Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Live Review: Calvin Harris @ Coachella, April 26

There are multitudinous reasons why I love my roommate Max, one of them being that he’s the one who introduced me to the impossibly appealing, delightfully cheeky music of Scotland’s tongue-in-cheek dance enfant terrible Calvin Harris. Without Max, I wouldn’t have been so giggly and giddy in the front row of the Gobi Tent, waiting for Harris to hurry up and get on stage. So Max, thank you, I love you, and you’re a doll.

Happily, Max’s recommendation just so happened to be on the bill for Coachella. Color me pleased as punch that I was there to see Calvin Harris launch his American takeover bid in the somewhat cool desert evening. What initially looked like a thin crowd (Harris was on at the same time as bigger draws Portishead and Flogging Molly) filled out just in time to see Calvin and his four merry men assume their respective positions. But wait, you say, I had no idea Calvin Harris had a traveling band. Nor did I. But there they were, mighty cute boys on guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. And yes, everything was plugged in. Let the merrymaking begin!

Harris made an absolutely charming head honcho, thanking the crowd profusely and throwing in little witticisms here and there. The boy also knows how to cut a rug. And the guitar player knows how to bounce around like a cracked-out kangaroo, which isn’t nearly as frightening as it might sound. You’ll have to pardon me, because I didn’t get a chance to make note of the setlist as I was too busy dancing, following the lead of the parties on stage and in the VIP section just off the stage. It must be said that Calvin elicited one of the largest VIP followings I noticed over the course of the weekend. Could it be that some of the famous folks actually have good taste in music?

Digressions aside, this very well could have been the most fun set of the entire festival, in my humble opinion. Harris and his boys beamed throughout the entire set, bouncing and posing and rock star posturing with endless enthusiasm and energy. The Gobi tent was transformed into a giant party, Calvin being the host with the most. The band didn’t let up for a moment; whether launching into the ridiculous lothario anthem “The Girls,” grooving out to “Merrymaking at My Place,” or jumping all over the stage to “Vegas,” Harris and co. gave the impression that they couldn’t have been happier to be there. And we the adoring public lapped it up. As good as these songs are coming through my headphones right now, it doesn’t begin to compare with the fantasticality of the songs as performed at Coachella.

Now, I love bands with more “depth” as much as the next girl, but it sure does feel good to drop the pretension and dance like an idiot to absolute ridiculous fluff sometimes. My only question is this: Calvin, do you still have love for me, though I was born in the 70s? ‘Cause I got love for you, babe.

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