Emptying Your Wallet for A Slice of Coachella in the Bay Area
Coachella's done it again. The slew of Indio-bound acts rolling through the Bay Area sold out faster than you can pitch a tent. Which translates to outrageous ticket prices, some to over 400% of their original value. Let's take a gander at what people are thinking these shows are worth:
The average American undoubtedly has no idea who British rock wizards Muse are, yet the Day Two headliners snagged the Oracle Arena on April 14 and it looks like the only tickets left are for seats behind the stage. That's a bummer unless you late comers feel inclined to shell out $150 for a single stage-side seat if you're dateless, or $250 for a pair if you're hot to trot. It might be not be a bad deal, considering this power trio is thought to be one of the most mind-blowing live acts today.
Faith No More
The reunited Faith No More, also playing on Coachella's second day, are playing two sold-out nights on April 13 and 14 at the regal Warfield Theatre on Market Street. Tickets started at $45 but quickly shot up to $90 each for floor admission in some cases, or a cool $150 for a pair if head-banging alone is not your thing. Having witnessed grown men reduced to trembling puddles of unhinged fanaticism for this back-from-the-grave band, the Craigslist prices aren't surprising. The 90s are definitely back.
Atoms for Peace
Radiohead may be everyone's secret favorite band, but that doesn't explain the $200-each ticket prices for Thom Yorke's five-month-old supergroup Atoms for Peace playing at Oakland's Fox Theater on April 14 and 15. The band, which includes Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea, mega-producer Nigel Godrich, and seasoned session musicians Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco, has no album, no website and it didn't even have a name until two months ago, yet they could be one of the most buzzed-about acts for Coachella's third day. Are Atoms for Peace Radiohead 2.0, or are people just feeling footloose and fancy free? Remember people, curiosity killed the cat.
Rising indie titans Beach House occupy some of the fine print on Coachella's official poster, yet this enchanting duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have commanded the most unbelievable asking prices in the Craigslist ticket section. True fans who were on the ball paid $16 for their April 14 show at Bimbo's 365 Club, but those living under a rock the past few months will have to fork over as much as $75 for a ticket, no telling how far away from the stage you'll be. Yes, their newest album, Teen Dream (Sub Pop), is face-meltingly beautiful but think about it: would Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally pay $75 to see themselves?
MGMT are the weirdest kids to hit the big time in a while (besides Lady Gaga, of course), and Craigslist ticket prices for their sold out April 13 show at the Fillmore reflect that intrigue. Tickets to see these acid-headed hippie kids were originally $30, but have morphed into $80 tickets or a pair for an audacious $180. One cautionary Craigslist post warned: "Last night, hordes of desperate scalpers were looking to get 30-40 out in front of the Fillmore. Inside, it was a less-than sold out crowd." Smooth move, greedy scalpers.
Yeasayer, one of 2010's breakout indie acts, just released their newest disc Odd Blood (Secretly Canadian) to high critical praise and scored a spot on Coachella's opening day. A year ago, they probably couldn't have booked the venerable Fillmore, but times have changed and they've sold out their April 17 show here in San Francisco, only a day after their Coachella performance. A mere $80 can get you in the door if you're feeling flush, but $50 on average will do the trick.
The Dead Weather
Another supergroup is invading Coachella this year. This one, however, has been around for awhile (at least compared to Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace), playing a mountain of dates in 2009, releasing its chemistry-laden debut Horehound (Third Man) and just generally earning its stripes. The Dead Weather, a combo of the White Stripes' Jack White, the Kills' Alison Mosshart, Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence and Queens of the Stone Age keyboardist/guitarist Dean Fertita, gets its Led out on the regular and quickly proved to be more than just another of White's side projects. Their April 15 show at the Fillmore comes just two days before their Coachella gig, but because the $35 tickets are long gone, you just might have to pony up $90 to get your ears torn out by Mosshart and White's wild growls. It could be worth it, considering the White Stripes have no ETA on the music radar quite yet.
If you're hurting for cash like most Americans, you can always watch shaky cellphone videos of the shows on Youtube after the fact and imagine you were there. At least you'd still have your dignity.