Coachella 2014 Weekend 1: It’s officially festival season

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Photos by Marc Fong //

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club — Indio, CA
April 11-13, 2014 //

Well, that time of year hath arrived in the form of sun burns, overpriced Heineken and jamming in as much music as you can into a 3-day window. Coachella has grown to be so much more than simply just a “music and arts festival,” for better or worse, but always retains it’s feeling that something special IS happening on these grass fields. Some embrace it, and many loathe, but overall, time spent at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio is always an enjoyable romp full of the freshest artists mixed with many old favorites in a colorful sea of eye candy. 2014’s first weekend featured it’s biggest demand to date as wristbands hovered near 4-figures and many were left roaming the suburban streets surrounding the site. Yet, this didn’t keep the masses down, and persistence paid off to those who were lucky enough to snag a last-minute pass.

Goldenvoice has feverishly plugged away at creating an encompassing experience to the nearly 90,000 attendees who flock to the wind-swept stretch, Empire Polo Fields, where it all started fifteen years ago. Things have changed each and every year, and at this point, it’s a well-oiled machine needing little tinkering. This year featured more room in the Terrace area with the Do-Lab stage finding a new home off the main field, as well as an expanded Yuma Tent which kept dance enthusiasts complacent to rage in their own little nightclub. 2014 held many surprises that were laid out over the days before the event, culminating with a smorgasbord of guest appearances over the 3-day span. Below, you will find some of our favorite sets as presented by the 2014 ‘Chella Bam Team.

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Goat // Outdoor Theatre // Friday 1:25-2:05PM

This show was quite the eye opener for anyone who wasn’t familiar with the Swedish psychedelic outfit called GOAT, especially since this was the first set of the entire weekend for many in attendance. The whole band was masked and decked out in extravagant tribal attire that would fit perfectly into many a children’s nightmares. The band drew songs from their 2012 release titled World Music with the highlight being their single “Run To Your Mama” that had many in attendance gyrating their hips to the infectious groove. I couldn’t think of a better opening set to start the long and definitely weird weekend that is Coachella. -PETE MAUCH


OutKast // Coachella Stage // Friday 11:30-1:00AM

Friday night marked the reuniting of one of the most influential acts in rap, albeit for a crowd that maybe wasn’t ready or as generally excited enough for such a momentous occasion. Saving radio hits for the closing numbers, they pulled from a set list spanning their entire career, including “Aquemini”, “Skew It On A Barbeque,” and an explosive version of “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” to start off the set. Several guests joined them throughout their performance, including Future debuting a new track, Sleepy Brown joining in for “So Fresh and So Clean”, and most impressively Janelle Monae gracing the stage for her collaborative performance of “Tightrope”. Each MC featured segments revolving around their solo work – Big Boi smashed “Shutterbug” while 3 Stacks brought a little tenderness during “Prototype”. A weary crowd, half dominated by a pre-Stankonia generation of EDM enthusiasts, didn’t quite give the response that most would anticipate for the kick off to a massive summer festival tour, and some on stage could tell. However, diehard fans were pleasantly surprised by the song choices and were bouncing along in camaraderie the entire set. -MOLLY KISH

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Temples // Mojave // Saturday 2:40-3:25PM

The crowd gathered early inside the Mojave Tent to see one of the more buzzed about bands of the weekend, an English Psychedelic rock band simply called, Temples. Fresh off their debut release, Sun Structures, they delivered 45 minutes of psychedelic bliss, drawing tracks mostly off their new album with the exception of a b-side called “Ankh”, which was one of the many highlights of the set. The song is driven by the powerful bassline from Thomas Warmsley and the guitar slaying of James Bagshaw. The song had some serious legs that found the band soaring over the crowd in a psychedelic haze, a plateau they hopefully reach every show. The one-two punch of their singles “Keep in the Dark” and “Mesmerize” had the hot and sweaty crowd in an absolute frenzy. -PM


Future Islands // Gobi // Saturday 7:05-7:55PM

Hot off the release of their fourth studio album, Singles, not to mention their Late Night with David Letterman performance going viral, the Baltimore outfit took the Gobi tent by storm. Sam Herring and Future Islands are not your typical rock band; they are fronted by easily one of the most enigmatic lead singers in contemporary rock. Hurling himself across the floor, throwing wild fists and debuting some brand new gyrating dance moves throughout the set, Herring was feeding off the love from his festival fans and reciprocated in full throttle for the band’s Coachella debut. “Inch of Dust” appropriately opened the show as the palms swayed along in the background while being assaulted by airborne sand particles. Pulling from their entire discography the band catered their signature hard-edged new-wave rock to the festival environment. Herring spoke tenderly to the crowd, re-assuring the youth that things will be alright before falling into “Balance”. Speeding up each career spanning track, such as “Tin Man”, into dance floor face-melters, Herring’s signature growling vocals sparked cheers of enthusiasm from the afternoon crowd. -MK

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Pixies // Mojave // Saturday 8:50-9:40PM

It had been almost exactly 10 years since the original Pixies reunited on the big stage in Indio, however this year we saw Black Francis and associates take to a smaller tent to pummel a decent sized crown with some good old rock and roll. The Pixies’ new release, Indie Cindy, was played before their set, which was somewhat odd, and they played relatively heavy off the release. Highlights of the set included a cover of Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On”, along with old favorite “Wave of Mutilation” and “Crackity Jones”. Frank was fired up as he scorned objects being oddly floated over the crowd, possibly miffed at the bleed of the Sahara, but then again, that’s why we love him. “Where Is My Mind?” received popular praise, as always, and featured new bassist Paz Lenchantin wailing as best she could. “Caribou” also showed that Paz can hang with the band, and that there may be a bright future in the coming years for the alt legends. -KEVIN QUANDT

Pharrell-Williams

Pharrell Williams //Outdoor Theatre // Saturday 10:35-11:35PM

What turned out to be a tough night for Pharrell ended up being one of the most fun sets of the weekend as throngs of girls belted out “Hollaback Girl” while dudes lit up in honor of Snoop’s presence for “Drop It Like It’s Hot”. The last 2 years of Weekend 1 have been slightly marred by high winds turning into small dust storms, and this year, Saturday was both the blustery day and the big Pharrell show. Promises of guests were fulfilled by the likes of Nelly, Tyler, the Creator, Puff Daddy and Diplo among those listed above. “Lose Yourself to Dance” opener was a good sign as the sizable crowd loosened up to the adventure that lay ahead, but the prolific producer’s voice just couldn’t weather the storm, and the finale of “Get Lucky” and “Happy” was largely sang by the crowd as Williams shook his head in sheer disappointment. -KQ


Nas // Outdoor Theatre // Sunday Midnight-1AM

Hip-hop is alive and well in 2014 and Coachella wanted to reinforce this. If you are a hip-hop head, then this was the year to be at Coachella. With OutKast, Nas, Kid Cudi, Chance the Rapper, GZA’s impromptu set in the Heineken House, and all the special guest MCs throughout the weekend, rap fans had a grand ‘ol time this past weekend. It was known that Nas was set to perform his 20-year-old classic album, Illmatic, in its entirety from start to finish. However, that’s not all that “nasty Nas” had in store for the late crowd. After the fourth track of his legendary album, Nas invited his longtime nemesis Jay-Z to the stage for an unforgettable performance of Jigga’s “Dead Presidents”. If you remember, this is the song that started all the “beef” between the two New Yorkers when Nas declined to re-rap the chorus. All the hate was squashed as the two legendary MCs showed the crowd that it’s all “One Love”. Toward the end of the set, Nas invited hip-hop guru Puff Daddy up to the stage to perform their song “Hate Me Now”, which truly delighted the rap freaks in attendance. Nas was on Point! -PM

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Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue // Coachella Stage // Sunday 12:40-1:30PM

Trombone Shorty is arguably the king of New Orleans right now, especially since he has taken the closing duty reigns from The Neville Brothers at Jazzfest. So seeing Troy Andrews in the early heat on Sunday was kind of odd as I felt that he deserved a better slot, but that didn’t stop him from performing a fiery set of trombone-driven NOLA funk. The small, but very enthusiastic crowd was hanging on every note as he effortlessly banged through his soon-to-be classic hits. “Fire and Brimstone” was a clear highlight of his raucous set, as was his closer “Do To Me”, which had the crowd singing along to every word. Trombone Shorty is truly a national treasure, and you gotta tip your cap to Coachella for even having him on the bill. -PM


Arcade Fire // Coachella Stage // Sunday 10:20-Midnight

Closing out festivals isn’t anything too out of the ordinary for these veterans, especially after 2011’s massive display, so Win Butler and cohorts knew to bring all the stops. Touring in support of their critically acclaimed fourth studio album, Reflektor, the band had various options of surprise guests they could potentially have join them on stage as a grand finale to Weekend 1. Rumors of David Bowie or James Murphy had the crowd abuzz due to their direct involvement with the latest release. Halfway through the epic set of hits from both 2010’s The Suburbs and cuts off of the new album, the band broke into the opening notes of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, only to be joined by Debbie Harry of Blondie fame for this full rendition. Sticking around to provide back-up vocals and ribbon dance around the stage with Regine, Debbie joined in on Arcade’s quintessential “Sprawl II”. Confetti canons spewed out into the crowd during the climactic notes of “Here Comes the Night Time”, igniting the crowd for their closing number “Wake Up”. And with that, the first major music festival of the 2014 season was in the bag. -MK

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Guest sets were prevalent this year with additional highlights including:

•Beyonce shook her “jelly” on stage with little sister Solange during her sunset performance on Saturday for song, “Losing You”.

•A$AP Ferg brought out the whole A$AP Mob for multiple tracks before A$AP Rocky debuted a new track, featuring a diss on Been Trill clothing. Rocky also came out with Skrillex.

•Chromeo’s set included a collaborative performance with Toro Y Moi to perform the duet off of White Women, “Come Alive.”

Chromeo

•Girl Talk pulled Busta Rhymes, Too $hort, Juicy J and E-40 into his remix set on Friday night (while the Bryan Ferry set played oddly on the screens flanking Greg Gillis).

•Justin Bieber decided to put a funny taste in people’s mouths and backed up his buddy Chance The Rapper.

•Mary J. Blige came on for a rousing rendition of her alternate vocal version of “F for You” with Disclosure Sunday evening. Sam Smith came out for “Latch”, as well. AlunaGeorge also lent a helping hand.

Disclosure

•Up-and-comer Jene Aiko welcomed some big names in the form of Drake and Childish Gambino while Disclosure and Arcade Fire played against this stealthy guest set.

•Rock Gods Motörhead brought out Slash for a healthy dose of guitar.

•Classixx bounced back from a tough start to a set with help from Nancy Wang, Yacht, The Preatures and Sarah Chernoff from Superhumanoids.

•Flosstradamus welcomed a bit of help from another big-named MC in the form of Waka Flocka Flame.

Comments

  1. Some Guy says:

    Honestly, Outkast was weak on weekend one and the crowd followed, not the other way around.

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