Coachella LEAD

Now that the dust has settled from this year’s epically insane 6 days of Coachella, we thought we’d reflect a little on our short weekend in Indio this year and bring everyone back to the polo fields for a bit!

Click here for the full photoset!

Honestly, I was okay with sitting on the Coachella sidelines as I wasn’t able to get official creds this year. Disappointed, but not necessarily heartbroken, I realized that the calendar is pretty stacked with other multi-day fests for the rest of this year (Symbiosis Fest in May, EDC and Electric Forest in June, Hardfest, Nocturnal, and perhaps Outside Lands for good measure), so TRUST I was pretty good on skipping out on the official Coachella experience. But with a free weekend available and coming off the amazing day-time party vibes from WMC and Ultra Music Fest, I figured why the hell not just go out to Indio and figure out what’s what. I’d always wanted to check out the party scene surrounding the festival, and with solid party promotion names like A Club Called Rhonda, KCREW + Low End Theory, and The Do Over<, I and my co-pilot, Apple, were extremely excited to hipster it up and party in the desert.

Saturday afternoon of Coachella Weekend 1, we sat poolside at A Club Called Rhonda in the Saguaro Hotel, Palm Springs. Aeroplane was playing some funky disco jams (EXTREMELY relieved to catch the end of his set–thought we were going to miss him altogether), Tiger and Woods was coming up next, the sun was beaming, and the air was crisp and breezy from a rainy Friday. The promoters were offering free cocktails, complimentary manicures for the ladies, and free facial hair/head trims for men. Worked myself a desperately needed haircut and then spent the afternoon gathering unnecessary amounts of useless free swag and lounging by the pool after lopping off an easy 5 years from my appearance.

Pieces of free swag obtained during the party: 13

Overall feel of the party was interesting. Part hipster, part Hollywood, and part music festival rompers. It looked like an odd mish-mash of an Urban Outfitters + American Apparel + Out of the Closet ad. Crowd vibe was pretty good with plenty of friendly people, not a lot of swimming due to the less-than-optimal weather conditions, but we did speculate that maintaining an aesthetically pleasing look took precedence over swimming for most of the crowd lol.

# of times I got pegged in the face by rogue beach balls: 2

Sunday was Coachella day. Heading out to Indio with absolutely no expectation besides to hang out at pool parties all weekend, it was a bit of a shocker when I got a text from my friend Sparks, who had been on the Coachella grounds all weekend.

Sparks: “Dude, we found a stray wristband laying on the ground. You guys want?”

Me: “Are you fuckin’ kidding me? If it scans, please get that shit to Jay Luck Club as soon as you can. We’re staying at their house!”

Sparks: “We checked and it scans!”

Bits of luck and generosity from some amazing friends for sure. Though there was a little bit of anxiety approaching the gates as we really weren’t 100% confident the wristband would scan (we’d been told all weekend that wristbands need to be registered and could be cancelled as well), that was one pendant of life down, and one more to go for Apple. So while I won’t disclose full details on how we were able to get our second body in, let’s just say it was nerve-wracking at times, frustrating at certain checkpoints, but an EPIC SIGH OF RELIEF once we were able to get in. I’m talking like, Atlas Stone off your shoulders, expunging a massive dump, and sprayed down by a icy water hose in 110 degree weather relief. ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Lame “Legends of the Hidden Temple” references in above paragraph: 1

# of times I screamed “WE’RE IN” and flapped my arms like a penguin-douche as we walked through the entrance: 6

Though we had missed a lot of my must-sees throughout the weekend (Arctic Monkeys, Swedish House Mafia, Amon Tobin, M83, Breakbot, Radiohead, Miike Snow, Kaiser Chiefs, Sub Focus, SBTRKT, Mt Eden, etc.), we were still left with a solidly stacked Sunday lineup.

The plan was to see Noisia, Metronomy, Santigold, Zedd, Flux Pavilion & Doctor P, Beats Antique, AraabMUZIK, the Hives, Justice, Gotye, Girl Talk, Modeselektor, and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg. Not bad for a free show. ;)

Of the list, we had to miss out on a few, but to no big loss. It was still an amazing weekend/day that flew by entirely too fast.

# of dope acts caught: 12

Sunday proved to be the hottest day of Weekend 1′s scheduling, topping out around the low 90s. To be honest, it was SWEATY BALLS hot enough as it were, and I can’t imagine how bad it was heat-wise for everyone who attended Weekend 2. Hats off to the hardcore desert trekkers that managed to survive round 2 of Coachella. That must have been RIDICULOUS.

The day opened up with a fantastic drum and bass and hard dubstep set from Noisia. I’ve been hearing a lot about these guys since they dropped an amazingly dirty remix of Deadmau5′s “Raise Your Weapon” last year, and their show was well worth the time spent. The switched the genres around plenty with smooth transitions from half-step to double-time DnB, all the while keeping the energy cranking the entire time. I heard plenty of their original stuff from the Split the Atom album. Definitely making it a point to see them if they ever headline their own show in LA!

Right after Noisia we stayed planted in the Sahara Tent for most of Zedd. The hard-electro wiz played an amazing set with some seriously sneaky change-ups that caught me by surprise on multiple occasions. He’d play the hooks off some ultra-recognizable tunes (definitely heard some Daft Punk “One More Time” in there) and switch it up at the drop with some equally recognizable, but ultra-dirty electro bass lines, then all of a sudden he’d throw in a mashed & cranked up version of tracks he’d remixed to create an extremely dynamic set all together.

# of tri-force symbols people threw up during Zedd’s set: Uncountable

Next we decided to get away from the Sahara Tent (I wanted to make sure I didn’t stay planted there the entire day) and ventured over to Do Lab’s center-festival set up. With their signature stage productions that tip the lines between organic and industrial, we plopped down on the grass next to the speakers as dirty bass music echoed around us. The way their stage set up enclosed everyone within reminded me a lot of the Temple of Flux at Burning Man 2009, and I love how they incorporated the blue, pink, and yellow spires, almost as signature colors (see Woogie Stage in the photo album!).

# of times making stink faces to the dirty bass drops: 7

The rest of the day was admittedly a lot of bouncing around. Though my tendency for festivals is to move from set to set at a pretty aggressive pace in the first place, we had our one day at Coachella and we were going to damn well make it worth it! We hopped over to Santigold for a little while to slow the tempo down, went back to Flux Pavilion and Doctor P to nearly die drenched in a pool of our own sweat (I always love their sets until the mosh pits break out), and hit up Beats Antique for an ultra-worldly experience as they brought their crowd across the seas with Middle Eastern-infused sound and stage production, complete with full-blown acoustic electro ensemble and belly dancers.

Top quotes while watching Beats Antique:

“What is that, a fuckin’ bassoon?!”

“This is some real desert shit right here”

Highlights for the rest of the day included The Hives, and their ridiculously charismatic lead singer: Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist. In between songs he’d hop on the microphone in his crazy accent, a comically insane hybrid of ’80s hair-rock, James Brown, and Louisiana crawfish peddler intonations, constantly verifying and professing his love for the crowd, and in turn, the crowd’s love for him. Fantastic set, and I’m really glad they’re touring again.

# of LOL & great take-away moments prompted by Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist: 2

1) When he made EVERYONE watching sit down to kick off the next song, including calling out the VIP’s for not being any cooler or better than anyone else, just because they know someone or have some more cash to swing around. #respect

2) “DO YOU LOVE ME? CAUSE I LOVE YOU! AND DON’T LET ANYONE EVER TELL YOU OTHAWISE”

The rest of the evening included some time spent at Gotye, Justice, Calvin Harris, Girl Talk, and eventually Modeselektor and Snoop + Dre to close the night. My hands-down favorite set of the evening had to be Modeselektor playing at the Mojave stage. Never having seen them live, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but their hard industrial German dark techno had me Techno Viking stepping like a boss (seriously, their set was music you strut to) in my tiger onesie, and I nearly flipped my shit when they slowed it down to play “Let Your Love Grow.”

Unfortunately as blasphemous as it seems, we elected to leave early during Snoop and Dre’s set to avoid the crowd rush and mass exodus traffic. Definitely bummed to miss out on Tupac Shakur’s resurrection. :(

But either way, nothing to complain about! Wouldn’t have spent the weekend any other way!

Click here for the full photoset!