Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm a lengthy monologue

I have officially fried my brains in the roasting, low desert heat of Coachella. It was ultimately a good old time, but fuck me running was it hot.

It was however a welcome change from hotel stinkybus which has kept me locked in agonizing insomnia for just over a week. It usually takes me a good few nights to get used to traveling on that old bastard of a submarine on wheels that is so often my home these days, but this time things were different.

I blame it mostly on the Chupacabra that I saw at that Mexican restaurant in Arcata. That guy is bad news.

We did a small show at Humboldt State University, nestled amongst the Redwoods in Northern California. It was a great, sleepy little town. It was cool to be able to walk across the four lanes of the 101 highway up there. My cab driver pointed out to me the other day, en route to the airport, that the 101 had reached a total of 12 lanes outside of San Francisco. In similar spirit things move a bit slower in Humboldt, like, say technology. The in-house equipment, and then what we were carrying. Ah, progress.

Ah, love.

I hitched a ride home for a night after a show in Davis, then got up early for a show down the street from my apartment, at The Fillmore. It's a great room, with a fair bit of history to it (although not nearly as much as everyone thinks, as it essentially became a venue in the 80s). I had a blast seeing some friends as well as my friend Brooke's new baby boy who, at five weeks old, saw his first concert with a pair of tiny gun muffs strapped to the sides of his wee head. He also did us the honor of pooping in the enclosed lighting booth towards the end of the show causing a brief, but panicked evacuation.

Then it was off to Las Vegas and another sleepless night on the bus. It was alright though since it was birthday day (where the casino celebrates all of the monthly birthdays of its employees on one day) which meant free cotton candy, cupcakes and chocolate. Our entire crew was walking around holding their stomachs by noon. I, for one, opted out of having strawberry shortcake for breakfast. I was also treated to a  Nobu dinner by a lighting company that wants me to use some of their gear. I couldn't quite hear their pitch over the sound of my own eating. So it goes. Also, our new backdrop turned up. Smell the Glove is here.

It looked pretty alright when I did finally hang it up too.

And then it was all Coachella. We turned up a day early so that I could work overnight and program the show for Saturday. The band was unfortunately bumped down on the running order due to the addition of Prince to the lineup. That meant that they were now playing at sunset, or more or less daylight. Instead I spent the day roaming around the site. All things pointed to it being a pretty good weekend. Please note the Roger Waters load in time followed by the directions to 'inflate pig.'

And Prince's set list which begins with a pair of Morris Day songs.

It was a good time. I ran into some friends and saw The Breeders, then ran into a few more friends and saw The National, Sharon Jones and Aphex Twin. When I finally made it back to our bus (our hotel for the night) I found that someone had pitched a tent out front complete with camping chairs, beer, chips, and salsa. Festival done right.

Really the only thing missing was cups, so we sawed the tops off of a half-dozen water bottles and filled them with whisky. Class.

It was only a matter of time before things went south and someone up and stole a golf cart then nearly crashed it into the front of a parked bus. These things happen. That's my old friend Don Lee bailing off the back of the offending vehicle just in the nick of time.

I woke up the next morning feeling less than exceptional and sweating pure Bourbon at 8 am. I was also greeted by the surprisingly grating sounds of Portishead sound checking. The new song, minus the vocals and guitar, sounds not unlike someone trying to start a car that is on fire. Unpleasant is what it is. Speaking of unpleasantness.

I got over it though, did some work, then killed some time before Kraftwerk went on.

They were pretty great, despite the rumors that it was less Kraftwerk than one guy who may or may not have been in the original band accompanied by a few random Germans. The lighting on site is always pretty decent, and, although it gets a tad more Mad Max/ Burning Man every year, there is always something that catches your eye. This year I was really drawn to the spotlights that lined the outskirts of the grounds. The Syncrolites (or 'very large and bright lights' to the layperson) could fry an egg at 100 yards and can be seen from Saturn on a clear day. When you get 20 or so together and point them at the same spot it looks pretty cool.

And now I've got five days ahead of me to pay some bills, catch up on some movies and just generally be unproductive. Then I'm off to London.

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