April 25 – 27, 2008
Empire Polo Field
Indio, Ca 92201
Written by Joshua Williams
Photographed by Amy Davidson
Kim Deal of the Breeders
April 25, 2008 - Day 1
Some people may ask, “why
in the world would you hold a music festival in
the desert?” With its brutal heat and sapping
sun, it may not seem to be the likeliest of venues.
However, it all comes to light with the setting
of the sun. As the cool desert breeze cuts across
the field it becomes apparent that this is indeed
the perfect venue.
That being said, the concert-goers who braved the
daytime acts must be commended for their fanaticism.
One is either a masochist and loves to melt under
the sun, or in the alternative, is such a fan they
will go through such torture for their favorite
acts. I got the feeling that this act of devotion
was appreciated by the bands, and they reciprocated
in kind by playing their hearts out.
It is impossible to cover all of Coachella. With
so many bands playing, an entire team would be needed
to cover the two stages and three tents. So this
will only cover what we were able to see and photograph.
Les Savy Fav
Les Savy Fav
We had been here the previous year, so I was a bit
surprised that we were able to enter the grounds
so quickly. Either attendance was down, or the Indio
police figured out a better way to get traffic onto
the grounds. Once in, we decided our first band
to check out was Les Savy Fav
at the outdoor theater. It is a bit ironic to be
reviewing a hometown band on the other side of the
country, but nevertheless, there we were. The set
started off with front man Tim Harrington screaming
“what in tarnation!, get off my property!”,
over and over again as the band went into their
frantic, angular, hardcore infused set. The man
is a true front man in the vein of classic Iggy,
and probably a bit of G.G. (save the feces). It
warmed my heart to see a paunchy, balding front
man bring it to the crowd. And he did bring it,
by stripping down to the red drawers and riding
someone as a pony. The hometown boys definitely
brought it home to the left coast. They made me
proud to call N.Y.C. my home.
Kim Deal of the Breeders
After being sonically assaulted
by Harrington and Co,
we made our way to the Main stage to witness the
return of The Breeders.
It has been a few years since The
Deal Sisters have played, thanks to the usual
culprit of substance abuse. Kelley seems cleaned
up now, and they looked really excited to be on
the stage. They were there in support of their new
album, "Mountain Battles." As a fan of
all of Kim’s work in The Pixies and The
Breeders, I was excited to finally see her
on stage. Unfortunately, it was a rough start. As
they began “overglazed”, their seemed
to be a problem with the delay in the vocals, or
maybe Kim was just off on the keys. In any event,
she had the band stop and start over. I hate it
when bands start over—I’d prefer they
play their way through. She’s Kim Deal though,
so it’s hard for me to fault her. They found
their way by the third or fourth song, and eventually
had the crowd sated when they heard the distinctive
opening bass riff of “cannonball”.
Christopher Leigh of Electric
Shane Lawlor Electric Touch
Afterwards we made our way over to the press tent
to meet with Electric Touch.
Electric Touch hails from Austin Texas. They are
a four-piece consisting of Vocalist Shane Lawlor,
Bassist Ross Dubois, Christopher Leigh on guitar,
and his twin brother Louis Messina, Jr. on drums.
These guys are amazed by how far they have come
in the last year. They are truly a humble bunch
of guys. The twins grew up playing with another
brother, transitioning from video games to musical
instruments, then discovering a love for Black Sabbath
and Aerosmith. They then met up with England native
Lawlor and Bassist Dubois. There is a sincere love
of Stephen Tyler, who apparently had made an appearance
at the festival, which excited them greatly. These
guys seemed to me to be a bunch of fans that had
the fortune to find their way onto the stage. They
credit the city of Austin with helping them as a
band, As Lawlor noted, it is a city where one can
move and become an artist. And oh yeah, these guys
can play. Go check out “Love in our Hearts”,
and “Breakdown” on their page, www.myspace.com/electrictouchmusic.
They will be playing Bonnaroo, plus a bunch of other
dates. Go check them out, and go up and say hi.
And ask them if they know what the state insect
of New Mexico is.
Afterward, we made our way back to the Second stage
to check out The National.
For lack of a better term, I’ll call them
Orchestral Indie-Rock. Like Electric Touch, they
have a set of twins. Then they have another set
of brothers. I was impressed with the vocal melodies
and baritone of vocalist Matt Berringer. Orchestral
arrangements and reverb laden guitars came in, and
they entertained the crowd with their mellow brand
of carefree lounge pop. They played while the sun
began to set, and desert breeze made itself known.
They are going on tour with R.E.M. and Modest Mouse.
If you’re going, make sure you get there in
time to catch them.
After dinner washed down with vodka sodas while
The Ranconteurs played,
we made our way back to the outdoor to catch the
return of The Verve.
As to be expected, the crowd went nuts for the Brit-Poppers
best known release, “Bittersweet Symphony”,
plus all the other crowd favorites. I have no complaints
about the set. They came rehearsed and ready. The
Verve started with a few dates back in October 2007,
their first tour in a few years. A new album is
apparently in the works and should be out later
Than it was time for Serj
Tankian. For those who are not aware, Mr.
Tankian is the singer for System of a Down. System
has been on hiatus for a while, and in the interim,
Tankian has recorded an album entitled "Elect
the Dad." In my opinion, Tankian gave the best
performance of the day. The sound was perfect. Tankian's
voice is unmistakable and distinct. The sound is
very reminiscent of System, mainly because Tankian’s
voice is so distinct. The complex arrangements,
down-tuned guitars and general metal heaviness were
there. These were intertwined with the Armenian
folk melodies he is known to employ. Although I
enjoyed it a lot, and Mr. Tankian is definitely
a professional front man, It did make me miss System,
and it wasn’t that much different than a System
show. Unfortunately, I was not able to see Scars
on Broadway the following day. Scars encompass two
of Tankian’s former band mates, and I wanted
to do a comparison of the two bands. But alas, the
schedule did not permit. So, until SOAD comes back
for another tour, there is still Tankian, who can
fill your fix nicely. And hopefully, I’ll
catch Scars soon.
By now, it was 11:00, and time
to make the trek back in order to do it all over
again the following day.