5-Hour Energy should make a separate slogan for Coachella for when that “2:30 feeling” on Sunday afternoon hits. You know, that time when your head is pounding, your throat is parched and you’re left brain is screaming at you for deciding to pay in excess of $300 to watch Santigold in temperatures that would fry an egg on your forehead.
Do you want to see Metronomy?
No, where the fuck is the frozen lemonade man and my mom? I want to go home.
For both weekends, Sunday proved to be the hottest of the three days. Sunscreen mixed with sweat (and tears) as people once again sought shelter under the tents. Sets in the shade–like Real Estate–prime time viewing because of location, location, location. Those who had taken a day of respite in Saturday’s more instrument/rock-driven lineup licked their lips at the thought of Nero, Calvin Harris, Justice and AVICII while Gotye proved to be a major pull for that one song that plays on the radio every 30 minutes.
Tired or not, festival-goers were egged through the day by the promise of what was to come at the end of the night. Weeekend One’ers were awed by the guest appearances on the last set of the night on the main stage, while Weekend Two’ers, driven by the hype of Tupacalypse2012, circled Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s closer as must-see. During Coachella’s second coming, it seemed that the whole world was watching for the reappearance of the enlightened Shakur, as Craigslist prices skyrocketed for loose wristbands and police presence was greater than ever on the fairgrounds. Tupac came and went though with few hitches, and spectators left buzzing as they were herded like cattle through the exit, already chattering about how they could get back for 2013.
Read our reviews below from Weekend One and Weekend Two below…
First Aid Kit- Weekend One
Festivalgoers unfamiliar with First Aid Kit might have passed the group by based on the band’s name alone, which sounds like the band name for a set of skinny and undertalented alt-boys shoegazing and bemoaning the world. But the two Swedish sisters–who belted out open-hearted harmonies with a blend only sisters could make–couldn’t be farther from that image. As they paid their respects to the greats in “Emmylou” and elicited cheers with “Lion’s Roar,” the two siblings also made great show of their other assets: their long flowing hair. Swishing their hair around in a made-for-Coachella Pantene commercial, the sisters ended on a royal note with “I Met Up With the King” and “King of the World.” Girls everywhere–and a few dudes–made mental notes to grow their hair out for next year.
Real Estate- Weekend Two
Escaping the sun’s death rays, many came to Real Estate just past 4 p.m. to escape the sweltering heat before rallying for Sunday night’s sets. The boys from New Jersey revelled in the heat, tailoring a set that eliminated most of the winding and sometimes hypnotizing instrumentals in favor of their more pop offerings. Nerdy and endearing as always–nothing says I love the desert more than a Hawaiian shirt–lead man Martin Courtney led the quintet through “Beach Comber” and some of the best from full debut Days. For those in the audience in a daze, Real Estate provided a subtle reminder to the real reason Coachella was established in the first place: a chance to discover the best up-and-coming artists. Biggest crowd pleaser “It’s Real” came with no frills while the Alex Bleeker-sung “Wonder Years” ensured that the band’s set would live long in the annals of crowd nostalgia.
Beats Antique- Weekend One
If Gogol Bordello went too mainstream last year with numerous festival appearances, Beats Antique is the off-kilter answer. The actual music, whose heart-pounding tribal and world beats featured, well, a lot of harmonic scales and eclectic percussion, was not the draw. The crowd could have danced along blithely, but most wised up and kept their eyes on the stage. Two belly dancers curved and swayed through most of the set, but in the last ten minutes, things got really nutty. Announcing that they were about to “take things to the next level,” the group donned an array of animal masks and began dancing around chaotically. A raven, a skeleton and a weird ant pranced around on stage, and a girl in a mouse mask feigned banging a zebra from behind. Not something you see every day, even at Coachella.
The Hives- Weekend Two
The rumors of The Hives‘ death have been greatly exaggerated. And that’s perfectly fine with the band. Without releasing an album for the last 5 years, the Swedish quintet arrived on Coachella’s main stage on Sunday to show the world that they were still, indeed, alive and kicking. Are they ever.
Taking the stage in full penguin suits–top hats, coattails and white bow ties–Scandinavia’s finest wrote their new lease on life with a set that recalled old times. At the center of it all was Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist who was a relentless hypeman, promoting the band’s up-coming release Lex Hives to no end. Likening the Weekend Two set to their third of a trilogy–The Hives first played Coachella in 2003, Almqvist remarked, “This is ‘Luke I am your father’ and all the shit.” The banter, necessary to fill the gaps between the band’s rapidfire songs like “Main Offender,” was incessant. Another gem: “Fuck the sun, I’m a cold-blooded Swede,” he said, asking the crowd to flip the bird at the setting yellow orb. Consummate performers, The Hives had everything working in the 100 degree heat, right down to their infamous roadies, who dressed as ninjas played tambourines, retrieved tossed drum sticks on command and untangled the lead singer’s never-ending microphone cord. “Hate To Say I Told You So” was a must, but closer “Tick Tick Boom” was the highlight, as Almqvist asked the crowd to lie down and look at the stars (in broad daylight) before running into the crowd to shake hands Obama style and signing off with a full bow.
Gotye- Weekend One
Gotye‘s no fool. The Australian rocker knows his fame Down Under hasn’t translated yet to anything over here except love for his one radio hit. We even spotted a girl wearing a “Somebody That I Used to Bone” tank top. At least she’s being honest. As the sun set, the Mojave tent was packed to the brim of people waiting to hear, well, that song. We briefly contemplated the sheer ballsiness involved if he’d chosen not to play it, but he did — and not even as the last song. When the first xylophonic notes of “Somebody That I Used to Know” rang out, the cheers and the ensuing sing-alongs were so loud that Gotye (hipster pro-tip: it’s pronounced like Gaultier) couldn’t even be heard. Kimbra was there for her requisite 30-second cameo, and once the song ended, the crowd shrank in half. But those who stayed were treated to a few more tracks, including the particularly groovy closer “Learnalilgivinandlovin,” whose funky beat left the dispersing crowd shuffling away with rhythm and a smile.
Justice- Weekend Two
For all the flack that Justice has received for Audio, Video, Disco, it doesn’t seem like the Parisian duo has changed much. There’s still the iconic cross. There’s still the Marshall stacks. And there’s still a mind-melting live show. Taking the main stage just after the last slivers of light escaped Indio, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay took the crowd to church with a set that fed off of †. Teasing their most famous offerings “D.A.N.C.E.” throughout the set while using others like “DVNO” for drawn-out transitions, Justice were unlike any other big electronic attraction at the festival. There was no “Le7els” or any of the other incestual hits that kept emanating from the Sahara Tent. This was pure Justice-created, and Justice-tailored material. From the powerful Auto remix of “Stress” to AVD single “Civilization,” Ed Banger’s marquee act were at the height of the game and unwilling to compromise. Aside from a few awkward pauses in the set–de Rosnay held his hand aloft Tommie Smith and John Carlos style for a good minute before a “We Are Your Friends” rework–Sunday’s set, the pair’s third in six years at Coachella, was unforgettable.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg- Weekend One
Rumors swirled all week leading up to the first Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg set –notably that Nate Dogg was going to return via hologram. Dre and Snoop kickstarted the set–Snoop puffing joyfully on a joint the size of a highlighter–with “Next Episode” and ran through other hits like “Kush” and “Gin and Juice.” They paused to reflect on Nate Dogg with, of all things, a Ken Burns-esque slideshow of his photos with a few childhood snapshots thrown in for nostalgic measure. Maybe the rumors were wrong? Then came the guest stars, who almost overshadowed the two main performers: Wiz Khalifa for “Young, Wild and Free” and 50 Cent for “P.I.M.P.” and “In Da Club.” Dre even brought out Kendrick Lamar, who had performed on Friday, for a brief bit. Eminem made a reluctant appearance as well for “I Need a Doctor” and “Til the Lights Go Out.” But when Tupac’s hologrammed form appeared glowing and floating over the stage, people lost it. Some were scared–it was more than a bit eerie to see him as if back from the dead–while others legitimately thought the deceased Shakur had come out of hiding from his home in Cuba just for Coachella. But as his image (or, really, that of an actor they apparently trained to look and move like him then videotaped) gestured and rapped “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” you couldn’t help but feel as if it was the real thing–until his image left the stage by zapping and disappearing on the spot in a cloud of fairy dust. Until next time, holo-Pac. Until next time ‘Chella.
First Aid Kit — Emmylou (download)
The Hives- Tick Tick Boom (download)
Justice- Stress (Auto Remix) (download)