Coachella Day 1
Coachella brings in a lot of different artists from all corners of the world. The two weekend long festival which started in 1999 and takes place in Indio California started off with acts like The Chemical Brothers, Tool, and Rage Against the Machine, with returning artist Beck, this year’s 2014 festival featured Muse, Outkast, and Arcade Fire. With the thousands of people on the Polo Club grounds, it was difficult to catch half of the over 150 artists, especially with the addition of The Pixies and Julian Casablancas. All of the art, special appearances, and celebrity sightings, was a lot to take in, but overall music was what brought It Sounds Better Live to Coachella, and this is who and what we saw over the course of three days on the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Waxahatchee, an indie music projects formed in 2011 by Katie Crutchfield originated from Alabama. Named after Waxahatchee Creek in Alabama, the band has release two albums with the latest release in March of last year. The music is folk based and gives off a southern vibe with her guitar but her vocals do not give off a twangy vibe. Traditionally the songs are acoustic, but during this Coachella performance Crutchfield was accompanied by Kyle Gilbride with another guitarist Keith Spencer. This bare-bones music which was amped up a bit for the festival still is tranquil and soft making it ones of the slow jam bands to see. The music is reminiscent of the acoustic indie wave that emerged in the mid 2000’s with bands like She and Him, Bright Eyes, and Monsters of Folk.
With the rise of electronic music all across the world, there was always a crowd in the Sahara tent ranging from fans of the artist, to people just checking them out, to those only attending to say they were there and take selfies.
Mako, a duo from Los Angeles formed by Logan Light and Alex Seaver and had their big hit in 2012. This duo is signed to Interscope records and put to work with big names in the industry such as Avicii and Sander Van Doorn. Their first release was on the famous Spinnin Records and ranked high on Beatport Top 100 in the first week. Their live set was a compilation of songs that were big in 2012 and 2013 with a different set of vocals. These mash-ups were what the duo played during the majority of their set along with their pop tracks like, “Beam,” and “Into the Light.” Overall their set was more of a tribute to what once was on top of Beatport during the past two years along with a majority of current mainstream electronic tracks. The transitions were generic, with them being mainly shifting between tracks during the drop, which some big name artist do, but only when playing their own original songs, which was not the case for this set.
This Australian psychedelic band from Sydney made up of Gabriel Winterfield, Jono Ma, and Jack Freeman had recently signed with Mom+Pop last year and released their debut album, “Howlin.” The band then played along big artists in the UK such as Foals and played many festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and The Big Day Out. This year they played Coachella and put on one of the loudest and best set of the time on Friday. There are hints of Radiohead as well as some of Yorke’s solo album, “The Eraser.” Their Psychedelic guitar and hooks on songs make these danceable songs which are held together by the hook of Winterfield’s lyrics. The reverb on the vocals sound similar to another Australian native band Tame Impala. Unlike Tame Impala, this band lives off of a computer adding a bass and guitar when needed creating the perfect blend of rock and dance music. There are many bands out there who are trying a fusion of genres blurring the lines, and Jagwar Ma is the perfect example of a fusion done right.
GrouploveLos Angeles band Grouplove has recently been touring the country and were pleased to be able to stop by Coachella. They have only released two albums since 2011 but both were successful in their own right and popular amongst indie fans. This year’s single, “Shark Attack,” was played at Coachella and was said by Christin Zucconi to”…have made the song when we played Coachella last time. It is about being in the desert in a sea of people.” The bands west coast vibes and guitar riffs fit perfectly with the festival and fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the Coachella stage in the mid afternoon sun. The indie pop band delivered exactly what they have on their tour and even more after finally being back to where they began.
Born in Harlem as Darold Ferguson and is part of the A$AP Mob (A$AP Rocky and A$AP Yams). His stage presence was astounding bringing the energy to the crowd and reflecting it on stage. As his set was closing his time was up and he had yet to perform his single, “Work.” The set continued as he began the song with the audience getting wild as the sound began to fade and he finished a shorter version of the song. The crowd cheered wildly as A$AP Ferg left the stage along with other members of the A$AP Mob.
Aside from his own performance he came on during Skrillex’s set to play, “Wild for the Night.”
Gareth EmeryThis producer/DJ from Southampton, England has been around for a number of years and started off back in 2002. A few years ago Emery has launched a show called, “Gareth Emery Presents,” which is on Sirius XM on Electric Area. His work has him working with labels such as A State of Trance, Armada Music, and many other labels. With all of these years of experiences as well as actually being a DJ, there was a high expectation for this set to differ from a majority of the other big name artists performing over the course of the weekend. Starting off he played top 40 pop tracks as well as huge hits from the past year which brought in a lot of people and gave energy to crowd. Following that he began to play more trance and house tracks stepping away from the pop sounds finally flourishing with the sounds that he is known for. His years of experience made it so that his trance and house fusion sounds which helped pioneer the current state of electronic music, change the set and jump genres perfectly delivering flawless transitions that showed the true craftsmanship and experience that Emery has. With tracks like, “U”, “Mansion”, and “Concrete Angel,” this is a must see artist for fans of Trance and electronic music.
It has been a number of years since there has been any new material from The New Pornographers. The Vancouver, British Colombia band has been an indie favorite since their conception in 1999 with all eight members bringing a different style to their sound. They all since have each been doing their solo artist albums and music with the two most famous ones being Carl Newman (A.C. Newman) and Neko Case. Case has released six studio albums as a solo artist and has a large catalog of music, with most of it being derived from folk and country, making it one of the best sets to see as the sunsets over Coachella Valley. Her music gives the alternative rock that is fitting to enjoy the sun fading behind the carousel as she plays songs like “Night Still Comes.” With all of the mayhem, celebrity sightings, and just overall craziness of Coachella, this alternative rock artist is a nice step away from it and into a more tranquil mindset.
This indie super group formed by Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (Lead vocalist for The Shins) has been around since 2010. Earlier this year they released their second studio album After the Disco. Having many singles which were praised by indie fans as well as media outlets, their first ever tour sold out at all venues. After the release of their second album which also fared well the band has been on tour with Mercer taking over the guitar and Burton playing the drums and synth as well as the bass. Their show was softer than their album versions but sounded just as well. Seeing Burton on stage just playing was amazing to see, aside from his musical abilities, he has formed Gnarls Barkley and worked with artists like Gorillaz, The Black Keys, Sparklehorse, Beck, and many more. Their setlist held a bit of everything from their first and second album as well as their EP Meyrin Fields. This is a must see band, aside from their lack of touring, there are not many opportunities to see this band as opposed to The Shins.
The band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was the first few alternative rock bands of their time. As things progresses with the band, their sound changed in the early 80s from the hard punk into something a bit more melodic. Their first hit single was what they opened their set with, “Takin’ a Ride.”The concert was full of energy as two of the original band members were present. They had just played their first show in over 22 years last year, making this their only appearance in 2014. The bands punk sound made diehard fans jump and sing along as the show came to a close with the song featured in the intro of the film, Adventureland, “Bastards of Young.”
With big names in the electronic industry coming from Sweden, this duo formed in 1991 and was formed by Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer. After the release of their album in 2003, their single, “Heartbeats,” made them a big name. They started touring in 2006 and have done very limited touring. This year their American tour is only a month long with two of those dates being at Coachella. The “Shaking the Habitual,” tour is an astounding show with a mix of a music and spectacle. As the performers came to the stage they came out in a somewhat robotic and serious fashion dressed in a solid jumpsuit with matching makeup. As they began to play the instruments the audiences began to dance. The songs were minimalistic beats, with an instrument that resembles that of a violin, large colorful custom made maracas, and many more. Halfway after the beginning of the show the stage was taken over just by the performers doing all sorts of theatrical dancing which were enthralling.