This past weekend I made my way to Coachella like so many others for the first time. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect but figured it would be an amazing opportunity to see some amazing artists over the course of 3 days.
Day 1: We left early Friday morning, arrived at the hotel around 12:30 and got to Coachella around 2pm. Parking was a breeze since most of the crowds got there later in the evening.
Moving Units (Coachella Stage) – At the main stage they were our first band at Coachella and I must say they had a lot of energy. We didn’t see them for long since we arrived to their set later but they had a unique style, wore funky looking masks and the music sounded like a mixture of electronic and rock. I’ve heard lots of people speak quite highly of their live show so I definitely would check them out again.
Ozomatli (Coachella Stage) – I’ve caught Ozomatli quite a few times, they always put on a great show and get the crowd going. It was hot as hell and they were performing in thick suits which was a little baffling but they definitely had so much energy and were incredible as always. I’ve always had a hard time describing the genre of music because it’s a fusion of so many different styles: Hip Hop, Funk, Latin, Rock…you have to check them out for yourself.
The Morning Benders (Gobi Stage) – I heard this band on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic a few months back and was really excited to see them live. They didn’t disappoint…the sound quality was awesome, they were charismatic and everyone in the tent seemed to be really into the set. An up and coming indie rock band, I definitely will continue to follow this band.
Lauryn Hill (Coachella Stage) – This is one of the reasons why I wanted to come to Coachella. I’ve been a fan since before the Fugees and with her tendency to disappear for years at a time I wasn’t going to miss this. She mixed up the new stuff with the old stuff (“Miseducation” and a Fugees medley). The only criticism I have of her set was the arrangement of “Lost Ones” which is probably one of my all time favorites. It may have been partially due to technical issues but I just wasn’t feeling the arrangement. Other than that, some of her vocals were a little strained at times but overall she put on an amazing show. I only wish she would have been able to go longer.
Interpol (Coachella Stage) – To be completely honest I hadn’t heard Interpol’s new material but was a big fan of “Antics”. They really sounded amazing on the big stage and initially they weren’t one of my top bands to see but I’m glad I checked them out. The set was absolutely amazing too.
The Black Keys (Coachella Stage) – I really hate to say this but I was extremely disappointed with the Black Keys performance. This is one of the bands I was super excited to see and have been following their music for quite a while now. The main stage area was packed and when it became evident that the sound was not resonating in the back…people started chanting “LOUDER, LOUDER”. It was really unfortunate. I hope to check them out very soon though, but probably in a much smaller venue.
Magnetic Man (Sahara Stage) – I was excited to check out some live dubstep even though it was more a mixture of electronic and dubstep. I haven’t been to many electro shows as of late but the crowd had a ton of energy and the music was infectious.
Kings of Leon (Coachella Stage) – I wasn’t super impressed by this band and actually think they are overrated. They have some very catchy songs but this is not a band that I would seek out. We just found a spot way in the back which was actually pretty awesome.
Unfortunately we missed Chemical Brothers…it had been a super long day!
Day 2: After some needed relaxing at the pool we headed to the festival around 4:00. We decided to leave later since we didn’t want to get exhausted too early in the evening…parking wasn’t as seamless this time though. It basically took us an hour to leave from our hotel, park, go to our locker and walk to the main stage where Erykah was performing.
Erykah Badu (Coachella Stage) – Simply amazing! I’ve always wanted to see Erykah and she just blew me away. Her voice is incredible and the rest of the band complimented her so well. Sadly there were some “technical difficulties” or something like that, preventing her from finishing her final song. It was very disappointing so shame on you Coachella! I hope to catch her again very soon though.
Jenny and Johnny (Mojave Stage) – Another one of my top bands to see at Coachella. I’m a huge fan of Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley so didn’t want to miss the show. Jenny has so much charisma and talent…she is the epitome of cool in my book. I hope to check them out again when they come to San Diego in June. My personal favorites are “Big Wave” and “New York Cartoon”.
Mary Anne Hobbs (Oasis Stage) – I kind of stumbled into the Oasis stage and Mary Anne Hobbs was doing her set. The name may not sound familiar but she is a champion of the dubstep movement and world renowned dj in the scene. My first time hearing solid live dubstep which was incredibly exciting for me.
Mumford and Sons (Coachella Stage) – This is a band that’s been getting a lot of attention this year. I wasn’t familiar with many of their songs but they put on an incredible show with flawless harmonies and an Irish Folk music feel. I was quite impressed with the lead singer playing the drums at the same time.
The Swell Season (Mojave Stage) – My second time seeing Swell Season and Glen Hansard can play some great acoustic guitar. They played all the old and familiar material as well as some new stuff. I can’t rave enough about this band. Marketa also seemed to be more at ease in performing since the last time I saw them at the Wiltern in LA.
Animal Collective (Coachella Stage) – I had heard the name Animal Collective but I didn’t know much about their music, more specifically what kind of music they played. Apparently it was experimental/concrete. I guess it’s not really my cup of tea but definitely respect the uniqueness of their sound.
Arcade Fire (Coachella Stage) – The only headliner I was excited to see. It’s a completely different feeling seeing this band live…I expected greatness and was not disappointed. The energy of the crowd was incredible and the music sounded fantastic. The great thing about this band is how layered their music is and how many components go into each song. Complete Awesomeness!
Day 3: Started the day off by the pool with friends because that’s what you do in the desert! After some drinks etc, we were excited to see the first band. It was also hot hot hot which made walking quite a challenge but we got to the stage right on time.
City and Colour (Outdoor Stage) – My friend has been raving about this band forever and I was excited to check them out. I’m definitely a fan now and recommend checking them out…they rocked it!
Nas & Damian Marley (Coachella Stage) – It doesn’t get any better than Reggae on a hot Sunday afternoon. Damian Marley did some of his own material and some Marley classics. Nas was solid too and started off early with “If I Ruled the World”, minus Lauryn.
Kode9 (Oasis Stage) – This was my last opportunity to check out some live dubstep. Kode9 was missing the other half Spaceape and they usually perform together. Kode9’s performance was not that great in my opinion. I think the older material was way better than the new stuff.
Duran Duran (Coachella Stage)- Being a child of the 80’s, I was looking forward to seeing Duran Duran. I’ve never seen them live and their music seems to transcend time and place. They opened with Planet Earth, Wild Boys, a few new songs, Rio…we had to leave early since it was a 2 hour drive back to San Diego but they put on an amazing show.
There were a few bands that we missed due to scheduling issues but I definitely want to catch them sometime in the near future…
Here We Go Magic
The Tallest Man on Earth
Two Door Cinema Club
Broken Social Scene
Angus and Julia Stone
Empire of the Sun
Thanks Coachella for the best weekend ever. Hope to see you again next year!