Coachella 2009, By The Numbers


Clubs editor Stacey Anderson sojourned in Indio, California this past weekend for Coachella. She already covered the frantic play-by-play over at our Twitter, so we asked her to wrap-up the festival with a by-the-numbers guide to her three days in the desert. Not to fear, times this year we will likely be blogging about Coachella after this: 0.


– Hours spent in traffic jam to festival: 0.75
– Approximate seconds spent by security checking individual bags for drugs/weapons/bodies: 2-5
– “Yo mama” jokes delivered by People Under the Stairs: 8-10
– Improvement of M. Ward’s backing band since Outside Lands Festival (percentage): 100
– Number of times giant claw art installation “Hand of Man” lifted full-sized car from ground and hurled it back down, distracting M. Ward: 4 (smashy smashy!)
– Brisk covers of “Roll Over Beethoven” M. Ward unleashed in exasperated response: 1

– Comically wide-brimmed fedoras sported by Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: 1 (on Conor Oberst)
– Elderly pink-haired women with matching zebra-striped canes rocking out in Mystic Valley audience: 1
– Relative punkness of the Hold Steady compared to Sunday openers Fucked Up: 15%
– Red velvet chairs and Persian rugs deployed for Leonard Cohen set: 1 and 1
– Estimated Cohen audience capacity: 66% (majority of day’s attendees went to Franz Ferdinand…no, seriously)
– Elegant composure of the 75-year-old Leonard Cohen as he strolled around stage in fedora: immeasurable
– Hymnal, transcendent showstoppers that made everyone, including Leonard Cohen, cry: 1 (“Hallelujah,” truly my favorite moment of any Coachella)
– Bad-ass torch renditions: 2 (“First We Take Manhattan,” “Everybody Knows”)
– Degree to which his bottomless baritone has weakened: 0
– Audience ecstasy after Cohen set: 100% (inarguable)
– Degree to which Morrissey pouted and sulked during main stage set and acted like a little bitch (1-10): 10 (including brief, terrifying foray of toplessness)
– Friends who lost wager because Paul McCartney opened with “Jet” instead of a Beatles tune: 5
– Percentage of McCartney set that lagged because no one came for “The Fireman Comes Alive”: 33% (the middle, when many people left)
– Improved turnaround after halftime when he started playing Beatles and continued for an hour and a half, including a nine-song all-Beatles encore: 110%
– Obscure McCartney skiffle covers: 1 (Shakin’ Stevens’s “Honey Hush”)
– Gloriously unexpected Beatles tracks deployed: 7 (“Back in the USSR,” “Helter Skelter,” “A Day in the Life,” “Birthday,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise),” “Carry That Weight,” “The End”)
– Fucking fireballs that exploded onstage during “Live and Let Die”: 4
– Hours it took to exit parking lot: 3


– Hours spent in traffic jam to festival: 1.5
– Grinning likeability of Dhani Harrison (George’s son, also the singer of thenewno2): 100%
– Sound snafus during Blitzen Trapper: countless
– Alarming aggression of erstwhile Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer and her Crayola cabaret dancers: 100%
– Times Amanda Palmer mocked Morrissey’s sense of entitlement the night before and warmed my heart: 2 (including “Leonard Cohen was so humble and modest, and Morrissey was like, ‘What! What! What!'”)
– Accuracy of TV on the Radio set list, as broadcast on mainstage projection screens during set: 0% (no “Family Tree,” dammit, but wailing spin on “Red Dress” compensated)
– Apparent fatigue of TVOTR singer Kyp Malone, which did not impede his direct command for the sun to set, and it did: 75%
High School Musical stars spotted in V.I.P. lounge: 2 (Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens)
– Bands hyped onstage by TVOTR’s Tunde Adebimpe: 1 (Gang Gang Dance)
– Awesomeness on a scale of 1 too 100 of Thievery Corporation bossa nova/jazz/classical Indian dance party, taking into account sitar, dazed Perry Farrell cameo, and “Lebanese Blonde”: 85
– Visceral visual slap of M.I.A. circus (glow-in-the-dark dancers, Tamil newsreel footage, hyperactive “Galang,” hurled noise horns): inestimable
– Apparent happiness of M.I.A., judging from her laments of “I don’t feel comfortable on the main stage. Next time I wanna be in the tents again”: diminished
– Appropriateness of the shiny, spiffy Killers as follow-up to M.I.A. calamity: 0
– Percentage of bros in Killers audience, and also bros bro-swaying: 95%
– Killers songs that were pretty solid: 3 (“Somebody Told Me,” “When You Were Young,” “Smile Like You Mean It”)
– Hours it took to exit parking lot: 2.5


– Hours spent in traffic jam to festival: 0.5
– Less-than-hardcore start time of anarchist punks Fucked Up: 2:50pm
– Songs before manic mosh pit erupted at Fucked Up: 4
– Ridiculous/awesome antics of singer Damian “Father” Abraham: 3 (bloodletting, bodyslamming, pouring 10 gallons of water over head…followed by sincere, happy thanks to fans for being “not lame”)
– Sets of Subaru keys Abraham helped soaked front-row fan find after set: 1 (after broadcasting their description through the PA)
– Bands I really, really want to be in now: 1 (Fucked Up)
– Brawls Brian Jonestown Massacre indulged in: 0 (but not for audience’s lack of trying: “Dandy Warhols rule!”)
– Songs in which singer Anton Newcombe faced audience instead of drum riser: 2 (including best of set, “If Love is the Drug” with Zy Lynn)
– SPF Antony was wearing (educated guess): 80 (also sported white caftan and wide, bemused eyes)
– Accuracy of Siouxie Sioux/Karen O public correlations, given latter’s beaming charisma and giggliness during Yeah Yeah Yeahs mainstage set: 20%
– Proximity of enormous eyeball prop over drummer Brian Chase head: 10 feet? (precarious)
– Energy level of band, relative to past performances: 60% (though “Zero” was astounding)
– Degree to which the Horrors were petulant, uninspired showmen: infinite (“You know where I’d rather be right now,” whined singer Faris Badwan in reference to concurrent My Bloody Valentine set. Us too, buddy.)
– Overpowering white light ferocity of My Bloody Valentine (1-100): 100 (earplugs non-negotiable)
– Times own heart skipped during “I Only Said”: 2
– Sentences Kevin Fields spoke to mega mainstage crowd: 1 (“Hello people who have come to Coachella.”)
– Duration (in minutes) of legendary, punishing breakdown in “You Made Me Realise”: 14-15 (the air sizzled!)
– Public Enemy audience capacity: 75% (dude, “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”!)
– Chants Flava Flav led for son, Karma: 1 (“Go Karma, go Karma!”)
– Personal interest-factor in headliners the Cure: 0
– Hours it took to exit parking lot: 0.01

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