One thing that’s been nice about Coachella: Most of the outstanding performances so far have served as a nice corrective to my complaints about the male-white-semi-corporate-oppressive nature of current alt-rock. I saw four terrific performances from lady-powered bands that almost made me feel a tiny bit less despondent about the gender balance of rock right now: Portishead (who I saw Thursday night), the Breeders, Tegan & Sara, and Santogold all made me happy to be there, to the point where I didn’t even worry about when my last sunscreen application was until after each of their sets. (And yeah, it’s probably not much of a surprise that 50% of them first appeared on my personal radar back in the ’90s.) Video and brief writeups after the jump.
Portishead – “Over” (from Thursday night’s pre-Coachella show)
I feel like a blogger asshole even mentioning that I saw this show, which was at the Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles. So I’ll just post the video above and mention that the show ended with Beth Gibbons jumping into the crowd to high-five a bunch of people in the first few rows. Yes, really.
The Breeders – “Iris”
OK, this video isn’t from yesterday–none of the Breeders’ Coachella performances have made it to YouTube yet, alas–but it’s one of my favorite songs of theirs and hearing it live nearly broke me in a good way, although some people wouldn’t agree. While their set stumbled at the beginning (with a false start and a somewhat half-hearted performance of the Amps’ “Tip City”), they recovered and ran through a set that meshed bits of Last Splash and Pod with tracks from the better-with-each-listen Mountain Battles Plus they played “Saints,” because summer is ready right now!
Tegan & Sara – “The Con”
How can you not love a band whose stage banter includes an extended rant about how the fabric H & M uses is so thin, you need to wear sunblock under your shirt? Not afraid to be servicey, indeed.
Santogold – “Creator”
There’s a lot of hype surrounding this woman, to be sure–given that the music business is “all about relationships,” I’m sure her major-label A & R past has resulted in many people who are still employed by said biz being in her corner–but I’m actually convinced that about 85% of it is well-deserved. (In this overheated era, it’s kind of hard to find anyone with a 100% hype-to-actuality ratio, don’t you think?) Her between-songs banter was charmingly nervous/tweaked, and somehow her voice reminded me of both Tegan & Sara and Musical Youth at the same time.