cage the elephant coachella frazer harrison getty imags [Coachella 2011 Review] Cage The Elephant, Glasser, Big Audio Dynamite, The Kills, London Suede

Photo by Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

Our friends in L.A. are on site all weekend covering the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. Stay tuned right here for the latest reviews, photos, and videos!

Day Two of Coachella: over twenty-six miles walked back and forth between stages; way too much tequila imbibed; a burgeoning sun burn. And guess what? I am the happiest person alive. After seeing one of my favorite band ever, the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]London Suede[/lastfm], every second wandering the Indio streets lost at 2am is totally worth it.

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Cage The Elephant[/lastfm]

cage the elephant 2 frazer harrison getty images [Coachella 2011 Review] Cage The Elephant, Glasser, Big Audio Dynamite, The Kills, London Suede

Photo by Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

’90s-styled indie grunge sweethearts from Kentucky, Cage The Elephant, have that freewheeling, Americana-alternative meets British pop hooks, that has made this five-piece favorite both a popular band in the United States and abroad.

Lucky enough to get to see them play acoustic at the KROQ Coachella House and in studio acoustic at KROQ itself, I’ve never seen Cage the Elephant do their full set live and with what I would come to learn was their quintessential loud, crunchy Seattle-inspired guitar jams.

The friendly Kentucky boys turned unlikely rock stars are no strangers  to the festival scene having played Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Bonnaroo–they have festival performance down to a beautifully imperfect science.

Lead singer, Matthew Schultz, knew out to milk the audience with his boundless energy, his sweetly disconnected rock tenor, and his stage costume of choice–a sassy little red sun dress.

Whether is was the awkward observance that Schultz actually looks fantastic in a dress (people were whispering that all through the audience), the communal feeling of the Outside Stage at Coachella (a favorite across the board with attendees), or the fact that Cage the Elephant can just rock out with their frock out, the crowd was wildly infatuated with every song in the set including “2024,” “In One Ear,” “Shake Me Down,” and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.”

Part of this is easily due to the fact that something in Cage The Elephant’s sound transcends self-restricted borders, whether that be musical genre, country, or even decade. This is a band that just wants to have fun.

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Glasser[/lastfm]

glasser karl walter getty images [Coachella 2011 Review] Cage The Elephant, Glasser, Big Audio Dynamite, The Kills, London Suede

Photo by Karl Walter//Getty Images

Having been infatuated with a single or two of Glasser’s 2010 music blog bounties, it was hard not to check out the ethereal, lo-fi electronica goddess and Los Angeles local, Cameron Mesirow.

Expecting a mellow, even mediocre set from a burgeoning indie-electronica artist, the gauze-clad Mesirow actually impressed with a dynamic, gorgeously vulnerable stage presence, slipping shy seductive smiles to the audience before she through her arms above her head in musical ecstasy.

While the “Apply” singer is a lot more deconstructed on her album, on stage she sounds like a sun-drenched, psychedelic version of Bjork or a less creepy version of The Knife.

Her sound is definitely for the more experimental and artistic-minded, but so was Bjork’s, and she became an internal hit. Mesirow’s stunning fragility gives her the upper hand on most pretty female electronic artists these days. Watch out for this one. She might become the next dream-pop-meets-performance-artist superstar.

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Big Audio Dynamite[/lastfm]

big audio dynamite frazer harrison getty images [Coachella 2011 Review] Cage The Elephant, Glasser, Big Audio Dynamite, The Kills, London Suede

Photo by Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Mick Jones[/lastfm], the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Clash[/lastfm]’s punk-rock prophet (and a sardonically charming Brit), is the lead singer of the recently reunited legacy band and Flashback favorite, Big Audio Dynamite. With their history of irreverent dance-rock jams and their funky style, BAD definitely had one of the biggest draws of the “older bands.”

Standing next to the speaker, it was easy to hear the Big in the Audio–the sound was huge, even making it feel like my heart was going to erratically skip a couple of beats.

But although they were Big on the Audio, was BAD Dynamite ? After listening to them play nine songs including old favorites like “Medicine Show,” “BAD,” and “E=MC2,” the general consensus is: Kind Of.

What was “dynamite” about the show was Mick Jones’ special brand of humor–he dedicated one of his songs to all the Mexican immigrants in California–and the fact that he was even up there to begin with. Even if our hearts “skipped a beat” with the huge sound, Jones didn’t skip a beat.

He’s a consummate rock star, but the effect Big Audio Dynamite had last night was a little aged, a little stale, and while still just as funky and danceable, just  a charming reunion act.

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Kills[/lastfm]

the kills frazer harrison getty imagges [Coachella 2011 Review] Cage The Elephant, Glasser, Big Audio Dynamite, The Kills, London Suede

Photo by Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

Really, it’s hard to think of any rock pair as intrinsically sexy as the lo-fi blues-punk duo Alison Mosshart and Jamie Tibbs of The Kills. Admittedly, I’ve been a fan of the Kills since their cassette demo beginnings and have seen many Kills shows, but mostly in smaller venues. It would be easy to expound on all the things right with their music: London fashion nods, the aura of mystery, the perpetual underlying tone of raw sensuality, and the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]PJ Harvey[/lastfm]-ish grunge guitars.

The Kills brought all that to the stage last night (complete with leopard-print stage backdrop), but didn’t sound as expansive on a larger stage as they do in a smaller venue. Although their newer record, Blood Pressures, as a much more “produced” sound, the Kills are more appropriate for cigarette-smoking, whiskey-drinking underground stages where they band can really showcase their ability to intimately connect with their fans.

Regardless, The Kills ripped through about eleven of their sex-drenched tunes including older favorites like “No Wow,” “U.R.A Fever,” “Tape Song,” and “Sour Cherry,” while receiving massive cheers for newer songs like “Satellite” and “The Last Goodbye.”

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The London Suede[/lastfm]

the london suede charley gallay getty images [Coachella 2011 Review] Cage The Elephant, Glasser, Big Audio Dynamite, The Kills, London Suede

Photo by Charley Gallay//Getty Images

Fair warning, this review might be biased because ever since my freshman year of high school, the Britpop neo-glam The London Suede, has been my favorite band of all time.

At any given moment, I can be found listening to one of their albums, on repeat. First reading about them in tattered NME magazine I stole from a the now defunct Virgin Records Megastore, because I was younger when I discovered them, I’ve never actually seen the band.

Had I not been working for KROQ, I would have purchased a wristband just to see the London Suede. And it would have been totally worth it, watching Suede was the best musical experience I have ever had in my life.

Although the band hasn’t been playing out for a long time, Brett Anderson was one of the most beautiful. talented performers I’ve ever seen.

Every second of his performance was imbued with a raw sexual energy, gorgeous grimaces, rhythmic hip swivels, and glam theatrics. All the audience members were hardcore Suede fans, singing along in perfect unison like they were 18-years-old again when Anderson offered the mic their way. The audience got a set of Suede’s luckiest thirteen hit singles including “She,” “Trash,” “Filmstar,” “Animal Nitrate,” “The Drowners,” “So Young,” and “Beautiful Ones.”

Watching Suede really did make me feel like a “beautiful one” again, soaking in the sonic mojo of Brett Anderson’s wondrous power to possess the audience into an ecstatic stage of musical union.

See more stories, photos, and videos from Coachella 2011!


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