Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival, Weekend One
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Nicole Pajer
Up-and-coming dance/electronica artists, reunited legends and surprise onstage appearances comprised the major themes of weekend one of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held April 12–14 in Indio, Calif. While there is a lot to say about many artists, here are a few highlights from weekend one.
Jurassic 5 took the stage for their first performance since 2007, rallying their loyal fans and converting a few indie rockers in the process. The crowd went crazy as Akil, Zaakir, Mark 7even, DJ Nu-Mark, Chali 2na, and Cut Chemist performed songs such as "Back 4 U," "Jayou" and "What's Golden."
I was captivated by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The powerful vocals and intense stage energy of frontwoman Karen O, combined with her suggestive handling of the microphone, was rock and roll in every form.
Sixto Rodriguez, the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man, was everything I expected and more. Whether or not you've seen the documentary wasn't relevant; once inside the Gobi Tent for his Sunday evening performance, it was hard not to become a fan. Even for those who aren't fans of folk rock, there's something soothing about Rodriguez that pulls you in. The highlight of his set was when he thanked the audience for being patient while he switched guitars between songs, deeming himself a "solid 70" years old.
Red Hot Chili Peppers transported everyone back to their childhood days of jumping around in mosh pits. The band played hit after hit, commanding a crowd of thousands to sing along to tunes such as "Dani California" and "Other Side." The band also performed a few tracks from their latest release, 2011's I'm With You. This was all done during a massive sandstorm, which sent gallons of sand into the eyes of both the audience and the band onstage.
Trent Reznor debuted his latest project, How To Destroy Angels, on April 10 at the Fox Theater in Pomona, Calif., and Coachella attendees were lucky enough to be present for the band's next tour stop. Their eerie and intense music filled the Mojave Tent with synths and the vocals of Reznor and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig Reznor, while an impressive light show took place across several layers of screens that were draped in front of the band. The crowd stood respectfully in awe, taking in the wonder of the show until a Reznor super fan in the front row broke the mood by screaming, "Oh my God! I'm 15 feet away from Trent Reznor!"
Australian psychedelic rock outfit Tame Impala likely topped the "must-see" list of nearly every Coachella attendee. Although the band shared time slots with DJ Paul Oakenfold and Rodriguez, that didn't stop a massive crowd from engulfing the Outdoor Theater Stage for Tame Impala's 45-minute set.
If IO Echo weren't on your radar, they are now. The trio, who recently completed a run of tour dates in support of Garbage, mesmerized their audience, drawing an astonishing number of attendees for their early Friday afternoon set.
Last but not least, I loved the collaborations that took place this weekend. The xx brought Solange onstage to deliver a cover of the late Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire"; John Legend joined Benny Benassi to debut their latest collaboration, "Dance The Pain Away"; British singer/songwriter Jessie Ware joined electronica band Disclosure for a performance; and R. Kelly climbed onstage during Phoenix's set to perform a mashup of his "Ignition" and their "1901," the latter of which marked one of the more surprising pairings of the weekend.
Additional acts that stood out were 2 Chainz; the Stone Roses, who took the stage for their first U.S. performance since 2011; and Blur, whose simple yet impactful set included a performance of the melodic "Out Of Time" and the infectious 1997 rock hit "Song 2." Janelle Monáe dove into the audience for an epic crowd surfing moment, and Pretty Lights debuted his biggest stage show to date.
Fans heading to the desert for weekend two of Coachella beginning April 19 are certainly in for a treat.
(Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. She has written for a variety of publications, including Billboard, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, Hemispheres, The Red Bulletin, Emmy.com, the Honda Civic tour, Coachella CAMP, and more. Follow her on Twitter @NicolePajer.)