I recently made the pilgrimage to week one of Coachella 2019 and I want to highlight two bands who really shined this year and give you a super quick rundown of some of the amazing guitars they rocked with. All you Coachella haters out there (and trust me, I understand where you’re coming from) bear with me. For all your gripes and grumbles about DJ’s and Hipsters, it can be an incredible experience. Three days and nights of debauchery in the Southern California desert appreciating art, eating good food and hearing some of the best bands in the world is worth a visit in one’s lifetime. Even if, *Gasp*, you don’t like the lineup. Just some food for thought.
Anyway. Let’s talk bands and guitars. First and foremost…
Hot damn this band is good. They tore it up at the Gobi Tent in a 9:20 PM time slot with a blistering show, blending the sounds of Thai Funk, Middle-Eastern Psychadelic, and Classic Soul, to put it mildly. The Houston three piece easily set themselves apart as one of the most technically proficient groups at the festival, and their gear as is cool as they are.
Lead guitarist Mark Speer tours with and shredded on one single guitar: his 2001 Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster. Speer hot-rodded the Strat with DiMarzio Cruiser pickups in the neck and bridge as well as extra-large frets and a TUSQ saddle and string trees, for ultimate bending. His reverb drenched sound oozes from his ‘68 Custom Deluxe and the crowd ate it up.
Bassist Laura Lee on the other hand grooved on an SX Vintage Series bass with wound strings (sweet) that haven’t been changed since she got it in 2010 (yuck). She runs it through a vintage Fender Bassman amp, and boy oh boy did it thump. All said and done she nearly burned the place down her rhythm was so fire.
These cats are everywhere right now, so just because Coachella is over doesn’t mean you can’t still catch them at a venue near you.
Do yourself a favor and go see The 1975 play, because live performance is where this Manchester based pop group really stands out. I don’t follow this band religiously, or listen to them on the reg even, but I’ve seen them a couple times at different venues and they consistently impress me with a good vibe, high energy, face melting, 80’s synth inspired rock show. This time was around was no exception. They lit up the Coachella Main Stage in a 8:25 PM time slot, and it seemed like the entire festival came out to see these guys play.
Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Matt Healey played an industry classic, the indomitable Gibson ES-335, (we’ve got a couple of these in the shop, hint hint) and it sounded so good it brought a wee tear to my eye. He also has a penchant for playing vintage Fender Mustangs (have those too, hint hint hint) , but I love me a hollowbody, mmmhmm.
Somebody call the Ninja Turtles, because lead guitarist Adam Hann was one serious shredder, laying into a 2018 forest green Fender Elite Strat that brought some sweet tones to their dreamy, 80’s esque, electronic sound. He also played his usual 1962 white Fender Jaguar out of two gorgeous Hiwatt 50w Custom 2x12 Combos, and for one song, his infamous Music Man John Petrucci JP6 out of super sexy, super clean, Fender Deville. Woof.
Okay folks, that’s all this time around. I got blisters on my typing fingers and I’m still suffering from post festival depression. I’m going to take a long nap and dream about sweet vintage gear, bands and outstanding shows of Coachella past and future.
Vaya con dios.