Coachella 2013: Day 3 - Weekend 2

Australian born photographer Andy Boyle gives us his final update from the desert as he wraps up the last of the second weekend at Coachella.

Ah Coachella, alas it came time to bid you farewell. And not a tough weekend to get through really. It’s never really work when you have a place in La Quinta to call home for a few days just ten minutes from the venue, nestled in the Truman Show-like towns and gated communities of the greater Palm Desert area.

As eclectic a day as the two before it, the third day of Coachella was filled with old favorites and a few surprises, again encompassing artists who can take an intimate performance and throw it out to a large outdoor crowd. In that instance we must pay massive respect to Grimes. She is a one woman show with two keyboards but got the mid-afternoon audience yelping for her blips, beeps and beats. A little later, it was mandatory earplugs for a deafening set by legendary Dinosaur Jr, the sweet feedback sounds of ‘Feel The Pain‘ made you feel fortunate just to hear it live. Obviously this photographer went sans ear protection, and has the hearing damage to prove it.

Lumineers took the main stage as the day progressed for a jaunty set complete with low hanging gold chandeliers and James Blake‘s minimal but expressive electronic laden brand of soulful vocals drew a sizable throng. Aussie lads of Tame Impala rode their wave of rising popularity, making un-gimmicky psychedelic rock, cementing the long tradition of Australian bands successfully cracking the U.S music industry. The afternoon however clearly belonged to seventy year old Rodriguez, the man behind one of the most incredible and inspiring stories to come out of music in decades. Rodriguez was the subject of last years sensational documentary Searching For Sugar Man and is often regarded as an even better lyricist than Bob Dylan. He gave up making music after failing to crack the U.S market in the 1970’s, disappearing into obscurity in Detroit, not knowing that he had become a bigger seller than Elvis and The Beatles combined in South Africa. His belated fame thanks to the documentary and dedicated fans in South Africa has seen him tour some of the world’s largest festivals in the last year, and it is justified, the roar of the crowd was literally, the biggest of the festival, perhaps only matched by the arrival of headliners Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Vampire Weekend belted out an enthusiastic set as the sun set, and as night descended, La Roux delivered a storming set with the highest hair of the weekend. Nick Cave, Australia’s own "man in black", drew rapturous reception with a blazing set, the tall lanky frame of Cave carved frantic gyrations and convulsions darting from microphone to piano and back again, backed by The Bad Seeds and a children’s choir of eight year olds (all in Bad Seeds t-shirts). Although not the closing band, you gotta hand it to Wu-Tang Clan. As one of the largest crowds of the festival assembled, the stage slowly filled with a sizable orchestra, and a conductor placed on a riser in front of the stage. Just when you thought you’d seen everything, Method Man, RZA and company stormed the space as a full string, brass and percussion section launched into ‘Wu Tang Ain’t Nuthin’ To Fuck With‘ and ‘Bring the Rukkus‘. As inspired a performance as any group could produce, it looked like the school band geeks had joined the thugs for the night.

And as the main stages closed and the EDM artists wound down the proceedings with a bang, it was time to shuffle back through the dirt and dust to respective camp sites, cars or temporary rental homes. Coachella is not unlike my all time favorite festival Glastonbury (minus the mandatory camping). They both provide an endurance match thanks to opposing weather conditions, they both build a mass of humanity that help to create a virtual city for a few days and they both are built off a collective love of the shared experience of music. Say what you want about the commercialization and branding of these festivals, at the end of it all, it’s just enough to stand back and have the opportunity to bask in the spontaneous nature of the live experience.

Photos By: Andrew Boyle

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