Tuesday, April 18, 2017

By the Numbers: Coachella 2, Big Star's Third, Record Store Day 10

Coachella Weekend 2, an amazing live title featuring Big Star's Third and Record Store Day's 10th Anniversary all add up to plenty of excitement for music lovers this weekend.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke performing April 14, 2017.
Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival continues to be the preeminent music festival in North America thanks to the range of eclectic and outstanding artists, groundbreaking art installations, the dramatic desert setting and the overall spirit of the event. The good news is for those of us who couldn't be there Weekend 1, we have a chance to catch the groundbreaking sights and sounds at Coachella Weekend 2, April 21-23.  

There were plenty of memorable moments that thrilled concertgoers at Weekend 1 of Coachella and now the festival plays out again this weekend. Among the highlights this writer caught via the full-length performances streamed on YouTube were Radiohead overcoming two sound system blackouts to deliver an impressive top-tier set featuring many of the quintet's most beloved songs. "Creep," "You and Whose Army?," "Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police" were among the sterling songs the band played late in their set on Friday night.
Lady Gaga performing at Coachella on April 15, 2017.
Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

Of the early-afternoon performances I caught on Saturday, I was taken with the Americana-meets-folk rock of The Head and the Heart. Later on, Northern Ireland-based modern-day rockers Two Door Cinema Club offered up a high octane set including classic material and dance-minded gems off the group's latest album GameshowBon Iver returned to Coachellafest to perform a captivating set, highlighted by "45," Minnesota, WI," and the particularly sweeping "Calgary." Lady Gaga brought a bona fide party atmosphere to close out the proceedings with a two hour set featuring her dance hits and more country-flavored material.
Pharrell Williams, left with Hans Zimmer on April 18, 2017.
Photograph: Charles Reagan Hackleman ©Coachella 2017

Sunday also featured a mix of far-flung music champions. I caught Tycho and was impressed by the quartet's lush instrumentals blending dance rhythms, synth pop and shimmering guitar lines. And who knew how cool it would be that composer Hans Zimmer was such a cool act to add, performing concert-ready versions of some of his best movie music? His impressive cast of star musicians (including a full orchestra and guest turn from Pharrell Williams) was surely one of the fun surprises of the weekend, and his 65-minute set attracted around a massive crowd.

I look forward to immersing myself in as much music as possible this weekend at the Empire Polo Club.

Information: Coachella.com.

While Coachella will provide the perfect live setting to take in music, fans looking to take in some great music via their home theater system or while on a drive can pick up the newly-released Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live...And More coming Friday, April 21, 2017 courtesy of Concord Bicycle Music

While you may not have yet heard of this film, make sure to track down the DVD/2 CD title filmed and recorded at a star-studded concert in Glendale, CA a year ago. The concert serves as both a celebration (for those who know cult heroes Big Star), and those who may not yet be familiar with the Memphis-spawned early '70s rockers.

The line-up of artists who perform songs from Big Star's discography include Jody Stephens (the only surviving member of Big Star), Chris Stamey (The dB's), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone (both of Wilco), Robyn Hitchcock, Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) and many more. The film and performances are truly special. A shining version of "September Gurls" (featuring Mills on lead vocals), tender "Thirteen" (with Skylar Gudasz) and a flat-out rocking "When My Baby's Beside Me" featuring most of the ensemble are among the fantastic versions on the must-own collection (directed by Benno Nelson). Information: ConcordBicycle.com.

The 10th Anniversary of Record Store Day arrives April 22, and countless brick and mortar indie record stores across the U.S. will celebrate the important event with special limited-edition releases from the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie, Rush, Elton John, the Cars and Fleetwood Mac going on sale for one day only. Visit RecordStoreDay.com for more information on this great event. Also, be sure to check out the most recent episode of MUSIC WORTH BUYING where TJR and yours truly filmed a special Record Store Day preview at Pepperland Music in Orange, CA. Watch the episode embedded below:

Robert Kinsler

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