Did someone say Coldplay?!

3 08 2009

By Jillian Mapes (@jumonsmapes)

Coldplay at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Coldplay at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

From the chaos that was All Points West day three came impressive sets from Coldplay and the Black Keys, for both of which the dirty crowds packed in tight to see. Doors opened late, with two bands (including Gaslight Anthem) being cut from each stage to keep the festival running on time.

As I trailed through the most mud I’ve ever seen in my life, I stumbled onto yet another intense performance from freak-folksters Akron/Family. Each and every time I see the Brooklyn-via-Pennsylvania band perform live, I rave about it for days and days. Reasons why: They’re incredibly energetic, they chant like some ancient African tribe, they’re big on improvisation and they dance/make silly faces. Does it get much better? Nope.

I caught a few songs of We Are Scientists’ set before scurrying off to an interview with Akron/Family, one of which was the band’s semi-big hit off of 2006’s “With Love and Squalor,” “This Scene is Dead.” What lead singer Keith Murray said in the introduction of the song, however, was what really struck me:  “This song goes way back. A lot of you probably learned to drive to this song. That’s how old this song is.” I was 17 for most of 2006 and got my license in mid-2005, so that’s pretty much dead-on. It brought me back a few years and reminded me what the teenage me had loved so much about We Are Scientists – the band’s upbeat energy. Plus Murray has surprisingly gray hair for a 32 year old, so it seemed very dad-like of him to be talking to a bunch of kids in their early 20s about being old.

After what could be the best interview of my life with Akron/Family drummer Dana Janssen (Q&A coming this week!) about Twitter and the future of the music biz, I caught a hot second of ‘80s Britrock legends Echo and the Bunnymen before literally running over to the side stage for my Northeast Ohio kin the Black Keys. Allow me to say, I generally take few issues with security running the photo pits at shows because they, just like the photographers, are just doing their jobs. What transpired at the Black Keys pit, however, was slightly unreasonable. Security guards let 20 photographers in for the first song, then begrudgingly let 20 more in for a song after the first batch got out. Guards then started screaming at the remaining photographers about how the Black Keys hate photographers and don’t want us there in the first place, not allowing us to enter the pit even after the second batch had left. Why, exactly? Because one photographer copped a ‘tude. It set off the security guards and they took it out on every other photographer there, so we were not able to do our jobs, despite the fact that most of us had waited patiently. The security at All Points West just generally treated members of the media like dirt, especially the photographers.

Akron/Family at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Akron/Family at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

So, after the photo fiasco, I did my best to enjoy the Keys’ set, which absolutely blew me away. Move over Jack White, Dan Auerbach is thee guitarist of our generation. I then ran back over to the main stage to catch Coldplay, whose performance I was skeptical of. People always rave about Coldplay live, but it was hard for me to imagine such a chill band bringing it hard in performance. Wrong. Not to sound corny, but it was 90-some minutes of magic, chock-full of old Coldplay favorites like “Clocks,” “Yellow” and a synthy remix of “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.” Perhaps a little too much magic, because I kept seeing all the preppy Coldplay couples swaying and kissing. Chris Martin even acknowledged the couples when he urged fans to sing along, saying “Even if your girlfriend dragged you here, this isn’t too hard!”

Coldplay at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Coldplay at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Martin was a mad man, running and jumping about the stage with the energy of a youngster (well, a very British youngster who sings like an angel and swears like a sailor). I’m fairly certain there was some skipping involved, too. The band, whose set included covers of Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right to Party” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” applauded the crowd for sludging out in the horrendous mud and muck. Martin later called the All Points West appearance “one of the most interesting smelling performances ever.” That’s the damn truth right there, and I had never been happier to smell the subway as I was Sunday night.





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