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"I was Changed By Rock and Roll"

Musings on shows and introspective resolution. Yeah right.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Coachella: The Movie

Last night, Ben and I went to see the first screening of the new Coachella movie. Now, let it be said that as much as I love music -- and as much as I love festivals -- I often find live music DVDs, shows, etc, relatively dull. Some of them ("I am trying to break your heart" comes to mind) are great, but others (like the record of the Gram Parsons tribute show) make a night that often is trancendental look incendental.

So that's what's so great about the Coachella movie: it's not like that. At all.

The colors are super-vibrant. The vibe comes through. And the "importance" is there as well.

Yeah, it's a bit long; I could have done without the Kool Keith segment, even though it added to the range of music, and there are a couple of others (um, Oasis?) that fall into that this-is-boring-on-screen-category.

BUT, as a longtime attendee, the coolest thing is seeing performances you missed -- like FIscherspooner, who look incredible, or Saul Williams, who stirred the pot. There's a great segment with both Williams and Noel Gallagher talking about politics in music (guess who doesn't like it?) THe lips are edited together to make it look like Wayne rolled the bubble DURING yoshimi (instead of at the beginning of what ended up being a sliced set), and it looks amazing.

I learned that I never want to camp at Coachella, thanks to heat and wind, though it does suggest that everyone that's camping is a hot, hot hippie girl. I learned that I should make my way to the dance tent more often: that place pulses.

I feel like people who dont "get" festivals should see this movie: it doesn't slight the bad (and those huge audience shots give the impression that, yes, it's shoulder-to-shoulder people, and that sucks sometimes) but it give the impression of the magic of a great performance, too. When the Arcade Fire come on, the energy is palpable; I talked with Goldenvoice's Paul Tollett about it after the screening, and he told me they almost didn't play.

That's where it's at, though: the career-making performance that nearly didn't happen. That's good viewing, and it totally, totally works.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Holla we want prenup!


When I got the e-mail from J. at HOB on Friday that I had two tix waiting for me for Kanye West, I was pretty fired up. Unlike most hip-hop performers (and, really, Kanye IS unlike most hip hop performers anyways) he's a great live act; when I saw him at the HOB two years ago I was floored by his presence. But that was when Kanye West wasn't yet Kanye West, the best producer, rapper, and -dare I say - musician on the planet, before he worked with Jon Brion and Adam Levine and before, even "Through the Wire."

So I was excited for the show. You know.

Court picked me up and we raced in, got there JUST in time, before "New Workout Plan." And as I rapped and sang along with the black industry dude next to me and the white superfan in front of me, what kept dawning on me were just how many fucking GREAT songs Kanye West has managed to release in just two short years. I mean, here they go, from the top of my head: "New Workout Plan," that album opener (featuring Adam LEvine, BORN for hip-hop-harmony), "Golddigger" with Jaime Foxx gloating and acting like Ray Charles (a little weird, but, hey, he can do anything at this point, right kids?) the song with patty lebelle, the two songs with common, I'm missing, you know, "Through the Wire" (just teased, which is fine), "Diamands from Sierra Leone," and a ton more.

You know, virtually every song was a great one. I wish I'd been able to see his band -- they were hidden behind opaque screens, but you could see Miri-Ben-Ari getting down, and she looked great -- but that's my only criticism. No "he can't control a crowd' or "he resorts to tired hip-hop fundamentals" or, even, "it sounds dull after and hour, and 90 minutes is pushing it." His braggadacio, even, doesn't bother me; when he says "This is the best show you've ever seen in your life," it's definitively NOT (not even the best of the year *echem* Green Day *echem*) but, for this music critic, it'll be the best of the month. And December's a solid month.

Can he maintain? A year ago, I thought he was crazy to release another album so soon. Now, I'm not so sure. Hey's Kanye. He can do whatever he wants.