Coachella 2013: Day 1 - Weekend 2

Our red-headed Aussie photographer Andrew Boyle keeps the Coachella train moving well into the second weekend by bringing us amazing photos and updates from the desert. Here in his own words he describes the first day of the second weekend at Coachella.

Through the sand and dust, over 80,000 punters descended into the desert town of Indio California for the commencement of Coachella‘s second weekend. A staggering lineup offering newer artists with a healthy dose of nostalgia. This photographer would also discover new ways to experience exhaustion in the process.

Mid-afternoon gained traction quickly with San Fran alternative hip-hop heavyweight Aesop Rock, announcing that now would be a good time to blaze a joint. Canada was substantially represented in the first afternoon with Metric beginning the dance floor-centric proceedings with lead vocalist Emily Haines‘ remarkably well oiled legs. Metric was followed up by Stars and rock duo Japandroids, who thrashed about with some considerable stage presence – a challenge when one of your members is rooted to a drum riser. The afternoon truly belonged to ex-Smiths Johnny Marr, leading the diversely aged crowd through seminal classics, punters rushing to the tent at the end of the set as the sound of ‘How Soon Is Now‘ rang out. One was left to ponder just how incredible it would be to see Marr and Morrisey put differences aside and perform it together again with The Smiths.

Each festival features that one indie band prone to explode post-show, last year that title belonged to Alt-J. 2012 saw Alt-J needing to expand to larger venues to accomodate a justified demand, their sweet melodies melting the many young ladies at the stage barrier. Passion Pit, continued their expansion to larger audiences as the sun began to dip across the field, dust from the shuffling crowd creating a dreamy haze to suit their infectiously playful and anthemic indie pop. As the more legendary artists began rolling out across the sunset hours, seventy-seven year old Lee Scratch Perry, (arguably the most universally influential artist on the Friday bill) transcended generations with his brand of reggae and dub. Decked out in a visual explosion of mismatched attire, Perry swaggered across the stage, long time fans melding with curious young onlookers who would become converts by the end of the set.

The evening presents an endurance test as the big guns are rolled out and the throng begins to move en-masse in opposing directions to make each headlining set. Modest Mouse, mocking the generic stage set up by way of announcing that they had "brought scaffolding for everyone!". Modest Mouse’s music thumped to a crowd that knew every lyric, while acclaimed dream pop ensemble Beach House took the stage just as the dark began to descend, helping the band seductively croon their audience. Karen O carried the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s tight show and was typically (and welcomingly) overstated, enjoying every moment in a dazzling costume, incorporating well received additions from their new album Mosquito. Lastly, Band Of Horses performance showed that they were possibly the happiest looking group on the bill.

Canada was represented yet again with young newcomers Purity Ring, a duo with so many genre tags attached to them (dream pop, indietronica, among several) it’s difficult to categorize them at all. Purity Ring produced a slew of deep bass and gentle electronic pings from a custom made, tree-shaped instrument that controlled both live sound and lighting. The Brits were represented well on the main stage later in the night by way of two legendary groups. The Stone Roses, having only two albums behind them since forming in 1983, were on the back of a 2011 initiated reunion, giving audiences a chance to see the magic that defined the ‘Madchester‘ era. Blur, veterans of the 90s Brit-Pop explosion, offered a suprise in how immensely popular they are in the U.S. The front row of the audience consisted of fans who had waited close to twelve hours in the heat to see Damon Albarn and pals incite a frenzy, manically tearing into Boys & Girls for the opener.

The evening was closed out on other stages by a contingent of diverse outfits including the incredible Jurassic 5, the sonically phenomenal Foals, Tegan & Sara, Odd Future‘s Earl Sweatshirt. In anticipation of Nine Inch Nails returning for Lollapalooza, Trent Reznor’s ‘other band’ How To Destroy Angels. The dance tent mind melted with a dub step – EDM fused concoction synced to gargantuan displays of visual imagery over the heads of Bassnectar fans. As the day drew to a close, the long trek back through the festival’s immense tent city of campers began, many realizing that two more days were in store, that all those campers will really need a shower, and the promise of temperatures edging toward 100 degress for day 2.

Photos By: Andy Boyle

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