Best & Worst of All Points West: Day 3
Coldplay converts your boyfriend, the Black Keys soundtrack mud wrestling, and MGMT ditch their own show.
BEST SET OF THE DAY
For all the you-know-how-I-know-you’re-gay jokes Coldplay has to endure, give them credit for embracing the joke themselves.”Let’s practice some singing,” Chris Martin instructed the crowd during “Yellow,” adding, “even if you got dragged here by your girlfriend.”Coldplay aimed their set at those reluctantly-dragged individuals (ie. anyone with a Y-chromosome) by doing the unthinkable: rocking out.A band many still consider to be best known for slow piano-pop just this side of James Blunt eschewed sentimentality for pounding drums and epic guitar riffs in an effort to find energy in even their most dreary hit.The slowest song they did?A solo piano “Fight For Your Right (to Party),” a minor-key dirge in honor of the fallen Beastie Boys.They later busted out an acoustic “Billie Jean” for those jonesing for more tribute covers.The next time Coldplay come around, guys may be the ones doing the dragging.
LONELIEST PERFORMER WONDERING WHERE THE AUDIENCE IS
Rain and lightning warnings closed the entry gates early on, delaying (or cancelling) many sets as thousands of fans tried to slow-clap their way in.When the gates were finally opened, PT Walkley was hurriedly ushered onstage to try to make up for the lost hours.Only problem: No one had finished the trek from the gates to the stage, so he came out to an empty field.When people did arrive, no one knew who he was, the printed schedule rendered useless by the delays.Walkley looked lonely indeed gazing out into the emptiness, but was put out of his misery after two songs when the powers that be declared his set over.
The Gaslight Anthem killed the main stage yesterday.Well, they surely would have had they ever set foot on it.Several bands got the axe thanks to the late start, cut from the line-up as fans ran around trying to figure out who was playing where.We can only imagine Gaslight rocked the catering tent, and I’m sure Steel Train’s show for the guy shoveling mud off the backstage cabling was epic.Fans in front of the stage though waited in vain.
LEAST AROUSING MUD WRESTLING
All Points West is a catchy enough name, but many in the crowd knew this weekend by a different name: Mudstock 2009.For most the mud was a bigger pain than a sea of Tool fans, but a select few made the best of a dirty situation.As the Black Keys ravaged through their dirty riffage, a growing circle of fans responded with some sludge of their own, rolling around in the mud, fists in the air.The scene was less Girls Gone Wild and more Animal Collective music video, but that didn’t stop many in the crowd turning around to watch the writhing mud-surfers.”I can’t decide which is more exciting,” one onlooker observed before settling on the wrestlers.
BIGGEST WASTE OF EXPENSIVE TECHNOLOGY
Never the most visually interesting band to begin with, Echo and the Bunnymen decided that the most effective use of the massive projection screens on either side of them was to show fans what they could already see.Due to vanity, stupidity or both, the not-so-New Wavers did not allow the festival cameras anywhere near the stage, relegating the screens to show the back of fans’ heads or, on choice occasions, a shot of the band from farther back than most of the crowd.Perhaps the band saved the best view for Courtney Love, seen rocking out (and twittering, natch) sidestage throughout.
MOST AWKWARD ATTEMPT AT CROWD PARTICIPATION
“We like fun,” Akron/Family’s Miles Seaton yelled.”Do you like fun?”Well either the crowd truly felt ambivalent about fun or they didn’t think the question worth answering.Met with stony silence, Seaton tried again.And again.His one-man chant never inspired the crowd, perhaps because only the most stoned found anything resembling fun in the band’s directionless drum circles.
HIGHEST HOOK-PER-MINUTE RATIO
The lost city of Atlantis.Bigfoot.A We Are Scientists song with only one guitar hook.These things may exist somewhere, but no one’s found them yet.We Are Scientist’s Keith Murray seems to be hellbent on getting each of his tunes stuck in your head five times over.You don’t often see a crowd sing along to the guitarist, but on “The Great Escape” they attempted just that.Call it a testament to Murray’s hooks that even a field full of people going “duh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh” sounds catchy.
BIGGEST FAN DISS
Many fans had a tough time deciding between the conflicting Coldplay and MGMT shows, but MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden knew his priority: seeing Coldplay.The psych rockers rushed through a set that barely hit the hour mark, leaving fans cheering for more.They yelled in vain though, as VanWyngarden was already over at the main stage bleachers checking out the last half hour of Coldplay’s set.Given that Coldplay started 20 minutes earlier than MGMT, fans were understandably miffed at the latter’s efficiency.