Friday, May 11, 2007
CoachhellYEAH meets CoacHELLa
“Are you for real?” spilled in the direction of my non-uber hipster appearing self vs this white fruit of the loom, value village sought t-shirt and coffee stained khakis source, I’m lost, dumbfounded, so this is Hollywood. Content regardless, I’m not here to fulfill aspirations of five minutes of fame in the acting world, rather to descend upon Indio, California as a spastic music fan attending Coachella 2007. The festival connection was leaked two full days before commencement on a flight from Montreal to Los Angeles, as two Zeppelinesque teenagers and a musically inclined balding elder jabbered on about their excitement over the coming weekend’s events.
Upon the next sunrise, a scorching Thursday in the California sun, miles and miles of desert dirt was dismissed in favor of collapsing on the grass-stained grounds of Empire Polo Field, under contract to become a makeshift playground of music for the weekend. Delicately hauling our essentials into the camping grounds, had security check proclaiming “that’s an interesting shape” upon the touch of a 60 of Jack being conspicuously hidden in adjourning baggage, her sarcastic smirk being followed by “have a good time guys!”. With cheek-to-cheek grins in tow and believing our most difficult troubles accomplished, we trekked across four football fields of empty lot, soon to be beckoned with 6,000 festival goers fortunate enough to be in possession of a camping pass.
Plotting down our furnace tents we beheld the veterans to our right, sitting smitten with canopy, coolers, IPOD connected stereo, and pullback chairs. Lesson one learned, come more prepared than simply prepared. Consolation was quickly restored in grasping a possession of the essentials: alcohol, sun lotion and a yearning for live music. But, this night was set aside as a precursor allowing one to thrive in the glee of forthcoming shows, fully engulf the rapture of belonging to a select community of ecstatic patrons, enjoy the company you keep and to participate in what seemed a site wide thirst for tracking down the marijuana.
Thought we understood the forecasted heat and could slip by, until it slapped us awake Friday morning. Our sun endorsed cover had us on our feet and standing flat in sweat in a snap. Water, shower, water, power bar breakfast, swimming in sun lotion, time for losing rays in the distraction of sonic bliss. Unfortunately, the entrance staff made other plans, in fact the most painful decision to be had. Each day, feeling up every ticket holder led to standstill lines with some passing out and the rest of us cooking to well done in the sweltering heat, all preceding a chord of music.
After finally being herded in, scenery is ignored for a mad dash to the fog fans, shade tents and water sales. The latter of which made headlines and had a bewildered Coachellian stating “here normal people act like their homeless” in observing patrons rummaging through trash cans in response to the festivals offer of ‘return ten empty water bottles and receive a free new one’.
Why ramble on about H2O, the music the music!...sadly, at Coachella even music takes a bow to water. When it comes too hot to pretend its not hot kind of heat, even the toughest can’t stick it out. Between 12pm and 5pm, 65,000 took on part-time employment of battling to survive, post this with the sun tackled for another day, and the purple and orange acid flavored skyline taking hold of the pupils; a second wind was born, blossoming into a beautiful musical foreground.
With over 140 acts donning 6 stages running simultaneously over 3 days, questioning required, how much choice is too much? Conflicting interests made for many bitter decisions with similar tastes strutting their stuff in chorus. A choice was had, test marathon conditioning or calm frustration at missing an appetizer. Yet sadly, it seemed nothing was missed, with the stages placed within legs reach of another, sounds were bouncing around causing frequent distraction. Despite this, insert applause for twelve consecutive hours of music a day and religious adherence to the scheduled time slots, minus Air gracing the stage for only twenty minutes.
Although it proved challenging to enthusiastically take each in, there were no holes in the acts themselves, Interpol was well suited, Arctic Monkeys brought charming accent and won me over, Kings of Leon worked hard in kicking up some dirt, Cut Chemist did some magic tricks on the tables, Hot Chip saw many laid back taking a break in the shade, MSTRKRFT was as cheesy and delicious as one can swallow, Tapes N Tapes (pictured above) robbed all artists of the potential for standing out, The Rapture's late set, had many dancing from their aching backs and as Rage (below) took to the stage, seven years evaporated in an instant.
When all was entertained and burnt, there was no energy left to desire more. Matter of fact, it took the festival being over for one crazy Canuck to finally uncover shelter from the sky, pitching a tent inside the LAX airport. Finally, as my return flight landed in the mtl, and standing at baggage claim sadness kicked in about going back to the mundane life, a summation of the festival came trudging down the ramp in a bottle of sun tan lotion, solely checked in by someone clever enough to realize all that was needed for Coachella 2007. The little sun on the bottle reminding all, a year isn’t so far away, for some its time enough to lose a little heat stroke.
Labels: Music Manipulation