Greetings from the desert. Once again, the crowds descend on the polo fields of Indio for three days of vibes and volume. For serious music heads, part of the joy of the festival is the stuff that kicks off each day, the “smaller” acts that bravely set up and play when the sun is at its zenith. But I awoke on Friday to find my car blocked in by slumbering neighbors, (perhaps the subject of a future rant?) so I wasn’t able to hit the road until almost noon. By the time I got there, I’d missed two bands I’d really wanted to see, Les Savy Fav and Battles. They actually played simultaneously, but dammit, I wanted to be able to face that quandary on the pitch, not on I-10!
By the time I was properly frisked, admitted and beered I was still able to catch some great stuff…
I ducked into the Mojave tent long enough to catch a few songs from Jens Lekman (who has the cutest backup band in the history of backup bands,) but then bailed to see The Breeders. How could I not? Their set was fun and eclectic, plucking tunes from Pod to Mountain Battles (and yes, they played “Cannonball”)
From there, I made a beeline for the Sahara tent to catch Sandra Collins, whose slinky, dirty brand of progressive house I’d yet to catch live. She didn’t disappoint. Thankfully, the heat this year has much less of an edge than it has in past years. (2007 saw temps over a hundred degrees) so dancing in the Sahara tent was possible without having to worry about where we could track down Intravenous Hydration later.
Next up was a conflict. Goldfrapp won out over Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, despite their having the less unusual name.In spite of obvious monitor problems, Ms. Goldfrapp and company showed the desert crowd how properly to tear the roof off a joint. I actually did take a picture of Goldfrapp, but Alison was so blurry, she looked like she’d hit the windshield at ninety. Click here for a short clip of “Strict Machine” if you want a visual.
The rest of the night was a blur of Santogold, The Swell Season (no more engaging a performer than Glen Hansard, in the whole of the festival, I think) and The Verve. There was some chicken tikka masala in there somewhere on some soggy rice (not recommended.) I skipped Jack Johnson and opted out of Fatboy Slim. Crashed into my Banning motel room.
Bonus video clip: Sandra Collins spins a track containing a wicked sample of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” The Sahara tent reacts accordingly. (expert videography and sound recording by yours truly, using a Canon SD410, thank you very much. I’m available for weddings and second unit work.)