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Coachella 2005: Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

Got $500 to Burn by May 2004? There’s a Euro Festival in California for You!  Inane Commentary from Someone Who’s Road-Tripped 2000+ Miles (roundtrip) in 2003 and Again in 2004:



So I’ve been here the last two years running. For a live-music addict, this is your crack. If this line-up holds, and the buddies from Seattle want to come out again, I may pull my first plane-trip trek for year #3.


Usually, it’s the curious electronic acts like Kraftwerk or Felix Da Housecat that push me over the edge. So yummy, so insatiable my hunger.


So the obvious question, “Is it worth it?” If you can somehow find transportation to a remote desert polo community 100+ miles east of LA, endure 102-degree DRY heat, shell out $150+ on tickets for 24 hours of music over two days, then another pile of dough on overpriced water, brew, and food, then, of course, all signs blare “yes, Yes, YES.” But already friends are e-mailing “Waaaaaaaay tooooo hot!” (thanks L.) fearing the heatstroke prospects over the hit to the bank account.


The criticism is slight compared to the music. That’s what the shade and sneaking in a water-bladder is for. Besides, making choices like skipping Iggy Pop and the Stooges reunion because Underworld is intoxicating you in the DJ tent (call it Decision 2003) speaks for itself. With a range from the Streets to the Shins there’s bound to be tasty morsels for most near-mainstream music connoisseurs.


Hip-hop is notoriously absent. Ya can’t scare away the Whitey Middle Class crowd, the biggest downside of the event.


I thought I saw another preview list last week, minus some hot-attractions like Interpol / Coldplay / Franz Ferdinand. I could be wrong. Basically, the good ‘ol U.S. of A. simply NEVER gets this audacious a line-up in one place. This is a blistering starter point (DJ listing forthcoming) that should make any French teen red, white and blue with jealousy. Squarepusher, Doves, Wilco, PJ Harvey, TV on the Radio – all unparalleled in diversity and palm-tree swaying fun.


But can this line-up hold together? As I see it, if this Saturday group stays together, Day 1 has a trio of would-be main stage acts (David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay). I’d hate to hear those manager phone calls. This would be a sure sell-out competing with last year’s 50,000 attendees, putting Coachella nearly in the same league of Glastonbury, Reading and other Euro-elitist festivals – minus the sheer quantity of acts at those 100,000+ person bonanzas.


With this strange mash of A-list performers, I predict major people shifting up front for prime spots, which barely happened during last year’s Pixies to Radiohead one-two punch . I went to a NIN/Bowie tour in '95, with NIN opening. The place went nuts for NIN’s dark antics. Then nearly half the crowd left the 20,000 capacity Rose Garden in Portland before Bowie took the stage. Teens and frat-boys did their "fuck me like an animal dance" and left. Wait, that included me (my ride wasn’t staying.) Diplomatically and respectfully (they have a good relationship, I hear), Trent "God is Dead, And No One Cares" Reznor defers to the Thin White Duke who’s pushing 60, yet still looks 39.


Even Nietzsche would shed a tear.


Sneak Preview of COACHELLA 2005 in the BLISTERING SUN of the Mojave Desert, CA

Hot Tip courtesy of


April 30
David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, PJ Harvey, Interpol, The Faint, Franz Ferdinand, Polyphonic Spree, Boards of Canada, TV On the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Squarepusher, Clinic, French Kicks, Secret Machines, Phoenix, Beep Beep, Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Death From Above 1979, and The Helio Sequence

May 1
R.E.M., Tears For Fears, Wilco, Bright Eyes, Jimmy Eat World, Mos Def, Badly Drawn Boy, The Streets, Cake, The Shins, Sleater-Kinney, Rilo Kiley, Radio 4, Doves, Iron and Wine, The Arcade Fire, and Moving Units



Review by David Shuey.

Kick Me Back to Kicks