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I was so over Coachella for a variety of reasons, I inadequately summarized my experience according to some avid readers. So here we go with the best and the worst of the weekend. May it help those of you headed into weekend 2. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but the Violent Femmes were my favorite act of the entire festival. Their playlist included everything I could have wished for and more. They kept it moving and they kept it tight. The most unexpectedly enjoyable set was Jello Biafra who ranted his hypocritically anti-corporate message on the unabashedly corporate-sponsored Coachella stage without any sense of irony. Everybody splooged over The Postal Service. Maybe it’s the residual Deschanel, but that band is just so precious and twee. I love Jenny Lewis, but I love her more in other projects. Ben I can take or leave. Phoenix executed in a major way, but there was something so polished about the performance it almost felt simulated. The random of edition of R. Kelly was surprising for sure. As was Solange’s cameo with The xx, but Coachella needed to squeeze extra diversity wherever possible in their ultra-white lineup this year. 2013 lacked flavor for sure. As for the Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis is the Keanu Reeves of rock music. He’s a douche de la fromage. Flea rules.
Caught Cat Power the other night and she was her usual hot mess. I was so distracted by her morph into Aggy Deyn, I barely paid attention to her manic distractions. Check it. Above Cat Power. Below Aggy Deyn.
Spookily similar right?
We know that Ribisi formerly dated Mizz Chan for several years….
…before quickly wedding Aggy Deyn after courting for only a heartbeat.
Just saying this whole scene is a little Single White Female.
I am not a fan of chitchat. To paraphrase Bethenny Frankel (sorry), I don’t like small talk, I like big talk. Perhaps the most annoying question – more annoying than “where are you from?” or “what do you do?” is – What kind of music do you listen to?I fucking loathe this question for a myriad of reasons. First, when asked my mind inevitably goes blank, and all I can think of is Bob Marley. This answer is almost as annoying as the question because who the fuck doesn’t like Bob Marley? Second, it’s a loaded fucking question. The asker is really leveraging this question to bathe you in judgment. For example, if you say indie, then you become Indie and all that it implies. The most commonly tired-ass trite answer to this question is, “…anything but country.” But for those hedgers, I have one word for you: Jolene. If you go super obscure, you risk looking like a try-hard douche, and if you answer Maroon 5, then you are a douche. Third, the people who like to ask this grating question also like to follow it up with a pop-quiz. Oh, you like techno, have you heard the new Trentemøller? (Word of advice, if you must answer this dreadful question don’t ever answer with “techno” even if you fucking love techno). Oh, you like The White Stripes, have you heard Jack White’s new solo album? These questions just become an opportunity for the asker to act like an all-knowing asshole. Asking someone’s music taste is a generic inquiry and answering it is rife with potential dignity issues. Nobody really cares what kind of music anybody listens to anyway, so let’s all come up with some new thinly-veiled opportunity for judgment.
What a delightful time I had the other night with some of my very favorite people at The Killers show. I confess I wasn’t always such fan of The Killers. For the most part, I hate show tunes and Vegas and this band smacks of both. Furthermore, for some irrational reason I really, really, really hate that song When You Were Young.This tour is in service of Battle Born, the band’s most recent release, so no big surprise they played most of that (just-okay) album. My personal highlight was Somebody Told Me off 2004′s Hot Fuss. Biggest disappointment? I didn’t even get one song from Brandon Flowers’ totally decent solo album Flamingo. The Killers play a super fucking loud and unapologetically glittery and fire-filled show. It is akin to hot-boxing a giant sparkler.
Recently, I had the privilege of seeing Leonard Cohen live. One of my most thoughtful and generous friends laid two tickets on me for a special occasion. (Thanks Dez!)I think we can use the word “icon” liberally here without quibbling. Cohen’s lengthy career boasts genius contributions both past and present. He stacks the odds by surrounding himself with other incomparable musical masters like Roscoe Beck, Alexandru Bublitchi, Rafael Gayol, Neil Larsen, Javier Mas, Sharon Robinson, Mitch Watkins, and Charlie and Hattie Webb. Perhaps none of those names are familiar to you and that’s fine. Just know these are the caliber of musicians that instruments are named after – musicians’ musicians. I know what you are thinking… Leonard Cohen is old as fuck, does he still have it? Spry, smart, sexy and humble, he not only holds his own against performers a quarter of his age, he outright shames them. Leonard Cohen is the canon. When you see a man like Leonard Cohen live, you know what it is to be in the midst of greatness, and it is a rare privilege.
Recently, I saw New Order live. New Order has been together on and off for over thirty years, albeit with some lineup changes. As I watched New Order, I just kept thinking, damn they’ve been playing together a long time. You can hear it. You can feel it. These musicians play like one fused organism. The legacy stirs an undeniable devotion in the fans. Most couples can’t keep relationships together. Imagine trying to balance the interests of four or five people with the added complications of fame, ego, and money. I would never make it in a band. Solo Act. Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the effort, patience, and commitment it must require to work 30+ years on an evolving project with essentially the same people and manage to stay inspired. Rockstar ambitions notwithstanding, for some of us, a lifetime bound to the same four people too closely resembles a Sartre play.
Hey ya’ll, I hope you had a fantastic weekend. I took a little trip to Atlanta this weekend for Music Midtown, a huge music festival held in Piedmont Park. Who played? All these mutherfuckers…..Before entering the show, we decided to have lunch at The Flying Biscuit, a southern chain know for it’s vegetarian-friendly options. After a 20 minute wait, we were shown to our table. I ordered tofu scramble. It arrived with an infection of tiny shards of turkey bacon. I asked my waiter, “is this meat?” I couldn’t exactly tell what the small pink strips were. He scooped up my plate and not long after the manager came over to our table. She slid down the wall behind her into a deferential squat and said “Words cannot describe how appalled I am that errant pieces of turkey bacon somehow ended up in your tofu scramble. I understand that when you adopt a commitment to a certain lifestyle, that the commitment is important. Your lunch is on the house. Is there anything else I can get you.” Take note, mistakes happen, but it is the way these mistakes are addressed that matters. The manager handled the situation with the utmost of professionalism. She acknowledged the error, expressed an understanding of why a vegetarian would be appalled at discovering turkey bacon in a tofu scramble, and immediately rectified the situation. This scenario could have resulted in a death-blowing Yelp review, but instead I must take time to create a pocket of praise for the Flying Biscuit and their top notch manager. After our free lunch, we walked over to the park. Attendees covered the shady hills blanket to blanket by the time we arrived. We headed down to the sunny field and sat for a bit of Adam Ant. Working an OG Captain Jack Sparrow look, Adam played a decent, if expected, set to a half-interested crowd. After Ant, we shuffled over to the mainstage for Ludacris. Who hates crowd participation? I do! Ludacris spent most of the set trying to coax his “true fans” (approximately 10%, though he erroneously believed that percentage to be much, much, higher) to sing along with his catalog of hits and flip the bird at one another. Most absurd? He tried to pretend that the show was spontaneous and that he was just pulling tracks out of his hat. To maintain that illusion, he probably shouldn’t have presented prepared background visuals and lighting to accompany his supposedly unplanned set. Don’t insult us Luda. To add further insult, three-quarters of the way into the set his DJ played Smells Like Teen Spirit. Yup, you absolutely read that shit correctly. Mutherfucking Nirvana. It was as if he and his people looked at each other and said, “What do white people like?” The completely irrelevant foray into mid 90′s grunge felt absolutely pandering and gross. Much like Snoop and Dre at Coachella, I felt intense 3rd person embarrassment and shame for the washed-up rapper. Next came Florence + the Machine, a band that has impressed me live in the past. Florence flubbed her intro; it was not noticeable to the general crowd, but she must have referenced the mistake at least 4 times in the 75 minute set. It wasn’t a big deal, but she belabored it to the point of annoyance, comparing the experience to arriving at school naked. An absolute PLAZA QUEEN set up next to us with his cheesy Bob Marley backpack and bracelets and proceeded to sing every single song at the top of his lungs completely off-key. It was so loud, disruptive, and pitchy that I unapologetically and continuously laughed out loud through the Coachella-similar set. He was so enthusiastic, I couldn’t bring myself to remind him that it was not his American Idol audition. It wasn’t just that his singing was bad, it was also the intensity and mood he was bringing to it – like he was at a Slayer show or something. At one point the kid threw up the sign of the beast – AT A FUCKING FLORENCE + THE MACHINE SHOW! Blanche, you’ve been dethroned; there is a new PLAZA QUEEN clawing at your crown, and he has a soundtrack child!We secured such a favorable position for Florence at the mainstage, we couldn’t bring ourselves to give up our spots to navigate across the crowded field to hear Girltalk. Girltalk is super fun live, but we remained focused on the reason we came – Pearl Jam. When Florence finished, and the crowd began to shift, we gained another 30 feet towards the stage.One major difference between Midtown and Coachella is that Coachella has way more geographical space with the polo grounds and all. By the end of the night Piedmont Park was asses to elbows everywhere we looked in every direction as far as the eye could see. I know Leah Love, your greatest fear right? The uncontrollable mass crowd could easily become a riot or stampede at any moment and there isn’t shit law enforcement, Jesus, or Eddie Vedder can do to stop it.The dense crowd had more than its fair share of rude pushy assholes. Or maybe I was just in a mood, I’m not sure. I made some friends and I made some enemies. So we’re all standing around waiting for 60 minutes for PJ to start. The natives are getting restless. We’re staring at an empty stage. The crowd thickens and two girls roll up. Late twenties-early thirties, taller, one blonde with tats, the other dark brown overgrown frizzy curls. Brown-haired girl has shorts on and some sort of white doily top. At first all is chill. We’re all respecting each other’s personal space. But soon brown-haired girl gets a little sloppy, a little loud, a little big. And by big I mean her big ass is continuing to bump into me. In a crowd like this, people bump into each other, no big deal, I blew it off. After the third or fourth relatively firm contact, I gently guided her back to her spot and sweetly said “Mama I’m going to move you back over where you were.” All is calm. Girl is moved. The waiting continues. Her ass hit me again and this time in a wedge-in-front type of manner. Again, I say “could you please stop hitting me?” a little firmer this time. I stood my ground. This is the part where half of you will lose respect for me and the other will throw a fist in the air. Let me be perfectly clear: I’m not proud of what I’m about to confess. I overhear the girl saying to her blonde tatted friend I’m just going to stick my ass into this girl (meaning me obviously). The audacity! I was appalled. Anger surged through my body like steroids. So against all logic and common decency that’s when I hip checked the girl – hard. When she turned around surprised I sarcastically said excuse me in my best bitchy. She responded by saying she knew it wasn’t an accident. To which I respond, “You wanna tussle in this crowd?” She had a beer can in one hand and began to raise her other hand. I doubt seriously she was going to hit me, but this is where I would claim self-defense in a court of law. I reached up and I snatched a handful of hair and took the bitch down. Right there in front of everybody, to her knees, one hand. I really wasn’t trying to hurt her. If I were trying to hurt her I very easily could have taken out her front two teeth with my unicorn ring which I always wear to rock shows just for this very reason. Blonde friend freaked and started to go for a handful of my hair when my brave companion stepped in and pushed everyone apart. I threw up the fist, unicorn gleaming and said next time it’ll be this. (My very best “you wanna knuckle sandwich?”) That’s when the verbal bitch slap began. Blonde tatty kept shrieking “why?, why?, why?!” over and over again. “Why do you have to get ghetto?” (Which I found fucking hilarious, because really how else can you be in a fight but ghetto?). I said, “I asked you twice to stop touching me. You continued to stick your fat ass in my face, and I will not continue to be assaulted by you for the rest of the night.” Then brown-haired girl says, “My boyfriend loves my fat ass.” And I said, “I bet he does when he’s got you bent over fucking you up the ass and you’re screaming and you love it. I know your kind. (insert slow head to toe bitch scan) Yeah, I know your kind. I know your kind. (3X slow for effect) You are trash.”
They then slinked away in humiliated defeat and I became the most celebrated figure in a 50 person radius with everybody wanting to know if I was indeed the girl in the fight. A drunk Joel Roganesque dude kept coming up to me and saying over and over again “You won that, you so won that!” If only I could win my dignity back. Look it wasn’t ladylike, smart, mature, or classy, but in the immortal word Steven Hyde, Where Zen ends ass-kicking begins. If you are still reading, when those two bitches left we had a great time. As an added bonus, the fight cleared quite a bit of space so we had a little breathing room. Plus, we made friends with everyone around us because 1) they wanted to know the fight gossip firsthand, and 2) they wanted to stay on the good side of the unstable hair-pulling psycho girl. Pearl Jam absolutely rocked our asses off with a killer set list including: Rearview Mirror, Crazy Mary, + the obligatory Black, Alive, Elderly Woman, Nothingman, and Betterman.
The show was fantastic, and almost worth all the bullshit.
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