I’m exhausted. I didn’t “train” enough this year for Coachella.
Seriously, the LA Marathon has nothing on 3 days of dust, heat, walking, music and art in the desert. I know. Poor me.
That said, I’m home safe and with a head full of sounds. Coachella is a feast for my senses every year and, for the past four, I’ve headed out for the annual SoCal music holiday with my good friends, fashion designers Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow (aka Mr. Turk).
Here’s a photo diary of the weekend. All of the photos are by the excellent photographer, Mr. Turk.
I was in the front row for the blazingly tight, loud, and, yes, curmudgeonly set the Replacements ripped through.
For a band that spent a week rehearsing ahead of Coachella (and that’s it!), they sounded as if they hadn’t taken a day off in 20 years. Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg read each other’s minds and on stage they do exactly as they please.
At one point, they asked the crowd if they would rather hear “Psychopharmacology” or “I’ll Be You”. If you are a Replacements fan, then you know that Paul’s response when the crowd yelled “I’ll Be You” was “bastards.” They played “Psychopharmacology” later anyway.
We ran to catch as much of Bryan Ferry as possible after the Mats.
Bryan Ferry might be 68, but he brought it. His voice still sounds good and he played all of my favorite Roxy Music songs and did a great version of “Jealous Guy” by John Lennon. He was dressed impeccably in Louis Vuitton and had an incredible sax player and drummer. Bryan’s back up singers had possibly the best stage outfits of the festival!
Blood Orange’s latest album, “Cupid Deluxe”, made my KCRW Top 10 for 2013, so I was really excited to see this project of producer/singer/songwriter Dev Hynes.
It was soulful, sexy and rocked hard too. He had a bunch of different singers and each band member had their own unique style – a hodge podge to look at, but somehow it all worked beautifully and it just didn’t matter.
Suffice to say, if Empire of the Sun is playing, I will be there.
The lights, the dancers, the sounds. They are WAY too big to be in the tent, but it did provide a different direction to take their show from when I saw them on the expansive Outdoor Stage
Krewella is a trio of out of Chicago consisting of two sisters and a producer/programmer. Knowing nothing, I decided to check them out in the Sahara Tent.
Their brand of dance music is dirty, loud and commanding. Their influences strike me as everything from house music to punk rock. Their attitude is certainly punk, their passion is tough and vast and I loved them.
The first time I heard “Royals” that was it. I knew I had heard something gigantic. We embraced Lorde at KCRW long before the mainstream did and I’m so happy for her success at such a young age. On stage though, she’s an old soul as a performer combined with this intoxicating youthful excitement. She was gorgeous in white. Her show was transformative.
And it seems that everyone else at Coachella suspected that it would be. My husband read an account of her Coachella show that said when she performed, every tent emptied up and the Main Stage was abandoned (I felt really bad for Foster the People).
It actually made for my only scary festival moment – which was that there were way too many people there pushing and shoving to get close. I was at the front and actually started to push my way out early because of it. By all accounts, she crushed it. Did I mention that she did so in the middle of a dust and wind storm?
Speaking of wearing white, the sharpest looking act at Coachella had to be Capital Cities. It was my first time seeing them, but we got up close! They were really good entertainers, but their fashion flair gets an A+. Memo to Coachella bands and my lone fashion tip of the weekend… Wear white!! Their moves (The Capital Cities Shuffle) had the audience moving with them.
They are certifiably pop and really good at it.
It’s been so cool to watch Swedish band Little Dragon’s evolution.
KCRW DJ’s were the first to throw support behind these talents and really get the world out.
Yukimi Nagano is a vision of sophistication on stage with a gorgeous voice and the musical chops to lead this band. The guys are just flat out great musicians.
Live, Little Dragon has an edge to them that you don’t necessarily hear on the albums. And I love it!
Pixies. I feel a bit about them the way I do about The Replacements. It’s not just the nostalgia factor – I played their very first music when I was a college radio DJ at WXYC in Chapel Hill, NC – it’s also watching a career unfold, hearing the music evolve and grasping where a lifetime of music takes them — and me, for that matter.
Their new album “Indie Cindy” has been met with mixed reviews, but here’s my take. Hearing their set at Coachella followed by a Monday morning set at The Village Studios that we recorded for Morning Becomes Eclectic (airing April 24), the songs from the new album fit right in with anything from “Surfer Rosa” or “Doolittle“.
Is there a “Monkey Gone To Heaven” in the new songs? Maybe not, but hearing new songs work seamlessly live with their epic catalog was truly special.
There are so many other artists who were so fun and really good, from Outkast to Pharrell, Superchunk to Broken Bells.
There wasn’t a musical misstep all weekend. There are too many artists to see them all on one weekend, so I do wish I could go back to pick up the ones I missed!