I attended Weekend 1 of Coachella and that shit was ridiculous. This was my ninth Coachella and I would have to say this was Top 3 All-time. Like most Coachella’s there were many highlights and very few lowlights. The highlights this year were among the all-time highs. My jaw literally dropped (see above picture).
FRIDAY was good but not legendary. I thought Frank Ocean balled. Tyler came to show support as Coachella is always known for dope guest appearances. Arctic Monkeys were very strong. The British seem to be the only ones keeping rock alive. That is except for the Black Keys who always come prepared to wow the crowd. The last 30 minutes of their set was dope as expected but I missed the first 45 minutes because I was busy getting down at Afrojack. Afrojack’s set was slightly underwhelming compared to his set last year. If he could understand how great he is at making amazing pop songs for people to dance to, then no one could touch the dude. Afrojack embrace the pop more! More vocals, more rounded basslines. Leave that electro behind man. That Chris Brown, Rihanna, Usher sound is the reason why you’re famous. Madeon and half the other Sahara tent artists try to sound like Afrojack which unfortunately results into Afrojack sounding like everyone else. Swedish House Mafia closed the night out with a ridiculous, I mean RIDICULOUS, stage show. 75 foot stage, fireworks, fireballs, and a world-record amount of lasers. Too bad their music wasn’t better. All their shit sounds the same, and I know they’re not working to hard up there on the stage. But more power to them, they put on a good show and people love them. The highlight of the day had to be something I never thought I’d see, which is something I always say after leaving Coachella. Mazzy Star’s performance of “Fade into You” was legendary. One of the most beautiful songs ever recorded and I finally got to see it live after Mazzy’s 10 year hiatus.
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
SATURDAY was amazing! Things really picked up Saturday. It started with an impressive set by my favorite rapper of the past 5 years, newcomer Childish Gambino, and the day got even better from there. Went to the Sahara aka Dance Tent after that to see one of the all-time great dance producers, Jacques Lu Cont aka King of the Build-up. Why this dude was performing a 50 minute set at 3:30 in the afternoon is beyond me. He could fucking close the dance tent! But negative points for not playing the Royksopp remix Jacques. Shame on you. I stumbled around until Noel Gallagher’s mesmerizing performance. The dude’s voice is like velvet. Reminiscent of Paul McCartney. And yes Noel did play some Oasis tracks. Before Radiohead I saw a bit of SBTRKT’s set and was floored. Better than his performance at the Shrine in October. The energy in the crowd was intense and the mixture of drumming, and dual beat machining with guest vocalist Sempha was enough to put me over the edge. Radiohead was amazing as always. Nothing more I can say about the most talked about indie band possibly ever. But as good as Radiohead was, I was more blown away by Feist’s performance. I had seen Feist several times, but I was not prepared for her huge production. She must have had at least 12 performers on stage with her. And she was the head bitch in charge. It was very impressive to see a solo female artist take on such a large stage show. I’ve always been big on Feist but I’m starting to think she is a Goddamn prodigy. As much love as I’ve given her, I might have been underrating and underestimating her this whole time.
Feist – How Come You Never Go There (Beck Remix)
SUNDAY was one for the books. Metronomy got my day started. Seeing them perform songs from “The English Riviera” has made the album sound so much sweeter every time I’ve played it since Sunday. Which has been a lot. Santigold held it down. Thundercat was weird freestyle jazz. The Weeknd was strange and unpolished but enjoyable for short bursts. And I only saw one song of Gotye’s, but it was THE song. And as expected his homegirl Kimbra joined him for the incredibly, almost perplexingly, popular “Somebody…”. His crowd was so big that outliers of his tent were pushed so close to the nearby tent of the Airplane Boys (one of the worst bands I’ve ever heard at Coachella, who also had one of the smallest crowds I’ve ever seen) that they couldn’t even hear Gotye and were forced to leave. Justice put on a very ambitious set, where at some point, their rig opened up to reveal the mustachioed member performing D.A.N.C.E. on an illuminated piano. But since they came on 20 min late, they only had a 40 minute set, which sucked because they had the crowd ready to get down! I went to see DJ Shadow but missed the 5 minutes where Zach fucking De La Rocha graced the stage. I would’ve been angrier but I was on my way to see Dre & Snoop.
A little background on my relationship with Dre & Snoop: “Nuthin But a G Thang’ was the beginning of my musical exploration back in 1992. As an 8 year old boy I just listened to the radio. But when this LA anthem dropped, it literally changed my life. I became obsessed with all the lowriders cruising down Crenshaw and badly wanted to become a rapper. I wanted to get The Chronic but my mom said I was too young. When Snoop’s Doggystyle came out in 1994 I convinced her to let me buy my first cassette EVER. Thats right, cassette.
Back to Coachella. Dre and Snoop’s crowd was one of the most raucous crowds I’ve ever seen. When Snoop covered HOP’s “Jump Around” the crowd leaped off planet. The only time I’ve seen a crowd more hyped than Daft Punk’s ’06 performance. Dre was mostly laying in the weeds, but that’s what he usually does anyway. He’s such a confident person and performer, it’s awe-striking to see in person. And Snoop’s flow is flawless, I forgot how much I loved that dude. It has been 20 fucking years. Eminem came out and killed, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent, Warren G and Kurupt also graced the stage, and the audience was treated to a Nate Dogg tribute. But you know what everyone has been talking about all week. That draw-dropping, mind-boggling appearance by Tupac. It was more insane in person than you could possibly imagine. The crowd went from swaying and singing to stifled and confused. I couldn’t even dance or rap along anymore, because I was too confused. I didn’t know if it was an actor on stage or hologram or a projection screen or what. When Snoop came on stage to rap with him I was even more dumbfounded. When Pac was all done he dematerialized into angel dust and returned to heaven. Talk about things I’d never thought I’d see. An unreal performance. An unforgettable Coachella.
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – Deep Cover