Coachella 2014 Day 2
The second day of Coachella during weekend one was covered in a lot of amazing artists but was a cut a bit short or caused a slight discomfort as the sand of the desert took over the skies of the festival making the use of bandanas a necessity. The surrounding area looked like the festival were taking place in an alien planet with the wind becoming more intense as the night went on even to the extent of causing some delays in shuttles and exiting the festival.
This all did not affect English post-punk band White Lies as they took to the stage. The band was astounding to see as they jumped from all three of their albums catering to fans and newcomers alike. With the huge popularity of the band in Europe, and them being one of the headliners for festivals like Truck 2014, as well as having played festivals like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and selling out venues like the O2, it was refreshing to have the opportunity to see the band up close. With traditionally their show being a bit dark, having played in the afternoon under the desert sun, made them seem unlike their traditional show personas, which in this instance worked. The energy and raw emotion that lead singer Harry McVeigh displayed was what captured the audience as well as the obvious gratitude that the band had for being invited back to desert since their last invitation after having won many awards in the UK for best new band. As they played their first single, “Unfinished Business,” McVeigh said,”It’s a big reason we are here today.”
Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant surprisingly played the Coachella stage but did make for a fun show. This band from Kentucky released their first album in 2008, with much success and since then has been known for putting on a dynamic stage performance. They did not disappoint as lead singer Matt Shultz crowd surfed during “Back Against The Wall.”Following that he went to the crowd and asked for an umbrella which he performed with. As the set was coming to a close, Shultz crowd surfed from the stage until the middle scaffolding, climbing it, and then waving to the audience from it, finally ending as he ran through the crowd high fiving everyone.
Ty SegallIt was a bit difficult to top the pop rock sounds and performance of Cage the Elephant, but the sister stage, Outdoor Theatre held one of the best rock sets at that stage that day. Ty Segall, a California native has release a number of albums and many different singles and EPs throughout his career which started in around 2008. The set was a mix of songs from old and new, to a cover of Motorhead. With the lack of guitar driven bands this year, this band was refreshing to see as the crowd was surprised with Blake Anderson from Workaholics. This also was Segall showing off three new songs entitled, “Green Belly,” “Tall Man Skinny Lady,” and “Feel.”
Bombay Bicycle ClubIndie band from London, Bombay Bicycle Club has recently been hitting mainstream audiences with their recent album So Long, See You Tomorrow. With many singles since 2008, Bombay Bicycle Club has grown in the hearts of indie fans across the world. They played their single, “Luna,” nearly at the beginning of their set. The direction that this new albums takes has put the band in a new direction which was seen as they closed their set with “Carry Me,” having the band differ themselves from the soft indie sounds for early in their career and into a mature band with more to offer than just a catchy hook and chorus but actual showmanship. This was seen in their stage performance as well while the band took all of the energy from the area and used it in the build of the song to get everyone in the audience to clap along and dance to the music as the set came to a close.
A few last minute additions came to light with two of them being on the Saturday at Coachella. The first was front man to The Strokes , Julian Casablancas. Arriving late on stage, as he is known for, he started off the set with the band The Voidz. He has recently been playing with them having last been at SXSW earlier in the spring. The set was solid mainly being songs from his forthcoming solo album and being a genuine Julian Casablancas show. As the first few songs played and some people began to leave, most likely due to the fact that he had played only one Strokes song he said, "Some of you are leaving. That's okay. This music is meant to alienate all the right people, so go do ya thing." The music was a mix of garage rock with punk as well as a synthesizer and hip-hop bass all which made the show a very unique set. Although he is with a different band, he still does the traditional looking at the floor singing style and drifting off into his own world while still having the crowd cheer as he said, “Thank you for choosing us in this musical buffet.”
This California native band from Los Angeles has been around since 2004 but was not in any spotlight for a number of years. After touring in 2011, as well as playing Coachella, by hitting the festival circuit they promoted their new album The Fool. Famous indie label, Rough Trade Records released their album in the US which was mixed by Nigel Goodrich, which has worked famously with Radiohead over the years. This was only topped by having Flood, known for working with artist like New Order, The Killers, and Sigur Ros, as the producer of their latest album. With the lead vocals shifting between Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, there was never a dull moment. The blend of music from their albums blended together and their growth as musicians was noticeable in the sounds of their songs being that of some psychedelic sound with trip-hop. Their heavy bass lines and synthesizer along with the setting sun in the background made their live performance a far superior one than their record version.
After hearing the buzz of this band all over Austin during SXSW as well as their appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, this synth pop band was a must see. With the release of their album Singles earlier this year there was much hype not only on their sound but on their stage performance. Lead signer Samuel T. Herring had a sort of Soft Cell vibe to him wearing only a black shirt and jeans. The music was not that complicated and was not full of many effects which made it depend a lot more on the vocals. Their performance was beyond anything that is currently out there in the synth pop world with the vocals being soft and then turning raspy and harsh in less than a verse. “This is fucking beautiful, man, goddamn,” said Herring to the audience as this first time Coachella band was on stage. His energy and showmanship was what made the show one of the best ones of the day and ultimately the festival. Their set list was filled with songs dating back from 2006 until their recent album. The dancing, jumping, getting on his knees, and screaming ended later than the original end time of the set.
Age brings experience and this was the case with Fatboy Slim. With this being the oldest musician at the Sahara, there were high expectations for this show. Young fans of electronic music were camping there all day just to be surrounded by the ever growing mainstream EDM music, as well as the older crowd who had seen the rise and fall of their beloved artist. This artist was the one who united and transcended the electronic music from modern day combining both new and old fans of the genre. His set was beyond solid and fused everything that Norma Quentin Cook, or stage name Fatboy Slim had made, been a part of, produced, and touched. Check out the set in its entirety by clicking the link here.
Not only are we going to relive the electronic waves of the 90s with Fatboy Slim but it was time to rock out another amazing and astounding performance by none other than The Pixies. It had been ten years since the band had played the festival and at that time it was with a headlining spot as a reunion. This Even though Kim Deal was no longer with the band and replaced by A Perfect Circle bass player Paz Lanchantin, the tent was still full of people just there to sing along to, “Wave of Mutilation.” This year the band was added last minute into a smaller stage rivaling Sleigh Bells and Foster the People showcasing their new album, Indie Cindy, which is the band’s first album in 23 years. Although the festival had not really much respect for legacy bands like The Replacements and Afghan Whigs, The Pixies proved that they are still an amazing band with songs like, “Caribou,” and “Where Is My Mind,” as well as adding into the mix a few new songs, giving the audience a perfect set. Their years of experience and talent shone through the sand that filled the air.
There are many different electronic acts during the festival, which as said before, led for EDM enthusiast, (put nicely) to stay mainly at the at the Sahara tent. With the rise of electronic music and Sweden being in the spotlight with many different big name acts, Galantis composed of Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and Linus Eklow alias Style of Eye took over the Gobi tent Saturday night giving the audience a blast of their music. Recently the duo has been featured in sets by many other artists and been played in fairly recognizable electronic music circles. With hit tracks like, “Smile,” “You,” and many more, there were many hardcore fans there as well as newcomers with the Galantis logo mask (a cat) on while the set played. The large back panel behind them was outlined with a cat and would display some images and the lyrics to some of the songs, and at times would have a camera facing the duo as they screamed the lyrics along with the audience. This was a great spectacle to see, and with it not being at the Sahara tent, the crowd who was there knew at least something of the duo and wanted to check them out, making it less of a scene for the standard electronic music fans.
Empire of the Sun
This was probably if not the only one of the few actual live bands to perform at the Sahara tent. Empire of the Sun the duo from Australia has been growing in popularity selling out shows last year with the release of their latest album, Ice on the Dune (Click here for the review of the album). The set was nearly evenly divided with songs from both albums, starting and ending with new popular tracks. Their show was something that was spectacular and although the tracks do not give off the same sound and vibe as their album, but still putting on a show. With a majority of the crowd at Pharrell Williams hoping for another duo to arise from the stage with no avail, which led the crowd at Empire of the Sun be disappointing to lead signer Luke Steele. Either that aggravation or just wanting to be considered a rock band led Steele to smash his guitar at the ending of their set setting the crowd off screaming as the dancers walked ceremoniously off stage.