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Coachella 2013: Confessions of a Violent Femme

April 13, 2013|By August Brown
  • Brian Ritchie, left, and Gordon Gano of the band the Violent Femmes perform onstage during day two.
Brian Ritchie, left, and Gordon Gano of the band the Violent Femmes perform… (Kevin Winter/Getty Images…)

Watching the Violent Femmes at Coachella is a kind of existential angst for a millennial guy.

The trio's acoustic punk reveries on the Main Stage were perhaps the most articulate depiction of young male desire that any band could conjure for a twentysomething male. Sure, you can rage in the dance tent, or profess your affections in a smaller arena, but for real, uncut adolescent masculinity and its attendant frustrations, there is the Violent Femmes, and no one else.

FULL COVERAGE: Coachella 2013 | What to see and do

Hearing them play "Add It Up" on the main stage is both a reminder and a warning: The world is big and wide and nothing can replace that first gasp of musical influence as a document of how to feel attraction. But the emotion that the Violent Femmes conveys -- that of thwarted lust and unmet need -- remains hot and vital at Coachella.

All things considered, they sounded great after so many years (their first record was released 30 years ago), and sounded all the better with a feral punk instinct leeching into their pop savvy hits. But as one who grew up on them, it's a pleasure to see the Violent Femmes reunited and at the vanguard of male frustration once more.


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