Coachella 2013: Day 2 - Weekend 2

Day one of Coachella on the second weekend could have been considered an enthusiastic warm up for the roll out of day two’s proceedings. Like Friday, the greats were mixed in with the new, expectations soaring as the early afternoon progressed.

Kicking off in close to 100 degree heat, Boston based Celtic punk legends Dropkick Murphys took local pride to new height in light of the recent bombing tragedy, charging head first into the crowd to open with ‘For BostonThe Violent Femmes followed on, clearly enjoying the scene, drawing an almighty roar when they quietly announced "we’d like to play our first album in it’s entirety", proceeding to play their now legendary 1983 debut, leading quite possibly to the festival’s loudest singalong with ‘Blister In The Sun‘.

Things reverted to the newer end of the spectrum, with Bat For Lashes delivering a crisp set culminating in the achingly beautiful ‘Laura‘, with Natasha Khan‘s vocals soaring far out into the late afternoon sun. 2 Chainz proved his standing as hip hop’s most vital new artist but all eyes were on Major Lazer‘s anticipated party set. Encompassing twerking dancers, a speaker stack that puffed ‘O’ smoke rings, giant inflatable letters and bombastic video displays, Diplo prowled the stage tossing blow horns into the crowd, before traversing the top of the immense audience encased in a giant inflatable ball. Most fans shed large portions of their outfits to bump, grind and boogie like their lives depended on it. Next door, Grizzly Bear chimed in a dreamy set complete with floating lighting fixtures resembling electric jelly fish.
Janelle Monae, one of music’s most underrated artists (make that, criminally underrated) was also one of Saturday’s stand out performances. Like a female James Brown, Janelle Monae is absolutely explosive. Her whip snap dance moves effortlessly meld with her hyperactive take on funk and soul. Complete with a full band and brass section, and razor sharp tailored suit and hair, Monae is a sight to be seen. It defies logic as to why she is still not selling more music.

On opposing ends of the field electronic indie pop was represented via a generation gap. New Order proved that no matter how along they are getting in age, they absolutely still rock hard. Opening with ‘Crystal‘, it was an uplifting way to introduce first timers into their set before ramming home the beloved classics. Uber music nerds Hot Chip brought their geeky aesthetic (they looked like a math club that stole the high school music room instruments) to the main stage in the late afternoon twilight, displaying a sound that has evolved over the years to encompass a wide range of influences, successfully lifting them out of any genre pigeon holes, while nearby Yeasayer provided a flamboyant set.
Highly anticipated was The Postal Service‘s evening set, and they didn’t disappoint. For what they output in earnestness, they make up in tight performance. The XX‘s set was the success story of the night. A band that began on smaller festival stages, their intimate output seemed, amazingly, completely at home on the giant main stage, helped by aesthetic coordination thanks to their slowly building light show. Without missing a beat, The XX cemented themselves as one of the best bands to emerge over the last few years.

Day two’s proceedings came to an emotional end with the arrival of Iceland’s Sigur Ros. Their success and acceptance by the mainstream is inspiring, given this music is typically inaccessible by definition. Amongst a mammoth turnout was a large continent of young fans at the front who looked like they were there for another performance but knew every beat and swelling note by heart. Providing some of the most achingly beautiful music to grace the Coachella field, crescendos built, and built, and built, exploding into aural beauty that reduced grown men to tears. Flaring lights accentuating frontman Jonsi‘s frantic bowed guitar playing and everything felt right in the world.

Way past midnight the second day was declared over. There was a sense of fatigue amongst the throng, but they soldiered on and out of the venue through that infernal dust cloud. Everyone left prepared for a slightly more chilled lineup the following day. But then again, for day three, those Wu-Tang chaps were promising to (if we may say) bring the mutha fuckin’ ruckus….

Photos By: Andy Boyle

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