Friday, May 11, 2012

We're moving!

After 8 years of being on Blogger, Culture Shock, the Straz Center blog, is moving!

Please start following us on Tumblr! We'll see you over there.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Free Tickets to "The Daily Show" Tapings in Tampa May Be Requested at

NEW YORK, May 8, 2012 -- "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" continues its legacy of on the road convention coverage by broadcasting a week of shows during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  "The Daily Show's" coverage of the 2012 RNC will be taped at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Ferguson Hall and air nightly at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT from Tuesday, August 28 through Friday, August 31.  The show previously announced its coverage of the 2012 DNC which will be taped at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center™ in Charlotte and air nightly at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT from Tuesday, September 4 through Friday, September 7. 
"We are incredibly excited to spend a week in the beautiful city of Tampa," said Rory Albanese, Executive Producer, 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.'  "We look forward to enjoying the beaches and the exciting nightlife, plus we assume this counts as a visit to our grandparents."
The Straz Center is located at 1010 North W.C. MacInnes Place in Tampa.  Tickets for the tapings are free and will be available only through the show's Web site,, not through the venue’s box office. 
The episodes airing during the 2012 RNC will feature news, analysis, and guest interviews from host Jon Stewart as well as reports from the convention floor at the Tampa Bay Times Forum from "The Daily Show" News Team (Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Jason Jones, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi, John Oliver and Jessica Williams).
This marks the ninth time the series has taken its critically-acclaimed and award-winning political coverage on the road, having previously travelled to Philadelphia (2000 RNC), Los Angeles (2000 DNC), Boston (2004 DNC), Denver (2008 DNC) and St. Paul (2008 RNC) to cover the national party conventions, and to Washington, D.C. (2002, 2010) and Columbus, OH (2006) for special, mid-term election coverage. 
"The Daily Show" first earned its political stripes during the now-infamous 2000 election, receiving an Emmy® Award and a prestigious George Foster Peabody® Award for its year-long "Indecision 2000" coverage of the race for the White House, achievements repeated during the series' "Indecision 2004" election reporting.
"The Daily Show" airs Monday-Thursday at 11:00 p.m. and repeats at 1:00 a.m. the same night and at 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. the following day (all times ET/PT).  Full episodes, as well as clips, are posted for viewing the following day at with URL and embed links.  Fans can follow @TheDailyShow on Twitter or “like” The Daily Show on Facebook.
            Jon Stewart and Rory Albanese are the Executive Producers of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" with Steve Bodow, Kahane Cooperman, Jennifer Flanz and Adam Lowitt serving as Co-Executive Producers.  Supervising Producers are Pam DePace, Tim Greenberg, Hillary Kun and Stuart Miller.  Jill Katz is the Executive in Charge of Production.  The series' Head Writer is Tim Carvell and it is directed by Chuck O'Neil.
Opening in 1987, the Straz Center consists of five theaters, three restaurants and the Patel Conservatory.  The 335,000 square-foot facility provides an environment for a wide variety of world-class events.  It boasts one of the nation’s leading Broadway series and is nationally respected for presenting a wide variety of concerts, performances and events and for its resident company Opera Tampa.  For more information about the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Opera Tampa, the Patel Conservatory and their upcoming events, please visit, and
Available in 99 million homes nationwide, COMEDY CENTRAL (, the only all-comedy network, is owned by, and is a registered trademark of, Comedy Partners, a wholly-owned unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA and VIAB).  For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit COMEDY CENTRAL's press Web site at and follow us on Twitter @ComedyCentralPR for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

Renata Luczak     212.767.8661
Steve Albani         212.767.8695

Monday, May 07, 2012

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!

Sept. 13 – Oct. 14
After 15 years of marriage, television personalities and real-life-married-couple Annabelle Gurwitch (Dinner and a Movie, Fired!) and Jeff Kahn (The Ben Stiller Show, Forty Year Old Virgin) have adapted their hilarious and often moving memoir, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!, for the stage. You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up! “strikes directly to the funny bone” (Charlotte Observer) by offering a hilarious glimpse into a relationship that seems doomed by opposing personalities from the start. Gurwitch and Kahn’s delightfully crazy lifestyle manages to keep their relationship intact, up-ending every idea about living ‘happily ever after.’

The book was developed through sold-out performances at The Comedy Central Theater and at Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles and made its New York premiere at The New York Comedy Festival in 2009. Casting for the Tampa production will be announced later this summer.

Performances of I Say Tomato, You Say Shut Up! are Thursday-Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $35.50 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at The performances on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. are previews, with tickets for $25.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

2012-2013 Club Jaeb season

The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announces the

2012-2013 Club Jaeb season

Tampa, FL – Now celebrating its eighth season, Club Jaeb transforms the Straz Center’s Jaeb Theater into an intimate music space featuring folk, Americana, alternative, country and other “hand-picked music that matters.”

The 2012-2013 Club Jaeb season is presented by Merchants Association of Florida, Inc. and includes:

Darrell ScottOct. 8
Scott’s songs have been recorded by more than 70 artists including the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Sam Bush and Garth Brooks. He won Americana Songwriter of the Year in 2007 and ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year in 2002. Rolling Stone says he “matches Guy Clark and Bruce Springsteen at their best.” Performing Songwriter calls him “the best of the best.” USA Today says his songs are “brilliantly clever.” In addition to his songwriting, Scott is a brilliant player on multiple instruments. He recently toured with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy. His most recent recording is A Crooked Road, and he also wrote Red Molly’s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.”

Carrie Rodriguez ∙ Nov. 12
Rodriguez started as a teenage violinist who went on to study at the Berklee College of Music. Since then she’s mastered mandolin and guitar and toured with Chip Taylor, Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo. Although she’s a skillful songwriter (note her prideful shot at a cheating lover on “She Ain’t Me”), her latest CD Love and Circumstance is a collection of covers from some of the very best songwriters including Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt and more.

Tyrone Wells ∙ Dec. 10
A preacher’s kid, Wells combines soul, pop and folk rock – and more than a few stories – in his live shows. He has spent the last year bouncing between Nashville and Los Angeles, so it makes sense that his spring 2012 release, Where We Meet, bounces effortlessly between intimate and epic. His previous recordings Hold On and Remain contain songs that were featured on Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries and Rescue Me. In 2010, Metal & Wood spent nearly three weeks at No. 1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart and debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Although he has hundreds of original songs, he has a knack for selecting great songs to cover and make his own, such as the Kings of Leon hit “Use Somebody.”

Kris Delmhorst ∙ Jan. 21
A former member of Redbird (with Peter Mulvey and husband Jeffrey Foucault), Delmhorst approached one of her best recordings, Shotgun Singer, with a decidedly lo-fi method. She isolated herself in a rural cabin with minimal recording gear and a houseful of instruments. Then she added some layers, “like an oil painting,” she says. Delmhorst’s voice has been described as “wine deep and honey bright.” Never predictable, her Strange Conversation recording turned the words of moldering poets like Rumi, e.e. cummings and Walt Whitman into modern songs.
“The album is an assured model of sophisticated songwriting and heartfelt musicianship.” – Boston Globe

Cheryl Wheeler ∙ Feb. 11
A well-covered songwriter and natural-born storyteller, Wheeler counts Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Holly Near and Dan Seals among those who have recorded her work. She returns to Club Jaeb a few years after a sold-out show that had the audience crying and laughing, occasionally at the same time.
“Imagine a performer with the songwriting whimsy of a Randy Newman, the soul of a Joan Armatrading, the vocal pyrotechnics of a Diane Schuur and the wry humor (and cluttered look) of a Linda Ellerbee.” – L.A. Times

Richard Shindell ∙ March 11
Shindell first gained worldwide attention during a European tour with Joan Baez, later forming a kind of folk supergroup with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky called Cry Cry Cry. His South of Delia recording, featuring songs by Robertson, Dylan, Springsteen and Guthrie, was named a Top 10 selection by NPR. With Not Far Now he returns (mostly) to his own songs. Long a spiritual seeker – first in a Zen Buddhist monastery and then at a seminary – Shindell is a powerful writer and equally powerful performer.
“One of the folk circuit’s most quietly lucid songwriters, with a compassionate intelligence that gleams through his songs.” – Jon Parales, New York Times

Tift Merritt and Simone Dinnerstein ∙ April 6
*This concert is in the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall.
It may seem an odd pairing at first, this Grammy® Award-nominated alt-country darling and a pianist known for her interpretations of Bach, Beethoven and Shubert. But Merritt has always resisted easy classifications, as comfortable in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium as in Paris, where she lived for a while. The album Night features a collection of new songs written especially for the duo by the likes of Brad Mehldau, Patty Griffin and Philip Lasser. Jenny Scheinman, whose previous collaborators include Bill Frissell, David Byrne and Madeleine Peyroux, has contributed arrangements of some of Merritt’s and Dinnerstein’s favorite songs. Both artists will perform solo as well – Merritt in her own songs – more like musical short stories, including some from her latest recording See You on the Moon – and Dinnerstein in some of her favorite selections from the solo classical piano repertoire.
“Always a storyteller … Merritt is the type of disarming talent who can easily coax her way into any genre.” – NPR

Lori McKenna ∙ May 6
After taking a circuitous route to the music business, including raising a family, this Boston-based singer-songwriter nods to Nashville but stays rooted in her own world. Marriage, family, a sense of place – they all inform McKenna’s intimate and detailed lyrics. Fellow musician Mary Gauthier helped get McKenna’s songs noticed in Nashville and superstar Faith Hill recorded three of them on her album Fireflies. Since then McKenna has recorded two stellar albums – Unglamorous and her most recent Lorriane, named for her mother.
“The power of McKenna’s music lies in her artful pairing of intimacy and universality. … Her songs will break your heart, compel you to hug your children, or remind you that time passes, and fast. … She celebrates the sweet romance of the familiar. She dances to the rhythms of a settled life.” – Boston Globe

All Club Jaeb performances are on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. except for the concert with Merritt and Dinnerstein, which is on a Saturday. Audiences can come early for the 6:30 p.m. Monday Music Mingle, with affordable light snacks and drinks and then stay to see the show.

Current season ticket holders get the first chance to keep their seats for next season. Those packages are available now and begin at $130. Pending availability for this popular series, new season tickets will be available June 1. Those interested in learning more can call the Straz Center Ticket Office at 813.229.STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800.955.1045 or visit Individual show tickets are $28.50 and will go on sale Sept. 4.

Events, days, dates, times, performers and prices are subject to change without notice.

President Barack Obama praises & congratulates Maestro Anton Coppola

President Barack Obama praises and congratulates Maestro Anton Coppola
Tampa, Fla. ─ President Barack Obama has offered Maestro Anton Coppola congratulations on his retirement from Opera Tampa.

President Obama’s April 5 letter expresses pride for Coppola’s “many accomplishments and contributions,” and wishes him luck as the Maestro begins a new chapter in life. A copy of the letter is attached.

Following the April 22 performance of the company’s production of Aida, Coppola retired from the podium after 17 years as founding artistic director of Opera Tampa. “I must confess, I will never be the same person without Opera Tampa,” Coppola said, calling Straz Center President Judy Lisi his “blessed fairy godmother.”

During his illustrious career, Coppola conducted almost all of the important opera companies in the United States and Canada including the San Francisco and New York City Operas. Known for his range and versatility, Coppola conducted the world premieres of Lizzie Borden, Deseret and Of Mice and Men, as well as many Broadway musicals. He worked with the Royal Opera Orchestra and opera soprano Angela Gheorghiu to release a complete recording of Puccini works. After serving four years as an army bandmaster during World War II, he moved on to conduct at Radio City Music Hall. For 15 years, he was the director of both the Symphony and Opera Departments at the Manhattan School of Music and holds a master’s degree in composition. Among his larger works are a symphony, an opera, a violin concerto and numerous film scores. Coppola conducted important revivals of Zaza, Mireille and Falstaff, and appeared in his nephew Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Godfather III. He also conducted the score for the Coppola film Dracula. Coppola has received honorary Doctorates from the University of Tampa and Quinnitiac University in Connecticut. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Puccini Foundation and recognized by the Italian government as Cavaliere, Gran Ufficiale. Coppola has conducted all of Opera Tampa’s productions including Madama Butterfly, Carmen, La Bohème, Tosca, Hansel and Gretel, La Traviata, The Marriage of Figaro, the world premiere of his own opera Sacco & Vanzetti, Otello, Turandot and many more.   

Maestro Daniel Lipton, who has been appointed artistic director and conductor of Opera Tampa, will succeed Coppola. Details of the upcoming season and Lipton’s first appearance with Opera Tampa will be announced in the next six weeks.

For more information about Opera Tampa and its upcoming events, visit

Monday, April 30, 2012

Test Drive Your Seats

  Test Drive Your Seats
       For the Straz Center’s 2012-2013 Bank of America Best of 
       Broadway Tampa Bay series

WHAT:           Test Drive Your Seats

WHEN:           Sunday, May 6
                        1:30 3:30 p.m.
WHERE:        Carol Morsani Hall
David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
DETAILS:      The Straz Center will hold Test Drive Your Seats, an opportunity for the public to come inside Tampa’s home for premier performing arts and choose their seats for the 2012-2013 season with the stage in sight. There’s a season ticket package, and a price point, to fit every budget and every schedule. Packages begin as low as $128.

This is a FREE event. Those considering becoming season ticket holders can take seats for a spin and find the perfect ones from which to enjoy all of the magic live theater has to offer. The new season offers the singing and dancing nuns of Sister Act, Cole Porter’s classic Anything Goes, feel-good romps with ’80s hits like Priscilla Queen of the Desert’s “I Will Survive” and Flashdance’s “Flashdance – What A Feeling,” the chilling return of Jekyll & Hyde, the poignant and spectacular drama War Horse, the exhilarating and evocative Traces and the all-singing, all-dancing celebration of the Gershwins in ’S Wonderful.
For more information about this event or the Straz Center and its other upcoming events, please visit
Super WHY takes off in first-ever live show
Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!

Preschoolers’ favorite reading-powered heroes soar onto stages nationwide in all-new live-action adventure inspired by top-rated
 PBS KIDS TV series!

Must-see multimedia experience for the whole family features new music from
Jack Antonoff of the chart-topping indie band “fun.”

Tickets on sale Friday, May 4, at noon

Tampa, Fla. – From Storybrook Village to Tampa’s David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts!  Preschoolers have “the power” to experience Super WHY as never before when Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!, the first-ever live show based on the top-rated PBS KIDS TV series from Out of the Blue Enterprises, flies onto stages across the country starting this summer!  Produced by S2BN Entertainment (Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, Yo Gabba Gabba Live!, Rock of Ages: The Musical) and featuring music from Jack Antonoff of the hit band “fun.,” Super WHY Live kicks off in Monroe, La., and will visit nine cities throughout July, “setting the stage” for additional stops from coast-to-coast this fall. Tickets will be available beginning Friday, May 4.

Super WHY Live adds a whole new exhilarating dimension to Super WHY and its power to entertain and inspire young children,” said Samantha Freeman Alpert, co-creator and executive producer of the series and co-founder of Out of the Blue Enterprises. “We’re so excited to extend the beloved series from the screen to the stage with this full-scale live production for families to enjoy together.”

Super WHY Live vibrantly brings to life Super Why, Alpha Pig, Wonder Red, Princess Presto and their puppy pal Woofster, who each take children on larger-than-life, imagination-stimulating adventures.  With help from the audience, the characters embark on magical, out-of-this-world journeys to explore what they’ve always wanted to be  from a ship’s captain to a rock star and more! While singing, dancing and interacting with the characters on stage along the way, pint-sized fans (and parents, alike!) discover who really has the power to make dreams come true!

Showcasing cutting-edge technology, visual effects and aerial stunts, Super WHY Live is a sensory spectacular that will dazzle and delight audiences of all ages. The new production features a team of top talent, including a Tony® Award-winning scenic designer and an Emmy® and Tony Award-nominated lighting designer, who create a mesmerizing setting for the show.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take fans on this high-flying ride and invite them into the world of Super WHY in a completely unique way,” said Michael Cohl, CEO, S2BN Entertainment.  “For many children, Super WHY Live will be one of their earliest live entertainment experiences and we’ve created a truly unforgettable show for the entire family.”  

Fans can visit to sign up to receive the latest tour news and announcements and follow @superwhylive on Twitter. 
About Super WHY
Reading is power and Super WHY is the only preschool property created to help kids learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive storybook adventures. Produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises in conjunction with DHX Media, the series has a groundbreaking multimedia aesthetic – with a winning combination of two- and three-dimensional animation formats, relatable and engaging characters and immersive environments. The program represents a novel approach to preschool educational television, featuring a team of superhero characters with literacy-based powers, who jump into books to find answers to everyday preschool challenges. 

About Out of the Blue Enterprises
Out of the Blue Enterprises is dedicated to developing a groundbreaking portfolio of individually-targeted children’s entertainment properties under the direction of a proven management team led by Co-Founders Angela C. Santomero, M.A. developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Creator of the preschool entertainment phenomenon, Blue’s Clues, and Samantha Freeman Alpert, MBA from Harvard Business School and former Nickelodeon entertainment executive with extensive children’s marketing experience. The company creates breakthrough, interactive and curriculum-based entertainment concepts that span a variety of viable platforms, including television, video, publishing and consumer products. In doing so, Out of the Blue stimulates the minds of kids and families, involves them in fresh and original ways and elevates their educational entertainment experiences to a whole new level.

About S2BN
S2BN Entertainment is a diversified international family show and event entertainment company specializing in the acquisition, development and production of high caliber touring exhibitions, unique live music tours and events, theatrical performances, and consumer and multimedia product offerings. The company’s experienced management team executes activities across all types of global venues – from stadiums to theaters. S2BN Entertainment has a long history of promoting a diverse range of incredibly successful shows on a global scale. Led by Michael Cohl, the team at S2BN has been responsible for producing and overseeing tours with many of the most renowned artists in the world, including the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand; blockbuster Broadway musicals; and award-winning family shows for children of all ages.

Super WHY Live will play Carol Morsani Hall on Saturday, July 28, at 5 p.m. Regularly priced tickets start at $23.50 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at For more information about the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and its upcoming events, please visit

Visit to purchase VIP “Meet & Greet” packages.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Burn the Floor electronic recycling drive

“SO HOT it probably contributes to global warming
Extraordinary! Will take your breath away.” London Independent
Electronic recycling drive at the Straz Center offers
discounted tickets to Burn the Floor
Tampa, Fla. ─ The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is partnering with SEER, Secure Environmental Electronics Recycling, to host an electronics recycling drive during the Straz Center engagement of the international hit dance sensation Burn the Floor.

Those who stop by the Straz Center stage door to recycle electronics anytime between now and Friday will receive a voucher for 50% off tickets to a performance Tuesday-Friday of Burn the Floor, which plays the Straz Center April 24-29. Each discounted voucher is good for two tickets and should be redeemed at the Straz Center Ticket Office 90 minutes before the selected performance. Items can also be dropped off directly at the ticket office during this window of time. Limit of two vouchers per person with multiple items. Restrictions apply.

Recycling electronic waste conserves landfill space and prevents toxics from being released into the environment. Collected items will be utilized for recovery and reuse of valuable materials. For a smooth, fast drop off, all cabling should be removed from devices and placed in a bag.

Items accepted at no charge include TVs (in one piece/no broken glass), laptops, PCs, keyboards, floppy/disk drives, mice, printers, microwaves, UPS batteries, PC monitors, CD-Roms, modems, fax machines, test equipment, circuit boards, networking equipment, phones, cell phones, PC power supplies, scanners, copiers, cabling, typewriters and stereos/VCR/CD players.

Items not accepted include console/projection TVs, toaster ovens, washers, ovens, mixers/blenders, battery powered tools, tires, gas powered tools, freezers, household trash, humidifiers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, vacuum cleaners, washer/dryers and car batteries.

Burn the Floor brings together the talents of 20 award-winning international dancers from around the globe – England, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Slovenia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Philippines and the United States – and includes Australian Ballroom and World Latin American champions. The dancers, who collectively hold more than 100 dance titles, move to the vision of artistic director and choreographer Jason Gilkison, former World Champion Latin and Ballroom dancer, and guest choreographer and judge on So You Think You Can Dance

For more information about the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, visit

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bon Iver At Coachella

Op Ed: Bon Iver At Coachella - Bob Lefsetz
Posted: Tue., Apr. 17, 2012 04:44:45 AM MST
I thought I was going to be crushed at the David Guetta show.
And I wasn’t even in the tent.
Happened to me once before, decades back, at a Chambers Brothers show in Boston Common. My feet left the ground, I was being held up by bodies, somehow I squirmed my way to the right and was ejected from the scrum.
And I’ve never forgotten it.
On Saturday I saw too many bands giving good performances of mediocre material, and one band with great material that was so long in the tooth it was creepy, and an acoustic act that was as out of place as a Muslim at a Bar Mitzvah. But on my way to the Sahara tent I encountered Kasabian. They reaffirmed my optimism. They were good.
You can tell when an act has that little something extra.
But minutes before Kasabian left the stage, the swarm started to move. That’s what it was, like endless gnats moving to the Sahara tent.
I moved too, but got so frightened of being caught in the mass of bodies that I stayed outside the tent, where I was still being bumped into and twirled like a top. Guetta eventually featured Usher, but by that time I was gone. The patrons kept streaming in, I wanted out.
And then there was that Canadian singer, with a bunch of extra players on stage. She was charismatic, merging with her guitar, but once again, the material was disappointing.
And then I saw Bon Iver.
To say this guy and his band were great would be an understatement, they were TRANSCENDENT!
Incredibly well-rehearsed.
But most importantly, they sounded completely different from every other act on the bill. They were a party of one. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
In a sea of mediocrity, excellence stands out.
Oh, what the hell, let me start naming names.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. If she doesn’t get your willy moving, you’re gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) The sound was impeccable, the solos were good, and the material was so damn mediocre that she could close nobody, applause was minimal. And when AWOLNATION started up on the main stage, I gave up. That’s one of the problems at Coachella, sound bleed. It’s a war of who can turn up their amps louder. And if you think this is appealing, you’re deaf.
How about tUnE-yArDs? Great on paper, decent on YouTube and so out there live that almost no one clapped. We were all shaking our heads. I couldn’t find one person she impressed.
The aforementioned AWOLNATION was loud and that’s it. The less said the better.
Kaiser Chiefs were in the wrong location, maybe the wrong era. In the bright California sunshine, their music didn’t penetrate. I loved hearing "I Predict A Riot", but the audience was near somnambulant.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds…
Who gives a shit.
Smart guy, good guitar player, sub-mediocre voice. The more you listen, the more you miss Liam. I know Liam’s insane, but that doesn’t mean he’s not necessary.
And with so much more noise coming from every other stage, the cacophony made me want to move on, which I did.
Laura Marling?
Why don’t you whip out your guitar at the baseball game? She was so out of place, so overwhelmed by sound bleed as to be irrelevant.
Positively creepy. I’d hate to be an over-the-hill rock band. People remember your hits, want to hear nothing new and you play to an ever-dwindling audience, unable to give up because you were someone once. It hurts, I know. I loved hearing "Tempted", but the first part of the show was material I never need to hear again, and if you think they were good, you still believe your grandma is a hottie.
I’ll admit they were decent, but I never got in front of the stage. You’ve got to eat sometime, and go to the car for more clothes.
I wanted to love her. Up close and personal her complexion was less than perfect, she can really wail on the guitar, she closed me, she’s a rock star, but the longer I stood there the more the material washed off of me. She had everything but the hits.
And I’d like to explain what made Kasabian so damn good, but you know music, it’s like pornography, you know greatness when you see it.
And I didn’t think David Guetta was great. But there was no denying he had the audience in the palm of his hand.
As for the headliner, Radiohead… They made a crucial mistake. Trying to be unique, they refused to use the giant video screens on each side of the stage. Instead, we were subjected to their own tiny floating screens over the stage. Very cool. Excellent in theatres. But if you’re playing to tens of thousands, it just doesn’t translate. The problem with Radiohead? You just couldn’t see them!
And they were so boring at first, they lost fifteen or twenty percent of their audience, they just drifted off to Kaskade.
As did I.
The Sahara tent was full. There were incredible pink effects. There was an energy absent from the Radiohead show.
Oh, I went back to see Thom Yorke, et al. They played a few numbers I was familiar with. But really, they’re a band for fans only. If you’re not one, you’re not gonna be closed.
Which brings us back to Bon Iver…
Talk about overhyped! Every hipster in America is testifying about him.
Furthermore, the press fawns.
But he was everything we’re looking for, completely special without trying too hard.
He looks like a guy from your math class. His chest is not ripped and his hair is getting thin. But boy could he wring ethereal effects from his guitar.
And there was brass and backup vocals and the end result was an aural tapestry you couldn’t help but weave yourself into. What Justin Vernon was selling you can’t get at the movies, you can’t read in a book, it’s the essence of music.
Sure, he’s got a nontraditional voice. But so does Neil Young.
And Neil’s a good comparison. Because both he and Mr. Vernon go their own way, obey their own muse, are unaffected by both trends and media feedback.
Once upon a time, in the era of classic rock, the superstars sounded nothing alike.
But today, everybody fits into a slot. You rarely hear something new. And if you do, it’s not infectious.
But Bon Iver was.
And I realize Bon Iver is not EDM ("electronic dance music" for the uninitiated). But if you want to survive the deejay onslaught, that’s what you’ve got to be, different, unique, special.
Forget the TV competition shows. That’s like watching Little League.
Forget Top Forty radio. That’s old men doing it without emotion for the bucks. Breaking rules is anathema.
If you’re not willing to risk everything, without complaint, if you’re not willing to go your own way, you’re just not gonna make it, not in today’s market.
Come on Grace Potter, write one irresistible song! We don’t want to sleep with airheads, not more than once!
Feist…stop being so precious!
Noel Gallagher… Either form a band with Axl Rose or get back together with your brother, otherwise we just don’t care.
We live in an era where all that matters is excellence. And this is especially true at a festival like Coachella. When put next to great, good just fades away, we’re not interested.
If you can’t blow people away, if you’re not the cat’s meow, you’re better off avoiding the festival, you’re just gonna look small and irrelevant.
But if you can wring a magic sound from your instrument, if you can make us believe this moment is all that matters, if you can make the rest of the world fall away, getting us to concentrate only on you…
Then we’re all ears.

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