It’s a wrap, Coachella. I am crying glitter as I firmly state that I am one day out and would kill to be back amongst any and every one of these acts. Imagine hanging out with friends, goblins and goons both old and new on a 78-acre stretch musical motherland full of live music, love, hella sand and a myriad of human beings enthusiastically eager to internally expand over a weekend of 95-degree weather in a Southern California desert. Let’s tear up our VIP guest list, rehydrate with some coconut water and wander through moments of musical history that were made in the hearts and minds of ladies, lords and lowlives under the burning pink and yellow desert sky at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, California.
Over 100,000 diverse human beings and music luminaries sporting flower crowns, fanny packs, boho accessories and crucial camping necessities passed through security gates and experienced strange moments that brought magic into the mundane over tunes being played from an array of over 100 bands, musicians, artists, rappers, DJ’S and permaculture masters expressing their wildest selves and embracing the art of living.
Day #1 kicked off with a bang when the 21-year old Brooklyn native, Joey Bada$$, was met by a roaring crowd of hip hop heads and a smoke filled atmosphere eager to soak up heavily potent and educative lyrics that radiate passion and quick wit from the young man who preaches that he born and died in 1995. Joey honored the late legend, Prince, and dropped two new tracks full of heat including a heart-tingling, reflective masterpiece titled, “Devastated”, and morphed Coachella into Prochella in honor of the hip-hop collective, Pro Era. Danish metal band, Volbeat, was certainly the heaviest act to roll through Coachella and crushed dehydrated freaks of nature with a guitar-driven, thundering blow of furious musical rights and lefts that had devil horns, death walls and swinging fists blustering through the Gobi tent. The evening closed on a special note with LCD Soundsystem rising from the dead and uniting to ignite a vibrant hybrid of of electronic and rock concert energy that had festivalgoers and celebratory VIP atmosphere hypnotically immersed and swinging their malnourished hips to electronic musical files full of bedazzlement pulled out of the dusty cabinet.
After cold-pressed fruit popsicles and a good nights rest, Day #2 comprised of conflicting schedules of highlight acts such as Ice Cube, Guns N’ Roses, Grimes, Disclosure, Zedd, A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, SZA, Silversun Pickups, Halsey, James Bay, Gary Clark Jr., Vince Staples, SOPHIE, Rhye and Nina Kraviz, to name a few, which left festivalgoers ethereally traipsing from stage to stage to catch a glimpse of history in the badlands.
Ice Cube took festivalgoers down a nostalgic walk through a gangsta’s fairytale and made history that will eternally live on in the world of hip hop the moment he brought out fellow NWA member, Dr. Dre, who teamed up with Cube on verses from “California Love” and “Still D.R.E” along with fellow surviving members, MC Ren and DJ Yella midway through his set which sparked the moment NWA was together on stage for the first time in almost 30 years, minus the late and great, Eazy E. The Game was brought out on stage and blasted the crowd with “Don’t Trip” and the King, Kendrick Lamar, who united with Cube on his powerful track, “Alright”, delivered goosebumps in the desert.
The momentous return of Guns N’ Roses and the odd chemistry between Axl Rose and Slash cooking up a treat for diehard fans with an appetite for destruction added a touch of old-school culture to the crowd and as the legends incorporated classic tunes into their set from their rip-roaring 30 year discography. The multifaceted creative genius, Grimes, busted her head into her pedal board and elegantly played it off like a champ over a variety of tracks from her latest masterpiece, “Art Angels”, and even stepped in to rap in mandarin over glitchy beats in place of Aristophanes, who was not able to attend weekend two of Coachella. The pure mastery behind Grimes stage presence full of frantic high-kicking, dancing and jumping back and forth between instruments in the midst of performing her celestial, self-engineered tracks served as a healthy dose of artistic genius that delivered one of the most theatrical and powerfully unique performances I have ever encountered within my 26 years of living on Planet Earth.
Day #3 was taken by storm with a captivating encore display of lucidity from the singer-songwriter, Sia, who broke the internet with modern choreography and prerecorded videos that sparked emotive fires within festivalgoers accepting the bitter reality that Coachella was indeed on the verge of coming to a close. The Bay Area lunatics, Rancid, tapped into the punk rock woodshed and dished out an energetic afternoon full of mid-90’s classics and absurd lyrics that rekindles the band’s earlier road to fame and earlier flame.
The Brooklyn Indie dance duo, Matt and Kim, put on a spectacular performance full of audience interaction that illustrated the upbeat, special bond that has been cultivated between the two lovebirds over upbeat dance music. The evening closed with the highest-paid DJ in the world, Calvin Harris, who kept the party going with ‘throw your hands up in the air’ tunes under the desert moon.
Whether you’re a passionate music fanatic or a simply a festival lover, Coachella is full of sensory delight for both ears and eyes and I highly recommend that you add it to your lifetime’s bucket-list.