Wondering where I've been?
I'm still dizzy and wiped out from a wonderful, inspiring and fun-filled weekend in Indio. You know, that non-descript desert city somewhere east of Palm Springs. I survived the two-day fest, but could hardly get off my chair on Monday. But I'd do it all again. How is that Time Machine coming; forget the damn cell phones...
It was hot, but worth it as I pushed my sonic-feeding tubes (ears) to their limits with a full day on Saturday and Sunday. Best just to free flow some thoughts and impressions. I simply didn't see a single bad performance on day one. How many bands did I see? I caught all of Coldplay, Bauhaus, Weezer, Keane, Snow Patrol, and most (if not all) of sets from the Raveonettes, Jamie Cullum, Katie Melua and Gratitude. All week I've been asking myself who stood out on Saturday. Bauhaus might have delivered the single greatest set, but any one of the performances could well have been a stand-out set somewhere else. I had worried Snow Patrol might not be as strong as they were last year because they fired their original bass player, but have no fear. The Irishmen still rock. And Keane? They replicate all the magic of their wonderful debut live in spades.
What about day two? Before we get to the good stuff, let me be direct. Gram Rabbit is terrible. If you think the moniker begs comparisons with Gram Parsons, run!!! And Orange County's Thrice; a word of advice. Stop your screaming. It is supposed to be music.
But most of the day swept over me like the burning rays of the sun. Headliners Nine Inch Nails. Believe the hype. I've never been a big fan of Trent Reznor's heavy metal-goth mix. But live, he and his hard-rocking outfit slew the capacity crowd in ruins. Songs such as "With Teeth" never failed to convey emotional turmoil. And while NIN's sound might seem at odds with the dance-minded vibe of New Order, that band also turned in a commanding showcase immediately before highlighted by a number of great songs from the newly-released "Waiting for the Sirens' Call." The title track of that album, as well as a rocking "Bizarre Love Triangle" were epic.
Other highlights? A reignited and reunited Gang of Four. And sure-fire turns from the Futureheads and Sweden's Shout Out Louds. Kasabian also rocked and lived up to the buzz.