Monday, April 26, 2010

Slash And Fergie

Strangely enough it's true! Slash has finally decided to go solo and has teamed up with a heap of different artists providing a unusual mix of collaborations on the album including Chris Cornell (Soundgarden and Audioslave), Iggy pop, Andrew Stockdale (Wolfmother), Ozzy and yep, fergalicious. 

Apparently this came about when Slash joined The Black Eyed Peas on stage for a cover of Guns N' Roses Sweet Child O Mine. Anyway this go me thinking about some of the more bizarre collaborations we have seen over the years.....

Celine Dion and R Kelly

 Run DMC and Aerosmith 

 James Brown and Pavarotti 

I have to say I am intrigued by some of today's other modern colabs....

Kid Cudi and Travis Barker (Blink 182) - There was walk about this colab back in 2009 but I still have not heard anything more. In the same interview Cudi was talking about getting Green Day and Kings of Leon on board too. Hrmmm...

But the thing that has got me frothing the most of late is all the talk about by Jack White teaming up with Keith Richards. 


Venice Beach


New Footage

Just added some live footage from the Gorillaz set so make sure you check it out here

Or read the Gorillaz blog here


Day 2 Video Highlights


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Travel to Coachella : Video Log (by StereoDan)

Hope you enjoy this little video blog about traveling to Coachella music festival!

We wanted to bring you more of these video blogs but unfortunately were only allowed to bring our personal still cameras into the Coachella music festival. Covert operations for the future I promise!

[Video log by Daniel "StereoDan" Taylor ]

Things I've Learnt While In The States for Coachella

  1. Don't eat an apple coming off the plane thinking you will find a bin before customs. You WILL get held up at customs and it WILL takes ages.
  2. Yanks will add sugar and/or cream to almost anything
  3. Remember where the car is parked
  4. Coachella Valley police department is closed on Sundays
  5. Thom York is MVP
  6. Danny DeVito is way awesome
  7. Americans don't respond well to people trying to get closer to the stage at a festival
  8. Get your merch day one or you will end up with XXL
  9. Dave has an awesome pad worth $20 million and if your lucky he will show you pics off his phone
  10. Australian slang can get you in awkward situations or see you ordering the wrong thing at restaurants 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Festival Fashions (Or Lack Of)

Thanks to Lady GaGa it is now acceptable to not wear pants. This was more than apparent with both punters and artists (Little Boots) at Coachella. I thought some of our festivals were bordering on incident but after the amount of flesh we saw this weekend I'm singing a different tune.  

As much as you want to turn and look away big ups to the few size 18's that had the confidence to get around in just a bikini or the Canadian girl who only wore her bikini bottoms. 

With all the weird fashions that were going around I'm surprised none of the unusual bikinis I later spotted in Venice Beach made an appearance. 


More Than Meets The Eye

Aside from the five official stages (Coachella, Outdoor Theater, Gobi, Mojave and Sahara) there were a few little stages and tents that were providing just as much entertainment.

The Dolab - Appearing at the festival for the 6th year in a row this stage has arts, music, production and even aerial acrobatics.


 Not sure what this next stage was called but it was run by solar power and had some wicked drum and bass roaring from it late Sunday night. 


Everything In Its Right Place

So it felt as the headlining act of the Outdoor Theater Thom Yorke took to the stage on Sunday at Coachella. The crowd was massive and like I've said before pushing past Americans doesn't fly so I ended up in a terrible position.

While being down the front would have been amazing you could feel the raw power of this set from wherever you stood - Yorke was absolutely chilling to watch. Playing songs mostly off his 2006 solo album The Eraser we also caught a few Radiohead songs which included Everything in its Right Place and an acoustic rendition of Airbag.

Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea joined Yorke on stage giving us a privileged glimpse of their new super-group Atoms for Peace. Forming back in 2009 the group consists of Yorke, Flea, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker (who has played with the likes of Beck and REM) and finally Mauro Refosco.

The set ranged from dreamy numbers that enveloped you with Yorke's remarkable voice to more upbeat electronic and percussive tracks in which Flea's signature base lines could be clearly heard. With quirky dance maneuvers that consisted of  robot-esque twitches and funky side hops Yorke was entirely captivating and we were reminded of his utter charm when he replied "I love you too" the lucky punter who expressed her affection for him.

Finally, singing over his own looped falsetto vocals, Yorke's encore was a solo affair that was absolutely stunning! 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hungry ?

Check out some of the food stalls at Coachella... Giant Fish Tacos at a festival? Pass


Being a music and arts festival you can expect there are going to be a heap of awesome installations to keep you enthralled between acts.....

Cubatron L5 - designed by a dude by the name of Mark Lottor.  This trippy work of art is comprised of about 5000 LED lights that change colour to produce some amazing patterns and visual effects. Pretty much like the one at BDO in 2008.

Skyline - Illuminated chains of balloons filled with helium that could be spotted from all over the festival.

Land Sharks! - These little creatures were sick. Two neon sharks names "Betty" and "Sparky that roamed the festival at night. They were only 4feet long and could go up to about 40km/h.

Ascension - The giant origami crane that could be seen from just about anywhere on site. Representing hope, awareness and understanding the sculpture lit up an array of different colours through out the night. 

Metamorphosis - This was a glass and mirror wheel that when you stand in front of it and someone stands in the same position on the other side you appear to morph together as the wheel spins. 


Coachella Day 3 Review

Yet another late start to the festival thanks to Dan and his disappearing act but thankfully I made it in time for Julian Casablancas! Surely you’re up to speed on the solo career of The Strokes frontman. Speaking of which they are touring in July – hope you got your tickets.  I missed out so was stoked that he did at least play Hard To Explain.

Yes, he’s going to hell in a leather jacket! Well at least with the scorching desert heat and thick air in the Mojave stage it would have felt like he was already there. Less rock and more synth pop Casablancas played Out Of The Blue and 11th Dimension before slowing the tempo for the latter half of his set. Trying to get as close to the stage as possible was an epic fail, American audiences do not budge when you ask politely to move to the gap in front of them. 

I have to say I was pretty unimpressed when Casablancas closed with I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Spoooooon! (remind anyone else of that kids cartoon The Tick?) but seriously, American indie rock four piece were one of my weekend highlights. Despite coming out in a cowboy hat Britt Daniel quickly redeemed himself with a phenomenal performance that was perfectly suited to its late afternoon time slot.

The French are good for a few things, one of which being their recent musical export Phoenix. Opening with Lisztomania these guys filled the audience as far as they eye could see. With a set list that featured the best of their four album back catalogue their set was highly energetic and "all about the music". With their lighting guy stuck elsewhere (thanks again volcano) Phoenix proved that you don't need wicked lighting rigs to put on a good show.

Run Run Run, Rome, Lasso, Long Distance and Consolation Prizes were among the many being played with 1901 featuring as the final track. 

Heading to Little Boots (albeit against my will) I was pretty surprised looking around at the rest of the audience at the Gobi stage. I'm going to liken Victoria Hesketh to a contemporary Kylie Monogue. Adding a over the top lazer show to the mix, which would have been just as effective if she lent half to Phoenix (not that they needed it), Little Boots was scarcely clad, sparkly and seemed to draw in a large number of flamboyant males.

Missed some huge electronic beats coming from the Sahara tent where the recently regrouped brothers from Orbital seemed to be ripping up a storm. Having seen them before I was content to miss them in exchange for a good spot for Thom Yorke! (This needs its own blog) 


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunday Sunday! : PART 03 (by StereoDan)

Everyone I had spoken with at the festival was raving about french alt. rock band Phoenix so I was left with little choice not to check them out! I was familiar with a few of their songs which have been on high rotation on Triple J in Australia. I got down thirty minutes early so I could be as close to the stage as possible. Even at this time the closest I could get was actually 100 meters off (just to the right of the sound mixing booth) but I was happy enough with this. Steadily but surely the crowd filled up with young indy kids who were generally nice, albeit a little hectic with excitement. 

Apparently Phoenix were very lucky to have made it to the festival, however unfortunately the same couldn't be said about their lighting crew so the stage show was very stripped back. This didn't worry most people and it was nice to just focus on the music. Their tunes were very upbeat and most people were bouncing around singing along. I'd obviously heard their classic tunes Lisztomania and 1901 but most of the set was pretty new to my ears. I was certainly impressed with their composition and appreciated the electronic rock pop fusion that they were playing.

Towards the later part of their set things in the crowd started to feel a little tightly squeezed. In search of fresh air I took a look behind me and was absolutely gob smacked by the size of the audience behind me. Throughout the festival their was usually a fair amount of space between the various stages, but on this occasion the entire festival looked like it was circled around the "Outdoor Theater" stage which Phoenix were playing on. I decided I'd had enough and started squeezing my way out of the audience. It took a good fifteen minutes to escape and I estimate it must have been a good 600- 800 meters to the back! CRAZY!

Next stop was a mystery tent which I think was called "Dolab" looking back at the festival map. There was some heavy dub step bass lines, break beat and Electro getting people down and dirty and it was a nice change in music genre. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and not taking things to seriously. The tent had a nice open feel to it without feeling too boxed in.  People were wandering in and out quite freely and if you wanted to dance there were plenty of other ravers to join in with. Around the tent there was also some interesting objects and structures which are pictured below.

I was on my way back to the beer tent when I realized one of my favorite artists was playing soon... LITTLE BOOTS! While I had plenty of time until her set I wanted to get a good vantage spot and headed back toward the "Gobi" tent.  I caught the tail of Sly Stone's performance which was interesting but didn't really give me much of a chance to form an impression. After the crowd dissipated I headed towards the sound desk so I could have a peak of their equipment and watch them setup. I did feel a little sorry for the temporary sound engineer who had to replace the band engineer who had been stranded in the UK. They were using no less then 40 input sources with all of the sound toys and synthesizes on stage! They had a right old geek fest with instruments ranging from Stylephones, Moogs, Casios, Tenori-ON and all sorts of other sound boxes and instruments.

Right from the start the audience was electrified by the dazzling lasers, smoke machines, and blazing sound system! The instruments on stage could certainly produce sub frequencies that would make your intestines resonate with excitement. I've not seen Little Boots for a little while now so it was nice to see things developing for her so quickly. Because of her outfit I've nick named her "Little boots, BIG PANTS!" :)

All her great tracks were played and the crowd went off for "New in Town" which I think is probably her best track. I'm not sure how much of the act was performed live and what was backing tape but regardless Little Boots managed to put on a great show. At one stage it appeared she had setup some kind of infrared control or proximity sensor which was attached to the lazer system. She stood above the beams of light and moved her hands up and down which appeared to control a filter effect (see bottom left photo below). It may have just been for show though but regardless the crowd loved it!

So I hung round for most of her set but towards the end it was definitely time for a quick break to the toilet and to refuel on beer! Maybe this is a little too much information... BUT  probably my favorite invention at the festival was the 'side-pee' attachment in the toilets. Thank heavens I didn't have to gaze into the bog of stench just to relieve myself!  I was going to do a little side by side comparison here but that's a bit gross :)

By this time at night everyone seemed to be getting excited about the main act of the night Gorillaz! I've always enjoyed their music and sound production wise have drawn a lot of influences from their sound. I think the whole concept of a virtual band is such a wonderful opportunity for people to work together to create an interesting product/artwork.  It's a bit of a statement of the obvious, but visually I thought the multi-media elements of the Gorillaz's stage show were amazing! They certainly have managed to create a very striking design and I was impressed in their ability to bring it into the live performance domain. I'm very much taking notes and looking at how I might implement my own ideas in this field sometime in the future.

...and so ended a very interesting day.  Just to top it off some rather odd fellow (see bottom left picture below) walked up to me and said he was psychic. I was a little bemused by this but thought I might entertain his notion for just a brief moment by asking him to prove it. He then said "You're from Brisbane" which was accurate (or at least I went to school there) and to clarify he wasn't confused with the American town by the same name I asked which one, to which he replied "in Queensland." I was very entertained by his observation but I was pretty sure that I hadn't actually mentioned it to anyone. Cue errie music...


All that was left to do now was to find the car. I had directions, took a photo of the map as I walked past and started my search. After an hour of wandering around and harassing security staff to point me in the right direction I thought of a new tactic to help get me home. I walked up to a gentleman driving a golf buggie and explained my plight and previous night experiences. It took some convincing but eventually he agreed to help find my car. After another half hour and a number of red herrings we finally found the car and I gratefully gave the driver US$30 for his troubles. My phone was still playing up and god knows what I would have done if I hadn't found it.

Finally I was back on the road again and I couldn't have felt happier to have some normality, if you can call driving on US highways normality :) 

[END OF PART THREE: Words and picture by Daniel "StereoDan" Taylor]