Coachella 2011 Day One Report – Cut Copy, Odd Future, Tame Imapala, Interpol, and more | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Coachella 2011 Day One Report – Cut Copy, Odd Future, Tame Imapala, Interpol, and more

Plus Cee Lo Green, Gayngs, Ariel Pink, Cold Cave, and others

Apr 17, 2011 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Robyn
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Day one of Coachella 2011 displayed several improvements over last year. There was less of a crowd (even though it was sold out this year, they put more of a limitation on how many tickets could be sold). Security was tighter and parking seemed less of a pain. And it even seemed as though the Mojave and Gobi tents were a little bigger this year and able to accommodate more fans. Highlights of the day included two bands from down under and some soft rockers; where-as two notable artists stormed off the stage.

A lot of moody (and some might say gloomy) artists played earlier in the day, their dark tones decidedly in contrast with the scorching and bright desert weather—Hurts, Cold Cave, Titus Andronicus, and The Drums, for example. U.K.’s Hurts, who were buzzed about in the British press last year for their Pet Shop Boys meets New Order single “Wonderful Life,” were clad in black suits and vests. “This song is about my dead best friend,” explained The Drums’ frontman Jonathan Pierce, to which the crowd strangely cheered (Is that an appropriate reaction?). Pierce did his best Morrissey meets Ian Curtis meets Jarvis Cocker impression as he flailed about the stage. Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles was clad in black and had a thick beard that must’ve been uncomfortable in such hot conditions. A small American flag hung off his guitar and the New Jersey-based band made quite a punk racket with their songs about The Civil War. All of these bands might’ve been better received in a nighttime setting.

One of the most hyped and anticipated sets of the day was from Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. The hip-hop collective were notorious for their rowdy shows—what crazy shit will go down this time? Well, based on the first third of their set that we saw, not much at all. There was lots of profanity and a bit of stage diving, pretty standard stuff. The Odd Future crew was angry, aggressive, energetic (one song could be described as speed-rap), and had great stage presence, but perhaps they were a victim of their own hype. Really, what could they have done to live up to such a rep, set the stage on fire or something? Before they took the stage an announcer promised, “You all better be ready for anything because this is an Odd Future Wolf Gang show.” We were ready, but perhaps we were expecting too much and nothing too out of the ordinary happened. Interpol’s Paul Banks and Titus Andronicus’ Stickles were both spotted at Odd Future. While we were waiting for Odd Future we had to suffer through the end of Skrillez’s trance-terrible dance set, in which he brought out special guests Korn. Really?! Who at Coachella is eager to see Korn (or anyone nu-metal for that matter)? Similarly, Lauryn Hill graced the main stage later in the afternoon and seemed like a weird fit for the Coachella crowd.

Just before Hill was Cee-Lo Green, who apparently showed up 30 minutes late, seemingly fresh from the airport. Thus the soul singer only played four songs, dedicating “Fuck You” to Coachella for cutting his set short and also not originally scheduling him later in the day. He did perform his hit with Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy,” which he called a cover. “They’re fucking rushing me. There’s only one more song we can do…I’m fucking pissed too man,” Green said before ending with “Fuck You.” “Put your middle fingers in the air.” After “Fuck You” Green and his band tried to launch into another song, but his sound was literally cut off. As his band still played on the video screens (but we heard nothing of it), Green stormed off the stage.

Ariel Pink also reportedly off stage during his band set. I didn’t witness this first hand, only seeing the band’s first two or three songs, in which they were in good form. But Ariel Pink, had a crazy nest of hair and wore cheap looking red sunglasses, apparently stormed off the stage mid-way through his set, forcing his keyboardist to sing lead vocals.

At almost the same time, Tame Impala were performing at the outdoor theater, which was strange scheduling as it seems like the two bands would share several fans and the members of Tame Impala told me earlier in the day that they were bummed they were playing the same time as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, as they really wanted to see their set. The sound of Aussies Tame Impala was a perfect fit for the desert setting, and they played just as the sun was preparing to set. Kevin Parker, sported a headband and the band’s slightly modern spin on great old-fashioned psychedelic rock and roll, made it briefly feel like we were at some 1960s rock festival instead. Tame Impala had a nice late afternoon vibe and really got into a groove, and were the first highlight of the day.

With night now fallen, Interpol did their thing on the main stage, aided by an impressive video display in which the band was filmed in different ways (black and white, fuzzy black and white, everything looks red), Interpol ripped through their back catalogue, unafraid to play a crowd-pleasing set, that included a lot of early songs. Unfoundedly, the video screen camera, focused too long on a girl upfront, who seemed bored, and was really just waiting to see Kings of Leon, or some other band. Interpol also seemed a little bored. Paul Banks barely said anything to the audience, and the band’s last song wasn’t particularly noteworthy. Interpol were certainly effective, but they put on more engaging performances in the past.

Cut Copy was the second highlight of the day. The Australians, who are on the Modular label with Tame Impala, played to a completely packed crowd, in the Mojave tent, and could have easily performed on a larger stage. Everyone was singing along, and jumping up and down, to such a songs as “Take Me Over,” and they were generally the most enthusiastic crowd, of the day.

The Black Keys, did their best to command the main stage, as the drums and guitar duo, and were marginally successful. Meanwhile, back at the Mojave tent, Robyn seemed to be channeling the early 90s, both in terms of her music, dance style, and her outfit. The Swedish dance-pop princess was very animated and fun, but it was all a bit cheesy—it reminded us of Ace of Base.

The night finally closed with the third and final highlight of the day, Gayngs, also in the Mojave tent. Before their set, part-time member Har Mar Superstar, passed out Gayngs balloons to the audience. The tent was only a third-full, with many opting to leave the festival early, (really, if you weren’t a Kings of Leon, Robyn, or Chemical Brothers fan, there wasn’t much else to see, in the two hours before Gayngs’ midnight set). But those who did stick around were appreciative of the band’s sax-tastic soft-rock sound. It was a nice, late-night smooth-groove session. Ryan Olson, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Ivan Howard (The Rosebuds), and friends. “Hey Coachella, it’s Har Mar. We are here, you are on drugs, let’s do this,” Har Mar Superstar said. Clad in a white cloak, Har Mar surprised us all by showing that he can actually really sing soul, when he led the band in a cover of, George Michael’s “One More Try.” When Ivan Howard, “I’ve Been Walking For Days,” perhaps that’s how the audience felt, at the end of their first day of Coachella.



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