Last week I drove down to Indio, California with Casey and friend Dawson for another Coachella Music and Arts Festival. I've only been once before in 2006, and with such a great experience, my expectations were high. This year did not disappoint, and its hard to say, but it might have even surpassed my expectations. There were great performances, beautiful weather, awesome art installations, and it was a great weekend with new friends.
Here are some highlights, not to mention the "good" pictures I got, from Coachella...
Yeasayer pretty much started off the festival for us. They have been one of my favorite bands for a while now and Casey and I randomly met them a couple of hours before their set. We were walking around and I spotted them headed in our direction. Casey masterly intercepted them and we had a short chat. As for their show, I was a bit worried as their new album is a huge departure from their older music and that of which I became a fan. But the show was awesome and the crowd was insane. It's weird seeing one of your favorite bands become rock stars... at least indie rock stars.
The festival brings a lot of different types of people together. This woman, who you can't tell but is probably in her 40s, reminded me that your personality doesn't really change with age, just your body. It wasn't hard to picture her this way in the 80s and 90s. Plus, I was convinced that she was from Hawaii, because it seems like this is especially true at home.
It's always funny when you see men sitting on shoulders, trying to get a better view. Its even funnier to see s couple of them up there just for the fun of it. Better yet, at an electronic disco show.
Beach House. They were my underdogs that proved themselves. I wasn't a huge fan of them, but seeing them live showed me what they can do and what they are about. It was probably in my top 5 performances.
King Khan and the Shrines were up there too. It was just really high energy and they put on a great show. They had a lot of audience interactions, one of which was a call for a dollar. "Raise it in the air and LIGHT IT ON FIRE!"
With the explanation that it disn't matter because of where we were and what we were doing in that moment, people were open to the idea.
One of these folks was my new friend, and Coachella valley native, Damien. He's an awesome guy and friend of Dawson, who you can kind of see next to his face in the yellow shirt - basically the beard wearing aviators.
Coheed and Cambria. I didn't see much of this show, but it was by far the heaviest. Basically a good metal show. One of the stage effects was billowing black smoke. Some say that it was just a fire on the stage scaffolding, but it went so well with the videos that it seemed intentional.
One thing that happened throughout the festival was the construction of these long chains of balloons. By the end of the third day there were four, impossibly long strands, reminding me of fundamental principals of physics.
Another nightly thing was a synchronized light show. There were probably 10 spotlights that would converge in different spots in the sky, change colors, or randomly dance above the festival grounds. It creates kind of a barrier of light above our heads and really adds to the "event" of it all.
The Dead Weather. Jack White and Alison Mosshart collide to define rock. We got up close for their show and got to see what being a bad ass rocker was all about. Needless to say, it was a very good show with awesome stage presence.
THOM YORK! As if he wasn't a big enough legend of contemporary rock music, he was joined with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a few other musicians that formed Thom York's band and gave it a new, funky dance personality. It was definitely a highlight of the festival, not just to see both of these extremely talented and influential musicians, but to see them interact to create a very unique experience.
At the end of the last night, Sunday, there were two of the five stages left with performances, one of which wasn't Yann Tiersen, the talented composer and performer we were planning on ending on. Without notice, at least to us, his set time got bumped to an earlier time slot and we ran to the tent to find disappointment.
In the end, Casey and I saw 33 bands in three days play amazing shows. We got a bit of a tan, had a lot of fun with newly found friends and paid way too much for food. We drank a bunch of water to stay hydrated and looked at our programs probably over 100 times. We experienced some amazing hospitality at friends homes and restaurants and even got to eat a grapefruit, freshly picked from the tree. And after more than a total of 16 hours on the road, we went down and back from San Francisco for another amazing Coachella. I'm already looking forward to next year.