Coachella Day One: SPRING BREAK BITCHES!
Coachella is strewn half-naked bodies, everyone’s excavating each other's tonsils, they're daggering to no music, they’re wearing t-shirts that say “Wild Child” and “America Fuck Yeah.”
I didn’t spend my teen or college years in America so I’ve never experienced SPRING BREAK! but in my imagination Coachella 2014 is SPRING BREAK! times a million. The festival grounds are strewn with half-naked bodies, everyone’s excavating each other's tonsils, they're daggering to no music, they’re passed out cold and sunburnt while the world rages around them, they’re wearing t-shirts that say “Wild Child” and “America Fuck Yeah.” At any given moment there are five girls within a 15 foot radius of you on the phone looking teary and wasted—“But where ARE you?” “But why did you SAY that?” “I don’t understand why you’re BEING LIKE THIS.” Underbutt is visible at all times and topless bros with fannypacks hide their glassy eyes with sunglasses at night. Coachella has all the highs and lows of moneyed youth packed into a polo field that’s 85,000 people deep and everyone is determined to have the best weekend of their lives. This isn’t about #coachillin; this is about getting fucked up.
But we’ve already dissected Coachella through the lens of humanity in Noisey’s entirely prophetic and 100% on the money Basic Bitches Guide to Coachella 2014—so let’s talk about the music. That’s what everyone comes here for, right? Not the photo-ops, right?
There was no band that ruled Friday afternoon harder than Haim. Do not, under any circumstances, watch Coachella’s official live stream of the band’s performance: it sounds like total shit—the mix is lacking any bottom end and it seems as if the guitars are being played through a cellphone with shit reception. Lamentable. You’d do better recapping via people’s crappy iPhone footage. But in real life, through the 5pm heat shimmers, the three sisters crushed their homecoming as their parents watched on. From the seductive 80s bop of “If I Could Change Your Mind,” to every effortless lick Danielle extracts from her guitar—wail girl, wail—to each weird lip curl and gurn from Este, Haim smashed it.
FUCKING LOVE YOUR BASS FACE ESTE.
Surely a crowning moment to top of a batshit 12 months for the trio.
After this I was pretty much spent for the next two hours so I decided to break into the backstage area. Coachella is a nightmare when it comes to sneaking into places you shouldn’t have access to. The wristbands have barcodes and you have to beep in. What is this? Minority Report? Earlier that day I had to be escorted off the festival site by a nice lady on a bike because somehow (via car, obviously), I’d managed to get on the grounds without a wristband. Another lady with very white teeth wearing camo was very upset about this and told me four times in no uncertain terms that I must be escorted away—"Off the property, m’aam. I don't know how you got in here." By. Car.
Whatever, I eventually got the right accreditation, but then I wanted to be nosey and pee in a receptacle that flushed, so via the power of artist wristband swapsies, I ended up in the white picket fence, palm tree wonderland that is the backstage. I thought there would martinis, but there were beer cans and buckets of bottled water. I thought I might bump into Pharrell’s hat, but instead I saw Amber Rose twice (nice use of spandex) and Skrillex. One of Skrillex's entourage was talking about "the power of trap." I went to pee. And that, my friends, is what you call a nonstory.
Chromeo are the ideal party band: their 80s tunes are frontloaded with insta-hooks and they pack a solid back catalogue of synth-sational hits. Ten years on and “Needy Girl” still sounds fresh (from the 80s) and fun. Also their stage set up features light-up legs and mirrors and I always want to own whatever Dave 1 is wearing (and, hello, he has a Ph.D in French Lit. Nice.) Sidenote: if P-Thugg handles women with the same mastery that he works his talkbox, I’ll bet he’s dynamite in bed.
After Chromeo I ran into this guy. Let’s call him Adam. I look exhausted (hey I'd been up since 4am) and my expression says: “Hi mom I graduated college,” while he’s pulling his best sex face. He told me he’d be dressing as a merman the next day. I told him that would make getting from stage to stage pretty tough going. He didn’t seem put off.
Next stop, Bryan Ferry, who I went to see via The Replacements. My friend insisted that I see them, but I think they’re one of those bands that you have to love love love from back in the day. I know that as a music writer my knowledge of them should be deep as the ocean, but I honestly prefer Kindness’ cover “Swinging Party.” Sacrilege!
Still, onwards to Bryan Ferry, resplendent in a floral gold and black velvet smoking jacket. Shit. No one cares about Bryan at Coachella. The tent is half empty and everyone is losing their minds at Martin Garix. Truly Coachella is not about heritage acts. Like I said, it’s about SPRING BREAK and that means EDM, but “Slave to Love” sounds amazing and he teases us with “More Than This.” The audience is mesmerized by Bryan’s drummer who throws everything into each beat, hair bouncing, boobs desperate to escape that black sequin bustier.
His speakeasy debonnaire rock never gets old, his hair never gets thinner, but I have to see Girl Talk. Someone nearby asks: “Do you know what Girl Talk is?” Yeah it’s the soundtrack to the ADD generation, he’s the mash-up master. “Royals” x “Paper Planes” sends girls into paroxysms of ecstasy. Of course 54 drunk people, mostly girls, get pulled up onstage to dance around waving pool noodles (okay, giant glowsticks), choking on reams of toilet paper. Frat-tastic.
Bryan Ferry fronting Girl Talk. Oh wait, there's some rapper onstage.
Wait, WTF. Is Bryan Ferry fronting Girl Talk now? Is Girl Talk engineering the mash-up of all mash-ups? Did Bryan Ferry subtract 45 years from his age and beat me running from the Mojave tent to the mainstage? No, there’s just some technical fuck up which means Bryan Ferry’s video stream is being fed through to the main stage screens. Seeing the juxtaposition between Ferry crooning and Girl Talk’s schizo cut ups kept me laughing for a full 20 minutes, which is basically as long as it took the techies to fix the glitch. Oops.
THE KNIFE ARE INCREDIBLE. For this record the duo decided to ditch the masks and retreat further. Now they stand hidden at the back of the stage while a phalanx of dancers in flammable Lyrca whip up an interpretive dance set to end all interpretative dance sets. Additionally each dancer takes turns miming Karin’s bonkers-brilliant vocals. If you have the chance to see them on this tour—go—this shit is next level and will have you dancing like a loon. Cassie and Diddy observe from the VIP section. They’re so #alt.
Later in the evening Noisey Editor Eric Sundermann sent me this screengrab, demanding that I “Instagram him.” "Him" being Prince. I became convinced the funk-sex god and lover of Cuban heels would be gracing the stage as a surprise guest of OutKast. Maybe he’d take over Kelis’ role in “Dracula’s Wedding.” This did not happen. I did try to break back into backstage for a glimpse of Him. I thought perhaps he might be #coachillin back there on a plastic garden chair with a bodacious twin on each knee. But by this time backstage was on OutKast lock down and I was locked out.
OutKast. OUTKAST. It’s so packed I say a silent prayer for anyone who has issues with personal space (me). Of course they decimate Coachella. You know it, you’ve probably watched the live stream already.
Things that should be noted:
1. Enormous props to whoever was responsible for OutKast’s visuals/stage set. Yeah, just gonna throw a full sized polar bear up on there for one song! Definitely gonna project a hologram of a lady with her legs spread, easing off her panties during “She Lives in My Lap.” The random bicycle!
2. Andre 3000 might be the only man on earth who can wear overalls and still get it. Actually he’d still get it if he wore a lace-trimmed silk chemise. Just sayin'.
3. Big Boi lost weight! Now he’s just… Boi. Also his dance moves and stage presence outstripped ‘Dre’s significantly. There were moments (“Hey Ya”) when it felt like Andre was dialing it in. Big Boi sparkled. The dude is a don.
4. Janelle Monae you are a goddess among mere mortals.
5. Hey did you hear Future has a record out on April 22? I didn’t quite catch that? APRIL 22 did you say? Okay, got it. His guest spot was a set a lowpoint.
6. Here’s a picture of Diddy enjoying himself during Outkast.
7. Total bummer that OutKast overran their allotted time. Killer Mike jumped onstage all hyped for the next song just as the big guns pulled the plug on sound. Curfews are strict in this retirement town and Andre was definitely not down to fork out for the penalty. It did mean that OutKast’s finale fizzled, but goddamn this set made me (and thousands of others) miss their united contribution to music all the more. Their last album came out eleven years ago. Don’t just make this a cash cow OutKast, we need you: come back for real.
Kim will be back tomorrow. In the meantime she’ll be breaking into backstage again today and she’s on Twitter - @theKTB
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