Steven Cuevas’ Inland Empire Chronicles |

Coachella Festival Round 1 - Friday night battle of wills between middle aged rapper and geriatric punk!

Coachella Festival Round 1: Friday night battle of wills between middle aged rapper and geriatric punk!

About 30 minutes into Jay-Z’s headlining performance at Coachella Friday, the veteran rapper might be in the awkward position of having to have to tell the kids to “turn it down!” That’s because of the noise emanating from the neighboring outdoor stage. It will be shaking with the bass heavy post-punk groove of John Lydon’s reformed Public Image Limited. Lydon aka Johnny Rotten is the guy who frequently sneered about wanting to “destroy” music. What the Sex Pistol front man actually did with PiL, starting in 1978, was reinvigorate alternative music and turn mere punk rock into something artier, funkier and possibly more menacing.

Public Image Limited “Theme”

PiL forged a new, and at times difficult, sonic landscape with its earth shaking bass grooves, jagged guitar lines and angular rhythms that still feel like they could and should drone on into eternity. Hopefully they will, long after Jay-Z rolls out of Indio.

John Lydon is far from the only middle aged noisemaker at Coachella this year. England’s legendary ska-punk pioneers the Specials will finally bring their reunion party to the U.S.

The Specials “Too Much Too Young”

Festival goers can also take in Bad Lieutenant, the new band led by Bernard Sumner formerly of New Order and the seminal Joy Division. And speaking of moody British 80’s rock, Echo & the Bunnymen come together for a rare U.S. appearance. Electronic new wave pioneer Gary Numan also appears, as do those irresistible spudheads DEVO. But it's Numan who's still creating edgy, vital new music. Rounding out the “oldies” lineup will be ‘90s Alt-rock reunions from Faith No More, Pavement and Sunny Day Real Estate – bands that in some shape or form paved the way for many of the (much) younger performers at this year’s festival.

Later: Overly earnest Indie-rock boy bands vs. an army of bedroom DJs

Sunny Day Real Estate “Seven”