By KCRW Volunteer Taryn Olsen
I’d be surprised if anybody could write anything to accurately sum up the experience of being at Coachella. There’s just too much to say about it – the booming sounds from the Do Lab, the funky artwork all over the grounds, the fashion of Coachella-goers, the seemingly endless buffet of great music – the list goes on and on.
That being said, I think the best answer to how I felt about Coachella overall was my sadness yesterday finding myself at home rather than gearing up to head into the sun again to see more amazing performances. Clearly, the heat and the enormous number of people did little to dampen my joy.
I’ve put my highlights into two categories: bands that I knew about but hadn’t cultivated an interest in who blew me away with their live performance & bands that I loved before I went to Coachella who did not disappoint.
Two Door Cinema Club
High on the list of bands whose albums I now have on repeat because of their Coachella performance is Two Door Cinema Club. From “What You Know” to “Undercover Martyn” to “Something Good Can Work” the band kept giving the packed tent a reason to jump around. Their sound was super crisp and their performance was so high energy I found myself totally caught up dancing and enjoying even from the far reaches of the back of the tent.
The first album I bought when I got home was The Kills’ “Midnight Boom.” Why? Because I had to own their song “U.R.A. Fever.” By the time I made it to the Outdoor Theatre to see them an enormous crowd was already rocking out so I joined the dancing bodies in the back and immediately fell in lust with The Kills’ dirty, sexy rock and roll style guitars and wet lips close to the microphone style vocals.
!!! (aka Chk Chk Chk)
My Coachella weekend started with a ludicrously high energy performance from !!! (aka Chk Chk Chk). Something about their live performance highlighted the slap of their funky bass guitar and their highly danceable songs and they pushed me over the edge to adoration when the lead singer got down in the crowd, jumped on somebody’s shoulders, and stuck the entire head of the microphone in his mouth while singing during “Jamie, My Intentions are Bass.”
It’s so hard to narrow down my list of great performances from bands I went to Coachella already knowing I wouldn’t miss. If I had to pick three that stood out I’d say The Black Keys, The Arcade Fire, and Chromeo.
The Black Keys
This band had one of the absolute best albums of last year if you’re judging by our DJs’ top ten lists of 2010. I played Brothers so much last year I was a little worried the performance wouldn’t live up to the many hours I spent rocking out to “Everlasting Light” and “Next Girl.” Those two put out such a big, bluesy sound and Patrick Carney’s fixed stare on his band mate Dan Auerbach was nothing short of pantie-dropping. I was not disappointed in the least, and instead started listening to Brothers again as soon as I got in the car to drive home.
The Arcade Fire
This is a band all of my music friends have already seen live and their glowing reports made me super excited for Saturday Night! By now there’s been so much talk about the balloons that dropped on the crowd but man it can be repeated – that was so cool! I’ve been told about this prior to seeing them but I was struck by the number of instruments each member plays and the slick ease with which they changed it up for nearly every song. But really the magic of seeing the Arcade Fire, I think, is the total devotion you feel from their fans. There’s nothing quite like singing “OOOOOOOO” with thousands of other fans when they play “Wake Up.”
Before heading over to catch the epic-ness that was Kanye West (who showed up on time, le gasp), I got to catch another one of my favorites, Chromeo. The Outdoor Theatre was temporarily transformed into an ultra hot dance spot when they performed with Coachella-goers temporarily forgetting how tired and hot they were from three days of non-stop music and instead mustering the energy for temporary craziness for songs like “Night By Night.” I’ve been excited about seeing Chromeo since their performance on MBE last year and yes I was most definitely one of those people acting legitimately insane.
I’m hooked. I want next year to be here already. In the words of Chloe, another one of our star volunteers who is all of 4’ 10” and cute as a button, “I’m never going to miss Coachella again, ever, ever, ever!” She’s so cute but I get what she’s saying – I don’t think anything short of a national emergency could keep me away.