COACHELLAVATED 2010: Photo Gallery & Review
I came back from Coachella high as a kite, like I had been on the grass all weekend or something. Oh wait, I HAD.
Watch videos from Coachella here.
See photos from Lucent Dossier behind the scenes here.
And for those of you who like to read:
Coachella was absolutely amazing, three days of wandering around in a big, grassy sun-soaked field, drenching oneself in water and music and then sweating down, bouncing up and doing it all over again. A cavalcade of freaks churned around like a living carousel, hour after hour, face after face. Triumphant rock chords flew out of guitar swords to pierce the night sky, open and clear in Coachella Valley.
What a place! City festivals like Ultra and Decibel and EDC are awesome in their own right, but there is something about driving out into the middle of nowhere next to horses and purple mountains and crickets to chill and get crazy that really does it for me. I am a city girl deLUXE but somewhere deep in my soul is the country girl who grew up making mud pies in rural Texas; she knows that dancing in a club in the city cannot possibly compare to dancing barefoot on grass under blue skies and sunshine, not a skyscraper in sight. Rainbow sunsets descended lightly every night as the energy level lifted along with the alcohol intake and flames of bright orange clouds sliced across the expansive view.
I arrived Thursday evening to set up camp, and as the light was falling went to the Coachella grounds to immerse myself in the calm before the storm. The wide grass fields echoed with emptiness, devoid of any movement except for workers around each stage, buzzing around like busy bees, as they would all night long. I wandered around the massive empty tents, the sparkling main stages and The Do Lab stage, poking up out of the middle of the grounds like a lost tropical bird.
Waking up to bong hits and mimosas from your tent neighbors is the only way to start a festival day. Birds chirped and guitars wailed in the early morning rehearsal time, bugs swirling around furiously like they knew something was about to go down.
You know what happened next. For three straight days a couple hundred thousand people descended on the polo fields to dive into all manner of music from cock rock to trance town. Jay-Z‘s visuals knocked all our party socks off, Muse was phenomenal, Thom Yorke expectedly delivered, I was stoked to finally experience Die Antwoord for a split second, Faith No More was fun as hell and I loved the Gorillaz despite bitching from the crowd about the lack of a visual trick- but I think appearing as humans was their trick.
The Glitch Mob played what seemed like almost the entirety of their new album, making use of guitars and drum kits and bare feet and of course all manner of electronic circuit wizardry. Their set was decidedly more thoughtful and less messy that some of their past performances. Check out this video on YouTube for an idea and join the boys along for their upcoming tour with Free the Robots & Deru which officially kicked off at Coachella but begins in full force May 1 in Chicago. Get all the dates and cities here.
I spent a lot of time on the biggest ‘side’ stage, the Sahara tent; I have the uncanny knack of walking up on Pretty Lights as he is dropping my very favorite song “Who Loves Me,” and that tent is also where Flying Lotus brought it like it had never been brought-en before, with beats and clicks and bloops and bleeps that touch some very deep part of my mind; his music grows me as a music lover and as a human being. Flying Lotus is my favorite producer in the world, and when his new album Cosmogramma drops on May 4 in the US, the electronic arts and indeed music in general will never be the same. Yes, this is how highly I think of this man’s productions- and I am not alone. Flying Lotus is a portal to the future of music; you might want to put your ear up to the door.
Bassnectar is another favorite of mine because his live performances are always so much fun. As his set began I stood slightly outside the Sahara tent as human beings poured around me, all moving forward to the ribbons of bass flowing from the master. It thrills me when people love what I love, and damn- you could barely get an elbow into Bassnectar’s tent because it was so packed. It was Sunday night sunset and as the light fell over the tent tops in the sky, I was overcome with happiness and gratitude for existing right then, right now. I weep for those who have never stood in a crowd of 30,000 happy, smiling dancing bouncing humans, all thoroughly enjoying the pleasures of music and movement and each other.
Giving a solid edge to my first Coachella experience was the Pure Filth campground stage that went on well after the festival lights went out. Pure Filth is proof that Coachella has a clue when it comes to what’s up with 1) the best sound in the LA underground 2) the up-and-coming artists on the forward move and 3) WHAT THE CAMPERS WANT!!! I talked to so many campers with smiles perma-plastered to their faces, happy to have a place to go once the day was gone. The campground stage was the icing on a very delicious cake that boomed my brain into outerspace!
Another highlight of my weekend was being a part of the amazing Lucent Dossier crew and The Do Lab stage aka Misting Oasis, the highlight of Coachella for many. All these standard-issue, huge-budget stages line the Coachella grounds, with amazing sound and visual capacity but absolutely zero heart. The main Coachella stage was incredible, but did not have a teaspoon of soul in it until you got the performers and crowd there. In the middle of all of this, however, rising up like a bizarre flower from an alien world was The Do Lab Stage.
Wooden planks held hands to form towers up to the sky, which gave an impression of tree trunks growing out of the ground. Soft beds were strewn about under broad canvas ‘leaves’, which provided the much-needed shade, a precious commodity in the broiling Coachella valley sun. In the middle was a mist tent that spewed forth lifesaving water all day long, as did a couple of water cannons from the stage. The crowd was wet, half-naked and danced like maniacs all day and night to some of the best music at the festival: Mimosa, Deru, Kraddy, R/D, Patricio, Stephan Jacobs, Eskmo & so many more. I cannot WAIT to experience The Do Lab’s festival Lightning in a Bottle, which goes down May 28-31 in So Cal.
All in all: TEN POINTS COACHELLA! I hope to return again and again.