Top San Diego Radio Station 91X FM brought the best of Coachella to their annual festival which included mind-blowing performances by Phoenix, Empire of the Sun, Bob Moses, K.Flay, The Lemon Twigs (*recently reviewed at The Casbah), Sir Sly and others.

I admit that weeks before ListenSD confirmed passes for the show, I had already spent the $70 (damn ticketmaster fees) for my spot in.  Having not made Coachella this year, this lineup was a must-see! Getting dropped off in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium, it was a wonderful surprise to enter into the green, grassy oasis where the 2 stage extravaganza was pop’n off.  Local indie bands Lightning Cola and Creature Canyon were taking full advantage of the awesome festival exposure and proved they were ready for a wider audience then have been allotted by the local indie scene. Kids were crowd-surfing, twin inflate-able dinosaurs came out, and you could almost see the layers of judgey “front” peeling off the ecstatic audience!

Radio hit maker Missio kicked off the main stage with a massive sound.  Bass drops, nicely produced backing tracks and an edgy duo of front men that generated some serious energy from the crowd. I put my Elysian IPA down long enough to stick my finger in the air to their hit song “Middle Fingers” which felt extremely satisfying!

“I need noise, need the buzz of a sub, the crack of a whip, need some blood in the cup”.  A bit needy, ehh? To say K.Flay comes off dark and edgy is an understatement. This badass chick can rap, growl and fucking scream like she is still on the suburban streets of Wilmette, Illinois where she grew up in a broken household, rejecting all things girly and proper.  Her hooks are fire and “I’m already high enough” is still ringing in my head and forcing me to question my own levels of herbal sobriety.

…and thennnnnnnn it was time to cool off from the plentiful rays of sunshine and check out the scene backstage. Strawberry Champagne was on ice, half-naked girls and guys were bouncing between the artist trailers (sarcasm?); those folks at 91x sure throw quite the soiree!  But a las I’m here to cover the music and not get lost in the tryst & hedonism. Watching or more accurately dancing on stage right to the glorious down-tempo groove that is Bob Moses.  Let me tell you something about Bob.  The “dude”, actually an epic 3-piece band, can really get the dance party started and immediately transports you to a hip neo-disco reminiscent of Studio 54 meets the vampire rave scene in the movie Blade.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get an opportunity to check out Lo Moon or Sir Sly on the Discovery Stage because I was “smoking on my peace pipe” and ran into an old UCSD buddy who turns out to be the co-manager of Phoenix (Shoutout to Jamal!). Damn you 91x, just too many awesome acts to vidi! But as I was walking around the crowd I heard many murmerings from dazed and glazed concert goers how fantastic their sets were ;)!

The sun was setting and The Lemon Twigs brought their lovely 70’s concoction of progressive soft rock to the kids who have never heard of Todd Rudgren and Supertramp.  The Twigs are young, extremely talented and truly represented the “Rock” aspect of the festival! I even saw pioneer 91x local radio DJ Lou Niles beeping and bopping to the beat!

Empire of the Sun hit the main stage with their colorful costumes and choreographed dancers that looked as if they were plucked from one of the latest Japanese fantasy anime films.  This was my first time experiencing Empire of the Sun and it really is quite the visual spectacle!  The music is bouncy and positive, the legions of fanatics bridge the energy, and singer/prince of the empire smashed his multiple guitars at the end.  ELATION!

Another indie cherry popper of mine is the band Phoenix.  These guys literally created the template for indie pop perfection back in ’09 with their hits “Lisztomania” and “1901”.  Their manager Simon tapped me on the back and insisted that I see their performance from out front to fully appreciate the light-up stage floor and mirror reflection.  Wowwweee Zowweeee, is this like experiencing Dark Side of the Moon for the first time? Maybe, but at the very least it was one of the most impressive music/light partnerships I have been privileged to witness! Can I get a witness? The endless sea of people banded together and we danced merrily to their new single “J-Boy“. Soo sexy, soo sexxy!

Til the next odyssey, fellow seekers of the aural light!

Duckin’ Around



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