Coachella - Day 1
April 25, 2008 - Indio, CA
By Lorène Lenoir
Photos by Lorène Lenoir
I still don't entirely believe I scored the Grail, i.e. a photo pass for Coachella. So I'm standing at the press will call as early as 11 on the first day of the festival, and indeed, there it is, a flimsy yellow paper wristband with barb wire printed on it. Yay! So what's up, then, let's put that camera to work… Rogue Wave. Mmmh. Never heard of them. Whatever. Let's go.
And I've gotta say I have no recollection whatsoever of their pretty bland pop rock. Sorry, guys, thanks for the pics, though! Drama happens during this shoot though: my shoes die on me. And since there's no in and out policy at Coachella, I can't go back to my car to go get something to fix them. So I'm forced to buy some flip flops at one of the merchant booth. Bad idea. Especially since I asked a friend to bring superglue, a friend that I won't be able to meet during the whole festival, I'll just wear the damn flip flops all weekend. And boy will I be sorry for it!
Anyway, it's not even four in the afternoon and here's the first conflict that breaks my heart: Battles vs. Les Savy Fav. Battles are amazing, but I really want to shoot Les Savy Fav who are fantastic photo material (and a great live act to boot), so I leave Battles after the first three songs and run to the outdoor stage (which, mercifully, is not at the other end of the polo fields) where there are already a few photographers - I actually tipped about Tim Harrington being utterly crazy on stage – following the bald bearded frontman wherever his pure madness brings him – dancing in the crowd, climbing up the scaffolding, crawling under the stage and discovering what he thought were illegal immigrants, tying up a side stage guest with his microphone wire, singing "It's hot as fuck and I need a hug… it's hot as piss and I need a kiss", and French kissing random people, whatever. He's great; nobody really gives a shit about the music which is a pity because it's excellent too. I run back to Battles for the last song which is "Atlas". Joy. I'm already drenched in sweat, and happy to see that they are too, which is not a surprise given how the music seems to electrify their bodies. Haha, yeah, that's a great start to Coachella.
OK, what next? Let's take a look at Architecture in Helsinki, which I acknowledge was a good show and enjoyed reasonably, but I've gotta say that I'm not touched. Can't explain why. I then run back to main stage where the lovely Breeders irradiate everything with the genuine pleasure they obviously have playing their new and excellent songs. A good surprise is the Beatles' cover, "Happiness is a warm gun", one of my favourites from the Daytona twins. They're absolutely lovable when they say they found their new bassist on Craigslist.
After a well deserved beer in VIP, consciously boycotting the hype about Vampire Weekend, innocence makes me stroll to the Mojave tent hoping to find a quiet pit for Goldfrapp, but what the hell? How come Goldfrapp is so hyped up there is virtually no space there? I snap the one pic but have to get out of here before something really nasty happens to my feet. Oh well. Back to main stage and the Raconteurs then.
I was not a big fan of the first album, but I've got to admit that I kinda like the new one, and their live performances are therefore a tad more appealing to me. They're a tight, rocking bunch, but holy hell, is Jack White white!
I then try to shoot Aphex Twin in the Sahara but am told "only main stage wristbands can access the photo pit". Makes total sense. Not.
I'm knackered. Jack Johnson doesn't appeal to me at all, nor does the heavy metal Freddie Mercury a.k.a. Serj Tankian. I can't fathom Fat Boy Slim in my state of exhaustion, shame on me, I'm going to bed. Inflatable bed. In my tent. Cause yeah, I didn't tell you? I'm camping! Call it the rough way.
- Lorène Lenoir