On Friday during Bastille’s set there were hoards of girls screaming which might have made them the next big boy band of the festival. That was until The 1975 hit the stage on Sunday. Girls were practically crying as they sang along to the lyrics of these Manchester musicians. One of the flailing females in the front row had actually been at the Bastille show two days earlier wearing the exact same outfit as Friday but with 1975 logo across her black tank instead of a Bastille logo.
The most fun show before sunset by far was Rudimental with their high energy electronic funk, featuring Deejay Locksmith, aka Leon Rolle, acting as the most playful hype man in the history of hype men. As vocalists Piers Agget and
Kesi Dryden took turns taking center stage, Locksmith would make silly faces as the women danced with him, intermittently bringing each instrumental soloists front and center—all the while making sure no one wasn’t smiling and dancing the entire show. Definitely a live act to see if ever given the opportunity.
While Rudimental was keeping it funky, indie rock mainstays Superchunk was keeping it sweaty, proving that the Replacements aren’t the only old guard punks at Coachella who can still rock like they’re in their 20s. Sadly, the Naked and Famous did not have the same energy as the previous two bands. The New Zealand group played their songs technically well and kept smiles on their faces, but lacked any emotion behind their performance, making one wonder why should we see them at a festival versus just listening to their CD from the comfort of our homes without the dust, heat and crowds of Coachella.
Neutral Milk Hotel had a strict no photos policy from the press, and that seemed to include festival cameras as well. While the band played, instead of having images of the reunited cult indie rockers’ performance on the stage’s side screens, there was instead an image of the iconic Coachella ferris wheel. Lame.
Sunset is a great time to visit the Do Lab stage, which is in the center of an artistic environment that sprays mist to cool the crowd down and features performances by more artistic and esoteric electronic acts. On Sunday, Vancouver native and Denver-based Ill-Esha started the sunset hour with a smaller crowd, but her backup dancers grinding on the bouncers heads and siren calling over boys to dance with them definitely got the party started. The Do Lab really got pumping fifteen minutes later when Slow Magic, neon wolf mask and all, hit the stage and his drums.
Beck began his set off with his high energy hits Devil’s Haircut and Loser, but slowed it down towards the end. That proved to be too slow for people who were trying to stay pumped for Arcade Fire, so for the second half of Beck’s set many left to get their pulse pounding at Disclosure‘s packed set which featured the vocal stylings of Mary J Blige. Although people in the main crowd kept it civil in the VIP/Artist Guest section, Disclosure fanatics were pushing so hard to get past the gate that they wouldn’t let medic’s through, and some photo pit photographers (this one included) had to be lifted out by security guards. Although Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler probably did not witness any of this, he still commented on how at Coachella there are perhaps too many VIP and Artist exclusive areas, and while people may dream of going there, it really sucks in those areas.
Speaking of Arcade Fire, the band put on an amazingly epic set. The show started with a man in a giant reflective suit introducing the band from the middle of the crowd before the Canadians went into Reflektor. The second song of the evening was Flashbulb Eyes during which Win Butler grabbed a camera from from one of the photographers shooting him and began taking pictures of the press. The crowd went wild when Debbie Harry joined the band to sing both Blondie’s Heart of Glass, and Arcade Fire’s Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). Towards the end of Arcade Fire’s set, Butler gave a shout out to “All the bands at the festival still using instruments,” which either could be taken as him cheering on the other bands still performing, or taking a jab at all of the electronic musicians that dominated the festival this year. For three songs the audience was warned this might be the band’s last song until they got cut off at the end of Wake Up. After their mics were cut, Arcade Fire were joined by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and went into the crowd to finish Wake Up.
Surprises Sunday included: Jhene Aiko bringing out Drake during her set; Motorhead being joined by Slash for Ace Of Spades and Overkill; and the Heineken House closing out it’s Snap Chat secret collaborations with Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing alongside Fishbone.