Posted by: daradoodle | April 23, 2010

Coachella 2010: Rolling 80,000 Deep

Sun sets on Coachella 2010

If you get in a car and drive two hours east of Los Angeles, you’ll find yourself in a desert. Why would anyone ever want to venture to the desert, you ask? For the Coachella Valley Music Festival, that’s why!

The annual event is three jam-packed days of bands from all over the world, performing to music fanatics both new and old. The festival gives those who didn’t have the time to hit up individual concerts throughout the year (or two years in my case) a chance to see those bands and then some in one weekend.

Since I was out of the country for the 2009 fest, I missed what would’ve been my sixth consecutive year. When I saw the line-up for this year, I knew that I had to make a comeback and my BFF Eleanore was ready to make hers too. A few days before we set out for the desert, my buddy from New Orleans, Francois, asked if he could jump on our Coachella band wagon and I always say the more the merrier!

Day #1 – Friday, April 16th

We checked in to our funky little Brady Bunch lodging establishment in Downtown Palm Springs called the Desert Hills Hotel. After eating lunch at a spot on the main drag recommended by a lady strategically placing lawn ornaments and wind catchers by the dozens in front of her home, we began our journey… our long, long, long, journey to the Empire Polo Field, which is located 3o minutes away from where we started.

In front of wacky lady’s house with lawn ornaments

Downtown Palm Springs!

We hit insane traffic when attempting to park. Then we were victims of the massive crowd waiting to enter the venue when volunteers taking tickets ran out of the 3-day pass bracelets! WTF? I’m still rather bitter about this because in my opinion, if you’re paying $300 for anything (which thankfully I didn’t have to pay, but WHATEVER), you shouldn’t have to wait in a line for more than 5 minutes. And if you know how many tickets sold… ugghhh… enough to SELL OUT the event… WHY wouldn’t you have enough bracelets available?

Stupid line on Friday for Entrance/Wristbands

We finally made it!!

ANYWAY, we entered the festival in time to catch the end of She and Him. People seem to love this duo made up of actress, Zooey Deschanel and some guy who doesn’t have a first name called M. Ward, but I don’t really know what the fascination is all about. I mean, she’s super cute and all, but I don’t think they’re doing anything epic. Different folks, different strokes, I suppose.

Passion Pit

Now, Passion Pit is another story. These guys are so amazing. Hearing “I’ve Got Your Number” on KCRW a few days after returning to U.S. prompted me to purchase the album, Chunk of Change. Everyone in the crowd was singing along and dancing during the show. THEY were epic.

I attempted to see La Roux in the Gobi tent, but crowd was so out of control, I could barely hear them let alone see them. So crazy. This is when I realized exactly how many people were at the event… the whole recording breaking 80,000! It was impossible to move from one act to another mainly because people looking for somewhere to sit just plopped down in places that were meant for walking. Slowly but surely I made my way over to Pretty Lights in the “rave tent” before backtracking to Grizzly Bear for their final few songs.

Imogen Heap

I got a good spot for Imogen Heap. She’s a one woman show and half her equipment wasn’t working. Poor thing. She Scotch tapes microphones to her wrists to sample sounds from percussions then sings while playing the piano. She had an additional keyboard that wasn’t hooked up properly. People started leaving. We stuck around for an audience participation song before my party started getting antsy. Amazing voice, great songs, probably not the best live.

Popped in to catch the last few songs of Little Dragon‘s set. The lead singer, Yukimi Nagano, is a doll. Not only does she have a great voice, she’s a joy to watch. I couldn’t get “Feathers” out of my head for the rest of the night. Then another song, “Empire Ants” – a collaborative effort with the Gorillaz – replaced “Feathers” during the Gorillaz festival closing show on Sunday night, but more on that later! Little Dragon is awesome and they made my list of bands to see on a bill of their own.

Back to the Outdoor stage for Vampire Weekend who never disappoint. The band is fun, their songs are fun, everyone had fun.

As soon as they wrapped, we ran over to the Mojave tent with 20 minutes to spare for securing a spot for Fever Ray. The crowd was already insane and just as the show began, some douchebag hipsters (feathers and bandanas in hair and all) decide to push their way through the mobs of people and stop right in front of us. I managed to push myself back in front of them. Then this “Peter” joker decides to answer a call on his CrackBerry (with a cricket sounding ring!) and proceed to yell at the person on the other line. Seriously dude, seriously? What a tool.

The Fever Ray posse dress up in costumes when cranking out their dark electronic… almost mystical sound. Swedish singer, Karin Dreijer Andersson, sported a Hunchback of Notre Dame type outfit while the band was clad with cardinal hats and tribal garb. There was so much fog and so many people obstructing my view, it was difficult to take in the aesthetic of the performance. However, after the first song, a dude near me started tweaking out… like falling all over the place, looking like he didn’t know where he was, not responding to people, tweaking out. At that point I realized, whatever Fever Ray was doing up there was clearly working. A fascinating spectacle I’d like to see in a different setting. The video for “When I Grow Up” captures a small portion of what they got goin on.

We took off around mid-night to beat the crowd. On the way out we heard Jay Z‘s melody of top hits. We were getting into the car when we heard “Empire State of Mind” blasting from the venue and a woman’s voice who wasn’t Alicia Keys. Francois later Googled and found out that wifey Beyonce sang the duet.

Day #2 – Saturday, April 17th

Can’t start the day without a good meal, so we popped over to Cheeky’s… as did everyone else in Palm Springs. Their logo is two monkeys procreating, but that’s not what makes Cheeky’s amazing… and it’s not the hour and a half wait either… it’s the Pimm’s cups and breakfast quesadillas.

Francois & I @ Cheeky’s

The parking situation at the Empire Polo Field was still shit. EVEN after we followed the same GPS detour route that saved us about 2 hours the previous day. Thankfully the line to get in was faster than Friday, although there were still two checkpoints for bags. That I’ll never understand.

Up first, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We probably would’ve skipped these folks had we not been inspired when hearing one of their songs on the drive over. What a kick ass group. They kind of remind me of The Arcade Fire by having enough band members to populate a small village. Here’s a shaky little video of them performing “Home.”


The XX followed. I absolutely love The XX, but if you know their music, you know that most of their tunes are really mellow. And at 5 PM on a Saturday afternoon at Coachella, sometimes you want to hear something that’s going to keep you going for another five hours… so the fire coming from the roof of the main stage sort of stole the band’s thunder. They sounded great, but probably not the best forum. However, they seemed to keep Jay Z and Beyonce entertained as images of them watching were projected on the jumbotrons.

Main Stage roof on fire during The XX

The XX

The XX

Francois and I rushed to the front of the stage to prepare for U.K. boys, Hot Chip. I freakin love Hot Chip. What a great show. We were up in the hot, sweaty mix the whole time and both of us got smashed by crowd surfers.  If you missed their performance, you might as well call your time at Coachella a bust. Here’s a video of “Ready for the Floor”… and you’ll see toward the end where we almost get smashed by yet another crowd surfer.

Hot Chip

Since we were already close to the stage, as soon as Hot Chip finished, everyone behind us pushed to get to the front for MGMT. We weren’t trying to be in the danger zone for another act, so we weaseled out of there as quick as we could. Francois left to watch Major Lazer and I stayed for MGMT. Another stellar performance!


Francois sent me text from the Mojave tent saying that the Major Lazer show was bananas and I had to get over there. As soon as I reunited with Eleanore fresh off the Faith No More show, we headed over to check out this Major Lazer.

Yeahhh… soooo… something about a lady wearing a tutu in a handstand on top of the turntables…. pardon the lack of better words… poppin her kooch in the DJ’s face… wasn’t quite doing it for me. The crowd was reallllllllly into it though… especially when the DJ dropped Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants.” Then “The Major” brought out a ladder and was yelling, “ARE YOU READY FOR THIS!? ARE YOU READY FOR THIS!?” Eleanore and I looked at each other and said, “NO!”

My crew was starting to fade and I had to drag them to Flying Lotus who neither of them were familiar with! I know, a travesty. LA native, Steven Ellison, was bringing the bass and everyone in the Gobi tent was feeling it. The lighting was kind of crazy making it difficult to snap clear photos, but the Apple on his laptop and laser light projector next to him made for some artsy images.

Flying Lotus

We decided to take a chance on Devo…. yes, the “Whip It” DEVO. This act was the BIGGEST surprise of the whole festival. These guys have been performing together for years and it really shows. They didn’t miss a beat. High energy for every song. Their new stuff is really catchy and of course they busted out the Devo Energy Dome hats for their old songs. We were really impressed and loved the show!



I made the clan, who was beyond ready to leave, watch a few Sia Furler songs to close out the night. The ear wrenching noise of Tiesto coming from the main stage was so loud that every time Sia ended a song, her and the band would break into booty dancing. So ridiculous. She on the other hand has a voice that touches the soul and a personality to go along with it.


Day #3 – Sunday, April 18th

Eleanore had to get back to San Diego to catch a flight for New Orleans, so we splashed around in the pool then had brunch before telling her bye. Jake’s Ready-To-Eat right next to Cheeky’s makes a damn good white sangria. We had a good ole time entertaining ourselves with those while waiting for our table.

Pool time at Desert Hills in Palm Springs

El & I at Jake’s

Day 3 was by far the easiest day for parking and entrance. Don’t know what they did, but someone needs to take notes for next year.

Florence and the Machine AM-AZING! One of my favorite shows of the weekend. Just watch the video.

Florence and the Machine

If you know me, you know that I’m a massive Strokes fan. Most of the boys are working on solo projects these days including lead singer Mr. Julian Casablanacs…. or Mr. Casablancas, if ya nasty! I was so happy when I learned that he’d be at Coachella because I managed to miss his month-long residency in LA. He only did one Strokes song and that was a good thing because the song just didn’t sound the same… not to mention I felt like he was cheating on the other guys… just kidding… kind of. But I really like his solo album, Phrazes for the Young, and he was just as entertaining as any other time I’ve seen him play with The Strokes. He thanked the rowdy crowd multiple times for being awesome and for all the gifts thrown at him including packs of cigarettes, CDs, among other things. Julian also did something awesomely “inappropriate” by playing his spin of “The Christmas Song” from SNL. Genius!

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

I caught the end of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s set. She’s a very talented artist, but to hear realllly mellow music in the middle of the day at Coachella… zzzZZzzz.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Beer garden for Spoon. Those guys are legends.

Phoenix was insane! The Frenchies mentioned that their lighting tech and costume people weren’t able to make the festival due to the Icelandic volcano. Lead singer, Thomas Mars, had the festival tech turn on the “house/crowd” lights so they could see all the fans. I don’t think they could believe how many people were out there. I have never seen a crowd so large at the Outdoor stage. None of us could figure out why the band wasn’t put on the main stage. The crowd stretched all the way back to what I call the Spring Break area. And EVERYONE was standing up and dancing. Don’t see that much anymore. Big time fave of the weekend.

Standing near the “Spring Break” area for Phoenix

Tom Yorke’s new project, Atoms for Peace, followed on the same stage. “Atoms for Peace” is the title of the beautiful song I’ve been hearing on KCRW and a lot of their songs follow the same path. Wonderful and nice way to wind-down the weekend.

And last, but not least, the almighty Gorillaz. The show opened with a pirate costumed Snoop Dogg projected onto the big screen doing his part of the second track “Welcome to the World of Plastic Beach” from the Gorillaz latest album, Return To Plastic Beach. The wind and string instruments played while mini-movie visuals enhanced the performance on the monitors. Then Yukimi from Little Dragon joined the group for “Empire Ants.”

There it is! Coachella 2010. If you’re still reading, congratulations! You will now be rewarded with some photos that I need to share… just because…

BRO-CHELLA! Stupid… yet amazing…

Dead Mouse Head chic

Massive Origami Crane

Coachella 2010

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  1. BEST FESTIVAL EVER. Thanks for the excellent summation of our weekend. The pics and video clips came out awesome!


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