Two weekends. Five Stages. Six days. Tons of bands. No matter how the hundreds of thousands of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival participants add it up, the dual weekend Coachella experience this year equaled one giant battle of epic extremes.
Cold weather versus the blazing heat. Electronic dance music versus indie rockers. Faux-hippie versus neon-clad bros. All of it was dichotomous, but those opposites colliding were wonderful and a perfect summation of why Coachella is one of the greatest music festivals in the world. People, cultural movements, music, and art that normally diverge come together in blissful, sweaty harmony.
Gotye Proves To Coachella That He’s Not Just A One-Hit Wonder Or “Somebody That I Used To Know”
Australian-Belgium Gotye is not only a super star with one of the most listened to, loved, and downloaded songs in the world right now, but a super talent. His eclectic, experimental songwriting skills are on par with some of the modern greatest.
And his jazzy, avant-garde playing style, while not necessarily popular with some of the audience members at Coachella, is theatrical and visionary. Gotye is a master of rhythm keeping and melody; the singer-songwriter engaged in tribal drum duels, lushly live-layered percussive instruments, and plunked on a plank of xylophone all with the impassioned air of a mad musical genius.
The star played songs like “Smoke and Mirrors,” “State of the Art” which fuses technological blips with a dance-hall vibe, “Thanks For Your Time” which has a similar looped tenor shriek as m83′s “Midnight City,” “Eyes Wide Open,” and, of course, his hit song “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
“There’s a young lady who hails from new Zealand called Kimbra,” said Gotye teasingly as the audience cheered, “who can’t be here tonight.”
“But you guys have been doing such a good job,” continued Gotye with his sigh grin. “I don’t think we need her tonight. It’s just a little bit in the middle of the song, but it’s kind of important,”
Gotye played his part, singing low while the whole audience sang along to his song and then completely cutting out for Kimbra’s part. The audience sang along in unison, belting out the lyrics emotionally.
Sadly, the audience began to clear out after they heard Gotye’s hit and the missed out on one of his best songs, an old song with a ’70s soul-ballad vibe called “Learnalilgivinalovin.” Gotye broke out into a drum solo which was answered by a horn solo in true experimental jazz fashion and at the end of the song the whole band bowed as Australian flag beach balls bounced happily around the smiling musicians finally over with their first Coachella experience.
Metronomy Are Better Than A Hologram
British indie dance-rock outfit Metronomy boast a funky bass guitar, groove-heavy melodies, shared falsetto vocals, and mysteriously provocative lyrics.
Much like their music, the whole band is effortlessly stylish without looking controlled or contrived; drummer and vocalist Anna Prior wore a teal sequined body suit and drummed without breaking a sweat in the 104 degree heat. Bassist Gbenga Adelekan is perhaps one of the coolest looking dudes in a modern band.
“Thanks very much for coming and standing outside,” said frontman Joseph Mount. “I’ve got a trendy crap pair of shoes on. My feet are burning. They’re black. Everything’s black.” This self-effacing attitude bleeds into their music and makes it less clinical and flash-in-the-pan and more of an endearing, enduring artistic testament .
With girls in color-blocked outfits and dudes in Ray-Bans and khakis dancing under the hoses of mister guns, Metronomy played “The Bay,” “Heartbreaker,” “Everything Goes My Way” complete with instrumental breakdown, “Corinne,” and “Loving Arm.”
For one of their last songs, all four members of the band showed their prowess by playing on synths and pianos together. As fresh as a summer breeze on The English Riviera, Metronomy’s sound is hopefully the future of the dance-rock genre of music: sexy, nonchalant, and totally real.
Unlike the magical holograms that were set to appear later in the evening.
“Have fun this evening,” said Mount with a smile. ” Enjoy all the holograms.”
Fitz and the Tantrums Rock Out In Casual Wear, Do A Sweet Cover of “Sweet Dreams”
Earlier in the day, retro-styled indie-pop outfit Fitz and the Tantrums stopped by the KROQ Coachella House to play a three song set for the lucky few who got to watch the band, dubbed one of the hardest working bands by Vogue Daily, play poolside.
During an interview with KROQ’s Kat Corbett, the band made reference to the fact that they might start dressing more casually; minutes later, lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick played the show in tight red jeans and an asymmetrical striped shirt and Noelle Scaggs wore an adorable retro-looking onesie.
Fitzpatrick did wear a jacket onstage during his Coachella performance. “I wore my jacket in solidarity,” he said, but eventually shed that same jacket while the band broke into songs like “Chains Of Love,” “L.O.V.,” “Moneygrabber,” “Rich Girls,” and “Don’t Got To Work It Out.”
“We played here last weekend and it was quite a blessing,” said Fitzpatrick sincerely thanking the audience for people “real people and real music lovers” who are “spreading the world.”
“If it wasn’t for people spreading the world,” continued Fitzpatrick, “we wouldn’t be on stage right now.”
Two musical highlights of the set included when Fitz and the Tantrums broke into a new song called “The End” which is on a record they’ve been working on for the last two months and when they did a cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” originated by the Eurythmics.
“When we say keep your head up, what do you say Coachella?,” said Fitzpatrick to the audience. “When we say hold your head up what you gonna say?”
The answer was moving on, something the Fitz and the Tantrums audience didn’t want to do when the show was over.
At The Drive-In: “We Were The First Band To Ever Play Coachella”
“Ladies and gentleman, we’re called At the Drive-In and we’ll have Michael Vick and Pitbull collaborated onstage,” announced reunion band, Texas’ post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, who claimed later on to be the first band to ever play Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival.
“Thank you Coachella,” said the band. “It’s kind of funny that we’re here playing in this position. We were technically the first band to play at this festival. We played at twelve noon in 1984.” The band then went on to play songs similar to first week’s set like “One-Armed Scissor,” “Arcarsenal,” “Pattern Against User,” “Chanbara,” and “Lopsided.”
The Hives Love You And Every Other Band Who Says The Same Thing Is Lying To You
“I’m feeling like you people have been baked in the sun listening to bands have been playing all day,” joked the loud, boisterous frontman, Pelle Almqvist, for lively punk-revival band, The Hives. ”What happens now,” continued Almqvist, “is that the pastry’s done and…we eat you! We’re gonna eat you up Coachella!”
And decked out in their usual punk-formal attire—sweat-drenched black-and-white tuxedos— the Hives played the Coachella Main Stage for the second time in a week.
After prancing around, jumping on amplifiers, and getting the audience to sing along, Almqvist said to the audience. “Hello Coachella, we meet again and this time we will not take it easy on you. ‘Cuz we are here to prove what Hollywood can’t prove: That the sequel is always better.”
The band played songs like “Square One Here I Come,” “Try It Again,” “Walk Idiot Walk,” “Main Offender,” “No Pun Intended,” “Wait A Minute,” “Because I Wanna,” and their hit “Hate To Say I Told You So.”
The best part of the Hives’ show was when Almqvist, with his usual tongue-in-cheek dark humor, told the audience that he knows that feeling that they are going through, that combo of “post-orgasmic thrill” and “being run over by a train,” and that the Hives have mutual “love and admiration” for their audience.
“Some bands say that they love you,” laughed Almqvist. “They’re lying. They don’t. We do.”
Santigold: “Live First, Then Capture It.”
Dance-punk pop singer from Brooklyn, the quirky, sassy, and stylish Ms. Santigold, rocked the Main Stage at Coachella with her dancers (whom we heard she’s had since about 2006), booty shaking beats, neon-lime fringe pantaloons, someone dressed as a white horse galloping onto the stage, and two invitations for audience members to come up and dance onstage.
All the players on the stage were wearing outfits in different shades of green and blue and, at one point, Santogold took a diva break to change into another outfit.
Santigold played songs like “Lights Out,” “Get It Up,” “Creator,” “Say Aha,” “L.E.S. Artistes,” “Freak Like Me,” “Disparate Youth, “Shove It,” and her latest hit, “Big Mouth.”
Her stage presence was impeccable with choreographed dances and quips with the audience that highlighted Santigold’s comfortability, even in such a huge environment.
“You guys are awesome,” said Santigold in a motherly way to her massive audience. “We need like 320,000 of these water sprayers.”
“You drinking water?,” Santigold said with a laugh. “You drinking alcohol? Why are humans so stupid?”
Later on in the set, when Santigold invited about thirty-something people up on stage to dance, she laughed at what activity her fans chose to partake in while up there.
“That’s the most people we ever had onstage,” said Santigold with a giggle that would become her signature throughout her set. “Y’all are funny; y’all didn’t come up and dance. You came up to take pictures.”
“Whats going on?,” said Santigold. “Live first, then capture it.” Which is exactly what Santigold has managed to perfectly capture in her music; the essence of living in a pure, unadulterated fun state.
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles