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Friday, day one at Coachella, was hot, both physically and metaphorically. Hot for the dope beats from acts like Outkast, A$AP Ferg and Girl Talk. Hot for the badass femme-rock that came from Dum Dum Girls, HAIM, Ellie Goulding, Neko Case, Austra, Waxahatchee and Kate Nash. And hot for all the fingers slamming against guitar strings from rockers like Title Fight and the Replacements, who, despite their gaps in ages, both rocked out with the same intensity.
For fans of female vocals, the 6 o’clock hour was for you. With Neko Case on the outdoor stage providing the chillest vibes of the day and Ellie Goulding on the main Coachella stage getting intensly into her soul-pop, one would think that there couldn’t be anything to top that. But the queen of the hour was Kate Nash who had the stage and her frame all decked out in pink, and jumped into the crowd after only three songs.
There were some hiccups throughout the day, as there is at all festivals. Dum Dum Girls were plagued by tech glitches. At one point, lead singer Dee Dee Penny had to give her guitar to guitarist Jules when her’s kept having disagreements with the sound system. Girl Talk had an epic set full of high energy stunts, such as bringing a large crowd of fans on stage and wind blowing toilet paper into the crowd. But the video screens during his set failed epically. First the screens started playing Bryan Ferry’s set from the Mojave stage, then the techs kept trying to restart the visuals to no avail, finally giving up and leaving Girl Talk’s screens black. Which was a shame because those far from the stage couldn’t see when Girl Talk was joined on stage by Juicy J, E-40 and Busta Rhymes.
Girl Talk wasn’t the only one with guests during his set. Outkast brought out Janelle Monae and Future. Their set, moved from 11:30 to 11:05, didn’t end up starting until after 11:30 anyway. Due to their running late, the band’s mics were cut off much to many fans’ chagrin. Andre 3000 though may have been happy to have had the performance cut short, being that his energy was not what Big Boi’s was, and some people swear that Andre 3000 was checking his cell phone during the band’s set. He probably had some after-party he would’ve rather been at.
Outkast may have been the official headliner, but those who instead went to the rare performance from Swedish electronic duo The Knife were treated to a visual treasure trove of extra session performers playing multiple instruments and showing off their intricately choreographed dance moves that were highlighted by silky costumes and glitery makeup.
The day also featured HAIM’s bassist Este inviting everyone in the crowd to pretend they were in the band’s childhood living room in Valley VIllage, CA, as her parents were preparing snacks so the band could just jam for them. Although Austra probably gave a passionate performance, her big hat covered her face for much of the show and not all the audience could be sure what her facial expressions were. When The Replacements performed this much-anticipated reunion show, lead singer Paul Westerberg joked how people had been enjoying great music all day and he was going to change that. At the end of the day, around midnight, stragglers still not wanting to leave the festival were treated to the electronic metal stylings of Chino Moreno’s side project ††† (Crosses) as well as Antiflag, both of which provided loud, garish performances that were enough to wake any sleepyhead up.
Photos by Annie Lesser