Coachella Streaming Review: Postal Service, April 13-15, 2013

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment


The Panic Manual has fallen on hard economic times lately, and despite having members of our blog attend Coachella in previous years, we were unable/unwilling to send anyone to Coachella for the music extravaganza this year. Just take a look at our estimated costs for sending both a writer and a photographer:

- two flights from YYZ to Palm Springs: $1300
– taxi to and from Coachella grounds – $50
– camping ground fee – $85
– sunscreen – $25
– meals – $200
– drugs – $100
= too much

However, we absolutely pride ourselves on being a reputable source of music and festival reviews in and around the world, so we decided to review Coachella anyway. I was going to do more then one review, but as you can see, this one is too long already.

The Postal Service

One of the biggest acts on the Coachella bill was the newly reunited Postal Service, featuring the newly divorced Ben Gibbard and DNTEL, who could be delivering your pizza tomorrow and you wouldn’t even recognize him. I wonder if the recent divorce with Zooey Deschanel and the subsequent rise of her show had anything to do with Ben Gibbard’s decision to resurrect the one thing he did that a bunch of non emo kids would recognize. Why didn’t anyone book She & Him in the same time slot? Would that not have been the best thing ever?

While Postal Service’s epic album Give Up was indeed one of the defining moments of early 2000’s (it should be sold in a companion pack with the first season of the OC and Garden State dvd), I wasn’t quite sure how it would translate live. More importantly, I wasn’t sure how the minimal twee-electro sounds of the band would translate live, then to a streaming 500×400 screen on my laptop then to me, sitting on my couch, half drunk. I had my doubts. More importantly, I wanted to make sure I didn’t make a mistake not paying 65 dollars to go see them at the Air Canada Center in about two months. I wasn’t quite sure if the crowd was anticipating this set, because the camera was just focusing on the stagehands. It is one of the many downsides I found when watching via streaming youtube channels. Here’s a list

Disadvantages to watching Coachella via Streaming vs actually being there

  • Lack of crowd excitement/buildup: the camera’s are only focused on the stage. I can’t get excited because the crowd is excited, therefore, I am less excited
  • Inconsistent camera work: One minute, I am behind the stage, the next, I am in front of the stage. The next minute, I am 300 feet back. The next minute, I am in the air. Dude, I am not Nightcrawler, how am I suppose to get into it and pretend I am there if I’m switching viewing locations every 30 seconds
  • Not quite loud enough: Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t quite get the audio of my laptop quite up to the ear splitting levels of a music festival. Even if I did, my roommate who was sleeping would have yelled at me and I would have had to turn it down
  • Eye candy: Coachella is becoming more and more about people watching. If I’m at home, I can’t just look around and try to spot Kate Upton or Katy Perry in the crowd. This makes it very un-coachella.

The Postal Service took the stage around the time Weekend Update came on for SNL. I was pleased to notice that they had a live band with them, including former child actress Jenny Lewis as the backing vocalist (she also toured with them in 2003). The classic the District Sleeps Alone Tonight started off the set. It was nice to see Ben Gibbard animated behind his microphone and he did sing the tune with a restrained gusto, but to me, it just sounded like a slightly different version of the album version. Maybe I was expecting too much. I wasn’t quite into it. We Will Become Silhouettes followed and I expected the quicker tempo of that track to move me a bit more. It didn’t. I was quite dismayed. Perhaps a drink was in order. Luckily, the drink lineup was short at my apartment and I was able to make it back for the next song. Sleeping In is one of my favorite tracks off Give Up but once again, I didn’t find myself quite moved by the live rendition. At this point, I was losing momentum. The crowd only seemed moderately excited, but I could only see the first row of people, who by this time no doubt, was completely exhausted from being in the sun all day and being crushed by the people behind them. It was at this point I wondered if watching streaming videos of a music festivals was really the way to go. Festivals are a matter of endurance, and sometimes, during the times when you are tired, the sheer excitement of the crowd can lift you up. At home, when you are tired, you just go to bed. Which is basically what I did after they played “Such Great Heights”, easily one of the anthems from the past decade. Like previous songs, it sounded great, but it didn’t necessarily sound like it would be a great live experience. I guess I wasn’t really watching it live anyway, since I was at home. As I reflected on my forty five virtual minute journey to Indio, I did come up with some positives.

Advantages to watching Coachella via Streaming vs actually being there

  • Climate control
  • Cheap beer prices plus no lineup for bathroom/beer
  • Clean toilets (unless you are dirty)
  • Always a good view/no tall guy blocking your view
  • Smells better
  • Takes about 30 seconds from the stage to your bed
  • Can watch in pajamas
  • 1 click away from watching another act vs walking 20 minutes
  • Cheaper


Despite the comforts of home, I can’t really recommend watching a live stream at home versus being there. It’s so hard to full comprehend a live show over a small screen. Even though the Postal Service sounded nothing more then a more organic recording of their album, I didn’t get to experience all the other aspects of a concert to fully judge it. Maybe next year, they will have youtube 3d and I can actually feel like being there or something. Until then..stick with going to concerts.

Concert Review: Coachella, May 1st-2nd, 2004 [Radiohead, Pixies, The Cure, Kraftwerk, Flaming Lips]

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Taken from my livejournal account circa 2004:


Hi readers! How’s it going? I just got back from LA / Palm Springs after a weekend trip to go to this music festival called Coachella. I think this is the fourth year they run it, and it’s super cool!!. Not a lot of people but excellent bands. I really hope it stays this way and doesn’t expand into some random two week thing or go on a cruise ship or something. LOL. Who does that? I don’t know, I have a lot of imagination. Anyways, let’s take it from the top.

Haha look how nerdy me and Derek are, with our ipods and all. I freaking love using that wheel. Don’t ever change that Apple, it can’t get any better then this.

So instead of camping at Palm Springs, we decided to rent a hotel room. We had a great idea to bring an air mattress, but no one brought a pump so we had to use a gas station to pump it. So clever. Can’t wait until Coachella tomorrow! My first ever music festival. Who knows if I’ll ever go to one ever again.

Day 1

First of all, it is freaking hot in Palm Springs. Why would Coachella put a festival in the middle of the desert in May!? They should move it to April or something, but we all have dreams. We all have dreams.

I started off the day by checking out Stellastarr*, they are this up and coming rock act from New York city. My Coco and Jenny are great tracks, I am pretty sure we are going to see a lot from them in the future. I discovered them by going to some band I liked on and then clicking on “similar artist”. Can’t think of a better way to find bands I like. Anyways, check them out.

Beck was freaking packed, and it’s also 4 pm which is arguably the hottest time of the day. I am going to seek refuge in the shade somewhere. I probably shouldn’t drink beer. Oh what the hell. What’s that famous phrase people use? you only live once? no that’s not it.. life is short, play hard! Yes, from Reebok. Of course.

You see that on the stage right there? That’s the freakin Pixies! I heard they reformed just for Coachella. They were great – Debaser, Wave of Mutilation and Here Comes the Man all got the crowd singing. What a moment, surely a once in the lifetime event.

Radiohead was awesome as well, but they are always awesome. Kraftwerk? mind blowing. What a light show.

The only downside to the whole event was that it took two freakin hours to get out of the parking lot.

Day 2

Kind of exhausted from Day 1, we decided to hit up the hotel restaurant first and slowly mosey our way towards the grounds.

We arrived just around 3:30 and met our friend Pete, who checked out this local Toronto band called Broken Social Scene. Who goes to Coachella to go see local music? Pete does. I made my way over to the main stage to check out Muse, who originally began as a Radiohead cover band. Well not really, but check out Showbiz and tell me it’s not The Bends part 2. I hope they are able to find ways to sound different with their next album but who knows with these bands.

It’s still super hot, I wish my friends back home could know how hot it was. If only there was some way for me to convey these feelings to them online at this very moment of time. Sigh. The girls at the stands are letting you soak your towel in cold water for 1 dollar. I have been doing this all day.

Couldn’t quite decide on the Killers or the Thrills, but since The Thrills excel at upbeat surf type rock, decided to check that out. Killers are kinda new, and playing the smallest tent, so I’m sure it can’t be that good. I bought a wicked BRMC shirt, because let’s face it, BRMC are the coolest people on Earth, except today, I don’t know if the all leather look is going to be good for this weather.

Belle & Sebastian at sunset. Doesn’t really get better then this. Unless I see them open for Pulp or something. If only.. haha.

Frickin broke my sunglasses dancing to Basement Jaxx. Goddamn it. I guess this is growing up.

Hamster balls! floating balls! giant hands! confetti guns! dancing mascots! That, ladies and gentleman, are the Flaming Lips. I think they were on 90210 once, and this Soft Bulletin record is pretty good. Their show – amazing. They didn’t sing Waiting for Superman though.

I am glad they didn’t book The Cure during the day, or fat Bob’s face would have looked like olive and cheese pizza you take out of the oven. I am a bit pissed that they booked Le Tigre on stage next to The Cure, as I can hear them whenever fat Bob does a quiet song.

We left before the encore to beat the traffic.

Overall, Coachella seems like a fun festival. They don’t really have many festivals like this in North America, which is a shame. Anyways, talk to you later!

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Friday Top 10: 10 Reasons to Get Excited About Coachella

Posted on by Ricky in Friday Top 10 | 2 Comments

This week, the 2012 music festival season officially kicked off with Coachella making their lineup announcement. This, of course, was followed by your Facebook newsfeed being bombarded with comments about people who are “so going this time” and the other people saying “I’ve already been there, and the lineup was better in (fill in year)”. Whether you decide to go or not is of no interest to us, but being in the amateur music promotion industry, we figure we would provide you with some reasons to get excited about this annual Palm Springs party.

10. Jimmy Cliff doing Rancid Covers

When people think of Jimmy Cliff, they thing of the song I Can See Clearly Now, a cover of a Johnny Nash song that was on the soundtrack of surprise hit movie Cool Runnings. What people don’t know is that Jimmy Cliff is more or less a reggae legend with ties back to the 60s. Last year that Jimmy Cliff worked with Tim Armstrong, of all people, and released an album of covers called Sacred Fire. One of the tracks he covered was the Rancid track Ruby Soho. Guess what? Both Jimmy Cliff and Tim Armstrong are on the bill for Coachella. Should be quite the show.

Jimmy Cliff – Ruby Soho by rocketboy75

9. Celebrities

Did you know Palm Springs is close to Hollywood? Every year, Coachella is populated with endless young celebrities, frolicking about the campgrounds and trying to pretend they are normal. Just check out this popsugar or ONTD article of people at last year’s Coachella – Twilight actors, reality tv stars, the Transporter, Iron Man. They are all there. If you worship celebrities and enjoy music, there’s no better place of convergence. Plus, if you are lucky, you can hold up Tara Reid’s hair while she vomits.

8. Refused

Of all the bands reuniting to play Coachella, Refused are probably one of the least likely, but also one of the most anticipated. With their seminal record The Shape Of Punk To Come, they really did innovate the sound of punk/hardcore and even though they’ve spawned countless inferior imitators, it doesn’t really take away from the impact of that record. This will be the set a lot of people will be buzzing about afterwards.

7. At the Drive In

Like Refused, another unexpected reunion that will attract hordes of fans who didn’t manage to catch them the first time around along with those who did and want to relive the moment.

6. James

One of my favorite bands – James is playing Coachella. I’ve seen them a bunch of times and there’s no denying that they will steal whatever time slot they get. I salivate at the thought of them playing the track Laid live in a massive field. Everyone will sing along, it will be bonkers.

What’s even MORE salivating is this fact: American Reunion is released April 6, Coachella is a week after. Now as you know from this American Pie trailer:

Jame’s Laid is prominently featured in the trailer and for better or for worse, will forever be associated with this song in North America. Given the movie’s release date and the date of Coachella, can’t you imagine some kind of crazy cross promotion thing happening? Wouldn’t it be cool? Not sure if the Hollywood people are that smart though.

Anyways, James will be absolutely amazing either way and would definitely be a reason to get excited about Coachella. I was just staring at that picture of American Reunion and was wondering..what happened to these guys? I mean, that movie was huge in the 90s and you would think their careers would have gone somewhere big after that. I don’t think it has. Let’s take a look at the careers of the people in that picture (starting top left, going clockwise)

Rookie of the Year – That dude starred in the dumbest baseball movie in a long time (which was a hit) but then I don’t think he did anything after American Pie. I don’t even know his name.

Mena Suvari – Might have pulled the topless card too early in American Beauty, but that movie was a big hit and people thought she was going to be a big star from then on. Hard to believe Annette Benning/Chris Cooper has had the best post-American Beauty career of all the prominent actors involved in that one.

Guy who sleeps with Stiffler’s Mom – Where is he now? is he even an actor or someone’s best friend who landed a part? I don’t know.

Chris Klein – I remember he starred in some lame ass tragic rom com where he or his girlfriend has a terminal disease or something. His career faded faster than his hairline.

Stiffler – playing the same role over and over must be fun.

Tara Reid – Tabloid fodder. I don’t recall her being in any other movie besides Big Lebowski. However, she is a good lesson of what the harsh Hollywood party scene can do.

Jason Biggs – I think he was in some CBS sitcom last year with the girl from Scrubs, can’t really remember anything else he did.

Alyson Hannigan – By far the most successful one here, Lily from HIMYM, Willow in Buffy.

So basically, only one out of 8 had a decent career. Let’s not even count the meth addict who was found in a dumpster somewhere a few years ago in New York. Where am I going with this? I don’t know. Let’s move on.

5. Bands frolicking about during the week in between shows

Since Coachella is taking place over the course of two weekends, the question that needs to be asked is: What the hell are bands doing the week between shows? Some may play other shows around California/Arizona/Nevada, but there’s gotta be a fair amount of bands staying in Palm Springs for some chill times. If you are in Palm Springs for the week, it would definitely be interesting to see when you run into a band member. Maybe M83 goes bowling? Maybe you’ll run into the Black Keys at Walgreens. You might run into the Weeknd at the liquor store. The possibilities are endless.

4. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

The ultimate west coast rappers playing the ultimate west coast concert. Expect the two hip hop veterans to pull out all the stops for this show. If you have ever wanted to experience what it’s like to get high via second hand smoke, just stand in the middle of the pit for about fifteen minutes.

3. Radiohead

It goes to show you just how great Radiohead is that they are once again headlining Coachella. Here is a band that has never broken up/reunited, has never had long periods between records and still, the mere mention of seeing them live sends shivers up most people’s spines. An excellent model of consistency partnered with an excellent discography that is unlike any other. Radiohead always brings their A game to the stage and there is no reason to believe that Saturday night’s headlining slot will once again fill the desert sky with the ethereal sounds coming from one of the premier bands on Earth.

2. Pulp

I’m not sure if this will be their stateside debut, but you can be sure there will be a few thousand people in Palm Springs who have waited a long time to hear Pulp live. This will be followed by surely the most epic singalong of Coachella. That of course, will be Common People, a timeless song about class struggles that will still hit home for people listening to it for the first time fifty years from now.


In true Hollywood fashion, we will play this one out and reveal this next week. (Trying to get ratings)

Song of the Day: Dr. Dre – The Next Episode

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

When the Coachella lineup was announced this week, a few names clearly stood out- Pulp, James, At the Drive In, Refused and Dr. Dre. It’s been awhile since the former NWA member, headphone maker and head of Aftermath records has been in the spotlight, but as one of the pioneers of the 90s G Funk sounds (a sound that dominated hip hop at the time) it was a pleasant surprise that Dre has decided to enter the spotlight once again.

Which brings us to the last time Dre made a “come back”. The song The Next Episode was one of the memorable hip hop beats in the early 2000s. It was part of Dre’s return to hip hop dominance after a sabbatical that also coincided with some issues with various record labels. With a new prodigy named Emimem by his side and Snoop back in the fold, Dre quickly grabbed the hipnhop mantle once again and this was one of the tracks that led to it.

Maybe it’ll happen again.

Anyways, this track still rules.

Here’s the video. I’ve always wanted to be that random guy in a hip hop video that’s always a little too happy to be on screen and only says ‘Yeah’ or ‘uh huh’ the whole time.