The Coachella Experience
Best Festival Of The Summer?
Recently I had the opportunity to attend Coachella Music and Arts Festival for the first time of my life, I hope it was the first of many. Initially I was not quite sure to expect. People who attended in the past told me it was their favorite festival, a mixture of music, art, and people like none other. Needless to say I was excited, and the excitement only grew everyday I was there. Each day brought something different from the day before. Going into it I was most excited for Radiohead, The Black Keys, Justice, Miike Snow, and Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg. I was able to catch them and so many more! Here is a short review of the festival along with some neat photos that show you what it’s all about. I am a festival wanderer, I like grabbing photos and videos of as many acts as possible, I hope this gives you a small taste of what was going on in Indio. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: None of these photos or videos were taken by me, these are photos I found that help give an idea of what was going on.
P.S. Be sure to check out my Coachella Playlist at the bottom of the page to hear a little of everything!
Wandering The Grounds Of Coachella
Let me start by saying it was hot, 99 degrees to start after driving all morning from Los Angeles. As we approached the festival grounds our group was way too excited to care about the heat. Our starting destination was the Sahara Tent, a giant tent specifically used for EDM (Electronic Dance Music). On that note let me mention that Gold Coast Tickets is proud to be a partner of the upcoming EDM festival Spring Awakening in Chicago. Tickets are on sale now. EDM has exploded in the last 5 years and there is no slow down in sight. After a long car ride we were eager to break out our dance moves, and we wasted no time doing just that. Our first show was Madeon, a 18 year old phenom from France (go figure). The French have been at the forefront of EDM from the beginning. Couldn’t have started the festival off on a better note, this kid brings it. As you can see below he had a lot of fans waiting for him to come out. I’m in that mess off to the left somewhere.
After sweating out the excitement it was off to see The Rapture. They played a ten song set and were by all accounts one of the best performances at the festival. I only stayed for a couple of songs because I was eager to get a good spot for The Black Keys. As usual Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney did not disappoint. They played a few songs as a duo and a few songs with the full band. Gold On The Cieling, Little Black Submarines, I Got Mine, and Nova Baby were among the crowd favorites. A giant disco ball descended from the ceiling and was pummeled with lights from all sides as they performed Everlasting Light. Dan brought out John Fogerty to play The Weight by The Band. It was a beautiful calm that set across the crowd as the sun set in the distance.
Everyone was in high spirits after The Black Keys’ performance and once again a dance party was about to fall over the polo fields of Indio. House sensations Swedish House Mafia (consisting of Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell and Eric Prydz) were about to take stage and immerse the festival in their heavy bass and astonishing light show.
They took stage at about 11:30 pm and the energy level never subsided. Everyone was fixated on their laser light show as they dropped remixes of Coldplay, Steve Aoki, and MGMT while playing their own fan favorites like Greyhound and Miami 2 Ibiza. Predictably they finished with Save The World, which sadly was a song that was abused during the festival, specifically in the Sahara Tent. Oh well.
During the middle of the Swedish House Mafia performance I wandered off to check out Amon Tobin. He is a Brazilian producer who is known for his unbelievable visual effects and ambient beats. I personally describe it as “floating through space” music. You can really call it whatever you want though, as people have several opinions. I included a video below so you can see exactly what I mean. It was a nice end to the night after wandering around snapping photos and checking out the scenes. I needed to get back and prepare for a busy Saturday that would prove to be the best day of the trip for me.
Saturday was 101 degrees. It required a little more pool lounging before we could get ourselves to the grounds. We started Saturday once again at the EDM Sahara Tent for Sebastian Ingrosso. I was mildly disappointed that he played several remixes and songs heard in the previous DJ sets, but it was a nice treat to hear Calling. From there I traveled towards the Outdoor Theater Stage to get a good spot for Miike Snow, but had to stop and see Flying Lotus on the way. The producer from California is a creative genius. He is a remix mastermind who dabbles in genres across the board. It was great to check him out on the way to see Miike Snow who was about to put on one of the better performances of the festival.
It was a short set list but luckily it included both songs I was hoping he would play, Cult Logic and Black & Blue. The stage set up was overwhelming with a fantastic light show and great sound. The songs were extended wonderfully and the crowd could not stop moving. Later in the set they brought out Lykke Li and performed Black Tin Box, that was definitely the sexiest thing that happened at the festival. Everybody was fixated on her as she strutted around the stage and sang.
Finally the moment I had been waiting for had arrived. Radiohead was about to perform on the main stage. I quickly made my way over to that direction and lost my friends as I was determined to get close and catch it alone if possible. I missed them open with Bloom, but I was able to catch the rest of the set. This stage set up was like nothing I had previously seen. Before seeing this show I would say that Roger Waters was the most visually stunning set up I had seen in quite some time. This was better. LED panels were being manipulated as if a giant puppeteer was above the stage stringing them along ever so gracefully to form unbelievable light sequences.
Thom Yorke’s voice was at times haunting at other times condemning. He did a magnificent job creating an atmosphere that made me feel like the fans and the band were the only people left on earth. Weird Fishes, Nude, Karma Police, Idiotque, Reckonor, Exit Music, and Paranoid Android were among my favorites, although the whole show was amazing. It was a moving experience for me that I won’t soon forget. Radiohead will be in Chicago in June if you have not had a chance to see them on tour.
This day was 103 degrees, I thought I’d be done for at this point, but I actually had more energy than ever. We arrived to the ground at about 5:30 pm. Enough time to catch the tail end of Dada Life, again an EDM act that got us moving and ready for what would lie ahead. After we got a small taste of EDM we decided we were not satisfied. Justice, who will be performing at this year’s Lollapalooza festival, was going to be on pretty soon so we made our way toward the main stage. By far the loudest set I witnessed was by French producers Gaspard Auge and Xavier de Rosnay, who are best known for their song D.A.N.C.E, which quickly became a favorite song to sample and play at clubs or parties everywhere.
At this point one might think that there was almost too much dancing going on, but the night was far from done. After watching most of Justice’s set it was off to see some Girl Talk at the Outdoor Theater. Girl Talk is a mashup artist, which means he takes songs and ‘mashes them up’ to create one flowing sound. He is a scientist of sorts, experimenting with hip hop, rock, pop, and electronic. This is definitely a show to catch at least once in your life if you want to see some creativity.
After Girl Talk I once again wandered off to explore the grounds a bit more. It was at this point when I really was able to notice how beautifully the festival was set up. Gorgeous art/architecture was on display. The palm trees were rigged with lighting to make them change colors all around the festival. A giant ferris wheel loomed in the distance allowing people to get a birds eye view of the grounds. Truly a magnificently put together festival that brings people together from all over the world. We met Australians, French, Italians, and people from every corner of the United States.
After securing a beverage I found myself in front of the Sahara Tent again so I popped in quickly to watch Avicii’s intro. He kicked off the giant dance party with Levels as he performed from atop a giant robot-looking head. The lights in the tent were crazy, very cool stuff, but I couldn’t commit myself to another EDM artist for too long. Dre and Snoop Dog’s set was approaching and we needed to get ourselves a good spot to watch it all go down. On my way over to the main stage I passed by DJ Shadow of whom I happen to be a big fan. He performed at last year’s Pitchfork Festival and I remember it being very stimulating. He performs with the Shadowsphere, an orb that is also an LED screen. It is a unique and crafty show that was worth stopping at before making my way to the hip hop holy land. I left early but as I walked away his most famous song Organ Donor completely took over the grounds, I’m convinced you could hear it for miles away. It was definitely an exciting way to head over to the main stage and prepare for the performance.
And then it was time for the most talked about set of the festival. Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre were about to take the stage and everyone was buzzing about special guests and “holograms” that were supposed to make appearances. The duo didn’t disappoint performing many of the hits we all grew up listening to. There was a tribute to Nate Dogg, a Tupac hologram that “raised Tupac from the dead,” 50 Cent came on stage and performed In Da Club, and Wiz Khalifa came on stage and performed Young, Wild, and Free. Even Eminem made an appearance an performed a couple songs. It was safe to say that the festival could not have ended any better. An extended version of Still Dre resonated across the entire festival as the crowd waved their hands back and forth.
Never had I been part of a better experience than Coachella with people that I loved. It is something that people should share with a group of family and friends. There is something for everyone on the grounds and the most important thing everyone should remember is to take the time to immerse yourself in the surrounding. The festival was created for people to enjoy themselves in a wonderfully put together atmosphere. I hope to take part next year as well.