Well, I am just barely alive, but I made it. I saw all the good music I meant to see and more this year at Coachella, and I have the bruises, hoarse voice, and suspiciously shaped sunburns to prove it. After catching sets from Steely Dan, Jack White, Tame Impala, Run The Jewels, SBTRKT, AC/DC, and countless others, I elevated to a state of nirvana/exhausted stupor from which I have yet to come down/convalesce. Though Drake was the main headliner on the bill Sunday night, the real stars of the final day of week 1 were the female rockers: St. Vincent, Jenny Lewis, Angel Olsen, and Florence Welch all shone brightly like the gems that they are.
I have never been sweatier at a concert than at Angel Olsen’s afternoon set at the Gobi tent. Though I wish I could say this was the result of visceral reaction to her unearthly wail and intent stare, it was actually because I ran two miles in the desert sun in flip flops to catch her performance. It was totally worth the egregious back sweat to see her tear through barn burners like “Hi-Five” and spooky tracks like “Acrobat”. If you like Roy Orbison and striking folk rock–this is a live act you have to see as soon as you possibly can–even if you have to sprint.
All that you really need to know about this set is that Eric Andre came out with a giant dildo during the final song and played it like a theremin (click here for the NSFW, semi-explicit link). Tyler, The Creator and Blake from Workaholics were among the crowd for this one, which made me feel like I was at a giant musical comedy show instead of a rock concert. But that is sort of the beauty of Mac DeMarco performances after all.
The last time I saw Jenny Lewis live, I almost lost my shit. Well, some things never change if you are an adult man who is actually just a 14-year-old girl in 2001, and I barely kept it together for the former Rilo Kiley singer’s dazzling late afternoon set at the Outdoor stage. Speaking of Rilo Kiley, she brought out former Rilo Kiley bandmate, Blake Sennett for a rendition of “Portions For Foxes”. And if that wasn’t enough to make everybody swoon on the immaculately manicured turf, all three Haim sisters joined Lewis onstage to perform a brand new song called “Girl On Girl”, which is a chant-worthy anthem that I cannot wait to hear as a studio recording.
Florence And The Machine
Florence Welch and her band are sitting on a great album; I can feel it. All the singles she has released from the forthcoming project have been up to snuff, and Welch’s voice still sounds as crisp and booming as a thunderclap. I kept my distance and sat down for this performance as the band played some of the new material, but as soon as I heard the first delicate strums of “Dog Days Are Over” I was at attention and ready to jump. The next three minutes were sort of a blur, because everyone had the exact same instinct and what ensued was mass jubilation.
I had never seen St. Vincent live before last night and had no idea how much of a performance artist she truly is. She is an excessively talented and precise songwriter with guitar-playing chops that rival Jack White, but good lord is she transfixing to watch on a stage. As soon as she came out she assumed a completely different identity, as though she was possessed, and began moving methodically and robot-like in the moments when she wasn’t absolutely focused and shredding and singing at the same time. Ever since she had that funky collaboration with David Byrne, I can’t help comparing of her intricate, peculiar, and thought provoking artistry to that of The Talking Heads. Her odd, enticing dance moves sealed the deal for me.
Check out the full image gallery below and let us know which pictures are your favorites! Stay tuned this week for more Coachella coverage as we prep for weekend 2!