Whither Festivus: Coachella 2009

As you might be aware, I went out to the devastatingly hot California desert last April for my first Coachella. It was good, sweaty (emphasis on the sweat) fun. This year, I've opted to head to Austin for my springtime festival, but I thought I ought to weigh in with my two cents on the festival lineup, both as it compares with last year and the huge lineup I'll be pondering over for weeks to come for the week at SXSW.

On Friday, the bands I would definitely try to take on the heat for are without question the Black Keys, Silversun Pickups, Morrissey, Crystal Castles, the Presets, the Airborne Toxic Event, White Lies, and most of all the divine, legendary, genius of Leonard Cohen. Of all the bands scheduled to play over the whole weekend, he's probably the artist I will shed a tear for missing this year. I'd love to see Cohen live, but the middle of the California desert isn't my ideal choice of location. Come back east, please, Mr. Cohen. I'm fairly non-plussed with the rest of Friday.

Saturday recommendations are as follows: TV On the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, MSTRKRFT, Henry Rollins, Hercules & Love Affair, Glasvegas, Dr. Dog, Liars, Blitzen Trapper, Ida Maria, and Cloud Cult. Amy Winehouse is hit or miss, evidently, and that's if she a) even shows up, and b) shows up before 4 in the morning, or c) even leaves St. Lucia to get to the US in the first place.

On the final day of Coachella, here's what I'd be pencilling in on my dancecard, and advise all you Coachella-goers to do the same. Go see the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Horrors, Fucked Up, Okkervil River, the Kills, Lykke Li, Public Enemy, X, Peter, Bjorn & John, Paul Weller, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, My Bloody Valentine, and the Cure. I'll gloat for just a second about seeing My Bloody Valentine at the much, much smaller All Tomorrow's Parties last September, but I'm sure the desert clime will be just as fantastic a place to see them as was New York State.

All in all, not a bad festival weekend, but apart from Leonard Cohen I'm not particularly wowed. I think last year was a stronger lineup overall, but there are definitely some worthy bands on the bill this year. If you're headed to the desert, have a great time, remember to bring sunscreen and drink more water than you think possible. Trust me. And don't use the portapotties. The trailer restrooms are worth the wait.


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