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Surviving Coachella 2009

May 25, 2009|By Roland E. Bye

Bajofondo is from Argentina, and Jeff says he hears strains of the Tango in some of their music.  I don't know just what they played, and I was pleased to hear their leader admit he did not know either.  They just played what they enjoyed, they appeared to be having a party on the stage, and the crowd loved it.

Their varied performances featured a violin, a bass fiddle, an electric accordion (old world squeeze box look, but electric) that is sometimes played by two people at once, guitars, a keyboard, drums, an occasional shirtless male "dancer", and an Apple computer.    They have the magnetism, intensity, and exuberance of Gogol Bordello and the old world charm of Devotchka.  Sadly, I find that their recorded music is far less interesting than their live stage performance, but discovering a new live act like Bajofondo is exactly what Coachella is all about.

Search on YouTube for "Bajofondo - El Mareo (Coachella 2009)" to see a fuzzy four and a half minute clip of what they were like on stage.

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Earlier on Friday, I listened to as many other groups as my feet could take me to.  Here are some of my impressions:

Second only to Bajofondo, in my opinion, was Leonard Cohen.  How is it that he is 75  and I have never heard of him?  And he is playing Coachella, and the kids love him?  His voice is so deep and gravelly that I had no idea whether he was singing in tune, or whether the idea of being in tune even applied here.  Yes, he is old, but the young crowd went crazy, especially when he assured them that "Democracy is coming -- to the USA".  He gave a magnetic performance even though his physical style on stage is limited to "stand and deliver", combined now and then with "shuffle and deliver".  How is that possible?  He was another performer that I wanted to hear more from, but his set was over.  

The Ting Tings:  Ya gotta love any group that appears to be having as much fun on the stage as the youthful groundlings are having down below.  All together now:  "That's not my name!  That's not my name!"

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