Coachella: Day 2
It seemed like a lot of people’s Saturday began at a pool. The only alternative festival goers had to waiting for the other 7 people they were sharing a 2 person hotel room with to shower was jumping in the pool and letting the chlorine sterilize their body. So there everyone was at the pool, just trying to wash the previous day’s filth off of their body.
Our photographer, Koury Angelo, and I took it easy going into Coachella. We learned last year that Day 2 can be what kills you. You aren’t too tired from the previous day to go wild, so you might expel all of your energy, which means that by the time Day 3 rolls around you’re too tired to even watch the bands.
We arrived at Coachella around 5pm, just in time for Bat For Lashes. If you have never seen Bat For Lashes perform live you are missing out. Natasha Khan could teach an angel a thing or two about signing. Hearing the song "Glass", I felt like my feet were floating off of the ground. I sat listening to most of the set with my eyes closed, trying to imagine myself far away from the desert heat, cruising around in a convertible at night listening to the band with a cool breeze washing over me.
The best part of Bat For Lashes set: Watching Natasha frolic around the stage like a baby deer while holding up an old radio as if she were John Cusack in Say Anything.
I was torn between staying at the stage I was at post Bat For Lashes so that I would have a good spot for Major Lazer, but I aso knew that if I didn’t go check out Violent Femmes I would regret it forever. In the end, I decided to leave the stage and go watch Violent Femmes. What a terrible decision that was.
Look, I know that a lot of Violent Femmes super fans are going to hate me for saying what I am about to say, but it’s the truth… Violent Femmes don’t have it anymore. What I saw on stage was a group of tired old men, barely keeping it together under the sun, trying hard not to fall asleep as they played their instruments. It was like I was watching a Violent Femmes cover band at the county fair. Not to mention that it just felt kind of creepy watching an old, overweight Gordon James sing songs asking his dad for the keys to his car so that he could take a pretty young girl out and do unspeakable acts to her.
The best part of Violent Femmes’ set: Leaving.
I ran as fast as I could to meet back up with photographer Koury Angelo who had stayed to watch Major Lazer, but when I got there I was shocked. The largest crowd I had seen, inside one of the smaller tents, was spilling as far back as you could go to watch Major Lazer. You couldn’t even walk past the tent to get anywhere else because the crowd formed all the way to the wall. The massive crowd pulsated up and down to the beat of the music. On stage, dancers helped keep the crowd moving as Diplo and crew went wild by walking on the crowd inside inflatable hamster balls reminiscent of Wayne Coyne and [The Flaming Lips]. At one point, the majority of the crowd was swinging their shirts above their heads like helicopters, until they were asked to throw them up in the air in unison to prove that they "don’t give a fuck". Next to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s performance last year, I had not smelled as much burning marijuana in my life. I sat with arms folded on the outskirts of the crowd mad at myself for making the terrible decision to leave.
The best part of Major Lazer’s set: I don’t know what it is about a Major Lazer/Diplo/Mad Decent show… but girls really love showing their boobs when their music is playing.
After Major Lazer finished, the sun began to leave for good, setting the mood for Hot Chip‘s performance. I ran to the VIP beer garden to get a good view of the main stage. The slight hill that the VIP beer garden is placed on does wonders for visibility. I watched the entire performance with my two best friends, beer and whiskey keeping me company. The only distraction from Hot Chip’s performance was the three girls in front of me cracking up about how high they were, spilling alcohol all over themselves and complaining about seeing too many people they knew at Coachella.
I have to admit, I haven’t listened to a lot of Hot Chip. I like the songs I have heard, but I couldn’t sing along with any of them. Usually, when I see bands perform and I am not familiar with the majority of the songs they play, I tend to not really get into the show. Hot Chip was totally different though. Everyone, as far as my eyes could see, was dancing around in circles as the lyrics "I only want to be your one life stand" floated through the nighttime breeze. When the band played slower songs, I saw couples cuddle up to each other and pivot back and forth like it was the last song at prom.
The best part of Hot Chip’s set: Watching everyone stop dancing after each song, staring at each other while panting, looking for reassurance that everyone was having as good of a time as they were.
For nearly ten years I have been waiting to see The Postal Service perform. You’d think that after ten years my love for the band would have waned. It has not. You’d think that after constantly playing them on repeat, their songs lyrics would mean a little less. They do not. As I waited to hear the sound of Ben Gibbard‘s nasally passages blast through the speakers I began to get goosebumps. Alongside Ben’s vocals was one of my other favorite voices, Jenny Lewis, who accompanied with the keyboard and back up vocals. I sat on the grass and watched the band perform, my mind swimming through nostalgia: All the mixtapes from old girlfriends, all the snowboard runs by myself with my headphones in, all of house parties where I learned important lessons (like how to shotgun a beer or make a pipe out of an apple). The Postal Service was the one constant in the ever-changing soundtrack of my life. As I looked around the crowd, that same perma-grin that was plastered on my face sat heavy on most of the faces around me too.
The best part of The Postal Service’s set: The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.
Sadly, straight after The Postal Service’s set, I had to quickly leave the fields of Coachella so that my friends and I could get ourselves to the Coachella party to end all parties… The Neon Carnival. I am not too bummed though; I’ll be able to bounce back and forth between Sigur Ros and Knife Party during the second weekend of Coachella.
Photos by: Koury Angelo