Three days of no sleep, sore everything, and every unmentionable crevice of our body covered in dirt. And for the sake of Coachella, we’d do it all again. Thankfully, there’s next weekend. Round one of Coachella was one of the mellower experiences we’ve had at the festival. It wasn’t that hot.
The sandstorm didn’t escalate to make the grounds seem like treacherous dystopian world. All of the bands were pretty relaxed, except for maybe Win Butler of Arcade Fire who made one of his usual intense statements about the fakery in VIP. From what we saw, VIP was full of popsicles, free beer, and hungover artists dozing in the shade of the umbrellas outside their trailer. Life on the festival grounds on Day 3 wasn’t that different.
We took a trip to Coachella’s newly implemented Terrace full of gourmet food from Los Angeles and beyond and that the whole thing was swarming with people just trying to relax with a craft beer and some pad thai. Sahara tent excluded (that shizz stays wild), Coachella has become a pretty civilized affair.
We took a chance on Chance the Rapper and we’re glad we did. Wearing overalls and a Dodgers hat, Chance will probably be the next Wiz Khalifa or Kendrick Lamar. He’s goofy, exciting, has dance moves like James Brown, and his funk-infused set with a killer live band and horn section made him one of the more dynamic hip-hop performers we’ve seen on the early afternoon Main Stage. From throwing out candy to thanking all his fans for showing up early to running through the photo pit and telling everyone who’s hand he grabbed that he loved them, the “Juice” performer is setting himself up to become a mainstream success by this time next—if not earlier. He also pulled a wild card out of his overall pocket that will help cement his eventual mainstream viability: Justin Bieber. Biebs had been seen floating around with paramour Selena Gomez backstage, but no one suspected he’d go onstage with the budding rapper, perform two songs, and do a dance breakdown while wearing a fisherman’s hat. The whole experience was kind of surreal, especially since we thought the young girls in the audience would be excited to see their pop star crush. Most of those girls were in the Sahara tent though and they missed out on Bieber bringing it for his boy Chance.
The girls of Krewella, Jahan and Yasmine, are basically rock stars of the EDM world. Dressed in skin-tight, punk rock black outfits they made the Sahara tent into what they call Krewchella. Hoping from double-teaming behind the deck and performing their own songs like “Alive,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Killin’ It,” the girls interjected every few minutes to tell their fans to get their hands in the hair. Cameras swerved around to see a slew of young girls (who seem like Krewella’s core fan base) blowing kisses to the camera. The fact that Krewella has such a strong female fan base and that they are strong females in a music scene dominated across the world by men makes Krewella extra awesome. “This is our very first Coachella,” they screamed over the raging audience. “Thank you so much for coming to this tent.” Yasmine wore a t-shirt that should be the mantra of their fans: “Forget everything. Regret nothing.”
The boys of Disclosure have been floating across the airwaves in England for a hot minute, but they’re finally getting the accolades they deserve in the States. British brothers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, helped cement their status at the Grammy Awards when they were nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album for their debut album Settle. Despite the levels of fame and fan adoration they are reaching, Disclosure’s stature as up-and-coming electronic gods is sort of subtle. They both came onstage acting very understated and looking like two normal, good-looking British guys. On each side of the stage, Guy and Howard stood behind their equipment, which was lit up with blue lights. Graphics like slowly creeping fire moved through a diamond-shaped screen in the middle of them. But the dudes didn’t just play their tracks and leave. They brought out some major guest stars including Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge on “White Noise,” Mary J. Blige for “F For You,” and, of course, Sam Smith on “Latch.” Aluna and Sam were both playing Coachella and we really like how the festival sets it up so we can see our favorite artists with the people they collaborated with that year. Goldenvoice is genius. Down the way, Drake came out with Jhene Aiko for “Just Time.” Too many special guests, not enough clones of ourselves.
EDM powerhouse was the biggest draw we’ve seen for the Main Stage the whole festival, which shows that that DJs are swiftly gaining ground on most of the major rock acts that used to dominate Coachella. Anyone who calls Coachella “hipster,” either a) doesn’t really know what a hipster is or b) has never seen swarms of tan girls in bikinis with fake eyelashes and glitter all over their bodies, bouncing up and down to a single guy behind a deck. The dance party Harris brought was incredible and the crowd ranged from the aforementioned teenage girls to some 70-year-old’s bobbing their heads with interest. Harris’ show isn’t just about the music he plays. Part of the amazing live show comes with his light show, pyrotechnics (including fiery sparks shooting from the bottom of the stage) and smoke. When the first flash of lights went off during his opening song “Feel So Close” and the whole audience immediately started singing along, the party was just getting started before Harris smashed into Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound,” Justice’s “We Are Your Friends,” and then his own songs like “I Need Your Love,” and “Bounce.”
Chants of “Lana” rang over the audience while the controversial pop sensation teased her audience with a slightly late entrance. When she walked on the stage, she looked like a picture straight out of a ‘60s make-up advertorial. She was wearing a vintage looking red-and-pink floral kimono mini dress and smokey eyes that looked almost Egyptian. Her long hair was cut a bit shorter into cascading auburn waves. She looked excited, scared, and nervous which is Lana’s usual live performance expression. It’s a shyness that borders on coquettish, but is sometimes totally uncomfortable to watch. For someone with such an amazing voice and superb songwriting skills plus a year or so of touring in European countries and being an international superstar, Lana on her home turf is less palatable. It’s seems strange that her Americana-infused music does better in a different country, but maybe that’s because the whole sultry Bardot vibe Lana has going on is the antithesis of what girls like Krewella are doing. Lana could be an icon, someone like Marilyn Monroe that girls in the future look up to. The pressure of knowing that must seep into her live performance because despite her angelic presence and tries at sexy shimmying, the singer’s performance was as flighty as they red butterflies she had flying behind her across the LCD screen at one point. “I’m feelin’ it,” she whispered after awkwardly touching her guitarist’s back. She did treat the audience to a new song, which was really good although probably not a single. “Since we are on the west coast and at the sexiest concert of the year,” we thought we’d play you a new one from Ultraviolence,” she whispered. “So let’s see how it goes.”