Posted by: martinworster | October 13, 2007

79. COACHELLA

Glastonbury in the desert with loads of British bands…and lots of silly rules.

For those that don’t know, Coachella is basically the West Coasts Glastonbury in the desert and considering the line up read like a second British Invasion I was certainly up for some action. The heat was unbearable. It was bone crushing, energy draining, like nothing you’ve experience before, which doesn’t help when traipsing round dusty fields listening to the latest indie upstarts. We camped, waking up in the morning I felt like I’d spent the night in a sauna where a donkey had crapped in my mouth.

The first day produced the first dilemma. Arctic Monkeys had a schedule clash with Amy Winehouse. We opted for the Monkeys, who played to a hard to please mid-day crowd. But then I suppose the heat would make the biggest fans adverse to showing too much enthusisam, even raising your little finger in that heat required gargantuan energy reserves. That was one criticism of the weekend, it lacked that ‘avin it atmosphere I was used to with British festivals.

The nu wave British invasion bands I saw were; The Fratellis, Hot Chip, Pop Levi, The Feeling, Kaiser Chiefs, Klaxons, Lily Allen and The Kooks. NME readers would be creaming their pants. Older wave British acts I saw were; Jesus and Mary Chain, Jarvis Cocker and The Good, The Bad and The Queen. Other acts I saw; Bjork, Busdriver, Kings Of Leon, Arcade Fire, Blonde Redhead, LCD Soundsystem, Peter Bjorn & John, The Roots.

Acts who were playing who I didn’t get to see but would have liked to; Digitalism, Felix Da Housecat, Peaches, Rufus Wainwright, Brazilian Girls (especially in thongs), !!!, Justice, Crowded House, Placebo, Air, Soulwax, Happy Mondays (recently reformed), CSS.

Other acts I didn’t see and was pleased I didn’t; Travis.

Musically it was amazing. The festival programmers really know their stuff and it was great to see such a lot of up and coming British bands in one place. Standouts for me were Lily Allen (nervous but fun, my Islington girl next door), LCD Soundsystem (totally having it, cow bells, indie rave magic) and Pop Levi (Mick Jagger meets Marc Bolan in an Old Compton Street funk dive).

It being America there were some silly rules in effect. First was the fact you could only sip alcohol in the ‘designated drinking areas’ dotted around the site, mostly away from the stages. So no supping beer whilst watching your favourite band. That was odd and in my opinion totally ridiculous and unecessary.

Then on day two I had a pen on me which I use for note taking was confiscated as I walked in. The security said that there has been a case of graffiti the day before. I tried to explain how it would be hard to scrawl graffiti using a Bic biro but he wasn’t having it. I wondered what he thought I’d do, write ‘I woz ere’ in the toilets?

Then on the final night as we were sleeping a police helicopter was circling the campsite at four in the morning. A policeman called down with a loudspeaker. ‘Disperse! If you do not disperse you will be arrested! Please leave!’ I wondered what was going on. Did that mean I had to leave? Would I be arrested unless I dispersed from my tent. I could hear the feint thud of drums. It later transpired the police were concerned over a group who were playing drums in a circle, a gathering of social degenerates and criminals in their minds. That’s the spirit! I wonder what the US police would make of the thousands of drum bangers out of their nuts on LCD and Ketamine who congregate at Glastonbury’s Stone Circle. Quick, call in the army, spray em with tear gas and if that don’t work napalm the fuckers!

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