Week 1: This is what I saw.
Sheer Mag * Mbongwana Star * Carla Morrison * Goldroom * Health * SG Lewis Sam Felt * Ibeyi * Foals * The Kills * Last Shadow Puppets * Savages * Moon Taxi Gary Clark Jr. * Run the Jewels * Courtney Barnett * Bat for Lashes * Disclosure Ice Cube * GnR * Wolf Alice * Cold War Kids
Coachella is like a full long-distance Ironman event. Triathlon Disciplines: Swim-Bike-Run.
The Swim = Just getting inside. It’s a process to get going and shake off the anticipation of walking through the gates. Once in, the day has really started.
The Bike = You get inside and start walking around, checking out the stages, art projects, orient myself to the beer garden/vodka/good food options/fun pic marketing ploys to get me to buy things I didn’t know I needed and all of a sudden need. This is all part of getting into the groove of the day. Even if you’ve never done a Triathlon you’ll understand the mentality of the bike section. The ride is usually the longest discipline of the day. It’s all about pacing. Like…getting in a groove. At Coachella, you pace yourself. This is key. There is so much to see and the scheduling nazi’s have put you in a difficult position when it comes who to see and when.
I’m not going to get into the conflicts. It’s well-worn now but at that moment when you’re in it you have a lot to weigh.
This is what goes through my raging head:
- Can I see this artist somewhere else?
- Then again, do I want to? This might be the best place to see said artist.
- Will the crowd be into it or just me? Do I care? No….but…I’m interested in the answer.
- Is this the type of environment where said artist will bring a different show than the normal club stage? Often times, yes.
- CAN I SEE THIS ARTIST SOMEWHERE ELSE in the coming months? Damn it…
- If I stay for 30 minutes, can I still make it from the Mojave to the Outdoor Theatre for the final 15 minutes of the other act if I hustle? (BTW, this almost never goes to plan. Sometimes, the show is just too good and the idea of leaving when they are hitting their final stride is just cheating yourself. So….WHAT TO DO? I always go with what’s happening in the moment and it’s often a choice I’m proud of. I often stay. The artist in front of me is bringing it, selling it, wanting you to love what you’re experiencing. So….yeah.)
- It’s Coachella. Pace yourself.
Ugh….This is why I go both weekends and it’s still not enough. Of course, a lot of what I wanted to see on Sunday was postponed until this weekend (out of town work obligations will do that) and I look forward to getting lost in Chris Stapleton, Edward Sharpe, Alessia Cara, Chainsmokers, Flume and the ever decadent Sia along with Deafheaven.
Yes, I’ll be passing on Calvin Harris. I was there last year for Kaskade tearing down the main stage (setting up the Swifty-boy-toy for the main stage payout) and it’s not going to get better than that. It was shocking how good that show was. As I’ve written before, it was all about bringing the music to mass audience in a way that resonated….and it did. No guests. It wasn’t needed. Just pure sonic, melting EDM happiness. That’s not easy for a DJ to do in front of 90k.
And yes, I was completely sober! Stop asking.
The Run = you’ve paced yourself during the day. You’ve endured the 90+ degree sun beat down at the Coachella and Outdoor Theatre, hydrated, now the sun is about to set as you chill with a lemonade slushy (heavily tainted with the vodka that you sneaked in with the touch of festival pro) in the shade of the yellow art project. You’re in the final leg of your day. There is only so much more that can happen and you take a deep breath and smile because as happy as you are to experience more music, it’s almost over. It’s a subtle feeling, both happy and sad, a bittersweet accompaniment to the exhaustion you feel.
It’s Coachella. This is what we do. We endure it and love it. It’s not work. It’s joy. It’s not easy but it’s not supposed to be and I love that.
What do I plan on seeing in Week 2? New shows and a rerun of others.
- Sheer Mag,
- Mbongwana Star
- Health (shockingly good. I only saw the last 12 minutes and it was superb)
- Bob Moses
- Foals (one of those bands that you should see live)
- St. Germain (I can’t believe I missed this Week 1)
- Last Shadow Puppets
- Savages (yes, I’m a fan but BUT but…it was the best show I saw all weekend. They destroyed. Read any review of “who you can’t miss at Coachella” and they top every list. There is a reason.)
- LCD (I feel like I should see some of it just to see some of it but I really don’t feel like seeing any of it.)
- Ex Hex
- Moon Taxi
- Lush (if they play)
- Rhye or Bat for Lashes
And here is where Saturday gets tough. There are two paths to take. Rerun Week 1 or the new path.
This is what I did Week 1: Coachella Main Stage Camp Zone/Plan A
- Ice Cube
All three were flat out amazing. Disregard the off reviews of the GnR show. It was good. Axl sang his ass off, Slash was ALL over the place and played exceptionally well, the band was tight. Yes, Axl and Slash were as warm to each other as ice on Pluto but whatever. It was a good show.
HOWEVER, you’re committed to the main stage from roughly 7:30ish-1am. Well, I was. I also committed myself to get hottie and I up close. Throw out the triathlon metaphor. This was going three rounds in the Octagon. It. Was. Difficult. Whenever you’re on your feet for five hours with little respite, it’s tough. I’m still paying the price and I might do it again. Like I said, all those shows were amazing.
Sidebar: IF you do this, plan ahead. You will need to do the following: Bring multiple bottles of water/powerade. You’re there for five hours; hit the restroom BEFORE going over. Eat ahead of time. You’re in it for the long haul. Take care of yourself.
OR PLAN B
- The Arcs
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra/The Damned
- Snails (Sahara tent, Bring it! I’m ready for the fight of getting four feet inside.)
I’m still debating.
- The Vandals
- Rancid (I heard the end of this set as I walked in and it was really good)
- Wolf Alice (Top 5 act I saw. They were outstanding. Shockingly strong. I didn’t expect that)
- Pete Yorn
- the 1975 (HAHAHA....NOOOOO....Totally kidding. This is when it’s time for getting off the feet and chill in the shade, people watch, relax.)
- Edward Sharpe/Chris Stapleton
- Beach/House/Alessia (I’m torn here….I won’t be staying long for either as I want to position myself in a good close spot for….)
- Deafheaven (if I’m still alive)
Bring your ibuprofen and enjoy.
Starting Track: Piggy/NIN
Ending Track: Hurt/NIN
I like NIN. You should listen to more.