Local Wire

The Real Coachella - Trunk Space - 4/20/2013

Ryan Avery, wearing a safari hat, ran around with a megaphone. JRC turned on a record player and asked the crowd to arrange themselves from shortest to tallest. Then he grabbed random people, spun them around three times, put a cardboard box over their heads, and had them hit a Strawberry Shortcake piñata filled with plastic vegetables.

That's how the ninth annual Real Coachella began.

The first band to open up the festivities was Local Natives, who screamed words like "grocery store!" in between squalls of noise. "Grimes" played next -- the Real Grimes, it turns out, was the drummer of Fathers Day, who proved to be a one-man-band extraordinaire. He played the guitar, piano, drums, and sang simultaneously, through a looping pedal. It was one of the quieter acts of the night, and the crowd took the opportunity to calm itself down.

Kiss and Make Up performed outside in the parking lot in front of their jeep. Before their first song, they announced, "This song is about being in too many ska bands." Several members wore lampshades on their heads. The lead singer wore a rasta hat with dreadlocks, played the saxophone, and -- lacking a microphone, asked several women from the crowd to hold a megaphone in front of him while he sang. They had a hype man who did the splits, jumped on the jeep, and did an impressive handstand to rev up the crowd, and the energy was infectious. As their set was ending, they said, "There is no god, and nothing happens when you die; so go out and make a new friend today!"

The dating auction served as an intermission, as well as a pizza-delivery fundraiser for hungry Real Coachella attendees. Eligible young bachelors were chosen before the night, and Patti served as the host of the event. Her harrassment of non-bidders made her one of the most popular acts of the night. She was like the Vanna White of the Real Coachella, if Vanna White made really vulgar jokes and could make a whole room of Trunk Spacer's laugh.

The bachelors were mostly auctioned off to men in the crowd who just wanted to make sure there would be pizza later, but one lady in particular bet on three men, and Patti said, "C'mon! Somebody help her, this lady is not going to be able to pay her rent!"

Serene Dominic and The Gem Seekers ran onstage with the prediction that in the future, because of Record Store Day's popularity, all the indie record stores would become corporate stores, and soon people would take to selling records on stands in the streets.

Serene wins the award for having the best song titles of the night, including, "If You Don't Want Me to Look at It, You Shouldn't Have Showed Me." Later, mid-performance, he said, "Who's ready for some Yacht Rock? I don't have a yacht, but I have a rock!"

Pen Island was a group of two rappers, whose most memorable moment of the night was one of their opening lines: "On the ride over here it said carpool lane, so I put on my swimming trunks." They were rapping while sipping energy drinks they would then spit into a blue bucket atop a table that stood in front of them as they performed.

One member wore four different cascading basketball shorts, with the price tags still attached. They later used those extra basketball shorts, which came off during the set, to clean up the remnants of sticky energy drink on the floor.

Glass Popcorn, the 15-year-old Internet sensation, used the Real Coachella to announce an apocalyptic end to his young hip-hop career: "This is probably my last show as Glass Popcorn."

Then he sang a song about Monster Energy, hamburgers, and Google Plus, and did a cover of Far East Movement, all while wearing a red robe and a black cap with flames. He worked the crowd with the same half-ironic phrases that appear in his songs: "Raise your hands if you like the Internet and don't put them down!"

As delays hit the show, his set had to be moved up earlier because he had to be home for his curfew. He jumped into the crowd and started a mosh pit that got a little out of control before disbanding again. As he was ending his set, he said, "Thank you, I'm sorry."

Kevin Flanagan, the performance artist, walked around all night with a cardboard box on his head, with a cellphone and a flashlight where the eye-holes would go. When it was time for his act, he used an amplifier connected to a Game Boy to play some chiptunes.

Local art-rockers Man-Cat rocked the crowd and mid-set brought on "Taylor Swift," who was breaking up with the band. The lead singer claimed to be upset because she was breaking up with Man-Cat, a band she didn't even date. Then they all broke into a "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" sing-along.

Drunk and Horny Orchestra was a seven-piece band conducted by Ryan Avery that included, in addition to more conventional instrumentation, some members who held signs that read "meow, meow, meow" and others who would hide in the crowd and, when no one was expecting it, cause the band to begin screaming by pulling out a cardboard cut-out of Elvis.

At one point, Avery used his conductor's baton to signal for a flute solo, and then addressed the room: "Isn't that pretty? Don't you wish your band had a flute?"

The flute player stopped playing, and the room got quiet. Avery laughed, and asked her why she stopped, and then the full orchestra played on. They were loud and ridiculous but in sync, and if you looked around the room, everyone in the crowd and on stage was smiling. That's exactly why everyone keeps coming back to The Real Coachella.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: The Real Coachella at Trunk Space
Personal Bias: I love the Trunk Space
Overheard in the Crowd: "What the fuck?"
The Crowd: Mostly high school age kids until later in the night, when Drunk and Horny Orchestra and Supa Joint came on.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Yezmin Villarreal