This year’s 2005 Coachella Valley Music Festival, set to take place on April 30 and May 1 way out east of Los Angeles in the California desert, is shaping up as an intriguing mix of big name rock bands, back-from-the-dead reunion acts, and cult fan indie credsters. This year’s Coachella doesn’t have quite the crackle-and-pop as 2004’s triumphant return of the Pixies, but the recent announcement that Cocteau Twins will be performing is intriguing indeed (and who knows, there’s still plenty of time for more “surprise” press releases).
Here’s a primer on some of the bands that are lined up to perform on the first of the two dates, Saturday, April 30.
Weezer is reason enough to pay the money and haul bottom down to Coachella. A great mix of hard rock, self-conscious pop, and deliciously witty lyricism, Weezer has settled into that perfect level of popularity – just under the radar of the burn-out knock-down-the-doors media maelstrom – where they will continue (we hope) to pump out challenging, interesting, rocking albums for many years to come.
As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer received equal amounts of criticism and praise for their hook-heavy guitar pop. Drawing from the heavy power pop of arena rockers like Cheap Trick and the angular guitar leads of the Pixies, Weezer leavened their melodies with doses of '70s metal learned from bands like Kiss. But what set the band apart was their geekiness. None of the members of Weezer, especially leader Rivers Cuomo, were conventional rockers — they were kids that holed up in their garage, playing along with their favorite records when they weren't studying or watching TV. As a result, their music was infused with a quirky sense of humor and an endearing awkwardness that made songs like "Undone (The Sweater Song)," "Buddy Holly," and "Say It Ain't So" into big modern rock hits during 1994 and 1995.
To my ears, Coldplay is a delicate mix of Blur and Oasis having a mellow day. I actually dismissed them for some time as yet another in a flurry of radio-ready ballet-rockers, but a closer inspection revealed real musical chops, real rock-pop sensibility.
Brit-pop darlings Coldplay never intended to become England's favorite rock & roll sons when their signature rock melodies ruled the charts throughout 2000. The Brit-rock quartet — composed of Chris Martin (vocals/piano), Jon Buckland (guitar), Will Champion (drums), and Guy Berryman (bass) — yearned to mess around a bit, plucking their own acoustics for fun while attending the University College of London. All had been playing instruments since their early teens and had been influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Stone Roses, Neil Young, and My Bloody Valentine.
They never imagined taking reign of the U.K.'s ever-changing rock scene.
I only just heard of Bauhaus recently and I must admit I’m upset I hadn’t checked them out sooner. They’re pretty great.
Bauhaus are the founding fathers of goth rock, creating a minimalistic, overbearingly gloomy style of post-punk rock driven by jagged guitar chords and cold, distant synthesizers. Throughout their brief career, the band explored all the variations on their bleak musical ideas, adding elements of glam rock, experimental electronic rock, funk, and heavy metal. While their following has never expanded beyond a cult, they kept their cult alive well into the '90s, a full decade after they disbanded.
I must disagree from the above description in that I find a good deal of their music less “bleak” than driving-downbeat, a significant difference. It works as rock, it works as goth, it works as new wave: a pretty kick-ass combo to pull off.