Clem’s Coachella Review: Weekend Two Day One

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Well, it’s mid-April and and that’s the time serious music fans take to the desert near Palm Springs, CA to take in the grandaddy music festival — Coachella 2012 (Version 2.0). If you are Goldenvoice (the festival promoter) and your 2011 festival sold out in minutes, what do you do for 2012? Do it twice! That’s right this year’s Coachella festival is happening twice. The exact same bands over 2 successive weekends. I would not have thought it possible but as of day 1 it seems that they have pulled it off.

Weeping Elvis is lucky enough to have myself and Behrnsie on the ground for weekend 2. While I’m down with the live “tweeting”, Facebook page updating, etc. Behrnsie has figured how to live blog this bear…I’m still workin’ on that so I’ll give you my impressions here one day at a time.

For me the act of the day without question is a French import as good as a bottle of ’82 Bordeaux. M83 is primarily thought of as an electronic act so I never expected them to rock as much as they did. Sure the MIDI controllers, sequencers and digital delays were working overtime and the word “ethereal” probably can’t get used enough in describing this act but the live guitar, bass, keyboard and live drum plus all the great electronics kicked the sound up a notch and kicked the massive crowd in the ass…in a good way. The live drum sound seemed to be (surprisingly) unprocessed and made for a cool sonic juxtaposition against the electronics, crunchy guitars and and fat-ass bass sounds. An AWESOME act…the crowd goes wild!

GIRLS unleashed their inner Beach Boys show on their midday set on the second stage along with various other styles that make them one of the most listenable acts around. I SO dig the 3 chick background singer “thing” they bring live and who can’t appreciate a bouquet of fresh flowers on each mic stand. I’d love to be the roadie who’s chore it is to chase that down everyday. The stage is pretty and the band sounds fantastic. They released a superb album last year and a PRIME slot at this year’s SXSW along with these 2 weekends at Coachella are getting these guys a great deal of notice and I preminisce we will hear much about these boys from San Francisco in the near future.

How much better and bigger are ARCTIC MONKEYS going to get I ask you? Will they reach the popularity here in the States that they have achieved in jolly old England? Well, in this fickle music market who knows but if yesterday’s set on the main stage is any indication, be prepared for these primates from across the pond to explode with the release of their next album. They seem to be a band who (in a good way) is starting to believe in and embrace their own greatness and are now playing with an attitude an tightness not commonly heard. The style is Brit-pop-rock with an edgy dose of post-punk but forget the monikers with these guys and just dig ‘em…THEY ROCK!

Having written for Justin Bieber and John Legend before his mix tape caught the ears of Kanye and Jay-Z, neo-soul singer/songwriter FRANK OCEAN made quite the splash (sorry, it was low hangin’ fruit) last year and there is much anticipation for his next album currently in the works. I am normally not a huge fan of the voices in the current modern R & B and neo-soul movement but I totally dig FRANK OCEAN’S singing— probably because he IS a REAL singer not a hip-hop artist masquerading as a singer without obvious help from Mr. Auto-Tune. Check out last year’s effort and get ready to hear his name at next year’s Grammys.

Hendrix/Clapton/Stevie Ray Vaughn love-child GARY CLARK JR. just continues to grow as an artist and wow audiences. As there are many dialects of Chinese there are many styles of the blues and this young Austinite speaks them all fluently and may very well be forging a new style all his own. If you have not dug his current EP, what the hell are you waiting on? This guy is fire on a guitar and sings pretty damn well to boot.  Plus, a sighting in the VIP lounge confirms that he rolls with women who stand out above the standouts.

I won’t go on again here about DAWES and how much I love their harmony laden sound and rich lyrics. Let’s just say I can’t get enough of them in my life.

Coachella is big on the reunions and getting to be present at a great retrospective set from Brit-pop masters PULP was a bit of a history lesson and a true treat to see live.

I’ve a lot of positive buzz on dance music/electronica artist AFROJACK and he did not disappoint in the dance tent. No dub-step or post dubstep here—this is down the line solid club dance music and while following certain style parameters he pushes the boundries with uncommon sounds and mixing styles. If you are raving in a club on South Beach or anywhere for that matter, this is the stuff you want.

So now for day 2 of music (and 100+ degree heat) with Radiohead as an end of the day reward. Look here tomorrow for Day 2 musings and follow the live blog and @WeepingElvis1 for the blow by blow.

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Clem emerged from the underbelly of NashVegas where he began his love of ALL things musical. College found him in the commercial music program at the University of Miami where he actually learned what the hell he was doing. New York was next and whether he “made it there” is still up for debate. From playing in the honky-tonks of Nashville and the dance clubs of Miami to Broadway and theatrical stages around the country, to Carnegie Hall (while practicing one day somebody told him how to get there) and the recording studios of New York and L.A., Clem’s variety of musical experience has transcended the boundaries of genre. He owns a production company, lectures on music in colleges across the country and is on the visiting faculty of Elon Univ. He has a port-o-johns named after him at Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza.