Predicting Coachella 2017: Hello old friends, acts due to return

 

By Leighton Ginn

Here’s a few acts I’ve caught at Coachella, which I hope will return.

At least, these are the acts I’m feeling right now. I’m sure there’s more I’ll be able to think of afterwards.

GROUPLOVE

 

I caught Grouplove both times they were at Coachella and they were fantastic performers, a hippy band with the energy of a death metal band.

I read somewhere that “Shark Attack” is a song they wrote from their first time at Coachella, so it only seems natural they would be a regular.

They released “Big Mess” this fall, so they’ll have new music.

Outside of Coachella, I caught them at the Troubadour and the Jimmy Kimmel Show and they never fail to bring the fun.

Looking at their tour schedule, they will end their spring tour on April 13 in Santa Cruz, Ca. The first weekend of Coachella begins April 14.

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS

Fitz and the Tantrums have been on a little unusual schedule at Coachella, as they never hit this festival right after releasing new music. It usually comes at the tail end of a run for a CD.

So last year, Fitz and the Tantrums didn’t play as they performed in 2015. And during 2016, they released their self-titled “Fitz and the Tantrum,” which included the hit “Handclap.” The LA Times declared it the song of the summer.

So far, the band doesn’t have its schedule made out for 2017, but if Coachella comes calling, you would expect the LA-based band will return.

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB

One of the great indie-rock bands, Two Door Cinema Club has come up with more of a pop sound in their new CD, “Gameshow.”

It shows their diversity, particularly with the disco sounds of “Bad Decision,” although some fans were still longing their indie-rock sound.

But even critics of the new sound can’t deny the songs are catchy. And Two Door Cinema Club has a deep catalog.

In their last Coachella performance in 2013 was dazzling.

THE KILLERS

The Las Vegas natives were dazzling headliners in 2009, sandwiched between Paul McCartney and the Cure. But that was the last time they played Coachella as a group, although lead singer Brandon Flowers has returned as a solo act.

The Killers will have new music in 2017, and a return to the Empire Polo Grounds would be an overdue return.

PETER BJORN AND JOHN

These guys are much more than the theme song to “Two Broke Girls.”

They are a great Swedish band. Admittedly, when they last played Coachella, it was after their first CD, and playing the main state seemed a little big for the trio.

But their sound got bigger and they’ve been even more dynamic.

In the summer, they released a new CD “Breaking Point” and played FYF festival on the USC campus.

While they have a great array of hits, I really loved this cover they did with the AV Club and wish they would include it on their setlists.

I caught them on the Sunset Strip the day before their FYF festival and they were glorious.

Looking back at Desert Trip, with thoughts on the future

 

By Leighton Ginn

INDIO — An ambitious and groundbreaking concert, the Desert Trip lived up to its huge expectations as it showcased six legends over two three-day weekends at the Empire Polo Grounds.

Before looking back on Weekend 2, here’s a look ahead.

WHO’S NEXT: It will be unfair to expect the promoters at Goldenvoice to have a lineup as legendary as this, with the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Who, Roger Waters and Neil Young.

But that will be the expectation. What kind of festival or acts can they attract that will draw 80,000 for a weekend, but also appeal to the older demographics with more disposable cash as Desert Trip has.

What it will be missing is the once-in-a-lifetime feel.

Some of the big-name acts that come to mind that could fill the shoes of this Desert Trip are Bruce Springsteen, U2, maybe even Foo Fighters.

It will be interesting which direction Goldenvoice will go.

CAN THIS FORMAT CONTINUE: The initial buzz was so great that they added the second weekend just minutes before tickets went on sale to meet the demand and they sold out both weekend with in a few hours.

The Empire Polo Grounds is a huge venue and even before Weekend 2, there were reports of tickets reselling well below market price.

So trying to do this format of just two acts each night might not be something maintainable. How many acts could fit the bill? I really can’t think of many remaining.

Not sure if Goldenvoice would try to do something similar to Coachella, especially since it would have to compete for acts with Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas and Austin City Limits in Texas around the same time.

WHY IS THERE ONLY ONE MERCHANDISE TENT?: So I was annoyed that the lines were always so long around the merchandise tent. The one day I went to the tent, I had to wait an hour.

The merchandise was great, and I would have bought more if the lines weren’t so insane. Looking at the other side of the equation, how much money did Goldenvoice and the acts lose out on?

Here are some thoughts.

  1. They need more merchandise tents and spread them out a little.
  2. Create an area where fans can window shop a little to see sizes and how the clothes will fit. It’s a drag to be in line while people are trying on different shirts. But you can’t blame them either.

The merchandise is also becoming a problem at Coachella. This year, I couldn’t get in to really look at stuff.

Now a look back at Desert Trip

BOB DYLAN

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It was a special night to catch Dylan because he was named the Nobel Prize winner earlier in the week.

Dylan sounded great.

But I’m not a diehard fan of his. It was disappointing there was no interaction with the fans, and the video cameras could only shoot his back.

Now this is par for course for Dylan. His fans accept it.

The highlight of the set was “Like A Rolling Stone,” which I learned later he hadn’t played much live in recent years.

A nice part of Dylan’s act was actually after he finished, as Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney gave him a shout out for his Nobel Prize.

ROLLING STONES

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This was a bucket list concert for me.

The Rolling Stones are a big-ticket concert, but the prize combined with the dates have made it tough for me to catch them over the years.

So when they came on, the goose bumps appeared.

And Jagger had the line of the weekend. “Welcome to the ‘Catch Them Before They Croak’ festival.”

The energy when the Stones played was phenomenal.

One of my favorite songs is “Paint It Black,” which I heard they didn’t play Weekend One.

For years, Mick has been the standard other lead singers have been judged by. At Desert Trip, Jagger showed why this standard is so high, and so unattainable for so many.

NEIL YOUNG

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Outside of “Keep On Rocking In The Free World,” I’m not really that familiar with Young. I know he was the Young in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but I never gravitated towards his music.

But this was a tremendous set and a lot of fun.

Now, he passed out some marijuana seeds, but I wasn’t close enough to get any, so that had no influence on this review.

One of the big moments during Young’s set was when he sang “Harvest Moon” during the full moon rising above the stage. It’s just one of those magical moments.

PAUL MCCARTNEY

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I saw the legendary Beatle in 2009, and McCartney just continues to amaze me with how good he is live.

I have this weird thing where I take McCartney for granted. I grew up with the Beatles music, studied it through junior high and high school, and always loved it.

Prior to the shows, I just think it will be OK. During the shows, I’m blown away.

McCartney also presented a Coachella moment when he brought out Rhianna, “The Empress of Barbados,” for their collaboration “FourFiveSeconds.” I just kept thinking, how did I miss this song? It was a fantastic song during an amazing moment. I did think that maybe McCartney might bring Kanye West out as well, but it didn’t happen.

Like he did the week before, McCartney also brought Neil Young to join him for two more songs. Another goosebump moment to see two legends together.

The big spectacular of McCartney’s set is the fireworks display during “Live and Let Die.” This time, it was accompanied with videos of Buckingham Palace blowing up in a “Independence Day” type of destruction. My joke is, who would have thought the crescendo of McCartney’s set would be built around a Wings song?

When McCartney plays, you are guaranteed a tremendous show. And I just thing we’re blessed that he’s carrying on the Beatles legacy in such grand fashion. And Wings’ legacy too.

 THE WHO

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This was the other bucket list concert for me. I love the Who, and I really love Pete Townshend.

To me, they were the most dangerous band in the festival, although most of the damage they’ve done was in the 60s. Weather it was Townshend smashing a guitar or setting off explosives to destroy the drums and Keith Moon’s hearing, the Who brings a certain edge.

These guys did not disappoint, even though no one got hurt and nothing got destroyed, from what I could tell.

This was the end of the tour, and with the magnitude of the event, I thought Townshend might destroy a guitar again. And at the end of their set, there was an anticipation they might. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one thinking that.

They had talked about maybe not touring anymore, but with their energy and electric performance, I hope that’s not the case.

ROGER WATERS

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So I grew up near the University of Arizona, the planetarium would always have a weekend laser light show and it was always to Pink Floyd. It was very popular with all my stoner friends.

I was surprised Waters would close Desert Trip. A friend and I thought it should have been the Who.

But Waters put on a spectacular show, with amazing sound system and a huge production.

At one point, Waters brought out that famous pig, which had sentiment opposing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. During “The Wall,” it crashed in my section and chaos ensued as people tore apart the pig. I was happy to say I got my own piece of the pig.

Politically, it appeared many fans agreed with Waters. There was an elderly lady who wore a red hat that said, “Make America Mexico Again,” and was taking pictures with many fans at the merchandise tent.

After 10 Coachella’s, my Top 10 show

 

By Leighton Ginn

Living in the Palm Springs area, going to Coachella is fairly easy since I don’t have to make travel arrangements. And thank God I don’t have to camp.

So going to Coachella has become an annual event. This is my look back at 10 of my favorite shows from my first 10 times at Coachella, which runs from 2003, and 2007-15. I did not include any from the 2016 show, but you can find my recap from those shows on the links below.

Coachella 2016, Day 1 recap

Coachella Day 2 recap: from great to legendary

Coachella Day 3 recap: Crazy fun

PRINCE (2008)

I grew up loving Prince’s music, so I was geeked when he was a late addition to the 2008 lineup, bumping Portishead as the main headliner.

And he did not disappoint.

The show opened with Morris Day and Jerome doing a quick medley of “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.”

Prince was decked out in white and had a funny pronunciation of Coachella that me and my friends still joke about today.

And he just killed it.

What is still talked about today is Prince’s amazing cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.”

There was also an amazing cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” by Prince’s backup singer Ledisi that blew my mind.

Sheila E was there was well pounding on the drums and also performed her hit “The Glamorous Life.”

It truly was legendary.

Dearly Beloved, We Are Gathered Today to Talk About Prince

THE HIVES (2003)

The first show I ever saw at Coachella and they had me hooked. They have the punk rock spirit I love and it’s just great Rock N Roll.

Their logo was “Your new favorite band,” which has been true since I’ve seen them play.

Lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist at one point yelled to one of the other stages to quiet down or he would kick their asses.

Guitarist Nichoulas Arson might be the most intense guitarist I’ve ever seen and he can really shred. He also brings a lot of charisma to match Almqvist.

They would also play again in 2012, and that was a great show, where they came out in full tuxedos and their roadies were dressed as ninjas. But I got caught in a mosh pit, which I’m too old for. But I’ve seen them several times, and dragged many of my friends to catch them. They never put on a bad show.

But there’s nothing quite like the first time.

Coachella acts that were worth the heat stroke

PAUL MCCARTNEY (2009)

A chance to watch a Beatle, and McCartney put on an amazing show that exceeded my expectations.

How McCartney continues to kick ass at his age is really amazing. I wasn’t blown away because he was able to perform so well at an AARP age. I was blown away by the showmanship.

He was on another level.

There were three moments during the show were McCartney dedicated songs to important people in his life: John Lennon, George Harrison and his wife Linda.

The day of the concert marked the 11th anniversary of the passing of Linda.

Later that year, there was the release of the Beatles’ Rock Band video game, and several of the graphics were used during McCartney’s show.

As the years go on, I gain even more appreciation for Paul. He was my favorite Beatle, and someone said he’s the keeper of the band’s music by performing live. I never thought about it that way before, but it’s very true.

Happy birthday Pete Townshend, here are some of my favorites

 

AMY WINEHOUSE (2007)

I was captivated by Winehouse the moment I saw her sing “Rehab” on David Letterman. She was a lot of fun and had a classic sound.

This was right before Winehouse blew up, so she played in a tent, and she rocked the joint. My friend was tripping out at the male backup singers, who were a lot of fun.

I remember on Letterman, Winehouse was in this little black dress and looked elegant with her beehive. At Coachella, it was cutoff jean shorts and a wife beater, but still the beehive. Kinda awesome.

She was a lot of fun and such a great voice.

Wow, it was just special. I’ve been to Coachella 10 consecutive years, and Winehouse was the first in this run.

Bands I’d like to see at Coachella 2017 who haven’t been there before

PHOENIX (2010)

On 2010, there was a volcano that forced several European bands to cancel because they couldn’t get a flight.

Luckily, the French band was already in America, but their lighting people didn’t make it.

So before the show, they apologized, but said they will do their best.

Well, we didn’t miss the lights because they put on a fantastic show.

They performed on the Outdoor Stage, so this was before their 2013 headlining set.

I have always said I love energy bands, and they generate it. But it’s not overt. They intrigue me with their certain je ne sais quoi.

 

VINTAGE TROUBLE (2013)

A rhythm and blues band that shreds so hard, you would think they’re on a mission from God.

Not a lot of people know them, but their music is fun, fast and furious.

They’re a great live band led by Ty Taylor, a force as a front man.

It’s old school and their kind of music is the roots of everything we love.

 

MARK RONSON (2008)

No one had any idea what this show was going to be line. Mark Ronson was just known as the producer of Amy Winehouse’s breakout CD “Back to Black,” and wasn’t a singer.

What he put together was a stirring show of jazzy, bluesy and soulful numbers

Joining him on stage were a bunch of great singers. One that stuck with me is Sam Sparro, as it was the first time I heard his hit “Black and Gold.”

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE (2015)

I saw Florence two times at Coachella, but picked her most recent performance because of her surprising effectiveness.

I had tickets to Weekend 2, and the week before she had broken her foot jumping off the stage.

So Florence did her whole show from a chair, and was a captivating show. It’s also a testament to her voice and songwriting.

One of the surprises was her having Father John Misty as they sang, of course, “Love Hurts.”

A performance from Florence + The Machine that will bring you to tears

 

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS (2012)

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One of my favorite bands, this was their debut at Coachella. Playing on the main stage, Fitz and the Tantrums captivated in support of their debut album.

I had caught them several times, and each time, they gave a great performance. I really admired the professionalism of the whole band to insure the put on a great show each time because they toured a lot. But the energy was always high.

This was at the tail end of their touring to support “Pickin’ Up The Pieces,” their debut CD. It was during this show where they gave a sneak peak performance of “Out Of My League,” which would be the first hit from their next CD, “More Than Just A Dream.”

 

CAPITAL CITIES (2014)

The energy was crazy for this set.

Capital Cities came out in colorful blazers, belted out numerous danceable hits and had a trumpet player that was fantastic.

They were so fun.

 

Honorable mentions: CAGE THE ELEPHANT (2009), SHE AND HIM (2010), WOLF GANG (2012), TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB (2013), NEW ORDER (2013), GROUPLOVE (2012), MADNESS (2012), HOCKEY (2010), FOSTER THE PEOPLE (2014), AC/DC (2015), JACK WHITE (2015), HAERTS (2015)

Hit it and quit it at Coachella: The one-time wonders

Wolf Gang at Coachella

Last week, it was announced on social media that the British group Wolf Gang was breaking up, which was unfortunate for me as they were one of my favorites at Coachella in 2012, which might have been one of the best of the festival from top to bottom.

Another inspiration is the release of the biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” the story of Dr. Dre and NWA. It just reminded me of the blowout rap showcase Dr. Dre put on with Snoop Dog during their headlining set in 2012 that provided the iconic moment of the festival.

Here’s a look at my top one-time wonders.

PRINCE: The purple one arguably took Coachella to another level, placing it at the top of the festival circuit when he played in 2008.

Being a child of the 80s, he was one of the biggest acts and most talented performers. And he did not let anyone down. He opened the show with Morris Day and Jerome doing a little medley of “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.” Sheila E banged on drums and sang “The Glamorous Life,” and a woman with a phenomenal voice, Ledisi, covered Sarah McLachan’s “Angel.”

And Prince was amazing.

One of the standouts from the show was covering Radiohead’s “Creep.” And he also hit the biggies like “Little Red Corvette,” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” just to name a few.

PAUL MCCARTNEY: Pretty cool to have a Beatle headline your festival.

Honestly, going in, I wasn’t that excited because I wasn’t sure how good McCartney would sound. Boy, was I surprised.

We grew up hearing those songs, but what a joy to hear them live. And the night also had it’s emotional moments, when McCartney dedicated “My Love,” to his wife Linda who passed away 11 years earlier, and two other songs to fallen Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison.

This was the year when they released the Beatles “Rock Band” video, although the announcement came afterwards. but much of the video used was also for the game, providing a nice sneak peak.

There were rumors that Harrison’s son Dhani might join Paul on stage, but that was not to be.

AMY WINEHOUSE: This was the ninth consecutive year I’ve been to Coachella, and the first one to kickoff this streak was Amy Winehouse. I went that year specifically to see her after catching her performance of “Rehab” on David Letterman. A great throwback style, fantastic voice and great performer, Winehouse did not disappoint and announced she would be a force in the music industry.

Unfortunately, this bright star burned out quickly. She was supposed to play in 2009, but Winehouse’s demons had caught up with her by then.

WOLF GANG: Carson Daly described their sound as symphonic pop and it certainly did fit Wolf Gang. I liked them so much, I went to the Troubadour in Los Angeles to catch them again six months later on their headlining tour.

Wolf Gang won me over with their song “The King and All of His Men,” a song you can’t help but start moving your feet. They were the first band to kickoff the 2012 festival, playing around noon or 1 p.m. (it escapes my memory), and I figured they would be back, playing much later in the lineup. Unfortunately, it won’t be happening.

Am I the only one to thing lead singer Max McElligott looks like Jude Law? I think these guys will go down as cult classics of the festival scene.

It’s out of focus, but here’s the video I caught of them at Coachella.

Neon Trees and Coachella

NEON TREES: It’s a shame they haven’t been back. They really exploded after their 2011 performance. And unfortunately, Neon Trees were in a tent as The Strokes and Kanye West were performing at the main stage. But it was a treat to catch them in an intimate setting and Tyler Glenn came out with one of the most tricked-out Mohawk you’ll ever see.

They shared a great story about how a few years ago, they were in the parking lot, passing out their homemade CDs and dreaming of someday playing Coachella.

The show was phenomenal. Since then, their image has been a little more bubble gum, and not as edgy as they were that night. It was really fun.

DR. DRE AND SNOOP DOG: The iconic rappers put on a showcase that included Eminem, 50 Cent and other rap royalty.

The place was hopping with Dre and Snoop. It was off the hook.

But everyone remembers hologram Tupac. It was perhaps the iconic moment of Coachella 2012. Hell, maybe the most iconic moment of Coachella.

BLACK KIDS: I missed these guys and really regretted it in 2008. I didn’t learn about them until afterwards. Their CD, “Partie Traumatic,” was a terrific CD that included the hits “I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You,” and “Look At Me (When I Rock With You).”

They were an indie darling and “Rolling Stones” dubbed them a band to watch. But they haven’t done a follow up CD, although they said they started recording in 2010 and again in 2013. They did tour again in 2013, but nothing since. Hopefully they will return.

Here is their performance on David Letterman.

Did I miss any other one-time wonders that I should have included? Let me know.