Contributed by Dave Travis
The Coachella Festival broadcasts three live streams on its YouTube page which is http://www.youtube.com/user/coachella. It is free to watch so if you don’t have the money, time, or inclination to physically go to the festival you can still see and hear the bands. On the top of the page is a featured video stream. Below the featured stream are three thumbnail streams which allow you to select from channel’s one, two, or three. Coachella has five stages so there is a stream running from three of the five stages at most times. Below the thumbnail is the name of the band, and who is playing next on that channel. Below the channels module is the schedule for what bands will be featured on what channels and when. On the right is a column where people chat. There is also an archive where one can see videos on demand of single songs from some but not all of the performers.
In the mid 1990’s I worked for Van Duyne Engineering incorporating live video on educational CD ROMs. To fit the video on the CD ROM and have it be able to be played back by the computer we had to compress the video to a fraction of the screen size and matte it with animation, text, and graphics. Even doing that we could only fit a few minutes of video. Now one can stream full screen HD video to your computer over a broadband connection and it looks as good as if you were watching it on TV. I took my first computer class in 1980 and we had to fill in a punch card for each line of information, hand in the deck of cards that made your program, and then wait a week for a printout to comeback from the school district computer downtown. Now you can watch concerts live in full frame HD in stereo. It is amazing how things have changed in my lifetime.
The second weekend of the festival is coming up this weekend from April 20-22. so you will have a chance to see and hear the following bands I suggest and more. It should be noted that although there is an archive of some of the songs from some of the bands available, it is only a song or two each and not all the bands are featured. If you want to see a complete performance of a particular band you need to watch it live.
Due to childcare obligation I was unable to drive out for the first day of Coachella but was able to watch some of it at home. One act that stood out the first day was Gary Clark Jr. he is a psychedelic blues guitarist that blazing a path between Albert King and Billy Gibbons. I had never heard of him before and found him flipping between the channels. I was surprised and happy to hear a blues band at Coachella, it was not something that I expected.
Next was Jimmy Cliff. Their were several artists that went beyond being a singer and was also a tummler. It was not just about singing to the audience, it was about involving the audience. Jimmy Cliff is the OG entertainer of all the performers, touring across the Caribbean, the Americas, and Europe since the early 70’s. He played a lot of his early 70’s hits like The Harder they Come and I Can See Clearly Now as well as newer songs. An interesting song was when he did his song Vietnam from 40 years ago but changed it to Afghanistan. The band could have been a bit more Irie, it was Reggae played by a bunch of white men in black suits, it seemed kind of sober and less stony then some reggae but then again Jimmy Cliff is not a Rastafarian, he is a Muslim. While the band was not super waisty they still were good and knew the material. You got to give Jimmy Cliff props, at 64 years old he is still more high energy and focused on his performance and entertaining the audience then almost any act one third of his age.
The next day when I got to the show L.A. Beat / We Got Power photographer Jordan Schwartz kept talking about Swedish hardcore band Refused so I will try to check out their feed this weekend. It was also everybody was moving their feet and skanking to the rock steady beat of Madness.
Check out part 1 of this article where I describe why I was their and give some history. Stay tuned for my review of day 2 and 3.