Words and photos by Eric Lynch.
If Friday was about jorts and flower crowns and Saturday was about sandstorms and solid “lesser” acts, then Sunday was about Coachella babies and big performers who totally brought it.
Arcade Fire played to their 80,000 lost souls with a world of possibilities ahead of them, introducing one of their tour de forces, “There’s a lot of kind of like fake VIP room bullshit happening at this festival and I just want to say that sometimes people dream of getting in places like that and it super sucks in there so don’t worry about it. This song’s called ‘The Suburbs’…”
Debbie Harry and Regina Chassagne sang “Heart of Glass” then Harry stood there looking shell-shocked and awkward during Chassagne’s “Sprawl II.”
There is an obvious predecessor to Pharrell’s (stupid) Vivienne Westwood hat — you know, the hat that contained all his friends that showed up to bounce around the stage with him on Saturday: Nelly, Diddy, Busta, Snoop, Gwen, et al. Beck’s hat is senior.
Much to the glee of the crowd, Beck took us on a mind-journey in his Hyundai during “Debra,” giving shout-outs to SoCal cities along the way. Tongue-in-cheek, sure, but the masses loved it as they “stepped inside the passenger door.” He played, along with his son Cosimo on tambourine, until the Golden Voice clock-watchers turned out the power.
AlunaGeorge gave a great performance, despite an outfit that included comfortable/restaurant worker-appropriate shoes. Shape-Ups? Troubling opening with an overwhelming bass line (she opened with “Attracting Flies”) but she adjusted very well.
DARKSIDE: Probably the best performance of the weekend. Nicolas Jaar (who played a solo DJ set on Friday in the Yuma tent) and Dave Harrington consecutively constructed and destroyed throughout their set. Plus Nicolas Jaar is dreamy.
Despite Neutral Milk Hotel’s lo-fi output, devoted fans worshipped every spangle-jangled second. Sing-alongs aplenty and clapping 30-somethings and mid-life couples with one and a half babies.
The 1975 brought fun and a bit of realness to the festival early on Sunday. Hot skinny slim-mustachioed gay boys and white jeans with matching boat shoes-sporting straight feys regaled.
Ty Segall gave the longest and loudest sound check in the history of outdoor festivals. They know we’re standing ring here, right?! The band’s energy was palpable.
CHVRCHES apologized for having to wear sunglasses because “we’re really not from here.” But their performance was anything but apologetic. Polished and clean.
Future Islands: I thought Black Flag front man Henry Rollins had been reincarnated as a less punk, more enraged white guy, mugging for the crowd, bleating and blathering with testosterone force.
Warpaint had the most crowded photographer’s pit. Full of 20-something bloggers and middle-aged stock photogs. The ladies did not disappoint.
As a photographer, I’m always hoping for a performance and a persona like Solange. She can just electrify with her presence. Not knowing at the time who she was, I actually snapped some great shots of her last year at Coachella, while watching the Jesse Ware performance — simply because I could not take my eye off of her adorable sundress covered in bright yellow lemons. This year onstage, she teased and taunted us in an orange shorts suit. At one point she jokingly admonished the YouTube videographer to get out of her crotch as she writhed and pined in front of his lens. Something for the gays, the girls and the bros! Yes, and big sis Beyonce showed up, duh.
Overall: Blood Orange, Holy Ghost, Warpaint, The Knife, Solange, DARKSIDE, the 1975 and Arcade Fire were absolute standouts.