Oh Coachella, you never disappoint me. With consistently awesome sets rife with more cameos than Queen Victoria’s jewelry box, it’s no wonder this is my and many others’ music festival of choice. My favorite weekend of the year may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t relive it over and over again in my mind.
If you missed out on Coachella this past weekend (or want to know what to look forward to during weekend two), check out some of my favorite performances from this year’s pretty stinkin’ exemplary iteration below.
If the idea of psychedelic dance sounds promising (think Tame Imapa but with harder synth beats), look no further than Aussies Jagwar Ma. The Gobi tent may provide shelter from the sweltering midday sun, but you’ll cancel that out with all the dancing you’ll be doing.
Simon Green, aka Bonobo, brought out a veritable entourage of musicians to the desert to perform one of the most stunning and intricate sets I’ve ever witnessed at Coachella (no small feat). It was unarguably one of my favorite sets of the entire year. Yes, I know it’s only April. No, I’m not calling this one too early.
Notoriously reclusive Swedish duo The Knife delivered a set on the Outdoor Theatre stage that can be best described as one part WTF and one part utter brilliance. They were heavily playing from what I consider to be one of their least accessible albums, Shaking the Habitual, but they seemed to have no problem connecting with Friday night’s mesmerized crowd.
French electroswingers Caravan Palace going on 15 minutes after The Knife was just about the only major conflict I had the entire weekend. Given The Knife’s aforementioned reclusiveness, I elected to see them before rushing over to the Gobi tent next door to catch the last few songs of Caravan Palace. Verdict: anyone want to gift me a ticket to weekend two?
Chvrches’ debut release, The Bones of What You Believe, was arguably the breakout album of 2013, so it’s no surprise that they drew a sizable crowd for their afternoon set at the Outdoor Theatre. That crowd was not disappointed. Although “Gun” and “The Mother We Share” elicited the most enthusiastic responses from the crowd, the live rendition of “By The Throat” was nothing short of magical.
Combine the talents of musical prodigy Nicolas Jaar and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington and you get one of the most innovative experimental downtempo acts to emerge on the scene today: Darkside. Subtlety is the name of the game here, and it’s oh-so-rewarding to listen to it all unfolding.
Let’s face it. We’ve hit a point in house where a lot of the bigger names are starting to blend together into one generic sound. That’s where Sydney-based disco house duo Flight Facilities come in. Sporting an ambient-yet-groovy sound and live vocalists, Flight Facilities opted out of the banger-banger-banger strategy and instead took the deliciously long teaser buildup approach.
Angelenos Classixx have a laundry list of solid collaborators on their 2013 debut, Hanging Gardens, and in the spirit of Coachella, they brought most of them out to the desert to perform their respective tracks from the album. Nancy Whang singing “All You’re Waiting For”? Yes, please.
English duo AlunaGeorge may only have one studio album under their belt, but when you mix an album as strong as Body Music with appearances from DJ Snake and a cover of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” you have all the makings of a Coachella breakout the likes of which I haven’t seen since Trentemøller in 2011. Two words: simply spectacular.
Arcade Fire’s headlining set at Coachella 2011 following the release of their GRAMMY-award winning album The Suburbs went down in my books as the best headlining set I’ve witnessed at the festival, but their set last Sunday easily goes toe to toe with it.
Though I’m admittedly still partial to the band’s debut album, which figured more prominently in the former set, live renditions of tracks from the indie rock band’s electronic-leaning newest release, Reflektor, made for a more high-energy, groovin’ set. Couple that with a surprise appearance from Blondie’s Debbie Harry and an acoustic version of “Wake Up” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing through the crowd after sound had been cut on the stage, and you get a legen–wait for it–dary set. Again.