This year, Coachella brought the best of this years hottest artists into one arena on 5 stages over 3 days in a titillating, chaotic and full fledged maniacal music exhibition.
The Projects were in attendance, focusing mainly on electronic acts, but we got a full range of the best performances…as follows:
This man is a saint. A muppet. A full fledged music genie. You could not ask for a more stripped down, humble performer. Echoing perfect lyrics over stunning piano and guitar sections, Thom Yorke was easily the highlight of the festival. Rumors had been circling about supposed on-stage duets (including David Bowie…can you imagine??) Alas, it was just Thom and Flea, with the Atoms of Peace. After we had been bouncing from high energy act to high energy act, Thom Yorke seemed to breathe life into the audience, offering a calm and encouraging perspective. He is simply classic and timeless. Wait, isn’t that what music is supposed to be? Oh yeah. Thom Yorke…you win Coachella.
Runner up for best act at Coachella. Hardly an act at all, Die fokken Antwoord set the crowd at ease to see they are really, truly, freaks of the civilized world with an incredibly fresh sound. Their live show felt so good. Strong thumping beats with solid bass, their twenty minute set was a last minute addition squeezed between Z-Trip and 2ManyDJs; Die Antwoord blew them both out of the water. Both Ninja and Yo-Landi held the crowds energy hostage at redline during their entire six-song set. Flipping the bird, spitting out crazy South Afrrrrikaan slang, and a couple of young, confused, aimless, chubby boys with masks shaking their thang around in nothin but boxers, were just a few of the highlights of the show.
Many mysteries remain about this powerful new trio (dont forget DJ Hi-Tek), like who they are (Max.TV), who does their hair (scarhair.com) or who where they get their crazy designed tracksuits (animations based on the work of Roger Ballen.) One thing is for sure…Die Antwoord is the best fake new live act of the year. Or ever.
Major Lazer is a the power group booty fusion of Diplo, Switch and whichever MC maniacal lyricist they currently have their eye on. After being totally taken by their “Pon de Flor” track and eventually the music video (by director Eric Wareheim ) I have been obsessed with this power group and their power daggering, alongside MC Skerrit Bwoy. Their live performance was everything I expected it to be. Totally energetic, constant choas, dagger smashing, booty crushing, lazer shooting music. Switch and Diplo were bored to tears, chain-smoking and train wrecking through tracks. Totally expected. MC Skerrit Bwoy was wild, totally outrageous and under control, along with. He never missed a beat and climbed every available truss he cold find. His all star moment was when he threw down the dagger ladder into the press area, ran to the top, only to cause the entire ladder to sway heavily before stage diving off into the audience. EPIC. “Don’t make me get the ladder” is a new threat in our house now.
This all new live hardware set by German minimal producer Richie Hawtin was an excellent closer to the Coachella festival. Hawtin apparently attempted the project years ago, but felt the technology was just not available to do what he wanted to do. At last, things have changed. His all new live set features an LED wrap-around screen, which encompasses Hawtin and his mountain o’ hardware, in a cylindrical vault, displaying interactive modern visuals. The show as a whole was phenomenal. The lights and visuals were in in perfect synconicity with the music. The beats were thick, deep, and baaasssyyyy. At times, they seemed to penetrate your chest and corkscrew every hair on your body until your earplugs felt they were going to pop like a champaign cork in rap music video. The set was a bit too minimal for my flavor, even repetitive in some instances. Overall, the Plastikman show was a huge lesson in new music and interactive visual technology and I highly recommend seeing him when you can.
As far as DJ sets go, Donald Glaude was a total shocker. We wandered into the Heineken tent around 7:00 on Sunday and Donald Glaude was not just killing, he wasn’t destroying, he was literally brutally massacring every person in the dome. We’ve always thought him to be a typical house DJ, based on the venues he plays the DJs he collaborates with, but Donald Glaude was doing something in the dome we had not seen in a while. He was actually DJing. He was massively skillful in his mixing, totally graceful in his track selection, and all around the best party DJ we heard at Coachella. People were losing their peanuts and going bananas!!!! BANANAS!!!! I did visuals for D.Glaude a while back at Ruby Skye and remember him peaking my interest but not knowing much about him. This may have been a special set where he felt he cold really left loose…but my god its good to hear underground electronic music being played out to the masses. Dear Mr. Glaude…thank you. Sincerely, DJ Nisus and VJ Vizibelle. We love you.
It’s Saturday, around 8:00, and we are snacking on some tasty Thai food (shout out to The Eggroll People! Thanks for keeping us alive.) Suddenly, we feel the rumble. Slowly, the melody kicks in. I looked over and for a second i thought “OH Dear God! The Mojave tent is on fire!! Somebody help them! It must be a terrorist attack-…Oh wait, its just Bassnectar.” I feel like Bassnectar gets a bad wrap. YES he attracts hippies. YES they smell bad, dont shave and talk about ‘antioxidents’ but Bassnectar is a good producer, and there’s no denying that. He has found his neich. As the name implys, he properly combines his retarded bass-lines with humming melodies that make it easy for a little lady like myself to sway over and thrash to. He closed his set with a brand new remix of Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy.” One again…EPIC.
I don’t even know what to say about these guys. They have been like the gateway act into electronic music for so many people. They have been held in such high regard for so long, but their performance at Cochella this year…well…sucked. Once Die Antwoord finished, the crowd was tired, but willing and ready. The stagehands rushed the stage, pulled apart every monitor, DJ booth and mic stand and after reassembling it backstage with the addition of some pretty lights, began hurriedly reassembling it all as the show began. Stephen walked out onto the stage holding a small fm radio, switching dials, until he finally tuned into the beginning of their set. Just as the booth was wheeled out, he set his radio down and began to play. Davide cued the CDs while Stephen mixed…well, tried painfully to mix is more like it. It was on par or worse than Switch and Diplo. The track selection (poor as they were) was circa 2007 and unlike good wine, their set did not improve with time. Kind of a let down.
I have been waiting to see Fever Ray for a loong time. I always seem to miss them when they are in town. I have been obsessed with the new album, listening to it on repeat and pouring over remixes. I arrived at coachella 5mins before their set. Literally got out of the car after a 9 hour drive and booked ass to get to Sahara. Their show was mellow. The tent was packed and it was difficult to see the elaborate costumes. They had these awesome lamps that were pulsing to the beat. It was fun, but sadly similar to the album. It would have been nice to hear some switch-ups, or remixes or slight differences. Regardless, Fever Ray was phonomenal
Deadmau5 played in a classic Daft Punk-like DJ booth that was tipped over with tons of visuals everywhwere…even on his little mouse head. My initial though while watching Deadmau5 was why was he not remixing live his tracks? Don’t get me wrong, his set was good, but a common theme at Coachella always seems to be musicians and DJs playing exactly what’s on their CD. No riffs, no remixing, no solos. Granted his light show and the booth he was nestled inside of were pretty awesome. I guess i’ve never been much of a fan of Deadmau5. It always seems like the potential is there but he just doenst quite get me. Even the visuals content was not amazing. Fast? Yes. Beat matched? Of Course. Interesting and dynamic (aka modern)? Not very much. It was a good party and the crowd dug it. It was a bummer that he took his mouse head off at the end…I was really beginning to believe he was a mouse. Shucks.
-Vizibelle & Nisus