Written by Michael Cameron
Great to see Watt back together with my favorite project of many amazing projects he’s been involved in. They play a flawless set spanning their 5 LPs, for which the audience seemed very appreciative. Such a rare show, wish they were playing more.
The band took the stage, declared they weren’t going to waste any time, and immediately kicked into their set. They played full-force for the next hour, touching on every major single that I could think of, except for “I Believe.” Great, really polished sound. They played with more passion and energy than most bands half their age.
At the start of the set an announcement aired over the PA that as a special request made by the artist, there’d be no photography or video recording of any kind during his set. They shut off the giant video monitors and to the best I could tell, even the professionals and Coachella cameramen weren’t filming. Obviously some audience members chose to ignore that, including myself, but it was too rare of an opportunity to not snap at least one photo. He took the stage and started into one of his most emotionally challenging songs, the heartbreaking finale from his opus In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, “Two Headed Boy Pt. II.” The audience knew all the words and sang along to every song.
The big surprise is when he brought out horn players to fill out some of the songs, including “Two Headed Boy,” for which they also had a drummer and accordion player come out to play the beautiful and sad outro to one of my favorite songs. He’s an amazing lyricist. I’ve heard his NMH songs 1000 times, but even his biggest hit, the title track to his most beloved album, still moved me to tears at this show. It’s hard to tell if there will be more to come. He spoke during the set as if this were the end of his entire musical career, that he just did this small tour to play the songs and get to see the people they’ve touched in person. From the tone of his voice and his manner on stage, I do believe that’s all he was looking for.
Only caught her last three songs, but they were great. Wish I had seen more from this crown jewel in the Canadian Invasion at this year’s Coachella. One of her last song’s was a cover of The Pop Groups’ “She’s Beyond Good and Evil.” She really puts herself out there. She grabbed a water mister gun and a mic, dove into the crowd, and surfed while screaming the dramatic conclusion of her set.
Goodspeed You! Black Emperor
Hard to describe if you don’t already know their stuff. I guess this music would be good for fans of Mogwai? A little soundtracky and worldbeat, and very cinematic and grand. The band played in front of projections ran by a live film mixer, who strung and combined 5 different film projectors in layers to create some really great visual textures and images.
A set that was low on hits, but big on downtempo electronics. Not exactly the festival set I expected, but they sounded better than ever. Again, I stress it was a less than hits driven set, dipping into their pre-2000’s catalog only two times. They said they wanted to do something that was a collective experience, which was the only reason they decided to do big shows again. I feel like they assume this was a huge gift and that they have nothing left to prove, as they’ve shown us total magic for years. Honestly, it’s a gift to them that they get to do this and I’m not so sure that everything they’ve done recently has been a huge improvement over the original Radiohead formula. There are a ton of bands who do their updated sound well and it seems to come easy for them, but how many bands do what Radiohead did up until 1999 and sound anything like them or nearly as good? To me, they are an exceptional rock band who have a few great electronic songs. The rest are slightly above average.
Morning Mr Magpie
You And Whose Army?
House Of Cards
Give Up The Ghost
Exit Music (for a film)
Day 1 & 3: