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Coachella is part festival, part endurance test

Photo by Pamela LittkyHow, year in and year out, do I possibly find fault with all that is naturally good and righteous about Coachella? Well, easy: these big huge mega-fests aren't really about enjoying live music as much as they are a challenge of Sisyphusian proportions. Really, do you honestly think you can enjoywatching Bright Eyes whilst squashed up against a complete stranger, your sweat and breath and stink intermingling in ways that don't even happen with your significant other?

You can't, but like thousands of other Mojave-bound souls this weekend, maybe you won't care. Coachella is only partially about what we imagine it to be: the promise of seeing that favorite band, or discovering great new ones. The rest is all endurance test. Will you be able to scrape the tons of dead, baked-on bugs off your windshield once you get out there? When the sign outside the motel flashes NO VACANCY, do they reallymean it, or are they just toying with you? How many tissues will you be able to stuff up your nose, since you stupidly left your Claritin at home and the desert allergies show no mercy? Will you remember where you parked your car? And when you finally find it, will you be mentally prepared to wait four hours just to escape the parking lot? Will this be the year you actually die of heat stroke, since there are never, ever enough shade spots or drinking fountains available—and, you know, you'reinthemiddleofthefuckingdesert?Will you twist an ankle stepping on all the discarded water bottles while stumbling around in the dark from the Gobi stage to the Sahara tent?

And then there's the music. But unlike Coachellas past (and I've been to allllof 'em), there really aren't any bands this year I find truly despicable—only very annoying (hi, Prodigy!). I'm actually mildly excited about seeing:

Weezer; the Chemical Brothers; Wilco, making up for bowing out of last year's lineup because Jeff Tweedy went off to rehab; Bauhaus, though I like Love & Rockets and Peter Murphy records better (perhaps I'm not sufficiently Goth enough); Rilo Kiley, getting even bigger since I saw 'em years ago at Chain Reaction; Cafť Tacuba; the Raveonettes; Bloc Party, Saturday's ultra-mega-hyped band-of-the-moment; the Bravery, Sunday's ultra-mega-hyped band-of-the-moment (though they were shit on the Jimmy Kimmel show—like, lead-singer-comes-out-only-after-band-plays-for-first-three-minutes shit); the Secret Machines; MF Doom; Cocteau Twi . . . oh, wait, forget it; New Order; Bright Eyes (hot rumor: surprise Bruce Springsteen appearance!); the Arcade Fire (hot rumor: surprise David Byrne appearance!); Gang of Four (hot rumor: they'll really show up!); M.I.A.; Tegan and Sara; the Blood Brothers; and Gram Rabbit.

Headliners Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails? Eh! Oh, and here's some fun you can have: go up to DJ Peretz—that would be Perry Farrell—and yell at him for selling "Mountain Song" for a Coors beer commercial. "Cash in now, honey" indeed.

THE COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL AT THE EMPIRE POLO FIELD, 81-800 AVE. 51, INDIO, (714) 740-2000; WWW.COACHELLA.COM. SAT.-SUN., 11 A.M.-MIDNIGHT. $80 PER DAY; TWO-DAY PASSES, $150. ALL AGES.

 
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