No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, May 17, 2013


April 17, 2013

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 photo 562429_10151392716801872_904403931_n_zpsaa59abe9.jpg Kathy & Michael

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The final day of the Coachella festival dawned sunny, warm and beautiful but by the time the last bands were taking the stage later in the night, a surreal almost unbelievable sand storm unlike anything that we had ever experienced had struck and the Empire Polo Grounds were turned in to a haze of blowing sand and a landscape that looked like something out of dystopian Hollywood movie.

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In between we enjoyed a wonderful day of music and fun.  Unlike some of the previous days, the majority of the bands that I really wanted to see were playing on the mains stage beginning in the early afternoon with Airborne Toxic Event and then the Gaslight Anthem. Both bands put on solid sets without huge throngs that would come later.

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In fact being at the main stage early allowed Kathy & I to sneak up close to the front to watch The Lumineers, a band we both like a lot. We had seen the Lumineers just about a year ago at a tiny club (Radio Radio) in Indianapolis with about 200 people in the crowd and had also attended a private gig with only about 25 people that was part of a live radio show for NPR. Since then the band has taken off in a huge way.

 photo 136_zps35caeab0.jpg The Lumineers

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Their debut self-titled debut CD has spent almost the entire year since in the top ten in CD sales and their relentless touring, playing TV shows and catchy songs have propelled them to huge popularity. So it was interesting to have seen them when they were just on the cusp and again now when they have reached the height of popularity. The massive crowd they attracted to the main stage, probably around 80,000 people trying to crowd the stage.

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They announced from the stage that it was the largest crowd they had ever played for and I can certainly believe that- it was a long, long way from seeing them play from the front row of 25 or so people. In spite of that, their show was fantastic and it was easy once again to see how they were able to get so popular so fast. Their music is great and their charming stage presence is awesome – even on this massive stage. They played a fantastic set that even included some new songs from some future release.

Lumineers “Stubborn Love”

After the Lumineers set, I stayed put to watch Social Distortion, while Kathy went over to check out Rodriguez. I have been a Social D fan for ages, but have never seen them live. It was like a flashback to the 90s as the crowd parted, a mosh pit formed and some vigorous slam dancing ensued, a drastic difference from the folky rock ambience that had pervaded the same space earlier. Kathy had seen a documentary that was released last year on Rodriguez, so she was keen to go see him.

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 photo alexander-skarsgard-celebrities-at-the-2013-coachella_3604239_zps0ce8c085.jpg Alexander Skarsgard

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I watched Social D and Vampire Weekend before meeting up with Kathy and heading over top watch what was the most pleasant and fascinating show of the weekend, Pretty Lights who had a massive, packed crowd and one of the most amazing and dramatic light shows that I have ever seen. So awesome.

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Unfortunately they played just after the sunset and by then the sandstorm was moving in to overdrive.
Scarves, goggles, glasses and face masks became the order of the night as the crazy wind whipped sand up and reduced visibility and created a ghostly haze over everything. It was a truly surreal experience and sadly impossible to truly capture on film. We moved under the protective cover of a tented stage to watch 80s favorites OMD, before catching portions of Wu Tang Clan, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and finally the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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By the time the RHCP took the stage, the sand was almost intolerable and I am surprised that they were even able to play. We watched a little then drove home through swirling almost blacked-out roads from the sand. It was some sort of crazy experience, but interesting and fun.

 photo 93d55f41-f390-40b1-94a4-b438c22297cc_zps31ea8f13.jpg Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson

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Phoenix and R. Kelly “1901”

 photo BH1v1pwCEAENbiK_zps93b52fdd.jpg Clint Eastwood

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More Coachella

April 15, 2013

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More Coachella

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The experience of attending Coachella is tough to explain, it is massive and intimate at the same time; it is a variety of experiences that are as diverse of the music that is found there. As the first major music festival of the busy summer festival season, which seems to grow by leaps and bounds each year, Coachella is one of the most important for bands to play. The proximity to Los Angeles provides additional cache as the entertainment industry, especially the music industry has made Coachella one of the “must play” festivals of the year.

 photo 132_zps9b45d00f.jpg Lee Scratch Perry

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 photo 115_zpsc87ad4d7.jpg Of Monsters and Men

 photo 002_zpsef787f96.jpg Dropkick Murphys

Major band reunions take place almost every year as well as major bands’ debut performances. Also crazy interesting once in a lifetime collaborations are fairly common here as well. All these things took place once again this year at the show. Which featured the typical mélange of acts performing in front of 80,000 plus fans spread out over the Polo grounds.

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Kathy and I have had the good fortune to attend a few of the major festivals on the summer festival circuit including larger mega-fests like the ACL (Austin City Limits) festival in Austin, Lollapalooza in Chicago and Langerado in Miami as well as a number of smaller, more intimate festivals such as Folks Fest. Coachella had many of the same features of the bigger festivals with pretty damn good weather. The sunshine warmth, low humidity and breeze made for a fairly pleasant experience.

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In addition to George and Jalak who we came with to the festival, we had another friend who was in from LA for the show. My friend Abe, who is an actor was coming for both weekends is a Coachella regular and music guru. He has always had some of the best taste in music of anyone I know and so it is no surprise that he would be there and it was great to see him.

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Some of the acts we caught all or parts of included Passion Pit, Local Natives,  Wolfgang Gartner, Grinderman,FOALS, Bassnectar and Trent Reznor’s new band How to Destroy Angels. On Saturday, we followed pretty much the same plan, arriving in the early afternoon in time to see a crazy set from the Irish band Dropkick Murphys, followed by the British singer Ben Howard, who was one if the acts that I was most looking forward to seeing. Howard played a low key, yet very well received set that did not disappoint.

 photo 045-1_zps772dc021.jpg Ben Howard

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Next up was a sort of odd set from Bat for Lashes, then some of Major Lazer and Grizzly Bear before heading over to the craziness that was the Sahara tent where Benny Benassi had a set as a DJ before thousands of screaming and dancing fans. The incredible light show and energy from the EDM tent was unbelievable. I have never been much of a fan, but I have to admit that we were mesmerized by the shows every time we went to that stage.

Of Monsters and Men

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During the day, many of the smaller stages and arts areas hosted some great live arts displays including multiple performances by the artistic burlesque troupe know at the Lucent Dossier Experience, who performed a show that was part burlesque, part acrobatic display and part humor including vigorous dousing of the assembled crowd and each other with water hoses that provided relief from the desert heat.

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 photo 20130414_034505_0413130414_NWS_IDB_L-FRANZ-01-JCM1_zpsfaa7fa32.jpg Franz Ferdinand

Some of the bands that I most enjoyed played Saturday evening and night. We saw a wonderful set by the reunited band The Postal Service, the side project of Death Cab for Cutie lead singer Ben Gibbard. The reunion to mark the 10th anniversary of their only CD release was another huge coup for Coachella and the band played together for the first time in years.

Next was another incredible DJ set in the Sahara tent, this time by the legendary Moby who had the crowd in an absolute frenzy. We watched that for a time before heading over to watch a terrific high energy set by the band Franz Ferdinand which was in my mind the most positive surprise of the weekend. I had not originally planned to see them at all and their set was among my favorites.

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 photo 263_zps5a1c743d.jpg Franz Ferdinand

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We closed out the evening with sets from the XX, Phoenix, Janelle Monae and another reunited band, New Order, who played a fantastic set that was a mix of their new stuff and their classic new wave hits from the eighties. Their set drew its share of celebrities including the likes of Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio and Alexander Skarsgard who was standing just in front of us.

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 photo 285_zps40374787.jpg New Order

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New Order, “Perfect Kiss”

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