged with The Hit: ‘Somebody That I Used to Know.’

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Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gotye had two big concerns ahead of his debut at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday night: how hot would it be out in the desert and how his massive hit, the understated lovelorn jam “Somebody That I Used to Know,” would play out in front of the crowd.

“I’ve played plenty of festivals in Australia. But none I’ve been to have been in the desert,” he laughed over the phone in an interview days before the festival in Indio. “How much water do I need to drink to make sure I can sing on the Coachella stage?”

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

The 31-year-old artist born Wouter “Wally” De Backer, who performs under the oft-mispronounced moniker Gotye (it's Gore-ti-yeah), made his Coachella debut in the Mojave tent the night after appearing on “Saturday Night Live” for the first time.

He plays again next Sunday on the closing night of the two-weekend festival, and at the Nokia Theatre on Thursday as part of his sold-out spring tour. The last time he was here, in February, he played the 600-capacity El Rey Theatre. Nokia seats around 7,000.

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Report: Tupac hologram could go on tour

Tupac_snoop

With Tupac Shakur’s reincarnation at the closing night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday night continuing to dominate headlines on the blogosphere, the inevitable question of what’s next for the “performer” has become a steady buzz. Now it seems that the ghostly image of the rapper, murdered more than 15 years ago, could hit the road for a tour.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, who anchored the closing night of first weekend of the annual three-day festival, are discussing the logistics for a possible tour involving the two as well as the virtual image of Tupac.

Coachella 2012: Tupac 'responds' to his reincarnation

Though it’s been touted as a hologram, it is actually a projected 2D image created by the Digital Domain Media Group. The company that has offices in both L.A. and Venice combined today’s technological advances with a visual trick called Pepper's Ghost that originates to the 1800s.

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Coachella 2012: Desert Daze Festival, the opposite of Coachella

Guy Blakeslee of Entrance Band
This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

The sun that's hitting the shoulder off the 10 freeway could bleach the skull of anything that's stopped moving. In the distance, there's a head-high edifice of planks ringed with gravel and beer signs. Its neighbor is a store advertising "Lost Surplus."

This is the parking lot of Dillon Roadhouse in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., and it's the best bar in the Southland this week.

Coachella has never had any competition in its weight class as far as L.A. music festivals go. But all last weekend (and continuing through next), a team of promoters is hosting an elite swath of local rock acts, with a donation-ticket suggested at about the price of a Coachella falafel.

Bleached, Vanaprasta, No, the Soft Pack and Audacity are among the dozens of bands the Desert Daze Festival is hosting at this biker-style oasis in a dessicated hellscape.

Naturally, we stopped by for a drink on the way home from Coachella. This is real-deal dive, with car-racing paraphernalia, a wan pool table and black walls that are a veritable fortress from all sunlight. Around 1 p.m. Monday, the music hadn't started yet. Indeed, the only things that had started were the lead wrists of a few seasoned fellows who beat us there.

Bartender Nancy Nelson said the crowds had been at 400-person capacity all weekend so far, a mix of wandering Coachellans and L.A., O.C. and Riverside locals. For more info, she referred us to the manager named -- we kid not -- Jameson Walker, a man clearly destined for a job in barkeeping. That's like being an astronaut named "Atlantis Voyager." 

Tonight's bill features the Fresh & Onlys, Crystal Antlers and Young Prisms, all of which could play clubs in L.A. to full houses. Upcoming nights feature sets by Free the Robots, Dead Meadow, Nocando, Entrance Band and Akron/Family. Throw in a couple of $3 well drinks, and it's enough to make a hologram Tupac stick around in the desert all week.

[For the Record,1:35 p.m. April 17: An earlier version of this post said a show featuring the Fresh & Onlys, Crystal Antlers and Young Prisms was Monday night, instead of tonight.]

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-- August Brown

 

Photo: Guy Blakeslee of Entrance Band. Credit: Sophia Amoruso.

Tom Windish’s acts are all over Coachella

Tom Windish and his Windish Agency have grown with Coachella. The agency represents 20 of the 143 acts at this year’s festival.

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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival would get along just fine without booking agent Tom Windish. Yet strike the artists from the Windish Agency off the Coachella bill, and the desert festival would suffer a direct hit. 

Since its start in 2004, the Chicago-based Windish Agency — which has more than 550, mostly club-level acts on its roster — has supplied a steady stream of artists to Coachella. 

 COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

This year alone the Windish Agency reps 20 acts on Coachella’s bill of 143 artists, including headliner dance and electronic acts such as Justice and Amon Tobin, as well as buzz artist of the moment Gotye

At the recent South by Southwest Music Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, Windish suggested meeting up to see some of his artists. One didn’t have to go far to hear one of his agency’s acts, as they were featured in more than 700 performances over the five-day event. 

The act settled upon was Brooklyn electronic duo Tanlines, and on the walk to the venue Windish, 39, stopped numerous times to offer up concert promotion tips. “Look at this poster,” Windish said, pointing at an advertisement for a multi-act punk show headlined by veteran O.C. punk band Social Distortion. “No one is going to go to this,” he said, pointing out that the poster failed to provide such basic, fan-focused information as set times. 

As for Tanlines, it was slated to play second on a five-act bill. Windish smiled when he saw the full lineup on a flier at the venue where the band was to perform. “Actually,” he said, “it turns out I book all these acts.” 

The democratization of the music business brought on by the rise of file-sharing and downloads has helped the Windish Agency soar while record labels have struggled. 

Windish now employs 15 agents, and recently opened an office in Los Angeles to further expand into marketing and licensing. The agency has increasingly taken on the look of a label without becoming a label, reflecting a music business in which acts can thrive outside of the mainstream by surviving largely on touring income.

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