127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.
"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."
-By Scott Butterworth
Day #3 - Artist #3 - The Hold Steady:
I hate to start off with what I'm about to do, because I think the world of rock and roll journalism has no shortage of the cliche, metaphor-based music review, but it jumped out at me. I couldn't help it. You know, the kind of description like: "(insert new awesome band)'s album sounds like the aftermath of a night out on the town, when the band is using the crosswalk at Abbey Road after leaving the pub, and is run down by a bus driven by Pink Floyd."
Well, I'm going to do it anyways. When I first heard "Stay Positive," the title track off The Holdy Steady's 2008 album, I sensed something unique, yet so familiar, from the Brooklyn-based (by way of Minneapolis) band. The formula instantly popped into my head. Ready for this? I promise it's the only cheesy metaphor I'll be using. If Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were constestants on the improv sketch show Whose Line is it Anyway and were told to sing a song in the style of the Dead Kennedys, ala Wanye Brady, we would get "Stay Positive."
Here’s the deal. As it was happening -- nothing happened, and when it happened it wasn’t happening anymore – I have to knock out this note before the day wiggles away. Lately, living has been bent from the front, so next go round I’m pinning this date on my wall, whip it around my prehensile wits; flip the switch that says stick. So done, so be it, now shout yeah! All the what’s and who’s and why’s jump out from everywhere and serenade the guru of gone! Happy Birthday! Belated or not, to the original gasser, the original hipster saint, the most far-out cat that ever stomped on this Sweet Green Sphere, who’s wailin', groovy hipsemantic orations tramped through the wiggage in our graciously affluent playground: the wordland we call the English language! The man, the years, the most flip embodiment of a life lived cool … none other than His Majesty, His Hipness, Lord Buckley! Birthday 102 …and though he found “the theme of the beam of the invisible edge” back in ‘60, they’re still digging his scrabble and his mad heart, looting strange truths from the head, all truths, even the feral truths, scribbling, splattering jive laid down to his bop ... as his Royal Flipness’ once said - “they supersede and carry on beyond the parallel of your practiced credulity.”
Though Lord Buckley is known for his "hip-semantic" interpretation of history, literature, and culture, sporting a waxed mustache, dressed to the nines and expounding on life in the manner befit of British aristocracy, intoned by way of Jazz riffs versed by hemp-headed hepcats, Lord Buckley was actually born in a coal-mining town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada on an Indian reservation in Tuolumne, California, in 1906. Richard Myrle Buckley worked as a lumberjack as a kid and entered the world of showbiz by way of the medicine, carnival, and tent show circuit, eventually gigging in the speakeasies of Chicago during the 1920s, emceeing dance marathons and vaudeville shows, even playing on Broadway during the Depression. By the 1940’s he was working steadily in Jazz clubs, befriending many of the greatest musicians of the era. During the Second World War Buckley toured with the USO Shows and became close friends with, of all people, Ed Sullivan. By the 1950’s the unclassifiable Lord Buckley was cast as a comedian, his humor combined his incredible detailed knowledge of the language and culture; his true hepcat persona became one part stump preacher, one part raconteur, another part grifter and huckster, producing one of the strangest comedic personas ever invented.