Coachella 2013: Weekend 2 Recap
“You know it’s going to be a good weekend when the line to get in is a party!” someone said as the cars pulled into the Empire Polo Field Thursday night. Just then, two unicycles rode by my car. Excitement filled the air, people leapt out of the cars they had been cramped in for hours on end, cracked open beers, instantly became friends with neighboring cars, and started walking along the traffic as we inched along towards security. “WE’RE HERE!!!!!!”
There’s nothing ugly about Coachella. Everything is pretty – the picturesque mountains lined with gigantic palm trees placed in a perfect line that provides an instantly recognizable backdrop to the performers; the beautiful lights from artworks that illuminate the festival at night; and most importantly, the almost guaranteed treat of perfect weather allows fashionistas to bring out their festival best. The only worries were battling the desert heat and keeping the dirt from the previous week’s sand storm at bay. Thankfully H&M was on site with sunscreen, deodorant, dry shampoo, baby wipes and citrus infused water in an air conditioned tent to keep everyone fresh. And if that wasn’t enough there was another air conditioned tent with free all natural popsicles.
Artwork included a white house that provided much needed shade during the day time. At night, projectors turned the structure into what looked like an actual stone house with a fancy dress party happening inside. A very large, very slow moving psychedelic snail inched its way throughout the festival grounds.
Day 1 opened with laid back but amazing performances from White Arrows, Youth Lagoon, Jake Bugg and James McCartney (yes, Paul’s son). As I walked over to the Mojave tent after James McCartney’s set, Johnny Marr was playing “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” – it was almost as good as seeing The Smiths! And there was James McCartney again, intently watching Johnny bust out The Smiths classics. Modest Mouse gets the award for “perfect sunset moment” for their performance of “Float On” on the main stage. Blur was Day 1’s headliner, giving the crowd exactly what they wanted – a to-the-point, all hits, high energy performance. They got the crowd dancing hitting the stage with “Girls & Boys”, and left everyone jumping to “Song 2.” My favorite part was bassist Alex James’ goofy antics each time a camera person tried to film him. And of course I can’t forget to mention Damon climbing on the barricade and jumping into the crowd at the end.
The Wombats started Day 2 off with a high energy party set, picking up where blur left off the night before. Although a short set, everyone was “Dancing to Joy Division” which was perfectly appropriate since New Order would hit the same stage later that night with a Joy Division encore. Their encore featured “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” while pictures of Ian Curtis and “Forever Joy Division” flashed in the big screen behind the band. Another highlight of Day 2 was Major Lazer packing the Mojave tent both inside and out with people as far as the eye could see. The Postal Service had the crowd gushing over Jenny Lewis. And The xx had one of the most spectacular light shows with thick light beams shooting all the way to the back of the crowd and clouds floating inside. Such a great site, you didn’t even need to be near the stage or see the band to enjoy the show – just sit back and listen. Romy from The xx ended by thankfully saying how the band could not believe that just a few years ago they were playing smaller Coachella stage at noon and now they were on the main stage at night time. They have obviously grown into a popular band which was again evident earlier in the day by the long line of people waiting outside of Yuma tent in hope they might get in for Jamie xx’s DJ set.
Day 3 screeched in with the gritty, rock’n’roll, all girl band, Deap Vally putting every ounce of energy into their performance despite the 100+ degree weather. As LA natives, their parents were in the crowd and lead singer Lindsey Tory shared a story about how her mother snuck backstage to get Jim Morrison’s autograph when she was only 13. The Lumineers were another great band, but proved how tightly the festival is run and if you go over your time the Coachella gods will
turn off your sound. The buzz band of the festival was Tame Impala, a great set that brought every Australian in the audience together and of course wouldn’t be complete without a few inflatable kangaroos. The “hidden gem” of the festival, as I overhead someone say, was by far The Faint. It was my third time seeing this band and I left the tent that night certain that this was the best performance I have seen in my lifetime so far. Anyone who does not know who The Faint are or has not seen them live is definitely missing out. Luckily enough, the band announced that they are working on another album AND, to deflate rumors of a surprise special guest, keyboardist Jacob Thiele clarified that he is fact from Daft Punk, you just can’t recognize him without his helmet—haha! The night was brought to a close by California natives the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Despite the rough “frat boy” crowd, all of the ridiculous pushing and shoving and people who don’t actually know how to crowd surf, the Chili Peppers were amazing as always and had the best sound of the festival. It was a special experience to hear anthems like “Californication” IN California.
For first time festival goers – I definitely recommend Coachella. It is one of the shorter festivals and is ran incredibly well. We only had to wait one hour to pull in, go through security and park. Rumor is this takes upwards of 6 hours at festivals like Glastonbury. Everyone is super nice from the security guards who sweetly encourage you to have a good time, but remember “Beer is not hydration” and the super laid back crowd that is willing to talk to anyone, share and help each other out with spare toilet paper, Advil or whatever you might need. In its twelfth year, Coachella has grown a large group of loyal festival goers who go back to the festival year after year, buying tickets even before the lineup is announced. So grab three of your best flower power outfit and we’ll see you in Indio next year!