Big 4 festival story

Note: This is a story about the festival and not a concert review. I’ll post my thoughts later. Continue to check our website for photos of the event.


The Big 4 festival, featuring Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, proves timeless metal is not

dead, fans said Saturday.

“There is still a following,” said Richard Churchill, 43, of Oceanside at the festival held in Indio.

“Right now, it’s more of a nu metal scene but there’s still a following for the old stuff.”

Josh Wilson, 17, of White Cone, Arizona described the current metal scene as “dying.”

It’s (expletive) emo bands. People wearing skinny jeans. It’s a shame. And (current metalcore band)

The Devil Wears Prada is not like this. Ask a metalhead. This is different.”

Wilson said the acts Saturday could all be described as dark bands who played fast “to get the

blood pumping.”

Meanwhile, a shuttle stop to the metal festival left from Ontario Airport at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Denise Ball, 36, of Chino was at the stop with her son John Ball, 16, and his friends.

Denise said she wanted to see Metallica and Slayer.

“It’s the only concert they’re all doing in North America and we had to be here,” she said.

John was also excited to see Metallica, as he was only 10 or 11 when Denise took him to a

previous concert.

“I expect a lot of moshing,” John said.

He was right. Performances featured lots of people slamming into each other while walking in a

circular pattern, throwing up devil horns, where the pinky and index fingers are extended out with the

ring and middle fingers down with the thumb and air guitar showmanship.

Audience members at the event were young and old male and females who mostly wore black, had

tattoos and wore T-shirts of the performers with phrases like “I Hate You” from the group Slayer.

The festival was held on the same Empire Polo Grounds as the three-day Coachella Valley Music

and Arts Festival, which was held the week before.

Arcade Fire lives up to the hype

Arcade Fire really lived up to the hype as their set included everything from multi-colored balls that changed color to thanking (multiple times) organizers for giving them their break Saturday at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

I saw the group back in 2005 during their breakout performance at the Coachella festival (I’ll never forget the energy or thousands of people in attendance who appeared to know much of the group’s material) and it’s amazing to see their growth into Grammy Award winning headliners, which they mentioned onstage.

They went through all their hits from 2004’s “Wake Up” to 2010’s “The Suburbs” while keeping the energy through their more than hour set.


Wiz Khalifa’s smoking Coachella set

Hip-hop star of the moment Wiz Khalifa brought a hazy audience with him at the main Coachella stage Sunday afternoon.

Khalifa’s music celebrates marijuana and partying and the thousands gathered to watch him perform took the message literally as clouds of smoke were constant throughout the 50 minute set.

Audience members loudly pointed out that Khalifa looked stoned but his set still had a lot of energy as he eagerly performed numerous songs off his “Kush & Orange Juice” mixtape like “Waken Baken” and his latest “Rolling Papers” album.

My biggest complaint about the set is Khalifa’s microphone at times was turned down low and his freestyles or a capella lyrices at times were a bit hard to hear. He ended the set with his latest singles “Roll Up” and “Black and Yellow” as the audience loudly cheered in approval.  

Fistful of Mercy with Ben Harper entertains Mojave tent

Fistful of Mercy with Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison, Joseph Arthur and Jessy Greene gave an entertaining set at the Mojave Tent on Sunday.

The acoustic and folk group performed songs like “As I Call You Down,” “Fistful of Mercy” and “In Vain or In True” to large amounts of applause inside the packed tent.

The group had great chemistry and were constantly smiling while the crowd kept cheering them on.

My only complaint, and it has nothing to do with the music, is the section for the VIP area is too large and keeps the general public from getting very close to the band.

I know people pay a lot of money to gain VIP access but the area to an outsider looks wide enough to drive a wide vehicle through which hurts the intimacy of a folk sounding band.

One Day as a Lion gives scorching set at Coachella

Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha gave a non-stop performance with drummer Jon Theodore and keyboardist Joey Karam as the group One Day as a Lion Saturday night inside the Mojave tent at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Rocha jumped, pumped his fists and yelled throughout his sweat-filled set with the picture-perfect sounding Theodore and Karam. Rocha has lost nothing and the group sounded tremendous live.

The group tore through the songs on their “One Day as a Lion” EP including “Wild International” and others while Rocha used an echo effect on his voice to great results. The crowd couldn’t get enough and at one point chanted for the N.W.A. song “….” Tha Police but the song wasn’t performed.


Lil B has high energy set inside Coachella dome

Bay area hip-hop artist Lil B, who had one of the most memorable T-shirt designs with the phrase “Thank You Based God,” gave an energetic set inside the Oasis Dome Saturday night at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Lil B, also known as the Based God, was joined on stage by Odd Future during his set and the group danced along side and one of the members even jumped into the audience at one point but I couldn’t see which one.

After an opening intro of The Pack song “Vans,” which he is also on, Lil B went into “Wonton Soup” and a bunch of songs with titles I can’t mention on a newspaper website but the crowd loudly sang along to every one of them.

During his set, Lil B said he was going to watch Arcade Fire which drew cheers from the audience.

Badu, Broken Social Scene at Coachella experiences sound issues

At the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, R & B artist Erykah Badu experienced some sound issues with her microphone that caused a lot of feedback during her music.

Nearly every song she performed on the Coachella stage had the high-pitched whistle feedback that just destroys musical sets. Her band never experienced any issues just her.

Badu was visibly displeased and at times she asked the sound enginner to correct various microphone issues but the problem never went away.

Meanwhile, Broken Social Scene also had issues at the Coachella stage about 30 minutes after Badu. The overall sound being turned up too loud, which caused the acoustics to bleed into the nearby Outdoor Theatre and the larger Coachella field area. The sound engineers seemed to recognize the problem though and turned it down, which led to one being able to idenfity the individual band instruments easier.




Coachella festival stages all have two large screens this year

The organizers at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival added something this year for those of us not able to make it to the front of stage: large video screens.

Previously only the headlining Coachella stage and the Outdoor Theatre had the screens on both sides of the stage but every tent now features them (except for the Oasis Dome, which is not a tent).

On Friday night, the Aquabats and the disco electro musician Robyn made great use of them during their performances at the Mojave Tent.  

While the Aquabats had images of movie stars, professional wrestling stars and stuffed animals (who were all “playing” on time to the instrumentals, Robyn simply had the focus on her movements and at times her band.

This might not sound like much but when you’re stuck behind thousands of taller screaming fans it makes for such a better experience. Instead of just hearing the music you can actually see what’s going on.  

Price of random items at Coachella

Here are prices for random items at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as of Saturday:

Water is $2

Soda is $4

Chicken and waffles meal near entrance on Saturday was between $12 and $14

Most meals (pizza, hot sandwich, etc.) are $8

In the VIP tent Jack Daniels is $11

Red Bull is $5

House wine is $7

Premium wine is $9

Heineken is $7 for regular and $9 for large

T-shirts can range from $25 for Crystal Castles to $30 and up for headliner acts

Coachella bootleg parking lot T-shirts were about $10 Friday night