The last time I went to Coachella I was single. It’d been a few years – nearly five, to be more specific (and thus ends my excuse to link to Bill’s birthday bee sting cocktail). Unsurprisingly, I had another great weekend. The people watching was strong and the rain merely drizzled. There was music – and how! – and it was the first time my Canon G12 got to make it to Indio. Pics here. As much work as it takes to get down to Indio, I’m considering hitting up it up for a fourth time next year.
While Charlene and I were watching Radiohead, a blonde guy with uniquely messy hair disconnected from his brother and his brother’s girlfriend to dance alongside two cute, Radiohead-loving blonde girls. Though they spoke to him and everyone seemed to be smiling and happy, they didn’t dance with him, so he seemed to give up – sunny disposition unperturbed – and started dancing over to where his brother (also blonde with feathers – not feather extensions – woven into his hair) and his brother’s girlfriend were canoodling. Original Blonde starting talking to his brother, but it being a concert, it was way loud, so Original Blonde had to step in closely to speak directly into his brother’s ear.
But Original Blonde did not stop dancing as he spoke to his brother, oh no. He kept dancing. He put his arm around his brother to get leverage and be heard clearer. He put his other arm around his brother. He kept dancing. He pulled his brother away from his brother’s girlfriend so he could dance with his arms around his brother’s waist – oh.
I guess they weren’t brothers.
Thom Yorke sang.
Eventually the guy who is not Original Blonde’s brother went back to dancing with his girlfriend who is probably not his girlfriend, but Original Blonde kept dancing.
Original Blonde then whirled around, zeroed in on the bearded man next to me wearing a sequin cowboy hat and vest, and hugged him around the neck. “Man, I love your outfit,” I heard him say.
He went back to dancing.
Original Blonde whirled around a second time, zeroed in on Charlene, and hugged her around the neck. “You look just like my cousin.”
This is why we Coachella.
Day I: Svedish
I’m just going to give this a cold open: I do not get the Swedish House Mafia. Even if I was into current EDM (which I am largely not), I would not get the current hype around Swedish House Mafia. SHM, bearing a dangerously close resemblance to the acronym for “shaking my head,” headlined Friday night, and I was that forty-year old on the inside thinking “WTF?”
It was a great show, of course. The lasers were amazing. It was actually made ten times more amazing with the lingering clouds in the sky. But to me, it was repetitive. The only times I personally recognized an arc to any song was when SHM spliced in earworms from popular artists like Florence + the Machine. The trio combine into the Puff Daddy of electronic music.
To be clear I am not anti-EDM. Nor am I saying I’m above EDM, though I did have to ask my friends what “EDM” meant. I went to a handful of raves throughout high school and college, but I wouldn’t say I was a raver. As I stood listening to Swedish House Mafia, though, I just felt like I was unprepared for a trip back in time. I did jump for obvious joy when they worked in Ferry Corsten’s “Punk” for the very last strategic splice of the night. (It was a fave of mine back then.) But I also felt like it was a total copout, like the three DJs put their heads together and were all like “Okay, let’s put in a digital track that’s actually distinguishable.” And scene. No meatballs.
I spent more time in Gobi than in Sahara that weekend.
More Day I:
- Madeon: I enjoyed dancing with friends but I cannot remember the music.
- Frank Ocean: Slightly disappointing. Still can’t put my finger on it. Yes, he sang that one line from “Novacane.” And then everyone left.
- The Rapture: Fantastic!!
- Afrojack: Great energy. Do not remember the music.
- M83: I only wish I had a colorblocked windbreaker for this eighties extravaganza.
Day II: Radiohead
Radiohead Coachella experience number two! It was a beautiful show. I know this is totally lame of me, but as the set and displays changed for each song, I thought “That would look so good as a Facebook Timeline Cover Shot!” Oohs and ahhs rippled through the crowd like we were watching fireworks. And so I took no less then twenty-five pictures throughout the entire set:
More Day II:
- Childish Gambino: I still don’t understand what the Asian girls song means but I love puns.
- St. Vincent…
- Flying Lotus: So much more theatrical than I expect a DJ to be!
- Bon Iver: Hippie love time.
St. Vincent was the best performance of the weekend, in my opinion. One second Annie was announcing she was going to sing a new track, “Crocodile.” The next second, she was leaping into the crowd, singing the entire song on her back while being surfed around without missing a beat. Amazing.
Day III: Dre & Snoop & Nate Dogg & Eminem & Wiz & 50 & Warren & Kurupt & Kendrick & Tupac, Resurrected
OKAY SO “NEXT EPISODE” IS MY JAM AND THIS SHOW WAS PERFECT. Except that the entire fucking field was packed shoulder-to-shoulder as fuck and I stand just under five-foot-four so I could only get a clear view of whatever my camera captured. Here’s a miniscule fraction of the crowd:
- Beats Antique: First time hearing this band. Awesome!
- araabMUZIK: Pass it to.
- The Weeknd: This generation’s baby-making music maker, with a hint of Michael Jackson in his voice.
- Company Flow: Love their beats!
- Florence + the Machine: She’s got so much power. I regret not seeing her at the Fox with Bill.
If you are looking for indie-ish music to cupcake to, look no further than the Bs in Pandora. Bon Iver and Beirut brought out the hippie interpretive dancer in all of us, and I intensely missed my boo watching throngs of couples sway. Beirut, in particular, are just ridiculously adorable. I feel like their band business model (if bands have band business models) was to gather up all the unhip instruments they could find (Turn up the accordion! More ukulele!) and just write cuteness. So sweet. You want to hug them and take them to dinner.