Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm not a marketing executive, but it seems weird how major brands with lots of credibility with specific fanbases seem willing to compromise their brands.

Bonnaroo, which started as a very inclusive jam band festival, last year featured Tool and The White Stripes as headliners. The year before it was Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Radiohead. I remember years ago, the H.O.R.D.E festival did a similar thing. After years of having predominatly bands from the jam band scene with some other artists that sort of made sense, they did a tour that featured Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Primus, Beck, Ben Folds Five and a few other bands that didn't have a real connection to the scene. I myself loved that bill... but to fans, "H.O.R.D.E" didn't mean anything anymore.

Likewise, after catering to the "alternative rock" crowd, Lollapalooza went "off message" by having Metallica headline. I thought it was a great tour, but after that, "Lollapalooza" lost it's meaning. So, I don't understand how Coachella hasn't learned from that. This year, Jack Johnson and Roger Waters are two of the headliners. Waters, as he did last summer, will be performing Dark Side Of The Moon. I wonder how it will go. On one hand, I think people have good enough taste to be respectful of this masterpiece, even though it is one of the best selling albums of all time, and hardly "alternative" (although it's as creative as any album you'd care to mention). Also, Coachella often promts artists to do something for the "first" time - they were behind the Pixies, Stooges and Jesus & Mary Chain reunions, which led to full on tours. If they got Roger to do Dark Side for the first time, that'd be one thing. But he's been doing it on tour for well over a year.

Anyway, there seems to be less excitement about the festival's lineup than usual. But there are some pretty cool artists: other than Rog, there's The Verve (who recently reunited), The Breeders, Madness, The Raconteurs and... Dwight Yoakam.

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