Brits Have a HUGE Coachella year…and Qchella is there to catch it all…well almost all!
By Jonathan “Qchella” McQ
The Brits had their biggest year on the American charts in 2011 in over a decade and their presence at this years Coachella music fest was indicative of their newest invasion. My personal “Qchella” experience started out simply on Friday seeing bits and bobs (as they say in the U.K) of 14 different bands. The weather was cloudy, rainy and cold, a Coachella first for me as it is always broiling. The Friday highlights, were a few old school Brits like James and Arctic Monkeys, Madness got me dancing so hard that my 16 year old had to turn away to not be embarrassed of her still rocking old man. Saw a cool set from newcomers from Manchester (not Vermont) Wu Lyf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WU_LYF who caused quite a bidding war and huge buzz by trying to keep their profile low. When I asked lead singer Ellery Roberts during the Def Jam soul singer Frank Ocean’s set later if they had signed a deal with any label yet he told me he did, “with ourselves”=… oh those cheeky Brits… Keeping it real, check them out there sound is different but interesting.
Jumping back to this country, make sure you get to see Gary Clark Jr. when ever you can, he is signed to Warner Brothers and anointed by Eric Clapton as the next great guitar great, and I am hooked, this being my 4th time seeing him, I agree. His set in Gobi tent was blistering, he’s got soul, great songs and oh yeah, this Austin, TX native SHREDS! Don’t sleep on this beastly player.
I also enjoyed some of M. Ward and got to rock to a old school Indy rock/electronica band called the Rapture, who Worth a look if they come to your town. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rapture_(band)
Saturday brought bright sunshine, and warmer temps with many hot sets of you guessed…British stars. I logged another 14 band marathon day. It’s always a tough choice to go see music you have never heard of vs. music that you know you love, so I tried my best many Comet fans to do both. When you have a band that you have loved for 30 yeas like Squeeze, its hard not be be there when you know almost every song, and most were hits over the last 30 year. Gifford an Tibrook to me are some of the best songwriters who never had big hits, but started at the same time as the Police or U2 and are crowd pleasers.
Other notable Brits on the day included Noel Gallagher and His High Flying Birds who played most of his new record and closed with a classic Oasis song “Look Back In Anger” (no unfortunately not “Wonder Wall”), Kasabian, who started in Leicester, England in 1997 are now a true arena rock act in Europe. They have been described as a cross between Stone Roses and Primal Scream with the swagger of Oasis. Awesome band who I will go see again. Caught a cool DJ/Producer from London named Aaron Jerome who goes by the moniker SBKRKT. He started out re-mixing top UK acts and then got his own music on the BBC radio and now he is on the Qchella list!
Missed the Kaiser Chiefs (another big UK act) in favor of a band that is neither from the UK or an orchestra, but this Atlanta, GA based group will be HUGE! They have the vibe and the songs to be the next Kings of Leon type act to break. There were major labels there sniffing around to take them to the next level. Speaking of the next level, the back to back of Bon Inver’s 10 piece set into Radio Head closing the fest made for an amazing night of music. Bon Inver closed by saying , ‘stick around after this for some British guys that are pretty great” , and great they were. Radiohead is at the top of their game, they played a lot of new songs from their next album and some classics including closing with a stripped down Neil Young “After the Gold Rush” into their classicly haunting “Everything in it’s Right Place”
28 bands in 2 days, 18 hours of music down, another day to go, wont sleep until I hear Snoop and Dre bang out some “Gin & Juice” tonight at midnight. Rumor has it Eminem will come out and rock the house with them and Rhinnna will make the Sahara tent explode if she comes out to perform her hit single with UK DJ Calvin Harris tonight.
If you can’t make it go to Youtube as they have an amazing set up broadcasting 3 different channels at once. I got the tour yesterday as my Grammy buddy Hank Newberger is running this incredible live broadcast network and it is of the highest plane out there of recording and broadcasting live music…live. Congrats to Youtube and State Farm for sponsoring, as for the millions not lucky enough to get to Coachella, they are home getting their groove on.
Check it out today… The next best thing to being at Qchella! Stay tuned til next time!