Janelle Monae displayed her immense talents and powerful message of love at Best Buy Theater in NYC last week.
In my 20s I spent most of my meager journalist earnings attending concerts, in shitty dives, stadiums and sun-soaked festivals across America. So much money, in fact, that I depleted my savings account, my mom reminded me on a quarterly basis. That’s neither here nor there. It dawned on me at age 30 someone else should provide me free tickets, in order to sustain my concert habits. So far, so good in 2015.
That brings me to two shows I’ve attended/reviewed in the past 10 days.
Cedric Bixler at Coachella 2012
Here’s what I remember about The Mars Volta at Voodoo Music Experience 2008: wailing, indecipherable vocals, the kind of nonstop drum fills only a 9-year-old would appreciate, lots of technical wankery, a 15-minute jam that was like a musical road to nowhere. To say I experienced a rush of excitement upon learning The Mars Volta broke up this week would be an overstatement. That would require me giving a shit.
Which brings me to why I care about The Mars Volta’s dissolution. It raises the possibility, however slight, a new At the Drive-In record could happen. Cut from the ties that bound them in The Mars Volta, singer Cedric Bixler Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez are free to take their talents – yes, they are talented – in a more focused direction (a la At the Drive-In).
At the Drive-In reunited in 2012 after an 11-year hiatus. Among the major festivals they played was Coachella, a festival known for throwing a shitload of money at bands whose members hate each other guts and vow never to play again.
Using the festival’s previous major reunited acts as a gauge to determine At the Drive-In’s new music prospects. Admittedly, I would be fine with them letting their previous work – particularly Relationship of Command, In/Casino/Out, and the Vaya ep – stand for itself. However, I’d approach a new record with cautious optimism. (NOTE: I don’t expect At the Drive-In to record again, given Rodriguez-Lopez has started a new band called Bosnian Rainbows, per the Rolling Stone article I linked above.)
Ladies and Gents, Coachella 2013
Coachella lineup withdrawals exist. I experienced them today. For hours, I refreshed the festival’s site and its Twitter an obsessive amount of times, even punched in Coachella on Google a dozen or so occasions. I could not concentrate on much else. All because KROQ radio station in Los Angeles announced the imminent release of Coachella’s lineup earlier in the day.
It turned out less imminent than I hoped, but at roughly 11:45 p.m. EST the lineup dropped. Perhaps the wait sucked my initial enthusiasm clean out of me. Nah, that’s not it. I would be jumping around my apartment like Flava Flav in his Public Enemy prime had Coachella delivered something other than B-grade headliners this year.
After I spent all day building up the potential lineup in my head tonight’s unveiling felt like watching my favorite team choke away a pivotal playoff game. Palms meet face, shake head, hold the position.
The flip side: The festival’s undercard. Although … it’s called an undercard for a reason.
Here are my initial Coachella 2013 thoughts. If nothing else, I’ll always have Coachella 2012.
Now that 2012 is in the books here’s a look back at my most viewed posts 2012 edition. Thanks to each and every one of you who read my blog!
Photo credit: Cajun Tomato
My adventures in live music in 2012 started like me, in Portland, and finished 3,000 miles east in New York City. In between, I spent three incredible, and incredibly hot, days and nights at Coachella, where I witnessed a who’s who of A-list artists and up-and-comers.
I started writing concert reviews on the Cajun Tomato in 2010 as a means to wed two of my favorite pasttimes. This year, I posted 42 reviews, with assists from correspondents in Portland (Scott) and Chicago (Brett). These reviews continue to provide me enjoyment, and thus I plan to review even more concerts in 2013 – Mayan Apocalypse, be damned.
Below are my favorite 2012 concerts. Each wrapped me in a coat of awe, whether through their visual spectacle, sound, or both. That’s why I go to concerts – to feel a sense of wonder and tap into something beautiful and raw. Enough romanticism. List time!
Allejuah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
Just in time for the Mayan apocalypse, tonight Constellation Records revealed the Oct. 16 release of Canadian orchestral rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s first new album in a decade. The exclamation-friendly album is titled “Allejuah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” It will, assuredly, be the soundtrack of our world ceasing. If it’s not, I am demanding a refund. Let me not get ahead of myself though.
Godspeed is just one of the albums I am excited about this fall. You might recall I prematurely named my “Favorite Album of 2012″ finalists last week. You probably don’t. Here’s the link, as proof.
Below are albums whose upcoming releases are making my ears drool.
At the Drive-In
Last week I ranked my favorite albums and favorite songs of 2012 so far.
Today it’s time for a quick list of my favorite concerts of 2012 (so far). For comparison’s sake, here were my favorite concerts of 2011. That list notably left off my favorite show of 2011, which happened after I compiled my Top 10.
Below are my favorite concerts of 2012.
My prized Coachella possession
Coachella 2013’s advanced ticket sale came and went today without yours truly securing tickets. The advanced tickets for Weekend 1 sold out before my lunch break. Weekend 2 didn’t last much longer.
You won’t catch me crying about not having tickets. Not yet, at least.
One of the best things I witnessed during Coachella was a note taped to a smoothie stand’s tip jar asking the customer to pay if they wanted a Notorious B.I.G. hologram.
Sadly, Biggie Smalls did not come back to hypnotize Coachella’s audience. I wonder what the talking heads would have said if he and Tupac’s hologram had battled on stage. That would have been a Coachella moment for the ages.
My head might have exploded.
I should not be too greedy though. Sunday delivered incredible performance after incredible performance, plus the aforementioned ‘Pac hologram. Not to mention the blueberry smoothie I had tasted exquisite in the Indio inferno. Maybe my $1 tip will go to a Biggie hologram at Coachella 2013. One can dream.
Below are recaps of the performances I witnessed during the final day of Coachella’s second weekend. Be sure to also read my Saturday recap and Friday recap.
So good, so dangerous
The temptation of eating anything with even the slightest ties to Louisiana suckered me again and again during the Coachella festival. This sort of explains why I ate a flank steak with “Louisiana barbecue sauce” Saturday afternoon before encountering the festival’s 105-degree heat.
Word to the wise: Don’t eat flank steak before attending Coachella. It is akin to playing Russian Roulette.
Fortunately, my heavy meal, which also included mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, did not lead to repeat porta-potty visits. It did weigh me down for the day’s first few sets. As I reflect on it, Saturday’s lineup did not offer many opportunities for dancing. So maybe the day’s lesson is eat flank steak prior to attending Coachella ONLY if the day promises little dancing.
NOTE: You can read my Friday recap here.