Well, I will admit this was the biggest year I have ever been a part of. Aside from the usual high temperatures, A-list headliners and stellar celebrity sightings, this was the first Coachella I attended all 3 days and actually made it out during daylight hours instead of hovering inside from the sweltering heat. Not to blend in with previous years, Coachella 2011 featured some unusual heavy hitters most would deem more appropriate for festivals like Lollapalooza or Rock the Bells (or their own over-priced headlining tour). Below, I will give my take on the event and give you a summary of which performances rocked, which fell short of the bar, and give a nice look book for some Coachella street styles I found to be fabulous.
Friday Day One
Gold Medal: Cut Copy
Silver Medal: Tie between Robyn and Ms. Lauryn Hill
Bronze Medal: Kings of Leon
Honorable Mention: Skrillex, Cold War Kids, Black Keys and Chemical Brothers
Friday was a big day for the Sahara Tent, boasting big names like Afrojack, A-trak, Sander Kleinenberg, and Skrillex; luckily I have seen most of them so I was able to focus on some new stuff. First of all, BIG honorable mention to the Black Keys, whom I had to miss only for the supreme victory that was Cut Copy's performance. I am a huge Keys fan, but when it comes to celebrating birthdays (we had one), bringnig together old friends from all over (we had 2 out of towners joining us), and wanting to shake some booty, Cut Copy was by far the best decision of the day. Not far behind them were the vocals of vixens Robyn and Lauryn Hill. Lauryn Hill was during the sunset and featured some throwbacks from The Mis-education of Lauryn Hill, as well as some Fugee's tracks I was hoping she would perform. Robyn was energetic, commanding and original, she completely captivated an enormous crowd (most of which I found surprising to be young-middle aged men that new more of her songs than I did). Kings of Leon rounded out the winners with an epic rock performance with exceptional video montages featured on the big screens. RADICAL! Other Honorable Mentions: Skrillex I heard you were off the charts! But I just saw you at Voyeur in San Diego so I had to pass you up. Cold War Kids looked amazing from far out views, and we were lucky enough to catch a couple songs en route to Cut Copy. Chemical Brothers, if it weren't for your crazy sounds, the walk through the campsite (in the wrong direction) may have killed me.
Saturday Day Two
Gold Medal: Mumford & Sons
Silver Medal: Steve Angello
Bronze Medal: Paul Van Dyk
Honorable Mention: Arcade Fire, Empire of the Sun, Scissor Sisters
Day two was much shorter than the others, as we made time for the OASIS Pool Party in the afternoon, which was crawling with great outfits and some serious celebs. Although electronic music is my MO, the Gold Medal winner Saturday was by far Mumford & Sons for their stellar performance. Steve Angello was undoubtedly the best I saw in the Sahara Tent, earning him the Silver, and Paul Van Dyk got defaulted to Bronze since I missed all the others :( Arcade Fire left the crowd to part the venue with giant glow in the dark balloons and Scissor Sisters I caught a quick glimpse of, and boy did it sound fun!
Sunday Day Three *CHAMPION DAY*
Gold Medal: Tie between Kanye West and Chromeo
Silver Medal: Tie between The Strokes and Nas & Damien Marley
Bronze Medal: Three way tie between Jimmy Eat World, Wiz Kalifa and Ellie Goulding
Honorable Mention: Duran Duran
Sunday was by far the best lineup, and hottest day of the festival. Although trying to bounce between shows is a tough task any day of the festival, this day was the toughest because they had the most variety. And like any day of a festival of this magnitude, sacrifices were made but I was ultimately happy with my decisions. The Honorable Mentions were a whirlwind of walking, and although I didn't get to see any of their full sets, all three acts had equal significance to me so I was happy to see any of them at all. Jimmy Eat World took me back to high school, playing nostalgic tracks from their Bleed American and Clarity albums. Ellie Goulding's voice was so pretty it was like a gust of cool breeze in the desert heat. Wiz Kalifa we walked in on, and really pumped the crowd up for Nas & Damien shortly after. Nas & Damien really worked the main stage and put on a super sick show, especially given it was during the prime heat of the day. Tracks like "If I Ruled the World", "Fu-gee-la" (round 2, after Lauryn Hill's Friday rendition) and "Road to Zion" were among the set list. After a quick dose of Sven Vath, we made our way to the Outdoor Theater for some Chromeo dancing, and it was off the charts. The dry desert winds were gusting in the night and Chromeo's lights, sequined jacket and dance moves really set the mood quite nicely. Not to mention he brought special guests Vampire Weekend and surprise guest/little brother A-Trak on stage to bop on the drums for a finale!! Just after the halfway mark of Chromeo, we migrated to The Strokes at the main stage and although we were battered and beaten by this time, I danced my little tootsies to death to more nostalgic tracks from their Last Night album, as well as newer tracks like "You Only Live Once" and "Reptillia". The only thing that could top off a day filled with techno, hip hop and indie rock was none other than the cherry on top... Kanye West (no pun intended, his red suit was Maraschino fresh)! Although it was disappointing that his rumored special guests never made it on stage (ahem ahem Katy & Rihanna), Bon Iver made a lovely appearance for his two songs featured on Kanye's new album. Celebrity let down aside, Kanye's set ranged from his College Dropout days, through his newest hits like "ET", "All of the Lights" and "Monster". The whole crowd was dancing, his moments where he spoke were well thought out (and infrequent, thankfully), and the evening came to a close with A Toast to the Douchebags. Perfect Ending!!
Besides the music, the parties, weather and fashion are enough to draw a crowd in a remote location such as Indio. Fashion being my forte, I have included below some pics of friends, strangers and socialites who really dressed their best for the fest.
Love this look
A little dressy for my festival style, but hot nonetheless
Ms. Lauryn Hill in Jil Sanders
xoxo, yours truly