Coachella review: Day one, part one – The Courteeners, We Are Scientists, Felix Da Housecat, White Lies

Indio, CA – Having lived in southern California for twelve years until moving to Texas in 2006, I have had the pleasure of attending the Coachella Music & Arts Festival a few times since its inception in 1999. One of those times was 2004, where fellow Panic Manual writer Ricky and a few other Torontonians flew out to go with me, a very memorable weekend!

I only went to the first two (out of three) days. Even though we weren’t granted press coverage for the event (boooo) and I am the only one of us that went, I’m going to review the crap out of it anyway. Friday was the day I was most excited for; even though I had already seen many of the bands I was on board right away. Sense a trend here, in reading my reviews? I’m kind of obsessive. Coachella is my all time favorite music festival for so many reasons, but mainly because the setting is absolutely perfect. Indio is a desert town nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa mountains, 150 miles east of LA. The festival is held on the polo fields there and I have yet to attend a musical function as beautiful and well organized as this one. It is put on with the fans in mind. Water is cheap and plentiful, in fact this year they introduced a new program where you could buy a logo water bottle for $10 and get unlimited free refills throughout the whole weekend. There’s tons of good food, and well-placed spots to lay on the grass in the shade or get a beer. I cannot recommend this festival enough, even if you don’t live anywhere near it. I feel it’s something any music lover should go to at least once in their life.

The Courteeners started things off on the main stage, even though I just saw them open for Morrissey last week I decided to check them out again. A decent sized crowd formed around us pretty quickly once they started. I really can’t wait for this band to do another album. I like St. Jude very much but I think their next effort has potential to be awesome; like I said previously, Liam Fray is a very talented lyricist and I think he will only get better. They got a good reception from the crowd and I enjoyed them as much as last week.

Out of laziness and lack of interest in anything else at the time, I stuck around the main stage area for southern California locals We Are Scientists. I remember liking them back when their second album came out in 2006, though I also remember Indie 103.1 (RIP, best radio station ever – though you can still listen to them online!) seriously overplayed a couple of their singles. Seeing them live was not at the top of my list but I’m glad I did, they really got the growing crowd moving despite the rising temperature, as no shade was to be had on that part of the field.

Next up I wandered over to the Sahara tent for my first dance act of the weekend, Felix Da Housecat. His remixes are always fun and I felt like dancing.. even though the tents get stuffy in the midday sun the place was packed and the crowd was loving it. One of the reasons I love Coachella so much is for these dance & electronica tents. Even though I’ve not always been a huge fan of electronic music – at least not as much as lately – somehow nothing wakes you up from a heat coma like setting foot in one of these tents. Being around fans that are SO EXCITED they can’t stop dancing is as infectious as it sounds. FDHC “played all the hits” as they say, and closed his set with a “Smells Like Teen Spirit” remix which was really interesting, but kind of anticlimactic.

White Lies were conveniently playing next, right across from where FDHC was. They were a surprise favorite of mine back at SXSW, but were given a really short set. I was happy to find that their time slot at Coachella was much longer. Unfortunately, the sound engineering gods were not smiling down upon them on Friday. They had problems during almost every song and while the band handled it more professionally than you’d expect, many angry looks and a few frustrated words were shot in the direction of the sound guy. They’ve been on the road for months now and Harry’s voice was a little worse for the wear but he still sounded good, and he’s still got my favorite voice among my personal top bands. As seems to be customary for this band, they were very appreciative of the fans who came by to see them, especially despite all the sound problems. I also have to give a shout out to Harry’s awesome shoes. He was wearing some pretty epic black & gold Nike hi-tops.

More to come….

Posted on by Alli in Concerts, Everything

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