Coachella 2012 Weekend 2, Friday: John Fogerty Joins The Black Keys In Levon Helm Tribute, Pulp Celebrates 420
For the first time in Coachella history, the sprawling, heat stroke-inducing festival based in the Southern California desert made the initially insane-sounding decision to make the event even bigger: Clone itself to add a second, identically lined-up weekend. Giving the artists a chance to improve upon their first weekend performances, some took the opportunity to make tributes to the great loss of legendary rock drummer and vocalist Levon Helm of The Band. Most notably was a surprise appearance by John Fogerty during the Black Keys' set!
Midway through their blues-rock performance, lead singer Dan Auerbach spoke about Helm's passing and introduced the audience to the venerable John Fogerty. But when the lustrously bronzed and coiffed Creedence Clearwater Revival musician came out on stage, there was nary a cheer from the mostly young Black Keys fans. The sounds of "Who The F**k Is John Fogerty" Tumblrs being made echoed throughout the audience, with one Keys fan asking in earnest, "Did he say Josh Groban?" But the Black Keys and Fogerty were not to be dismayed, launching into a touching cover of one of the Band's most recognized songs, "The Weight." Unfortunately when Auerbach and Fogerty came together to share a mic, the mic cut out, putting a bit of a damper on the tribute to Helm, but nonetheless the performance was hugely moving.
Levon Helm tributes came in throughout the day, with indie rock band Dawes doing a cover of the Band's "The Night They Drive Old Dixie Down." Lead singer Taylor Goldsmith told their audience, "Yesterday was a sad day for bands like us. We had to get that one out there." While the influence of Helm's era is apparent with bands like Dawes, even bands that seem to scoff at the roots rock sound recognized Helm's effect on music. Swedish post-punk/hardcore deities Refused had "Levon Helm R.I.P." taped to their kick drum for their headlining set at the Outdoor stage. Even after having the incredible fortune of seeing Refused at their first American tour date in 14 years last week at the Glasshouse in Pomona, CA, this journalist was still swooning through the screaming, kicking, moshing set. Lead singer Dennis Lyxzén took a few moments between songs to address the most pressing questions about the band's long-awaited return. "We were alienated punks looking at a dystopian world, so we wrote angry songs about what we saw," said. "People asked how I felt revisiting these songs as a 40-year-old man, if I still believed them… but I can tell you holy f**k I was right!" The singer also made jabs at the other acts, saying "There are not many bands like us out there, a lot of people with laptops," as fellow Swedes Swedish House Mafia boomed from the neighboring stage. With moves like Jagger—and Bowie and Tyler and Brown—Lyxzén gave swagger a new kingpin, stood triumphantly atop some lucky audience members as he had in previous sets, and put on a show that had this journalist buying her fourth and fifth Refused t-shirt in the past ten days.