RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
Arctic Monkeys (various), NIN (various), Arcade Fire (various), The Fratellis (various), Mika, Amy Winehouse (various), Bloc Party (various), Spoon, Tim Armstrong, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Muse (various), LCD Soundsystem, Klaxons, Feist (various).
Songs are the singles unless otherwise noted. The new Arctics CD may lack a bit of that youthful spark, but it evolves nicely from where the last album left off. The new NIN CD is darker and more electronic and is being well received.Arcade Fire have unlimited potential (see Coachella review below). Based on live reaction to "Chelsea Dagger," I believe this is the song with the best chance of breaking The Fratellis in the States. Tim Armstrong, the lead singer of Rancid, is getting top requests on L.A.'s KROQ and Indie 103.1. BRMC are back to rocking on their fourth album, and it should be their most successful to date. If you like what you may be hearing of Klaxons on the air, you'll be glad to know the entire disc is consistent and their live show rocks (see below).Feist is a Canadian singer in the electronic vein. People are already speculating about Amy being a major candidate for Album of the Year, and I expect Arcade Fire will merit consideration as well.
My top three Coachella bands were Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, and Klaxons in that order. This may have been the show that elevates Arcade Fire to the level of a major touring band for a long time. Upcoming albums will dictate whether they attain superstar status, but they have that potential. The Arctics awesome set was greeting by a crowd that was into them but not extremely vocal about it. It was also a breakout show for Klaxons. These guys aren't well known yet and opened their set to a half-full tent. But their intensity won everyone over and has had people buzzing all week.Hot Chip also may have had a breakout show, as their crowd and reaction gradually grew. By the time they closed with their "Over and Over" hit, their tent was just plane loud.CSS (fun!) and the Teddybears also had great dance/rock gigs on the final day.The New Pornographers and The Decemberists more than held their own. Other good shows worth noting were by The Fratellis, Of Montreal, Faithless, Jarvis Cocker, The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, and !!!. As much as I like Peaches and Of Montreal, I'd rather see both of them in smaller venues.Silversun Pickups were one ascending indie band that played with surprising power and will be a formidable festival entity. I didn't see much of Amy Winehouse or Bjork, but there were lots of great reports on both. It's worth noting that Kaiser Chiefs got virtually no reaction at their early evening show.
Aside from the major rock headliners such as Rage (good show, bad sound problems) and the Chili Peppers (didn't see them), most of the crowd energy was with the dance artists. Mid-afternoon sets in the heat are usually tough for rock bands, but people will still respond to a dancy act in a stifling tent. It will be interesting to see if this is a trend, or whether this is specific to Coachella.
OTHER "NORMAL" LIVE SHOWS
Bob Seger sold out The Forum in L.A. on March 1. How fulfilling to see Bob doing it again with so much energy! There were no enhanced production values, and Bob is probably about 80% of what he was. But that was good enough for this joyous, sold-out crowd. Back at The Forum in April, Muse filled the house for their biggest U.S. headlining gig to date. As one of music's best live bands, Muse once again didn't disappoint.
Sat Bisla and his company A & R Worldwide put on a great Musexpo conference this week. The tone of the event is heavily international as attendees come to get a leg up on the US market. Informative panels were filled with passionate, positive-thinking industry VIP's from around the world, and most showcases were worthwhile. For me, the highlight was the unsigned Melbourne band Skybombers. There were strong reports on The Teddybears' late Monday night set. As I saw them at Coachella, I agree they're a band to definitely catch... Thanks to Randy B. of WSUM for the co-hosting opportunity on his WSUM show on Friday 4/20. I had a great time... Let me hear from you with any input, and please put "Raves" in the subject line of any email that you send. I'll be back at the end of June and until then...