Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Coachella (Clusterfuckchella) Festival - Day One

It was hard to get up after the awesomeness that was meeting Mike Patton (again) and the Faith No More concert (again) in San Francisco. I think we stumbled back from the Warfield theatre at around 3AM and crawled into bed, my heading already pounding in advance from the Patton-induced head injury and the fact that I had a few drinks.

The next morning though there was no time to stay in bed and nurse my head - we had BART trip to the airport, then a car to rent and a LONG drive to make to the Coachella festival, just outside of Palm Springs.

Photobucket

Photobucket

We (my bf and I and two FNM fan/friends) took turns driving on the epic journey, stopping only for food and gas and getting lost several times.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Turn-offs in California just aren't well-marked and despite our vow to NOT go through LA, we ended up accidently doing that anyway. Pasadena traffic at rush-hour is NOT fun.

Photobucket

We did make it eventually but it was about 8 at night. Not exactly the "nice, relaxing day in Palm Springs" I first had in mind. Oh well. Next time.

Next morning of course was COACHELLA, DAY ONE. We headed off to the festival, which was about 10 min by car...only the traffic was seriously backed up to our hotel. We took a side route and got there quickly.

Then came time to wait to get into the parking lot...luckily it didn't take us too long, though we were placed in the farthest lot from the venue. I heard of other people waiting for HOURS to get into the parking areas - people were literally running out of gas, cars were overheating, etc. So we were lucky as we could be.

Photobucket

So after an extremely long walk to the festival area, we were in a clusterfuck crowd of people in non-existent lines for about an hour. And it was hot out. Hot, hot, heat. I don't mind crowds but when you can't see a way out and you're standing for an hour and it's 90 degrees...well, then it's annoying.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Turns out there were MANY problems that day... scanners weren't working, volunteers ran out of wristbands, tons of people were sold fake-tickets, people were climbing the fence and breaking in, etc.

Anyway, after getting our wristbands finally (and seeing about five different girls collapse from the heat... and probably drugs, even though it was 2PM) and passing through TWO security checkpoints (they confiscated my 100 calorie bag of almonds!) we were finally let into the Polo Fields.

Photobucket

Photobucket

First stop for me was to hit up the merch table. They all sell out by nighttime and I wanted a band shirt. I picked up a Them Crooked Vultures tank top (one of my fav bands) and promptly put it on ontop of my dress. The outfit I had picked out looked fine back at home, but now that I was here, it looked unflattering and out of place. Besides... gotta show my band support!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

First show we caught was a bit of Street Sweeper Social Club on the main stage, but the main draw for us was Dillinger Escape Plan in the Gobi tent which melted my ears off. They were amazing, such showmen and I swear their singer was a monkey.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I was secretly hoping that Mike Patton would come on stage and sing because he did during their Irony is a Dead Scene EP but alas that didn't happen.

Despite the fact that Mike Patton was actually standing in the VIP section to the side of the stage and watching them!! But I guess he's allowed to not be in every single band and I'm glad he was enjoying the show.

After DEP, we wandered around a bit, overwhelmed by the crowd (they sold an extra 15K tickets than normal which wasn't a good thing), ate some food (huge baked yam with brown sugar and butter), drank some beer and watched The Specials on the mainstage.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Then came one of the bands I was most excited about seeing: Them Crooked Vultures.

Photobucket

What happens when you combine three of my favourite bands together (Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Led Zep)? TCV. Though the album is very QOTSA (which is one reason why I love it) it's got that John Paul Jones Led Zep touch.

Photobucket

And of course, seeing three of my most fav musicians on stage at once was nothing short of amazing: John Paul Jones on Bass, Josh Homme on guitar and vocals and Dave Grohl on drums. They are both SO very good at what they do. Homme's voice is lovely, Grohl's drumming is outer worldly, it's that good, and JPJ plays every instrument known to man and does it so smoothly, so effortlessly.

Photobucket

Photobucket

And the sound was incredible. JPJ's bass and Grohl's drums just reached out to you and shook you. It made such songs as Gunman (OMG, SO GOOD), Mind Eraser and Scumbag Blues (JPJ's bass ...speechless) stand the fuck out. My only complaint was that they played Spinning in the Daffodils when they should have played Reptiles or Elephants, but not biggie. I'm sure I'll catch them again soon.

If you're so inclined, watch this video, the jamming beginning to Spinning in the Daffodils (sorry shitty sound) complete with moody, blowing fog machine:



After the excellence of TCV, we checked out Little Dragon for a bit in the Gobi. I really liked her on the new Gorillaz album and she was really neat to watch live. It was a great set to catch and a nice surprise.

Photobucket

Then finally, as the day was drawing to an end we caught Jay-Z.

Photobucket

Highly cool to watch. I'm not a rap person, but I did enjoy his latest CD and though Rhianna didn't come out to do Run This Town, Alicia Keyes did come out to do Empire State of Mind, and his Canuck buddy Drake was there too.

Photobucket

Even freakin wife Beyonce came out for a duet... by then though we had made our way back to the car to beat the crowd and rest up for Muse and Faith No More the next day!

Photobucket

Monday, April 26, 2010

San Francisco Sights and Sounds - Day 1

The trip started off on a good note....(well OK, after we were screwed over in Seattle with our "free parking" hotel), Virgin America was absolutely the most awesome airline I've ever been on. Flight was fantastic and the only time I actually was mad when we landed. What made it awesome?


Photobucket
Cool lighting

Photobucket
Funny and entertaining safety video

Photobucket
Cool menu

Photobucket
Touchscreens to order food, drinks, Ibuprofen! That's delivered to your seat.

Photobucket
Speaking of drinks...Absinthe! Not a good idea on the plane.

Photobucket

We got to the hotel and actually it was very nice. Bedbugs aside, I would actually stay there again. They rectified the situation very quickly, and having had NUMEROUS experiences with bedbugs before, I could tell this was just VERY bad luck and a one-off thing. The hotel otherwise was very clean, tidy and quaint and our new room certainly did not have bedbugs (I made sure of that but anyway).

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
The nightly happy hour of free booze was a nice touch.

Photobucket

Photobucket
Great location too, right on Market and Powell, steps from the BART station and the cable car stop. And in the same building complex as Sephora, Forever 21 and DSW.

Photobucket
We had a quick, hearty lunch at a restaurant called Max's.

Photobucket
The moseyed down to the Warfield where I listened to Faith No More rehearsing through the doors.

Photobucket

However, after talking to the FNM roadies, it actually wasn't them rehearsing in there but the house band. But we still made some friends from that conversation, connections that would come in handy later :)
PS those pants I'm wearing are the perfect travel pants. Silk, doesn't wrinkle easily and feels liks you're wearing your comfiest yoga pants. So comfy AND stylish!

Silk pants: Victorias Secret; Jacket: H&M; Halter: F21; Sandals: Go Jane; Bag: F21

PS COACHELLA POSTS COMING UP SOON!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Faith No More in SF Warfield - Part two

Photobucket
"Check out my epic blog post, Mike"
"Wow"

OK folks, you're going to have to bear with me a bit with this post. I appear to have a mild concussion and my writing skills are a bit off (that's my excuse for a crappy post, haha). This post will also be long and filled with many pictures.

A concussion, you ask. How did that happen?

Well, I don't know if I have one or not, I have many symptoms today but I also suffer from Labyrinthitis (yes, it's a thing!) so it could be that. Going to the doctor tomorrow to get it checked out.

But a concussion is one example of how crap my trip turned out to be at times. Yet how I got it was awesome. So there was a lot of "WORST TRIP EVER" muttered by my bf and I, followed by me smiling uncontrollably. Consensus: a crazy motherfucking vacation.

PS if you wanna go straight to the concert review and pics, you can scroll down and ignore my bitching and whining.

Let's pick up where I left off:

So, grinning like an idiot from just having met Jon Hudson, Billy Gould and Mike Patton (see previous post), my bf and I go back to our hotel (The Powell) which was down the block. It was about 330AM at this point.

We go to bed. I have weird dreaming about scratching myself. I finally wake at 5AM and scratching myself raw in my sleep. My face feels swollen, my arms are lumpy and I have a sinking feeling I have been through this before.

I get up quickly and look in the mirror. I am covered in welts, including one on my cheekbone and on my eye, which has caused one eye to almost swell shut. I look like the elephant man.

I look on the bed and see tons of bed bugs crawling about. I look at my bf, decide not to wake him, then book it downstairs to the front desk in my pjs. The front desk guy looks aghast at my face and quickly gives us a new room on a different floor.

I go back upstairs, wake up my bf and yell "we've got to get out of here!" and quickly pack up everything. Well, almost everything. more on that leter.

Luckily our stuff was not near the bed, so the chances of bedbugs hitching a ride were not as great - this has happened to me before.

Anyway, we move rooms, so tired and hungover and go to bed. I take an allergy pill (i'm allergic to bedbugs) and konk out.

Wake up at noon the next day. I am so groggy and my face is a disaster. How can I go to the concert like this? I thank my lucky stars that I had met Mike Patton the night before and not this night (didn't want to look like a freak in the photos).

There are no bedbugs in the new room, but that doesn't stop us from spraying everything we own with Lysol, just in case. We also plan to wash everything the next day on the drive to Palm Springs.

I look like hell and I feel like shit. My bf complained to the hotel and they did give us a free night which was nice. But by now it's late in the afternoon, I wanted to get in the Warfield lineup at 5-ish and all of our plans for the day are cut short. So much we were gonna see and do and now we were running out of time.

As I try and put makeup on my swollen face, I text my friends whom were sharing the Coachella hotel with me.

Turns out, they have an irrational fear of bedbugs. Even though I was the one brutally bitten (therefore making very sure that no bugs were coming along for a ride), they bailed on the hotel with us. Leaving my bf and I $400 in the hole. Money we do not have.

So, I cried and freaked out. How was I going to come up with $400? I saved the exact amount of money for this trip and there was no way I could pay for the hotel now. Meanwhile I'm covered in bites, I feel like shit, and now WE were majorly screwed over ( my bf is equally as poor as I am and was just as fucked). Where do we get the money??

My friends did try to find us a new place to stay at, but whatever they found was still more expensive because we still weren't allowed to share a room with them, plus it was out of the way. I had booked my hotel in December and it was a 10-min drive from the venue and I did budget my gas costs into that as well.

I did however find some friends of mine who were screwed out of a place to stay, so for a day it seemed like they were gonna take my friend's place. But alas, fate laughed and in the end they didn't end up staying with us. Go figure!!

But, despite all the shit, I was still smiling. I was so happy from meeting Patton and watching the concert I had been waiting for for years, that I pushed the crap aside.

ON TO THE SHOW


We even managed to get up to Haight and Ashbury on the craziest bus ever, and took a walk around that awesome area...but I'll do a post on that later :)

OH and before that, we walked past the concert venue and talked to the security guard I befriended the day before (very Chris Farely in Wayne's World haha). I told him my bedbug story and as I was doing so I saw Roddy Bottum (FNM's keyboardist and Twitterer) going in through the side door.

I waved at him, surprisingly nonchalantly "Oh, hey Roddy!"

He stopped and poked his head out the door and waved back, "hey, how are you?"

"I'm good. Awesome show last night, by the way. Looking forward to tonight!"

"Cool, thanks very much. See you tonight!"

And then as the door was closing I yelled "PLAY CRACK HITLER!" then turned back to the security guard and finished our convo. Lol. So surreal.

Anyway, after our Haight and Ashbury tour, we got in line at the Warfield where I saw a bunch of my friends from the night before. Made the hour fly by, just being surrounded by crazy FNM fans everywhere you turned. Lots of people liked my homemade Mr. Bungle tank top and also took pics of my Angel Dust boots, which was cool

Photobucket

When the doors opened and we went into the building, I made a beeline for the first tier railing. The night before I was at the barricade with my bf and we had earlier decided to not be in that squish fest again.

But when I saw my friend Josh going for the barricade again, I had a change of heart. Call me greedy, I needed to be at the front again! So my bf decided to stay at the railing with a new friend of ours and I went to the barricade, committed to the bruised ribs and hips chaos that i knew would follow.


Photobucket
Josh and his wide legs saving my spot.

Photobucket
Mike and Andy at the railing.


Just as it had been the night(s) before, Neil Hamburger was once again the MC. But instead of JellO Biafra we got White Trash Debutantes, which was a kooky concept that got old pretty fast (and included a horrendous lead singer who looked like Edie Izzard in 20 years):

Photobucket


And instead of the Barbary Coast Cloggers that we got on Tuesday, we got....


Photobucket
The El Camino High School Cheerleaders?

Photobucket

YUP! It was hilarious. They apparently won a contest to perform. I know it couldn't have been easy to have them doing their stunts in front of confused and scary-looking Faith No More fans, but they did great and I was cheering them on extra loud!

Finally, FNM came out. They started with their cover of "Reunited" straight into From Out of Nowhere and Land of Sunshine. Personally I liked the Midnight Cowboy into The Real Thing intro that they did the other night, but man I was happy anyway.

This night was better for me. Despite the itchy bug bites, I wasn't as squished this time at the front and I was a lot more into the music (because I had my friends around me and not some annoying pushy guy jabbing into me every five seconds).

Photobucket

Photobucket
Mr. Bungles!

Also, because I was to the side of Patton and in front of Roddy, I was out of the way of crowd-surfers. Or so I thought.

I thought the set-list from Tuesday night was better, but I thought Ashes to Ashes was tighter this night, I loved Digging the Grave, was so happy they played King for a Day (which was gorgeous!), loved the cover of Lady Gaga's Poker Face as the intro into Chinese Arithmetic and went CRAZY for Cuckoo for Caca. It's one of their harder songs but man I loved it live. The only weak link I thought was Evidence...but that's just me! Was still cool to watch.


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Anyway, the concert was legendary...I just had the best time, I didn't want it to end.

But it did have to end...when Patton did his encore of "Just A Man" by climbing on to the speakers on the side of the stage, we knew something special was going to happen.


Photobucket
No one can scream like Patton

Photobucket
No one can wear...skull socks?

Photobucket
Takes concert-goer Eddie's hat

Photobucket
Not looking 42 here...looking very Angel Dust-era, no?

Photobucket
Looks to Roddy as if to say "Should I jump on the fans?"

Roddy's face says "No."
Photobucket

But this happened (YOU MUST WATCH):



He flipped (FLIPPED!) over my head, and with all his kicking as he crowd-surfered towards me, he - Mike Patton - ended up booting me right in the head.

I dropped my camera and quickly ducked down into the crowd, searching the floor frantically for my camera before it got trampled. My head was killing me and for a minute I thought I might actually pass out, but I did find my camera.

I came back up, totally out of sorts but happy my camera wasn't broken.

But everyone around me thought Patton had kicked me unconcious. Even the cameraman and security gaurds were looking for me, thinking I was out cold on the floor, getting trampled. At the end of the video above, you can see my friend Aleem grab Patton's feet to stop him from kicking and then look on the ground at me.

Anyway, a huge bump immediately formed on my head and it felt sick to touch it but I brushed it off - I thought it was hilarious, actually - and continued to watch the show.

Then I heard the start of one of my favourite songs, As the Worm Turns. I was all psyched to hear it as a second encore and then....

Chuck Mosely came out.

Photobucket

Photobucket
Yes, the singer that Mike Patton had to replace. He originally "sang" Worm, We Care a Lot, Anne's Song, etc in the 80's. He was going to do The Real Thing but the band kicked him out for being a moron and brought Patton on to record vocals (when Patton was 22) at the last minute.

ANYHOO - It was awesome to see Chuck come out, mainly because this was history in the making. This will never happen again, and once Patton and Chuck did a duet of Introduce Yourself, we all knew it was something we would never forget.


Photobucket


And they got a standing ovation from the crowd:

Photobucket

My friend Dave got the setlist from someone from Minnesota (just like him) and I talked to one of the staff members I had befriended and he gave me one of Jon's pics.


Photobucket

So the show ended and we came out into the street only to face the camera crew who were filming the show for the upcoming FNM concert DVD.

Photobucket

Man, this was hilarious. I don't remember much of what I said (kinda just high from the show!) but I know I showed them my Angel Dust boots, I know they asked us "Why do you love Faith No More so much?" but for the life of me I can't remember what I said!

Photobucket
Photobucket

Photobucket


Then we talked for a bit about other stuff, I don't really remember, and was entertained by pick-pocketing cancer survivor who had no idea who FNM was, but just wanted a dollah. Man, I hope she's on the DVD!

After the filming was over, we all went to a sports bar up the street. While we were perusing Dave's setlist and having a few beers, my friend Wendy texted me saying that Puffy had just come out of the Warfield. Now Puffy was the one band member I hadn't met yet.

So we finished our beers and then I remember booking it through the crappiest neighbourhood in San Francisco (at 2AM, no less) in order to get there in time.

Turns out Puffy (and Roddy) had come and gone, but we did manage to get Billy again, which was awesome just because he's so awesome. Filmed him talking to my friend Mark for a bit too, Billy's really enjoying the FNM reunion, hints at a future (at least, he's got a lot left in him).

Photobucket


We decided to wait it out for a bit, maybe see Patton again, plus the film crew was still there. But then, lo and behold, Chuck Mosely came out.

I'm not a Chuck fan but it was pretty funny to see him. He kinda looked like he had bedbugs himself lol. He was nice though and chatted to us for awhile...OK it turns out he was asking people for a ride to LA.


Photobucket

Photobucket
photo by Aleem Khan

He even signed my friend's ticket stub: Chuck was here. LOL. Classic. And a funny moment. But once the novelty wore off, we knew we were still waiting for Patton.

And then he came out...round two.

Unlike the last night, where Patton was super mellow and a bit distracted, this time he was equally drunk but as snarky as you expect Mike Patton to be. It was a nice change lol, now this is the Wolfmother-slagging Patton we all know and love :P

I wanted a picture with him, this time with him actually looking in the camera, so we did:

Photobucket
Yes, my swollen face from the bed bug bites. Ugh.

Photobucket
photo by Aleem Khan

That's a better angle.

It's funny...there were many things I had always planned to say or ask Patton when I met him. I forgot the night before to ask him the stuff so you would think I would have remembered again the second time.

But alas I didn't. Musta drawn a blank. But then I remembered, as he was talking to someone else, that I should show him my boots.

So I went up to him again and was like, "Oh wait, you've gotta see my boots."

I was a bit pushy, so it probably served me right that he looked down and said, "I did NOT need to see those."

I remember not having a clever comeback, then turning to my boyfriend, making a fake sad face and saying "I was pwned!" lol.

That was pretty funny though, so I just watched my friends talk to him and get their pictures taken too.

That was until the camera man spotted me and yelled at Patton, "hey check out the bump on the blonde girl's head, you kicked her there."

Well, Patton turns around and looks at me and I'm like "OH GOD, this is embarassing."

I shrug and look at him, "It's nothing. Just a love bump." (Love bump? WTF? Good one, me)

But then he sighs and gives me his drink to hold.


Photobucket

Feels the bump on my head...

Photobucket
photo by Aleem Khan


And says, "Oh, there is no bump on your head." Clearly, there was, because I could feel his hand going up and down over it but yeah, I get it, the minute he admits he kicked me in the head, he's liable.

But I honestly didn't mind and I told him so. The way I see it, I could have been kicked by any crowdsurfer but instead it was by my idol. Makes a good story, anyway.

So, after that somewhat embarassing incident happened (thanks for singling me out, cameradude), I turned and mingled with the rest of the crowd.

Turns out there was a very nice girl whom Patton kicked in the FACE. She had quite the bump on her cheekbone and I immediately didn't feel very bad about my situation.

Then the cameraman called me over to talk to him (off camera). He asked how I was feeling and I said, "I'm totally fine, it hurts to touch but that's about it. At least I wasn't kicked in the face" and gestured to the other girl.

Well...Patton was standing on the other side of me and I guess he was listening to me and the cameraman talking because he turns around, glares at me (he's a good glarer :P) and says, "I did not kick anyone in the face either."

Normally, you'd say that I probably pissed him off, but that's just Mike Patton. I missed his smart-alecklyness the first night and was happy to have it now. And despite our little kerfuffel, I still admire him greatly and think he's a super cool dude. After all, he was taking the time to talk to us, sign things and pose for pictures and he was really nice to everyone. Well....except me :P Go figure!


Photobucket
My bf Mike stares down Mike as Mike stares down a toy monkey


So that was the end of that epic night. It took me a while to write out because there was just so much to remember and share but I thank you for staying with me on this looooong post. I'm sure I'm coming off as really annoying right now, but I'm still just so overjoyed at the surreal experience!


Photobucket Mike and my friend Mark have a contest on who can glare at the camera more.


It was seriously one of the best nights of my life.


Photobucket

Oh right. The "concussion." Well, the bump happened a week ago, and on Monday it was still really sore to touch. It's still there too but has gone down a lot.

Well, this morning I woke up horrendously dizzy. Like walking into walls kind of dizzy, room spinning, so tired, etc.

I do suffer from Labyrinthitis from time to time, so it could be just vertigo. Or it could be a mild concussion showing up late. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to find out for sure. If it it is a concussion, then the story gets even funnier...especially when people ask how I got it!

Seriously though, still lots and lots of Patton and FNM love from me. I think even MORE now. Uh-oh! Can't wait to see him when (and if) he tours with Mondo Cane. At least there would be no crowd-surfing there!


Photobucket

Oh, and stay tuned for Coachella posts over the next few days. Believe it or not, I had another crowd-surfing incident with Patton on Saturday...but it turned out much better!


(pictures with date stamp by Wendy Kennedy, first photo by Andy Steffen)