“How would you describe St. Vincent?”
It’s Day Two at Coachella. The heat gathers in the fierce sunlight ten feet away and then pushes into the shade of the tent where I’m sitting with Ryan and Chris. “She folk?”
“Not folk. More whirling, demented cabaret, by turns lovely and dissonant, often within the same song, built with phrases gathered from the voices of a multitude of instruments.”
That was the gist of response. What I think I actually said was, with a shrug, “She’s hard to describe.”
Indeed, later, I’m halfway through her set, pushed up close to the stage like a fan boy, oblivious to the twin inconveniences of heat and a really tall dude right in front of me, when I get a text from one of numerous Coachella Twitter-friends:
Passing by Gobi Tent with St. Vincent…I just don’t get it.
And there you have it — a moment that sums up what I find so cool about Coachella. There are sixty thousand people in attendance, (over 95% of them actually conscious) at the same place and at the same time and every one of them has a different experience. In my representative map of the festival, St. Vincent towers above Death Cab For Cutie. Cinematic Orchestra looms large, while The National is a teeny blip. Part of that is fate. It could have been the other way round. I happen to wander by a tent, get sucked in find myself in a groove. And next thing you know, I’ve missed M.I.A.
Some of it, of course, is intentional. For some, suffering through the misery of Kraftwerk and Portishead was bearable when Prince was waiting on the other side. Not so, for me. The one-two punch of the first two left me flattened, so I staggered free of the gathering crowd and finished the night at the Sahara tent with those two demigods of Progressive House, Sahsa and John Digweed. The, thoroughly trounced by a day spent bouncing in the heat, I shuffled past the Coachella Stage and out the gate with the several thousand people who, as The Purple One kicked off his show, might as well have been thinking,
Passing by the Coachella Stage with Prince…I just don’t get it.
Today is Day Three. Austin TV, I’m From Barcelona, Stars, Spiritualized, Love & Rockets, Roger Waters and Justice. What? That’s not your schedule? What a shock.