Best in Show: Coachella Music
So we arrive at the final segment of our Coachella Series – music reviews. One drawback to Coachella is the scheduling; because the lineup was so extensive, many performers went on at the same time, meaning that we had to pick and choose who we wanted to see. We thought we did a pretty good job at prioritizing according to who we’ve seen in the past, who we were planning on seeing in the future, and who we thought would put on the most epic performance.
Best Overall Performance:
- Lucy’s Take, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg - Let’s be honest, putting Dre and Snoop onstage together for some chronic action is one thing, adding special guests 50 Cent, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and HOLOGRAPHIC TUPAC RISEN FROM THE DEAD is another. Putting aside the fact that I’m really in rap music, Snoop puts on a good show (I’ve seen him twice live). With a flow like butter, Snoop sounds (and looks) as OG onstage as he sounds on his tracks; furthermore, he truly seems to love performing, catering to his fans with classics like “Gin & Juice” and “Gangsta Party.” The main stage crowd for this Sunday night headliner was so massive, it was hard to get close. A massive cloud of smoke loomed over the masses, illuminated by the light of the stage. I thoroughly enjoyed the footage projected on the stage screens, and the sound quality (which is obviously best on Main Stage). The whole set was well-planned, Dre and Snoop starting with classics from The Chronic and segwaying into their respective, modern tracks. I lost my marbles when Wiz came on. 50′s “In Da Club” made me nostalgic for my New York youth. Holographic Tupac blew my mind – if I had missed that for Aviici (playing at same time) I would have jumped off the top of the Ferris wheel. What an emotional rollercoaster and a fantastic ending to Coachizzle.
- Lesley’s Take, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – Lucy pretty much summed this up. All I have to say, is that NOTHING will ever compare to seeing Tupac resurrected. At first when his hologram appeared on stage, I thought to myself, “who is this fine new rapper with the most amazing abs?” And then I realized who it was, and for a minute, believed that perhaps a hit or two of acid had been snuck into my food when I wasn’t looking. But nope — this shit was real. All I want to know is, who’s next?
Best Live Performance:
- Lucy’s Take, Florence + The Machine - I was well-warned of Florence’s capabilities as a live performer – a modern Stevie Nicks with a quirky twist of Bjork and PJ Harvey. We had an INCREDIBLE view for this show, so we stood poised with cameras at-the-ready as the breezy night desert air gently covered the crowd in a complacent calm – setting the stage for Ms. Welch’s arrival. When Florence appeared onstage in a chiffon kimono-like cape, spinning around in spritely fashion while engaging her crowd with kisses and smiles, I couldn’t help but feel lifted. Florence’s music is much like her, physically speaking – ethereal, emotional, beautiful. Though stone-cold sober, I felt intoxicated by the sound of her voice that was drawing me in like a siren draws a sailor. The acoustics were wonderful, much thanks to Florence’s strong voice and a very skilled band. Each percussive thump felt like my heart was beating, resonating through my body at every angle. This was an absolutely unforgettable musical experience.
- Lesley’s Take, Florence + The Machine - Florence has always been an artist at the top of my list to see, and FINALLY after countless tries at scoring tickets to her coveted shows, I got to see her. Her voice literally made me tear up during “Cosmic Love.” Not even kidding. And I thought it was so incredibly sweet when she encouraged all the guys in the audience to lift the girls they loved onto their shoulders for “Rabbit Heart.” For a second, I regretted not having a boy with me for that very reason, but she started to sing and honestly, it was so captivating, I was glad I could selfishly enjoy her voice alone.
Most Entertaining Performance:
- Lucy’s Take, DJ ChrisB. – Lesley and I started planning our ChrisB. (who somestimes goes by (Ill DJ ChrisB.) review within seconds after seeing him perform in The Do Lab on Day One. Strip away Chris’s turntables and stage posse and you’re left with a very stereotypical party bro from Florida. We actually stumbled upon ChrisB. while perusing the festival grounds and getting a lay of the land. What we did do was stumble into was a frat party. While Chris mixed Wiz Khalifa beats backed to dubstep from The Do Lab stage, he revved up the crowd with both hands….taking breaks for shots of champagne offered by members of his stage posse who stood by popping bottles over the crowd and grinding like they were on Diddy’s yacht in Miami and it was 1999. I kind of loved it.
Best Use of Electronics:
- Lucy’s Take, Swedish House Mafia – It took almost every ounce of being in us to pull our freezing, wet and exhausted selves together for SHM‘s 11pm performance on Friday - oh boy, am I glad we did. As we trudged over to the massive crowd surrounding Main Stage, a cosmic wave of energy overcame me and before I knew what was happening, I was shuffling my ass off in a small open crowd space. I didn’t care that it was 30 degrees and I was wearing a tiny crop top and cutoffs, I just HAD to dance. Atop an electronic “throne” the SHM stood like three tiny ants; it was terrifying and awesome that such sound could be generated from whatever it was they were doing up there. The sound wasn’t all – try fire blasts emanating from the stage and fireworks exploding above the festival grounds. Welcome to America, everyone – or rather, Welcome to Sweden.
Most Disappointing Performance:
- Lucy’s Take, David Guetta - He has SO many hit singles with SO many famous names at this point in his career that he’s all over the place – essentially, it’s hard to picture Guetta as just Guetta without a partner by his side. We felt obligated to see him perform, but we dipped out early as we were severely underwhelmed by his energy and his song selection. While I couldn’t pin his beats to a specific song, his sounds had little variation and enthusiasm. YAWN. Plus I couldn’t stand the tweeny-boppers and their boyfriends trying to start fights with us for no reason at all. See ya.
- Lesley’s Take, A$SAP Rocky - Perhaps it was unfair of me to expect an epic performance from A$AP Rocky, given that he’s still green, at least in terms of performing at large-scale venues. But I was SO excited to see him — Palace and Peso are my JAMS and I rock out to his album every day on my way to work. Perhaps my expectations were too high, which is why I left feeling disappointed. The entire A$AP crew was on stage the entire performance — I had a hard time finding A$AP Rocky in the crowd until he finally stood up on one of the speakers. For much of the show, members of the crew were rapping along in a disjointed way, making it difficult to understand A$AP Rocky’s songs. It was distracting to hear what I likened to an unsynchronized echo, and even more distracting to watch a few of the A$AP mob members bobbing to the music awkwardly at the back of the stage, like high school boys at prom. But before you A$AP fans jump down my throat for this less than stellar review, just know that despite the disappointing show, I’m STILL a fan. A$AP Rocky is one funny guy — I couldn’t get over his jokes about weed, coke and bitches the entire show. I consider A$AP to be one of the best newcomers to the hip hop scene, and I will be willing to give him a second chance and see him live again. Because honestly, all I think he and his crew need are a little bit more practice.
- Lucy’s Take, M83 – We all knew that M83 was going to be a memorable performance; their latest album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming was an exquisite and beautifully mixed collection of music – and with a jam like “Midnight City,” I was pretty stoked on seeing them at Coachella. I had actually helped to style leading lady Morgan Kibby (M83′s keyboardist/sound mixer/back up vocals) in a gorgeous backless Mike Vensel dress for this performance; her extremely chill and down-to-earth attitude was actually surprising considering her fame, and even more surprising considering the fact that she was so physically mobile and present while onstage. Most of M83′s music consists of haunting and trippy instrumental interludes that help to segway between tracks – these instrumentals are amazing on their albums and predictably, AMAZING live. I really love how the group balances electronics with classic instruments like keyboard and saxophone to create a very full and vibrant sound….such an enjoyable performance.
- Lucy’s Take, Madeon – Hailing from Nantes, France, Hugo Pierre Lelerc (how cute?!) or Madeon, wins the award for youngest Coachella performer at 17 years old….okay I’m not 100% certain on that fact, but I have yet to be corrected. Our friend Celby assured us that he was a must-see, and though we only caught the second-half of his set, it wasn’t hard to see why. The kid had the entire crowd bumping and jumping, filling the tent with resonating beats and leaving just enough time to keep us screaming for a bass drop.
Most Regretted Miss:
- Lucy’s Take, Azealia Banks – I think I can speak for Lesley when I say that we really f*cked up here. Essentially, we didn’t time things right and got stuck in security, thus missing her afternoon performance. We love this chick and know that she killed it onstage, but we also know that she’ll be back soon, because this ‘lil lady from the 212 is BLOWING UP!!!
Well, that’s all folks. What a killer weekend of fashion, music and fun. See y’all next year at Coachella 2013.