In celebration of Coachella, Southern California’s foremost music festival, we’ve put together a list of songs that remind us of some of our best concert experiences.
Natasha – “Tearin’ Up My Heart” by *NSYNC: This song is more reminiscent of the concert I never got to go to, sadly. All I wanted when I was nine years old was to see *NSYNC live, so I could live out our generation’s version of Beatlemania, and scream, squeal and cry at the sight of Justin Timberlake’s frosted locks. This seminal Nineties pop song will stay with me forever; it still gives me the rush it did when I was in fourth grade and pretending I was the sixth member of the boy band.
Rebecca – “Super Rad” by the Aquabats: When I was 14, I was really into third-wave ska and other goofy shit. The Aquabats fit that mode nicely and were a huge part of my adolescence. Yes, I am an Aquacadet. I have a mask. I still have all their songs – and even though I don’t listen to them regularly, I still smile whenever their happy-go-lucky songs blast on my iTunes. One of my first concerts was an Aquabats concert, and you know what? They put on a damn fine show. The positive energy was simply overflowing. When “Super Rad” came on – their only semi-hit, and sort of an anthem for Aquabats nerds – the crowd went nuts.
Myself included. “Tell your mom! Tell your dad! It was super rad!”
Natasha – “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas: I have no shame in admitting that the first concert I actually ever went to was none other than the Black Eyed Peas (pre-“I Got a Feeling”) at the Greek Theatre. This was probably one of the most fun concerts I’ve ever been to. The energy of the Black Eyed Peas live is undeniable; there wasn’t a single person left sitting after the first two songs. The warm summer night air of the outdoor venue only enhanced the mood.
There was an inescapable feeling of unadulterated, unpretentious happiness that filled everyone there as the danced, bopped their heads, and sang along. This was one of those rare shows where there were no hipsters standing with arms crossed, self-conscious and afraid to dance, a rarity for me.
Rebecca – “Doin the Cockroach” by Modest Mouse: This is such a jam. I don’t know what’s happened to Modest Mouse – and this is coming from someone who likes most of their stuff, including “Good News for People Who Love Bad News,” which was pinpointed by most fans as the moment they “sold-out.” But, and excuse the cliché, their older stuff was so fantastic! If you’re familiar with the watered-down Modest Mouse behind indie rock hits like “Float On,” you need to get down with their early rowdy sound, exemplified by “Doin the Cockroach.” This is a favorite of theirs to do live, and it can last well beyond its original five minutes as the guys wail out forever.
Natasha – “Where It’s At” by Beck: This song epitomizes pretty much every one of the six Beck concerts I’ve been to in the past five years. This is his classic party song, and there’s hardly a person in the audience who won’t yell “I GOT TWO TURNTABLES AND A MICROPHONE!” when Beck sings “Where It’s At.” At one especially epic concert of his in 2006, there were puppets of the band members dancing on the stage, two guys in bear suits crowdsurfing, a bass player in a motorcycle helmet and a leather track suit, a dinner table turned into a drum kit, and a guy in short shorts with a boombox on his shoulder whose sole job was to dance like hell. There was so much going on that I was torn between laughing, singing and crying tears of joy and confusion. It was the single most memorable concert experience I’ve ever had.
Rebecca – “Heimsdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse” by Of Montreal: Kevin Barnes has a very keen sense of the theatrical and the spectacular. No two Of Montreal shows are exactly the same, but they share a lot of the same elements: lots of costume changes, lots of cameras, lots of lights, stage fighting, pantomime and glitter. Sounds like a Lady Gaga concert, right? But since Of Montreal usually performs in smaller venues instead of giant stadiums, there’s a cool DIY aesthetic roughing up the edges of their glam sensibility. “Heimsdalsgate like a Promethean Curse” has a music video that literally presents a sort of insane play, so I had no idea how they could mirror that in their live performance. Instead, they topped it – Kevin Barnes donned a series of animal masks and fought shadow people with swords. Intense.
Natasha – “Colossal” by Wolfmother: Wolfmother, the Led Zeppelin-esque Australian trio, is an epic band to see live, and by epic, I mean face-melting, ear-drum blasting epic. At the 2006 KROQ Weenie Roast, they performed to a thrashing mosh pit of about 300 people, myself included. This was my first experience at an actual “hardcore” pit. I got elbowed, punched and stepped on more times than I remember. I was bruised and confused at first, but I got into the excited spirit of acceptable violence and the energy of the pit. I threw a couple elbows, knocked over a few trash cans, and actually threw up the classic metal “devil horns.” It was awesome.
Rebecca – “Feel the Pain” by Dinosaur Jr.: I’ve mentioned this song before, but it bears repeating, especially for this theme. My friends and I were ecstatic when we heard that J Mascis and Lou Barlow were reuniting for a tour. After all, Dinosaur Jr. is renowned for having one of the loudest live rock shows. And, y’know, who knows how long these guys will be up and at it? Amazingly, they’re still quite up and at it; although Mascis’s trademark mane has reached a light shade of silver, his fingers are still as nimble as ever, infusing every song with wild guitar licks. The highlight of the evening was “Feel the Pain,” which they played for their last song. As a finale, it was perfect. It builds in such a slow predictable way; it lathered up the crowd for a frenetic mosh-pit during the crashing chorus.