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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

April 18, 2010 at 10:54 AM

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Coachella 2010 day two notables: Gossip, Flying Lotus

Posted by Andrew Matson

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With her eyes blacked out in thick strips — kind of a geometrical Cleopatra look — and generous curves swathed in a black sack dress adorned with huge, colorful jewels, Gossip singer Beth Ditto looked like a million bucks yesterday at Coachella.

And yet, she strutted on stage chanting about poverty: "If you're poor and you're happy, clap your hands!"

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Beth Diva Ditto (R), Nathan Howdeshell (L)

To the pounding blues stomp of "Dimestore Diamond" — a song on Gossip's excellent 2009 album "Music For Men" — Ditto launched into her signature hardcore soul vocalizing, cooing and wailing about cutting one's own hair and shopping at thrift stores.

The message was "fashionable" and "inexpensive" aren't mutually exclusive.

Ditto seemed to be having a genuine Coachella experience. She said she caught Jay-Z's concert the night before, then slept late and missed John Waters' performance earlier in the day. She seemed genuinely sorry about that.

The Baltimore movie director/comedian did not miss Gossip, apparently. Ditto asked if he was in the house, heard an affirmation, then turned sideways and waved to him. Both are famous for pushing sexually progressive messages in their art.

Another Coachella performer/Gossip fan: James Murphy from LCD Sound System. He played cow bell with Ditto & Co. for a cover of Grace Jones' "Pull Up to the Bumper."

"Four Letter Word" was another highlight, an ultimate mash-up of slo-mo hiphop and neo-goth electro rock. Nathan Howdeshell took a break from his rhythmic guitar shredding to provide the Paula Abdul-style synth parts.

The music was great — at a Gossip concert, when is it not? — but it was especially nice to see the star support. England celebrates Gossip on a pop level for its furious dance/soul/blues/punk music and Ditto's feminist, gay-positive politics. America has yet to embrace the Portland, OR, band so heartily.

Flying Lotus

Like Gossip, Flying Lotus is American (L.A.) but more famous in the UK. Standing alone with a laptop, his deceptively melodic, blenderized beats were gloriously immersive, captivating in a more-is-more way, connecting the dots between hiphop, jazz, and UK breakbeat dance music and arriving at a point way off the traditional grid. As he twisted knobs and made orgasm faces at his own compositions, I felt the bass in my lungs.

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Flying Lotus, into his tunes

Flying Lotus' new album "Cosmogramma" comes out in a few weeks and features Thom Yorke of Radiohead on one track. Yorke headlines Coachella tonight.

Photos by me

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