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Just Like Heaven Is Just The 2005 Indie Rock Paradise We Needed In 2022

Pop Break Live: Just Like Heaven featuring Interpol, Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A., Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Chromeo, Santigold, Cut Copy, The Hives, Wolf Parade, Peaches, !!!, The Raveonettes, Kele Okereke (DJ Set), The Cribs, Islands, Geographer, Them Jeans, Cosmic Kids, Cinescape DJs at Brookside at The Rose Bowl at Pasadena, California — May 21

About halfway through the day at Just Like Heaven Festival 2022, The Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist proclaimed from atop his monitor towering over the crowd, “Just Like Heaven! The greatest music festival of 2005!” A layman might interpret this as a slight, but the thousands standing in the audience took the statement for what it was: a celebration of a bygone musical era. 

On May 21, Goldenvoice’s Just Like Heaven Festival offered a sold-out crowd the opportunity to revel in garage rock and indie-alt music of the early aughts, featuring the talents of post-punk revivalists Interpol, Bloc Party, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, The Shins, The Hives, Cut Copy and more; alternative electronica and dance music from the era was additionally represented by M.I.A., Peaches, Chromeo, and Santigold. While some acts mixed up their sets with new and old music alike, more than a few artists chose to celebrate anniversaries and classic releases they knew the audience would love.

The Cribs from Wakefield, England started the day out strong, giving a shout out to the 15-year anniversary release day of their seminal third record, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, and even played deep cut “Be Safe” from the album. Canadian indie darlings Wolf Parade waxed nostalgic and performed their 2005 debut Apologies To The Queen Mary in its entirety while fellow Canadian electro-pop performance artist Peaches also played her 20-year-old record The Teaches Of Peaches in full. Peaches, who came on stage wearing only an anatomically-correct hat of female genitalia, nipple pasties, and nude-undergarmets nearly stole the whole show when she launched into her smash hit, “Fuck The Pain Away.” She might’ve been the best act of the afternoon had The Hives not lived up to their reputation as one of the greatest live bands of all time. Dressed in coordinated black and white suits, the Swedish quintet transformed the festival into a dance pit of swirling guitars, whipping microphone cords, and popular tracks including, “Come On!,” “Tick Tick Boom,” and “Hate To Say I Told You So.” You haven’t seen a phenomenal live performance until you’ve seen The Hives take hold of an unsuspecting audience.


Not be outdone by The Hives, Scottish legends Franz Ferdinand – led by the jump-kicking Alex Kapranos – tore through a barrage of hits in honor of their most recent release, the career-spanning greatest hits album fittingly titled, Hits To The Head. By the time the band finished their iconic hit “Take Me Out” and moved into their classic closer “This Fire,” it felt like every single person at the festival was at the main stage to witness it. Afterwards, Bloc Party finally brought out the sun from an overcast sky and debuted new music from their only-weeks-old record, Alpha Games. Frontman Kele Okereke had finished up a solo DJ set earlier in the day and was grinning ear-to-ear at the California crowd.

The Shins – playing their only Los Angeles date of the year – finally took the stage just as golden hour was sweeping Just Like Heaven. A pink glow fell on James Mercer as the crowd swayed to soft tunes reminiscent of a time when everyone couldn’t stop talking about that scene in Garden State. They closed their set with a bouncy cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” In one of the cruelest conflicts of the day, fans were forced to choose between Modest Mouse and M.I.A. on opposite stages – a choice that became even harder when M.I.A. opened her set with the explosive earworm that is “Bad Girls.”

By the time headliners Interpol took the stage, their moody lighting, black suits, and rising fog perfectly matched the darkness of the festival; they opened with “Untitled” and “Evil” to the audience’s delight. Frontman Paul Banks was a shadow moving in the dark with only a bright disco ball shining behind him and the atmosphere fit the band so perfectly. Fan favorites like “Obstacle 1,” “Rest My Chemistry,” and “PDA” felt so big with thousands of voices echoing back every lyric and the feeling was so bittersweet remembering how hard these songs first hit over a decade ago.

Even though rock music hasn’t really gone anywhere and the death of guitars has been over-dramatized over the last five years in particular, it was both overwhelming and quaint to step back into a time when “The” bands were all the rage, and artsy college kids in Converse and Vans were singing about Bush-era politics (Bloc Party’s “Helicopter”), post-9/11 New York (Interpol’s “NYC”), and non-violent interactions with cops (Modest Mouse’s “Float On”). The word “nostalgic” feels too cheap to describe the experience – because it was much more beautiful than that – but Just Like Heaven felt like the closest thing emo-adjacent kids of the early 2000s will ever get to reliving the heydays of Vans’ Warped Tour in the U.S. or the NME Awards Tour in the UK. 

The cherry on top of the bittersweet sundae was the realization that, yes, most of these bands aren’t nearly as big as they once were over a decade ago, but a lot of them are still putting out great music. This summer, Interpol will release their seventh album The Other Side of Make-Believe. Both Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party put out new albums in the last month; Modest Mouse released The Golden Casket last year. The Cribs’ Night Network from 2020 is worth a listen. Hopefully, Just Like Heaven was a pleasant reminder for fans of early aughts rock that great music never died, even though we had to Heaven to witness it.


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