Coachella: Day 3

Ah, the bittersweet feelings of arriving at the Empire Polo Field, knowing it was the final day of the beauteous Coachella. The day itself was much more tolerable, thanks to some clouds taking some of the sting away from that fiery sun. Coachella 2008 was very good to me, and I’m happy to have taken the California plunge.

We walked in and immediately noticed that the place seemed much less crowded than it had Friday and Saturday. I’m pretty sure Sunday was considered the least exciting day of the festival by a lot of people, but even so. Stars was playing on the Coachella Stage when we arrived, and they sounded lovely.

First band of the day was Autolux, and I’ve gotta say I was disappointed. They sounded good, it wasn’t anything technical. But they just didn’t seem that into it. We’ve all seen shows where the band just goes through the motions, and that felt like what was going on with Autolux. Maybe the heat was getting to them, but then again, I hadn’t seen such lack of enthusiasm all weekend. And it was hotter the previous two days. Whatever it was, I was a little let down. They're so good on record...

Next was the set I had probably been looking forward to more than any band save for the Verve: Spiritualized. Main man Jason Pierce had been deathly ill in recent years (I do believe it was double pneumonia), and I was thrilled to learn that he had recovered and was gigging again. For those of you less familiar with Spiritualized, it’s pretty much the brainchild of Pierce, with a rotating cast of musicians helping him as he decides he needs them. For Coachella, he brought his own Robert Palmer girls; a black-clad string section and black-clad backup singers, along with another token male on keyboard duties. The set was initially plagued by the sound guy from hell, who messed up the sound on the first three songs, prompting one member of the crowd to yell “fire the sound guy,” a plea that was emphatically cheered by the rest of us. But things got sorted out, and the show went on, and it was beautiful. It was a very pretty, gentle set, the first time I’ve seen a stripped-down Spiritualized show. I did miss the full fury of a typical show, but the closing cover of Edwin Hawkins’ “Oh Happy Day” was magnificent, and the whole set, sound issues and all, was the best of the day for me.

After the transcendent Spiritualized set, we took in a little My Morning Jacket, over at the Coachella Stage. They sounded glorious, which I guess is par for the course for them. They had a rather large crowd hanging on their every note.

We sat ourselves down on the grass for some of the Love and Rockets set. I’ve never been a big fan, but they were really, really good. Very much rock, and very enjoyable indeed. I felt inspired to perhaps give them some room in my iPod.

Next up was nearly two hours dancing up a storm in the Sahara tent, first for the raucous and humorous Modeselektor, and then for dastardly duo Simian Mobile Disco. The crowd was insane for both groups, and it was all sorts of over the top and crazy in the tent. The lighting was intense, best light effects of the weekend by far. Modeselektor and Simian Mobile Disco were in top form, and people were dancing up a storm. I soon left the fray and headed to the calmer back end of the tent to sit down, but the tent was absolutely throbbing.

The night finished up with a trip to the Mojave tent, for that Canadian psych-rock juggernaut Black Mountain. Hot damn they were good. So heavy, so swirly, so intensely rock’n’roll. If you haven’t seen Black Mountain live yet, make sure you do, because they are pretty much one of the best bands out there. Everything was coated with the 60s and 70s, and several of the band members even looked like they took a wrong turn at 1969. It was sheer retro-rific bliss. Vive le Black Mountain!

And so ended the final day of Coachella. We scurried out to avoid all the Roger Waters fans, and made it out of the parking lot before the masses.

In conclusion, it was the craziest weekend I’ve had in quite some time, and I loved every sweat-soaked, sun-drenched minute of it. If you’ve ever thought about going to a huge festival, I highly recommend Coachella. It has the great bands, the amazing scenery, and the mystique. What more could you possibly ask for?


  1. Can I "ask for" a "Best of Coachella" list of recommended downloadable tracks to be posted, emailed, or other?


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