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Scene & Not Seen

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

Wow, three days are a whole lot harder than one. Like, a LOT harder. I started off day 1 of Coachella all gung-ho and gangbusters, determined to crisscross the Coachella field from one stage to another in a mad dash to take in every band on my ambitious wishlist. Then I did it all over again on day 2. But since this year marked the first time Coachella had been expanded to three days, I didn't quite pace myself properly, and as you can tell by my passed-out pic above, by Saturday night I'd really wrecked myself. So it was time check myself. I had to come to grips with the reality that I couldn't keep up such an Energizer Bunny-esque tempo if I didn't expect to end up in the First Aid Tent by Sunday's end, and that I had to carefully pick and choose the bands worth risking sunstroke and additional blisters for.

So let's directly, apologetically address the Coachella acts I didn't see, offer up some dog-ate-my-homework-style excuses, and get all that out of the way and off my conscience:

MIKA - Mika, you know I love you. I saw you at the Troubadour last month and you absolutely killed it. I wholeheartedly intended to see you kick off Sunday in style. But you were playing at 1pm. Blame the traffic. Blame the fact that I had to park in Lot 4, which is about a 10K walk away from the festival site itself. Blame it on my blisters, which made that 10K walk seemingly take 10 hours. But I just didn't make it. I tried, though, I did. I really did.

THE KOOKS - Kooks, I love you guys too. And my excuse for not seeing you isn't as airtight or forgivable as the one I have regarding Mika, since I was already safely on the festival grounds. But I was also safely parked on a very cushiony couch in the VIP area, within refreshing range of a misting fan, chilling with friends and sipping a tropical drink out of a scooped-out coconut shell like a swanky Love Boat passenger. And Kooks, you were playing waaaaaaay across the field in the ashtanga yoga sweatlodge otherwise known as the Mojave Tent. The couch and coconut shell just won out--sorry, but I unfortch have no other excuse. If it's any small consolation, though, I saw you at Spaceland in L.A. a few months ago (you know, the big buzzy show Nicky Hilton was at), and you were fantastic.

KAISER CHIEFS - Kaisers, when I typed up my impressively organized list of must-see Coachella bands, you were not only on that list, but your name was in BOLD. Which means you were a must-must-see band for me. But your set conflicted with a rare indie-rock festival appearance by none other than Willie Nelson. C'mon, the man's a legend. And it was Willie's birthday, too! Face it, Kaisers, you just can't compete with that. I'll make it up to you, though...I pinky-swear promise to check out your L.A. gig in June.

PLACEBO - Sorry, but your set conflicted with that of another legendary must-see, the recently reunited Crowded House. But don't worry--you guys were so loud that I could hear you from all the way across the field, therefore transforming Neil Finn & company's set into one big Crowded House/Placebo mashup. True, that didn't quite work as well as Girl Talk's mashups during their bitchen Saturday-night DJ set, but it was an interesting sonic experiment nonetheless, and at least I didn't feel like I missed out on you guys entirely.

LILY ALLEN - Lily, you are an awesome blossom. But I've seen you three times in the last three months. So I chose to go see Air instead of you. Hey, if it makes you feel better, watching Air was about as interesting as, well, watching actual air, so I regret my decision. Karma got me in this instance.

There are many, many other Sunday bands I sadly missed (Spank Rock, Ratatat, Damien Rice, et al), but one can only suffer so much for rock. And dear readers, I think I suffered more than most: I just counted, and over the entire course of Coachella's three days, I saw 33 (count 'em, thirty-three) bands. That averages out to one band every 1.12 hours. That might be a personal best for me...but I can always insanely try to top that achievement at Coachella 2008, right?

Stay tuned for a report on the Sunday bands I actually DID see...

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