Coachella 2009 Day 2 report: Ida Maria, Cloud Cult and a plea to get naked and sell some vinyl*
After multi-hour waits to get in the event grounds on Friday, getting into the second day of the 10th edition of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., was a breeze, as fans whisked through gates, and lines to purchase last-minute walk-up tickets were nonexistent. There's no Paul McCartney to play a two-and-a-half-hour set today, which is headlined by synth-rockers the Killers, metal act Mastodon and Midwest hip-hop faves Atmosphere, among others. Stay tuned to Pop & Hiss for reports and multiple takes on the day's proceedings, which also features globetrotting electronic artist M.I.A. and the gorgeous harmonies of the Fleet Foxes.
Early arrivals today had the opportunity to spend some time browsing the racks at a make-shift independent retail outlet. Today marks a quasi-holiday for the much-beleagured independent retail sector, as the so-called Record Store Day offers fans the opportunity to purchase exclusive material from acts such as Wilco and Jenny Lewis, the latter of whom will be performing tonight on one of Coachell's five stages of continuous music. Those making purchases at Coachella can store their finds at the tent-enclosed outlet until the end of the day. (More on Record Store Day here).
Playing a few feet away from the pop-up store was Atmosphere pal P.O.S., whose 1 p.m. set was the first of the day. He playfully chided fans for looking a bit weary. "Go find another tent to cool off in," he said to an energy-drained tent. The crowd, however, received the tough-love motivation well, as the hard-rocking rapper used industrial beats and air-guitar-worthy riffs to delivery politically-minded songs for the working class. "If you work at Kentucky Fried Chicken, going to work at night ... sucks," he shouted in an arm-raiser for those working minimum wage.
The best excuse to arrive at Coachella early today, however, was a few minutes later. Scandinavia's Ida Maria offered sun-scorched, morning-after rave-ups, taking the most minute details of relationship strife -- an awkward conversation over coffee -- and delivering it as if the fate of the universe hung in its balance. In the hands of Maria, love isn't just fodder for drama, it's a human weakness to be celebrated with caffeine-and-nicotine-scarred punk rock. "When God was tired of ruling the world ... he wanted some company," she said between songs, as if that summed up all the world's problems.
No one was about to doubt her, as the crowd spilled outside the tent for anxiety anthems such as "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked," in which scrappy guitars built up to a crowd sing-along finale. In a Record Store Day bonus, Maria hyped her album and told fans to meet here in the store for her afternoon autograph session. Then she lit into "Oh My God" and nearly lost her voice as the guitars escalated in a reckless frenzy.
Across the field on the Outdoor stage, Minnesota environmental champions Cloud Cult performed in front of an impressively large audience that eagerly soaked up every drop of their feel-good, orchestral indie rock. Singer Craig Minowa led the charge as the band injected a muscular aggressiveness into their ornate, string-powered songs (such as "Lucky Today" from their much-discussed animated Esurance commercial). As always, band artist Scott West live-painted a huge piece of art, which was swarmed by fans when brought out into the field after the show.
Over in the Mojave tent, L.A. was well-represented by local boy Ariel Pink and his band Haunted Graffiti. Displaying traces of the SoCal-based "Paisley Underground" of the mid-'80s and very early R.E.M., stalking the stage with a cigarette and busted tamborine, Pink's freaky post-punk stylings come loaded with piles of catchy melodies and twitchy tempos.
--Todd Martens and Scott T. Sterling
Photo of Ida Maria by Chris Pizzello / AP
*Updated: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Ida Maria as Swedish. She is Norwegian.