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May 05, 2006

Coachella Spotlight Review: Daft Punk - 4.29.2006

I started this blog for a simple reason. I desperately love music. A copious percentage of my income gets budgeted towards shows, CDs, and various music subscriptions. A tithe to the gods of rock.

My involvement with music dates back to a toddler version of the Swankster thumbing through my father’s Beatles LPs and culminated with being voted “Most likely to be found in a mosh pit” by senior year. Crowning achievements aside, and the dead give away on spending the mid 90s in high school, it also qualifies for longest relationship I've ever had. While very loving, the paucity of music created by yours truly has made the coupling a one way affair. I like to think this site is my way of giving something back.

After the weekend's overwhelming experience at Coachella, highlighted by Daft Punk’s relentless attack on the senses, the least I can do is jock them with some kind words. These are the moments that perpetuate my passion.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind:

Daft Punk @ Sahara Tent - Coachella 4.29.2006

[Photo Cred]

I don’t claim to be an expert on electronic music, just cuddling (ladies I can be reached by email). Other than the Madonna debacle I did not place foot in the dance tent all weekend. The Saturday night menu consisted of Depeche Mode, Joy Division, err Interpol, err.. She Wants Revenge, and Daft Punk. Looking to change gears from rock's domination of the day, my darling Coachella companion and I headed to the massive Sahara tent for much needed break before the last act of what was a very long day of walking to and fro excellent music (Lady Sovereign excluded).


The robot duo from France was the easy choice but by no means a "can't miss" show for either of us. Surveying the frenzied crowd and feeling the buzz of anticipation all around us, we were clearly in the minority. Still, we nuzzled into a comfortable spot with minimal expectations. This all changed upon seeing two darkly dressed men ascend a pyramid shaped platform with notes from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" playing. The rush of energy and plethora of shit-eating grins far and wide quickly dissipated our apathetic attitudes. The Daft Punk messieurs were sporting their trademark robot helmets, but unlike fearsome, evil robots, they waved and gave thumbs up to the exuberant crowd beneath them.


It was like nothing else that day, or the next for that matter. People were pumped. I'm smiling just thinking about it. Nothing makes me happier than a genuinely psyched crowd ready to go off. No hipster smugness to report. Credit the comfortable desert night for soothing the kids’ insecurities and allowing bliss without fear, or good rolls kicking in, whatever.


Pics and more after the jump.

No breaks in the continuous mix. Assaulting the giant crowd with not only a sonic onslaught, but visually with a stunning light show dominated by LCD screens along the base of the pyramid, or as I prefer to call it - Daft Punk's atomic core. White hot! Framing the duo's central position was a giant LED screen flashing patterns, lights, and one word instructions, “TECHNOLOGIC, SHOCK, EXIT." Imagine a giant Lite Brite taken over by German lighting designers raised exclusively on techno.


Daft Punk's robot gimmick is clever. Realizing that two dudes playing with electronic equipment making funky electro sounds is not the most alluring visual, but two robots manning the boards and sequencing an inexorable collage of pounding beats is. Suspending disbelief for a moment, it felt as if this music could not possibly be created by the hands of man. Intelligent design by way of androids with exceptional taste? The real human fear of future robot entrapment abated, at least for an hour or so. With robots like these, why worry?

I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty positive these particular robots were smiling. Awash with fan love (old, and new), the evening ended on a towering high note. No encore despite the demands, but a 12:25am end to Day 1 at Coachella is enough even for the chronically insatiable.

Bonus crowd antics was the cherry on the crème brulee.

You wouldn’t know it from the traditional news outlet’s covering only Madonna and Kanye, but Internet love for Daft Punk’s set is unanimous. Gushing praise is putting it lightly.

Add Merry Swankster to the list:

[Pitchfork] “Daft Punk’s mindblowing appearance. Not to get hyperbolic, but people were crying at two French robots. A seemingly impossible upward trajectory for a solid hour. Heart-attack shit.”

[Kevin Bronson for LA Times] "If you weren't dancing, you were probably dead."

[Central Village] "In order of mindblowness (sic): Daft Punk [#1]." DP was truly amazing. Incredible to have two people manipulate a 35,000 person crowd like that. They mixed a lot of stuff together, knew how to push the crowds buttons and get them going constantly. Just an amazing experience."

[Consumption Junction] "Daft Punk put on one of the best, if not THE best, performance I have ever seen in my life."

[Angry Skunk] "It was the best show I've ever seen in my life. Period. Shows from here on will suck."

[Photo Cred]

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Posted by Merry Swankster at May 5, 2006 11:00 AM

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I've jumped out of an airplane, skied down the most stunning mountainous terrain, funneled three beers at the same time, and even got to see Alabama win the NCAA title in 1992 New Orleans style...however, all these events pale in comparison to the Daft Punk show. Enough said.

Posted by: Kelli Douglas at May 5, 2006 11:14 AM

Daft Punk was the most epic and thrilling experience. I am a true drum and bass DJ, but Daft punk was the best dj set i've ever seen compared to the many drum and bass dj sets i've ever experienced. Daft punk was the best live dj set and show that entertainment could possibly provide. They did more than just play the music that the crowd wanted to hear, they put on a show that will take your breathe away, days after the performance and I'm still at utter awe. I feel sorry for anybody that did not catch this show at coachella. Daft Punk was the shit!!! Hands down!

Posted by: Brian at May 6, 2006 03:07 AM

I'll never be able to witness something as incredible as what was witnessed on April 29th 2006, from now on all shows I see will be compared to Daft Punk's and will come nowhere close to being anywhere near as incredible.

Posted by: alt.slack at May 13, 2006 02:47 AM

Je suis un ventilateur punk idiot énorme et je donnerai un coup de pied pour toujours mon art de l'auto-portrait dans la tête pour manquer ce concert !
And for those of you who don’t speak French.

I am a huge daft punk fan and I will forever kick my self in the head for missing this concert!

Roche sur des Punks !

Posted by: Ryan at May 16, 2006 09:19 AM

The show was incredible.. best show of my life.. but they were not doing a "dj" set, they were using ABLETON Live.

just an FYI

Posted by: Greg at May 23, 2006 08:34 PM

Most amazing show of my life. Drugs or no drugs.

Posted by: Bobby at June 22, 2006 12:23 AM

[Toll Bells in the background]


[Toll Bells in the background again]

One More Time...We're gonna celebrate...


Not only was it the best show i've ever seen...it was the best party. It was a Party! I danced with at least 40 people in 1 hour. Everybody was dancin', just enjoying every single second of LE MUSIQUE.

(tinglin' sensation runs through my back)

Posted by: Hector Padilla at June 22, 2006 01:43 PM

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