Coachella Music Festival
May 01, 2004
It was wonderful not knowing what to expect from Ian MacKaye's new band. As the self-righteous vocalist/guitarist for Minor Threat and Fugazi, his talent and ideals are legendary in indie rock. I was pretty sure I would get something good Saturday afternoon, and I did.
Vocalist/baritone guitarist MacKaye hit the stage with drummer Amy Farina for some toned-down rock inside a large tent. It fell short of folk because MacKaye retained punk energy without resorting to distortion. MacKaye sat while he played, and there was a definite intimate undertone to the music and atmosphere of the set. At one point, a man yelled, "Turn it up!" MacKaye said in return, "Turn it up?! Fuck that. Listen harder. Sometimes volume is your enemy."
I bobbed my head to the catchy music. The songs were full of straightforward rock, and MacKaye only once used rap rhyme stylings he espoused in Fugazi. Farina was a great drummer, and her harmonies with MacKaye made the concert feel like a positive sit-down pow wow. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea added to the fun when he played a trumpet solo during a bridge and then quickly disappeared into the crowd. MacKaye's anger was still evident and welcome in his music, but when he went off on a rant about the police and the way things used to be done(like an old man would), the show got tiresome.
Still, with graceful production, these guys could put together a record full of beautiful, minimalist rock.