If the exquisite landscape of the music festival weren’t enough, a number of my old favorite bands — as well as some new, pleasant surprises — strummed, drummed and rocked the forest for three nights straight. We listened to the music, soaking it in as we lay in the sun or dancing methodically as the rain poured down around us. So many different experiences and moods squeezed into one weekend!
On Friday, we were all about the Red Marquee. After chowing down some lunch, we headed under the crimson tent, sat on our plastic bags, sipped our ciders and waited for Miike Snow to arrive onstage.
The Swedes did not disappoint! Ev and I grooved to their electro-pop sound — they were a definite highlight of the weekend.
Next onstage were Broken Bells, a well-fitting combination of Danger Mouse and James Mercer, the lead singer of The Shins (Pink Bullets, anyone?) They killed it. Excellent.
Last at the Red Marquee were The XX, who were even better when we saw them open for Friendly Fires at the Music Box in L.A. Seriously, the lead singer Romy’s voice is so sexual, so hypnotic you feel like it is oozes offstage and floods the dance floor. Intense, and amazing.
Broken Social Scene was on next. We sat in the trees, in the rain, to listen to their melodies.
After that, Evan and I trekked to the Green Stage to watch Muse for a bit — who actually killed it. The rain had picked up by then, and everyone in the crowd was on their feet, jamming to the music and enjoying the light/laser show. The robots during Supermassive Black Hole were awesome. We whooped and shook our stuff, squishing our feet in the muddy field.
Then we decided to head deeper into the festival to catch some of !!! at the White Stage. Again, an impressive performance. I had seen them at Coachella a few years back, but it seemed like they hadn’t lost their edge.
Late night it was time to get silly at Orange Court, where Fischerspooner and Ken Ishii spun some sick beats. We bounced around with our fellow festival-goers, shaking their lightsticks and screaming as the deejays threw down intense bass.
After a long morning that consisted of me becoming sunburnt and so dehydrated in the bathroom line that I got sick, I was ready to relax and listen to some Red Marquee tunes while we ate lunch in the trees. After exploring the festival for the morning, Evan and I found soft grass at the Gypsy Avalon to lay on and doze as we waited for Matt and Kim to start. It was nice to mellow out for a bit.
Matt and Kim officially became the second highlight of the festival when they brought down the hippie crowd at the rainbow stage with their upbeat tunes. The Brooklyn-based duo also showed a lot of appreciation for being invited to their first-ever Asian show, and did a great job of pumping up all of their Japanese fans.
They also covered Better Off Alone, which was amazing. Ev and I were two of the only people who knew the words, so we shouted them, haha.
Feeling refreshed after the cat nap and jump around in the mud, we hung out at the river a bit, grabbed a bite to eat, then headed toward the Green Stage to see John Foggerty. Evan joined the crowd and I hung back, sipping beer and swaying slowly on my portable plastic sheet. The sun set as he belted out all of the great CCR jams. It was fantastic.
By then, it was time to head to the White Stage to grab a spot for MGMT. Luckily, I found a platform on the stage left, where we could rest our achy feet and legs. Because of the monsoon-like weather, you were grateful to find seats when you could. We were also glad we got there early — they had to shut down entrances around the stage due to over-capacity!
MGMT put on a great show, much better than when we saw them at Treasure Island in SF (then again, this time they weren’t competing with the phenomenal Passion Pit and MSTRKRFT). We toasted, took pictures and sang along to our old favorites.
This instrumental break, during “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters,” is and will probably always be my favorite piece of music done by them. Simply beautiful — there’s really nothing like swaying like one with a crowd full of strangers to music that transports you to another level.
After that show, we passed out under the Red Marquee, waiting for Boys Noize to start their late night spinning set. They were amazing, even though we were both so groggy by the time they took to the turntable.
On Sunday, we were treated to an early-ish set by Yeasayer, another excellent show.
From there, we hiked to the Field of Heaven to watch Ozomatli give some latin flavor to the festival. The whole crowd, with billowy clothes and throwing peace signs, jammed and danced slow cha-chas as the Los Angeles band did their thing.
We grooved with these guys, they were loving it!
Afterward, we gave up the chance to see Hot Chip in order to catch LCD Soundsystem perform This is Happening — another highlight of the weekend. They were fantastic! I was so jealous after I missed them at Coachella, but seeing them from “our platform” at the White Stage more than made up for it. They played during sunset too, singing tunes as the sun sank below the tree line. It was awesome.
We planned on dozing under the trees near the Red Marquee afterward, and ended up passing out only to be woken by raindrops the size of quarters thundering down on us. Thank goodness we had the sense to cuddle up in our ponchos, or we would have been DRENCHED. We snapped out of it, and ran to the Green Stage to see Scissor Sisters.
Ah-ma-zing. Here’s a little taste of the music that we were treated to during the weekend:
We plugged on for three days, running on ethnic food, lots of booze and very little sleep. Music ran through our veins, filling us with adrenaline and the motivation to keep hiking, nay running, from one stage to another, even with blisters covering our feet and never ever getting quite dry. It was a battle of the elements, and worth every single yen and minute spent.
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