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13 Things to Remember for Coachella 2013

February 11th, 2013

Now that the lineup is out for Coachella, it’s time to start getting excited for dusty lungs, burned necks and rubbing up on salty, sweaty strangers. That’s right, Coachella 2013 is nigh.

Whether or not you remember last year (for whatever reason, no judgment) or are planning your first trip out, here are 13 things I learned last year so you’ll be prepared for the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
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By Brett Padelford Posted in Editorials

Mastodon May 8, 2008 at the TLA Philadelphia, PA

July 2nd, 2009

Upon breaching the entry doors to any Mastodon show, fans have always had to adopt an attitude like they were preparing for battle. Mastodon crowds are well aware of being transported to netherworlds with epic struggles as a timeline and nebulae as a backdrop. They wait with a fervor to succumb to the band’s earthquake rhythms and to climb endless riff mountains in the company of sea beasts, sorcery, monsters and madness.

This time was different. There were keyboards on the stage. There was a fantastic visual presentation chock full of druids and hordes of holy men awash in a storm of color. There was the subdued fury of surprisingly melodic vocals and harmonies by lead guitarist/vocalist Brett Hinds and bassist Troy Sanders. There were songs you could attach yourself to while in a trance, floating on Brann Dailor’s epic drum runs where before you were assailed and distracted by them.

This is the tour supporting Crack the Skye–the Atlanta quartet’s fourth full- length album, their most accessible, and by far their best. This evening it was performed from start to finish, in a brilliant spectacle of thunder and elegance which capitalized on a metallic twist of prog and classic rock while never swaying from the path of familiar stout and swarthy heaviness.

Songs like “Oblivion,” “Quintessence” and “The Czar” are centerpieces of the album which tells the story of a man lost during an astral projection and found by Rasputin.The band seemed intensely focused, deep in concentrating through the intricacies of every change and time signature. No words were spoken other than lyrics, yet that did not stop the feverish crowd from funneling into an epic volcano of a mosh pit, while empires burned in front of them as the songs told their stories.

Following the track-by-track performance of Crack the Skye in its entirety, the pit spread out like a runaway virus spinning wild, infectious and doubling in size as the band stomped through favorites from Leviathan and Remission. It was a jawdropping sight from the edge of the balcony, like watching a hurricane form from space.

The crowd gathered its wits with plans for escaping the asylum, but when the band decided to close with “Mother Puncher,” they scattered again. Leaving the venue, most were exhausted and running for cover, lost in the aftermath of an overwhelming evening. Mastodon can easily assail a crowd by pulling from a stuffed bag of metal tricks which draw inspiration from a gamut of creatures and characters that had lined their first three albums. With Crack The Skye and its subsequent tour, the faithful now have been injected with some melody and a confident, even renewed sense of where metal may go from here.
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By Seano Barry Posted in Editorials

Some Words for the King of Pop

June 27th, 2009

I usually refrain from personal commentary on mxdwn. In fact, rarely does any mxdwn writer use the site as a sounding board for personal point-of-view. However, the sad passing of the music industry’s appropriately monikered “King of Pop” Michael Jackson warrants words out of the ordinary. His passing was untimely and unexpected, as the man himself was undergoing a concerted effort to rebuild and relaunch his career, one that had been beset by constant controversy and rampant speculation. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Editorials

In Concert: The Prodigy (Electric Factory, Philadelphia PA, May 15, 2009)

June 16th, 2009

Tales of the performance prowess of electronica vets The Prodigy have been passed around since the heady arena and festival days of The Fat of the Land. Impart that legend to a local fanbase that hasn’t seen the British big-beat trio in, well, ever, and expectations immediately jump to the level of rapture. And yet when the group visited Philadelphia behind new album Invaders Must Die, if you stood away from the gleefully oblivious fratboy moshing, you could sense that one fan’s treasure was another fan’s trash. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Editorials

Gallows at SXSW March 21, 2009

May 27th, 2009

Somewhere within the hollowed-out dead streets and crumbled skyline of a future apocalypse, the men in Gallows might find themselves still standing, dukes up and ready for more. That fierceness, impenetrable bravado and an attitude brimming with disgust was available to the pub masses on a balmy late afternoon at SXSW 2009. Read more…

By Seano Barry Posted in Editorials

Hot Leg SXSW Austin, TX March 21,2009

May 17th, 2009

Justin Hawkins strutted out to center stage in a glittery jumpsuit channeling Hanoi Rocks and a Labyrinth-era David Bowie to an anticipating crowd full of rabid fans of his old band the Darkness and the badge-bearers under the tent lights at SXSW. He and his new band Hot Leg promptly pumped and gunned through a tight blitzkrieg of arena rock and spazzed-out ’80s glam with songs like “Chickens” and “Ashamed” to quickly rouse the Stateside faithful. Read more…

By Seano Barry Posted in Editorials

Coachella 2009 – Lykke Li

April 20th, 2009

Swedish pop starlet Lykke Li contending with the inherit fan fatigue that three days in the desert creates, worked hard to drum up energy where there was none. In a hilarious moment of attempted whit, she demanded “It’s time to smell the coffee, swedish techno coffee!” Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Editorials

Coachella 2009 – Fucked Up

April 20th, 2009

Furthering a curious (and welcome) slate of abrasive rock at Coachella 2009, Austin rising stars Fucked Up moved a small crowd to a joyful frenzy, the band’s lead singer spending the majority of the set leaning over the front wall of the photo pit, offering the mic to anyone willing to scream along. It was a refreshing insertion of DIY hardcore’s personal, primal mentality into what can be, at times, an overly corporate feeling for a music festival. Two of No Age’s members even joined on the finale for a mosh-enducing rendition of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown.” Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Editorials

Coachella 2009 – Mastodon & MSTRKRFT

April 20th, 2009

For different reasons, Mastodon and MSTRKRFT both gave performance far less engaging than their recorded material would lead one to believe their capable of. Mastodon’s technical complexity wasn’t enough to cast a blind eye to their lack of stage presence (even if it was nice to see straight-up heavy metal at Coachella) and MSTRKRFT fell into the pit trap of milking house beats to the point of irritation. Both bands need to fully rework their live show. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Editorials

Coachella 2009 – Jenny Lewis

April 20th, 2009

Jenny Lewis through sincere, simple showmanship, gracefully proved the wealth of her last few year’s strive to become a better artist. Singing “Pretty bird / pretty bird” with a subtle longing, commanded the Outdoor Theatre. Later, her cautionary refrain, “He’s the next messiah” was simultaneously comforting and rocking, in a vein most notably found in The Eagles material. Lewis has found her voice, and it’s wonderful to see her come into her own. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Editorials