Coachella '08

Since this is my first post at Club Fonograma, I’d present myself very briefly. My name is Jean-Stephane Beriot, my family and I are from France but Chileans at heart as well. I lived in Chile from age 6 to 16 and since then I’ve been dividing myself between New York City and Los Angeles, and I am a musician. Thanks to Carlinhos for inviting me to join el Club Fonograma.

The Mexican Bands @ Coachella ’08

by: Jean-Stephane Beriot

Café Tacvba (yes with a v instead of u) is perhaps the best rock Latin band of all time. Soda Stereo is in my opinion too safe, Mana is a joke, Los Cadillacs are great but not really rockers. That leaves us with two high-caliber bands that are not only the best of Latinoamerica, but two of the best in the world: Aterciopelados & Café Tacvba. The latter has an already legendary sound, great ska influenced songs fused with Mexican regional music creating a resonance that stands out anywhere. Coachella, the most well known music festival in the world, welcomed the quartet with incredible warm. And yeah, people are still calling them the Mexican Beatles, which should stop, but only summarizes how respected they are.

I must say the Mexican band got one of the best receptions, at least it had everyone dancing even if most people had no fucking clue what the lyrics said or who they were. True coachellos already knew them, as this is their third time performing. The energy of those guys was amazing as usual, it just leaves us wanting more. If it was me, I would have cut the entire performance of average Jack Johnson; I mean, people did not go to see him. Only los tacubos can make the dance in Dejate Caer still seem so fresh and hysterical at the same time. My favorite song this time was Las Flores, a song I had ignored for such a long time. A video of the song at coachella is included at the end of this post.

Sino, the latest album is risky, which means that it disappointed many people. For us who think artists must take risks, it is a gratifying experience.

Coachella has been globalizing in the last few years and having three latin acts in this year’s lineup was incredibly satisfying. Mexico’s Porter and AUSTIN TV were also performers and I must say I find them very talented. The festival is not a place to meet new bands, it isn’t a platform for new talents as some people say. Hispanics of course knew los tacubos, but most of them were not even aware two other Mexican bands were playing. This is my first time seeing them Porter perform, I was not able to see Austin TV, which was my most anticipated hour of the entire fest. (It hurts!)

There were people from Mexico just going to see them, and judging their response this time Porter did not wow them. Talking to some of them, they talk about the band having internal problems and that their performance really reflected the tension among its members. But for me, a first timer, I would say I was totally enchanted by their mystical lyrics and yes that hunting voice. I bet they got a whole new line of followers now, since the audience (mostly first timers as well I assume) were very enthusiastic. Anyone looking for quality experimental alternative music need to look no further.

Let’s cross our fingers next year and the next one, Coachella doesn’t need big names, it needs good music and bands like Babasonicos, Los Planetas, Los Amigos Invisibles, Nortec, Zoe or Aterciopelados. Coachella ’08 was an okay edition, but for me having three bands from latinoamerica was a true achievement.