By now, there’s a chance that every photo taken at Coachella has given you all that you think you need to see. Yet every recap has not been written about ad nauseam. There’s enough to go around from the stimulus overload taking place over the course of two weekends. To organize the confusion a little bit for you—and for my own sanity—I’ve broken up everything into digestible segments below.
The schedule of performances has been put together in the form of a trusty mobile app. You have access to the entire lineup according to day, time, and stage. After sifting through the dense list of performers, I clicked each one to add to my personal schedule of artists to see. For some reason, even though I used the app to set alarms that would go off 15-20 minutes before some performances, the only push notification I got was for The XX. Maybe I scheduled so many alerts that they began to overlap. Or there could have been a bug in their system. Either way, I found my way to the set on time, also because boo boo and I deferred to the Coachella pamphlet which had all the info the app had, just on paper. #winwin. I think this improvement to organizing Coachella is a progression of the lack of organization the festival had in the past, which might be what DJ Whoo Kid was talking about when I chatted with him on the plane ride over from JFK to LAX. Peace to Whoo Kid, aka the Hatian Barry White.
The priority was to see The XX, Pusha T, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Major Lazer, Hot Chip, and Lee “Scratch” Perry. We left too early to see Earl Sweatshirt on Friday night. Then on Saturday, we took our time getting back to the festival because we wanted to peep Venus X and Kilo Kish at Hotel Zoso’s Hard Rock Music Lounge. The result was missing 2 Chainz and Baauer. Shucks.
Major Lazer: They are the X factor. The biggest party within the party that is Coachella. People trying to catch green plastic bugles from Diplo. The audience closest to the stage and the middle of the crowd were fully immersed into the show. Diplo and Walshy Fire stepped into clear inflatable spheres, then walked over the crowd. Crowd surfing like hamsters in the ass crack of Coachella. Who it was good for is anyone’s guess.
Pusha T: Pusha has some of the best quotables in rap for the past few years. He started off the show with his memorable verses from Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like” Remix, “Popular Demand,” “Runaway,” “So Appalled,” “Cook It Down,” and some more Fear of God material. It might have been the best performance with one half of Clipse I’ve seen since Kanye West joined Pusha and Malice on stage at Webster Hall for the Diesel U:Music Festival in 2009. I’m pretty sure Jaden Smith was digging it, given he got a major shout out from Pusha at the beginning of the set, along with nods to Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator who were in the building… err tent.
The XX: It was their first time performing at Coachella. They did an amazing job filling the Empire Polo Grounds with their whole sound of lead guitars by Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie XX triggering looped breaks, and playing the steel drums. By far the major highlight was their performance of “Sunset.” When Romy uttered a capella, “I always thought it was sad,
the way we act like strangers. After all that we had, we act like we had never met,” Jamie XX finished her lyric by going into a break that was reminiscent of his routine from his Boiler Room mix. It was so well executed. Their ability to be in tandem, especially when you least expect it. When they covered Aaliyah’s “Hot Like Fire” I got goosebumps from Oliver Sim echoing Baby Girl’s classic. As he breathed every note of the chorus, it sounded like he was losing a piece of himself like they were his famous last words. They felt even more special as he knew he was touching a precious recording. When Solange added onto their performance of “Hot Like Fire” I can’t say it was bad, it just took me out of the fire and into a cold shower. Refreshing as her happiness and energy was, it just came out of nowhere. It worked, just not much to my personal liking.
The quinoa arugula salad, with yellow beets, super exotic and gourmet at the same damn time, courtesy of The Churchill. So good you must have your own, and consider seconds. The mac & cheese at the same stand had the appearance of your usual drunken Velveta shells and cheese, but the flavor was packed in the shallots, jalapenos, and breadcrumbs. Don’t sleep. For desert, the Waffle Man provided sweet sustenance in the form of ice cream on a stick. Once you place your order for ice cream dipped in chocolate with sprinkles or nuts, they call in your order to the kitchen like a knock-knock joke. “Hey, nuts on a stick.” “Who’s nuts on a stick?” “Jessie’s nuts.” My hearing was a little off so I thought hey said, “Just DEEZ NUTZ.” Jessie actually put nuts on my stick, for cheap, six bucks. Bang bang!
Note to all: Tipping is highly encouraged by all the food and beverage vendors. Jars next to cash registers read things like: “Karma Jar,” “Tipping is sexy,” and my favorite, “Give me a kiss or leave a tip.”
Next to the Waffle Man ice cream-on-a-stick stand, Jaden Smith was flanked by adults (handlers not security) at the Gyro stand. No one was taking flicks of him, even though he looked like he seemed aware that the inevitability of getting photographed. Giovanni Ribisi was kicking it with homies near the Tennis Garden check-in. Skrillex took in the Janelle Monáe show. I fanned out, as I planned to when I caught Danny Brown on the sidelines of the Major Lazer show. I respected that he didn’t wanna take a photo though, maybe next time he said. Bob Forrest from Celebrity Rehab enjoyed the Violent Femmes. OK, that’s enough celebrity name-dropping.