Coachella 2014: It’s officially festival season

Coachella-Scene1Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Molly Kish, Pete Mauch & Kevin Quandt //

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 11th-13th, 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 three-day window. Coachella has grown to be so much more than simply just a “music and arts festival” now, for better or worse, but it always retains the feeling that something special is really 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 its biggest demand to date as wristbands hovered near four 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 three-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. -PM


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 emcee 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 onstage could tell. However, die-hard fans were pleasantly surprised by the song choices and were bouncing along in camaraderie the entire set. -MK

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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. -KQ

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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 called “Come Alive”.

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• 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.

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• 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.

• The legendary 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 emcee in the form of Waka Flocka Flame.

WIN TICKETS: Goat at Slim’s 4/12

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Enter to win a pair of free tickets to this show below.

Goat with Holy Wave //
Slim’s — San Francisco
April 12, 2014 (Saturday) //

Out of the multitude of Swedish prog-afro-fusion bands playing, Goat has got to be one of the best. All joking aside, Goat is a serious musical project that has been active for almost 40 years, hailing from a small, possibly haunted town in Sweden called Korpilombolo. The largely rotating members are true kindred spirits in an entirely forward-thinking music genre that pushes the limits of hard-edged world-fusion.

They’ll be gracing Slim’s the weekend of their first of two banner Coachella sets for what is sure to be a highly buzzed about psychedelic freakout featuring masks, costumes and a barrage of crazy-ass music. This is also the ‘collectives’ first trek to the Western United States – hope that’s the icing on the cake to get you folks out to Goat.

Buy tickets if you know you want to go!


Win-2-Tickets

Enter to win if you can attend this show Saturday, April 12th at Slim’s in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Friday, April 12th at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one.

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Coachella 2014 lineup: Emerging artists, throwback acts & potential collaborations

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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 11th-13th & April 18th-20th, 2016 //

2014 is officially in full swing and the impending festival season is on the horizon, especially now that the Coachella lineup has been released. Goldenvoice has done it again with their unique mix of era, genre and relevance which seems to excite and disappoint the eager masses in equal fashion.

The top of the lineup is decisively more pop-oriented than years past with Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Foster the People, Zedd and Lana Del Rey receiving marquee billing. But beyond the headliners, Coachella 2014 offers essential throwback acts, emerging artists ready to blow up, a wide variety of dance options and a handful of collaboration opportunities.

Let’s dig into this monster and extract some musical gold.

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The Headliners

An OutKast reunion would have been more thrilling if the news hadn’t leaked over a month ago (though you can’t always believe the rumor mill), but this is a surprise nonetheless as Andre 3000 had shown little interest or optimism in interviews over the past half-decade. Either way Big Boi and Dre will bring their historically high-energy performance to a ton of new fans. “B.O.B.”, “Roses” and “Ms Jackson” are sure to be highlights of the set.

Muse is one of the biggest bands in the world, this is a cold hard fact. They have plugged away at their 21st Century take on soaring arena-rock and eventually made their way to the top with bombastic live shows, catchy songs and generally doing their own thing. Will the band try to bring their massive UK arena stage to Indio? 

Yes, Arcade Fire was another act that wasn’t a far reach based upon current tour route, but nevertheless they will close out the event with great grandeur. May be hard to top their big 2010 performance, but sparks are sure to shoot from the stage while playing the more upbeat Reflektor tracks. I am not holding my breath on an appearance by the Thin White Duke, but hope I’m wrong.


The Throwbacks

The Replacements took the stage for the first time in 22 years over the summer at various incarnations of Riot Fest. Well, now the West Coast gets a taste of Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson’s authoritative alternative rock, and this set is sure to be one of the bigger ‘reunion’ sets on the bill.

Roxy Music may not be reuniting this year, but the insanely unique vocal stylings of Bryan Ferry are sure to excite fans that have been visiting the Empire Polo Fields since it’s incarnation some 15 years ago. Is Goldenvoice starting to pander to the aging, original Coachella demographic?

Pet Shop Boys aren’t only still relevant, but have been killing it on the road the past few years, so it’s no surprise that we see the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe billed high on Saturday. Their Kraftwerk-esque stage show will be a treat to multiple generations of fans, especially during booming hits like “West End Girls”. 

Other acts that will appeal more to the Generation Xers will be the Toy Dolls, The Afghan Whigs, and Motörhead.


Emerging Artists

British psych rock group Temples only formed in mid 2012, but almost immediate support from the blogosphere and supporting Primal Scream, Kasabian, Beady Eye & Tame Impala on tour throughout 2013 only helped gain traction. And if you are a fan of Tame Impala, be sure to catch this hyper-buzzy act for their first West Coast show. Their stock should rise quickly as their debut LP Sun Structures releases February 10th.



It has now become a tradition for at least one member of the Odd Future clan to be represented on the bill since their debut, and this year the title goes to producing duo Syd the Kid and Matt Martians as The Internet. Their take on trip-hop and electronic soul is a refreshing breath of air for the LA collective as Syd moves from behind the decks to feature her lovely vocals at the forefront. Sure to turn a few heads.



Enigmatic trio Factory Floor bathe in drone and noise, ultimately outputting sound somewhere between minimalist techno and experimental house. Releasing their self-titled debut LP in 2013 through DFA, Factory Floor is relatively popular overseas, yet the dance outfit is on the bottom line of the poster for Sunday. The London-based act might offer a good reason to get to the Polo Fields early on day three.



Laura Mvula may not be a name you are familiar with, but she has made waves the past year in her native UK as her debut album peaked nicely on the charts, and she received a solid slot at Glastonbury. Her straight-ahead take on soul jazz shows great promise both in the studio and on the larger stage as she bursts out of the jazz club into the spotlight. 


Coming Out West

The Knife will be bringing their dynamic, even head-scratching stage show to the desert for 2 weekends of artsy weirdness. Though, for all intents and purposes, we have no idea which show the Swedish duo will bring to us. One thing is for sure, it won’t be like anything you have experienced before.

Apparently Jeff Mangum enjoyed his trip to Indio last year, because this year he is bringing the old band out. West Coast music fans have been waiting patiently for their taste of the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel, and it wasn’t a huge surprise that they’d be on the bill based upon tour schedule. Alas, hipsters young and old can rejoice in a stay at the hippest ‘hotel’ in the valley.

Sweden’s mysterious band named GOAT will be finally reaching the shores of the Pacific with their characteristic take on ‘world music.’ These guys are truly thinking outside the box with a breathtaking approach to experimental rock, and their live performance follows suit. The band has been in some sort of formation for over the past 30 to 40 years with rotating members, but have only recently been viewed on the world stage. 


Possible Collaborations

Robin Thicke (Not Daft Punk) with Pharrell Williams on Saturday
Pharrell Williams has pretty high billing this year, but in many ways he deserves it. He was featured on the two biggest pop hits of 2013, and if anyone is known for collaborating with a wide variety of artists, it’s the N.E.R.D. frontman. Fool us once (Phoenix last year), shame on you, fool us twice…just don’t count on Daft Punk and Niles Rodgers showing up to perform “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance”. Daft Punk’s confirmed appearance at the Grammy Awards in late January could change this outlook, but a Robin Thicke supported “Blurred Lines” seems more likely. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see special appearances from Snoop Dogg, Pusha T or maybe even Madonna.

Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) with Solange on Saturday
NYC’s own Blood Orange made a big push to finish out 2013 and he was nicely rewarded with a set that is sure to be well packed for this buzzy tropi-pop musician. Hynes worked with Solange on her 2012 EP Losing You, but the extent of his production work on the record became a source of contention in November as both artists took to twitter beef about Hynes’ role. Both Solange and Hynes are performing Saturday, so might this be a good time for them to kiss and makeup on stage?

AlunaGeorge with Disclosure on Sunday
Disclosure, returning for their second straight year, might be the only dance act to perform outside the tents. Last year, Jessie Ware joined Guy and Howard Lawrence to sing “Confess To Me”, and this year Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge will appear to perform the smash hit “White Noise”. Lock it in.


EDM

As has been the trend for Coachella, more emphasis has been put onto EDM, and with the addition of the Yuma Tent last year, Goldenvoice has been able to book all the big guys for the kiddies and all the OG underground acts for the “adults.”

Calvin Harris, Skrillex and Fatboy Slim represent some of the biggest names in the genre and are sure to grab some of the biggest crowds in the Sahara Tent. On the other hand, Yuma will have some treats in the form of the Crosstown Rebels (Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Maceo Plex) as well as Scuba and (hopefully) French legend, Laurent Garnier.

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