tUnE-yArDs, aka Merrill Garbis overcoming Coachella's desert heat that kicked-in the second weekend. (Photo: Jeff Miller)
INDIO, CALIF. -- tUnE-yArDs, aka Merrill Garbis, played a set under the harsh sun during the day on Saturday at Coachella, but by the time we caught up with her and manager Jason Colton it was nighttime, a warm breeze providing some relief from the relentless heat of the day. Her experience playing two Coachellas on back-to-back weekends, she said, was great. "I got to revise the set and have a second chance, which you never do at festivals usually. It was really different both weekends. One was hot and one was not."
The day's scorcher almost sidelined Garbis altogether. "I thought I was going to faint before I went on stage, but then something clicked - I'm glad I made it through. My monitor with the loops went out. It rattled me for a second, but with festivals, you've got to say: 'Fuck it' and just do it." Though she's known for offbeat, ukelele-led folk-pop, Garbis' pick of the day occupied a totally different sonic zone. " Azaelia Banks," she said, "was great!"
Wagatail Production's Ben Baruch who is the talent buyer for Boulder, CO's Fox Theater and manages Big Gigantic. (Photo: Jeff Miller)
Though he's a music-business vet and lived in LA for six years, Wagatail Productions' Ben Baruch, who is the Talent Buyer for the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO, and the manager for Big Gigantic (headed to Bonnaroo this year for a late-night Thursday set), had never been to Coachella before yesterday. Still, after having spent only a couple hours on the field, he was impressed. Outside the Head and the Heart's rootsy set at the Mojave tent, Baruch said, "The grounds here are amazing. It's so easy to get from stage to stage without very much bleed."
It turns out peer pressure gets the credit for Baruch's first trip to Indio. "I'm going to so many festivals this year," he says. "The [Coachella] lineup was insane, and working with AEG - they kind of convinced me to come. I couldn't say no."
Manchester Orchestra Guitarist Robert McDowell. (Photo: Jeff Miller)
Though they're still a young band, Atlanta's Manchester Orchestra are Coachella veterans. "We were talking about it on the way up," said Robert McDowell, the band's guitarist. "We played in 2008, so I asked Andy, the singer, whether when we're done we'll have played Coachella two or three times. We didn't know the answer!"
The heat - on everyone's minds as temperatures blasted over 100 degrees - wasn't a detriment to McDowell. "It's a nice excuse to not be in Georgia while the humidity is there," he said, while trying to get over to the Mojave tent from the VIP section. "We got in late Friday last week, and [today] we'll have gotten to catch Grouplove, Pulp, M83, and Refused - that's who I think everyone's pumped about seeing."
DJ Z -Trip with his publicist Juliana Plotkin of the Chamber Group. (Photo: Jeff Miller)
DJ Z-Trip has played Coachella many times, but this year he's just getting to enjoy his time on the field; we grabbed him and his publicist, Juliana Plotkin (who was just named head of the West Coast Office of The Chamber Group) right outside of the Mainstage, as Jimmy Cliff played some classic reggae jams - and were sweating it out in the 100+ degree heat.
The difference in the two weekends, both said, came down to one thing. "The weather," they exclaimed in near-unison. "Last week, the energy was odd," Plotkin continued. "Everybody forgot what it was like to be at Coachella when it wasn't 100 degrees."
"It's a little less fever pitched," Z-trip said. "[When it was only one weekend] you'd literally be running between bands. This time, it's like, 'I'll catch that next week.' I'm sitting and absorbing more. The pace is a little better."
"I'm really excited to see Azaelia Banks again," said Plotkin. "I want to see if her set is more than 20 minutes."
The Henry Clay People's Andy Siara. (Photo: Jeff Miller)
Last year, The Henry Clay People, who are signed to TBD Records, had an early set in the Gobi tent; this year, their guitarist Andy Siara was spotted in the VIP area having a Heineken at the same point in a scorching day. Turns out he was just biding his time before the acts he wanted to see.
"I was not here last weekend," he said, sidling up to the bar. "I only care about seeing four bands: At The Drive-In, Pulp, Refused, and Jeff Mangum." He's going to miss the last one as he's playing in LA at the same time, but he's coming back for Sunday's show. "I've seen Refused and Pulp in the last week," he said, "And they're still the only bands I give a shit about seeing."
He's got to catch them now, because he's going to be busy for the rest of the year: The Henry Clay People just announced a tour opening for Motion City Soundtrack, and they are releasing a new album, 25 For The Rest of Our Lives, on TBD this fall.