COACHELLA WEEKEND TWO (INDIO, CALIF.)
FRIDAY, APR. 21
Thursday night I went and caught Royksopp at The Novo since their set conflicted Saturday with Warpaint, one of my favorite live bands. It was a killer show, and I was only able to catch it because my friends Vincent and Jesse gave me a ride from Pico Rivera to the house I was staying at a few miles from the festival. I met them at a Jenny Lewis show years ago at The Roxy and just kept running into them at shows (many of them Jenny Lewis shows), joking that we should start a Facebook group for the Latino chapter of the Jenny Lewis fanboys club.
I camped the first weekend of Coachella and this time was staying at a house two miles from the gates with my roommate Marshall and some of his work friends. There were more than a dozen of us staying in the house, air mattresses everywhere. I was sleeping on a comfortable couch for the weekend. We also rented bicycles for the weekend because we were so close to the festival. The ride the first day was pretty nice.
The reason I’ve gone to the festival both weekends since 2015 is there’s just so much music at Coachella it’s impossible to see everything. On the second weekend I was trying to catch a number of sets I missed the first time around. I met up with my friends Jay and Heidi, who I’ve hung with at Coachella the last couple years the second weekend.
First up was King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on the Outdoor Theatre. It was a super fun, jammy set and I swear I was getting some Black Sabbath vibes with the lead singer’s screaming. After that I went and saw BROODS and a few songs from Francis and the Lights for the second weekend in a row.
Next I caught Shannon & The Clams, indie garage rockers from where I grew up in Oakland. Their set at the Sonora Tent was pretty fun before I headed out to catch Father John Misty. He played a lot of material from his recently released album Pure Comedy, and it was a good set to take a seat with some friends for a half hour and chill. Next I caught Jagwar Ma, and their set was unbelievably trippy. I can’t imagine how that would have been for someone on psychedelics, because it was tripping me out and I was sober. Next I caught a little DJ Shadow before the Radiohead Redemption Set.
As you may know, Radiohead‘s weekend one set was plagued by technical issues. They rebounded greatly and basically our whole group met up for a spot in front of the soundboard. By the time the show started, I was vibing pretty good with this girl who’s friends all went to see Dillon Francis instead (what?). She was trying to smoke the most pathetically rolled joint I’ve ever seen before I pulled one of my own out to save the day.
“Lucky” is my all-time favorite Radiohead song and they played it six songs into their set. All of the feels hit me like a ton of bricks. That song always makes me think of a scene in HBO’s Six Feet Under (one of my favorite shows of all-time) where it played. Is there a band more cinematic than Radiohead? They ran through an amazing setlist — “Everything in Its Right Place”, “Identikit”, “My Iron Lung”, “Exit Music (for a Film)”, and “Reckoner” before launching into their encore. The five-song encore featured “No Surprises”, “Paranoid Android”, “Fake Plastic Trees”, “Lotus Flower”, and “Idioteque”. It was easily the best set of the whole weekend.
Afterwards, we swung by the Antarctic Dome and I got to watch my friends lose their shit. Afterwards we went to the bike racks to retrieve our bikes and…one of them was missing, and another one had a flat tire. When we got back to the house, we found two of our friends had two bikes with blown out tires. All in all, there were four or five with flats. It was pretty much worst-case scenario for the first day on bikes.
SATURDAY, APR. 22
My roommate Marshall fixed a couple of the bikes with some extra tubes that were provided. The bike guy also came and switched out a couple of them so we all had a bike to ride. I left the house earlier than everyone because I wanted to catch some of Mitski that I missed the weekend before. I booked it pretty hard on the bike and by the time I got the fest, I was a sweaty mess. It was at least 10 degrees hotter than the previous weekend. I still was able to catch the last 20 minutes of Mitski, who reminded me a bit of Alanis Morissette with her angst.
Next I caught indie rockers Car Seat Headrest for the second time before catching some of Surf Curse in the Sonora. After that, I sort of drifted around the festival solo — seeing some of Thundercat, Bastille, and Two Door Cinema Club before meeting up with friends at Tycho. Tycho’s sunset set was magnificent, he pretty much should be booked for that slot at every festival he plays. Afterwards I caught Warpaint again from up close.
Then I went and watched Bon Iver from way far back. This weekend, he brought out a slew of special guests — NAO and Amelia Meath from Sylvan Esso for starters. He played “Skinny Love” and all the flower crown girls swooned. Then he did a cover of Don Henley’s “The End of Innocence” with Bruce Hornsby and…Jenny fucking Lewis. For those that don’t know, Jenny Lewis is my spirit animal, I’ve seen her 20+ times live and I was in fact wearing a Nice As Fuck shirt that day — her side project she put out an album for last year. I literally had no clue she was up there until the end of the song. Then Francis and the Lights came out and did “Friends” with Bon Iver. It was the most guest-heavy show of the weekend.
Afterwards, I caught some of Majid Jordan and the end of Breakbot before seeing Nicolas Jaar. That set was phenomenal — he would start with some random ambient noises and then a beat would drop out of fucking nowhere and it would turn into a huge dance party. It was the most international crowd that I was in all weekend, I felt like one of the few Americans in the mix.
Then I met up with our group for Lady Gaga. She wasn’t as good as the first weekend but it was still a solid show. Afterwards we all went to the bike racks and magically none of the tires were flat and all the bikes were there. We made it back to the house without issue and everyone seemed pretty worn down from a long day, but that didn’t keep us from staying up until about 4 AM.
SUNDAY, APR. 23
We had to check out of the house Sunday, so that morning and afternoon was spent eating all the remaining food and drinking as much of the alcohol we had left, then cleaning up. I drank more beer on Sunday than probably the other five days I spent at both weekends of Coachella combined. It was mostly Bud and Coors Light, so really I was just hydrating. We got everything cleaned up around 3:30 and packed our car up and went to day parking.
We headed into the fest in time to catch some of Toots & The Maytals on the main stage. Apparently, there was a massive fuck up with the day parking to where some people got stuck for several hours trying to park. A few people in our group were in the mess and turned around and drove back to LA instead. It was a pretty colossal fuckup on Coachella’s part not having enough parking on the last day.
After Toots, I went and caught some of NAO before meeting up with people for Kaytranada. It was a nice groovy set in the Sahara, the only time I stopped into that tent on the second weekend. Afterwards we hit Future Islands and his throaty jams and then I went off and caught some of Porter Robinson & Madeon‘s last ever show together. Then it was Hans Zimmer time.
The previous weekend I only caught a bit of Hans because I was helping out with a flash mob for Galantis. This time I caught the whole set, and it was really awesome to see people losing their shit as he played some of his most famous film scores. It was truly the best coup that Coachella pulled off with their lineup this year.
Afterwards I went off and caught some of Lorde with Jay and Heidi before we hit the Antarctic Dome again, their first time. During an especially dope part of the show, someone yelled out “SCIENCE!!!” which made me laugh pretty hard. Then we got a good spot for Kendrick and I met up with the group I was driving home with that night.
Kendrick Lamar didn’t bring out any guests the second weekend but it was still a phenomenal show. He performed “i”, which he didn’t do the first weekend and it’s one of my favorite Kendrick jams. The Kung-Fu Kenny vignets made me laugh just as hard as they did the first weekend. Kendrick commanded the stage and again made Drake’s set two years ago look pathetic. We left during the encore to beat the crowd and we got out of the parking lot in five minutes. We got back to Los Angeles around 3 AM, and props to my roommate and his crew for going into work the next morning. After two weeks of Coachella, I slept in late Monday.
Two festivals down, nine to go! This was my last weekend in California for the next two months and it couldn’t have been more fun. See you in late June, Los Angeles!
Five favorite sets of Coachella weekend two:
3. Hans Zimmer
4. Kendrick Lamar
5. Nicolas Jaar