Parking logistics cluster-fuck and a freak sandstorm could have put a damper on Coachella Day 2, but I refused to let that happen. My goal was just to make it in time for Chvrch. Scottish trio CHVRCHES has been one of my favorite bands over the last year, and while I missed the first 20 minutes of their set, I got to hear them perform 6-7 songs including ‘Science/Visions,’ ‘By The Throat’ and my favorite song ‘Tether.’ If front woman Lauren Mayberry waited to play ‘Tether’ until I got there, I knew the day would be saved and it was. From there, we caught a bit of Brooklyn synth-pop duo Holy Ghost! These guys made me dance a little closer to my friends (or was it the dust storm?) just outside the Gobi Tent with their infectious pop songs like ‘Dumb Disco Ideas.’
A major highlight of this year’s Coachella has to be the amazing performance of indie pop ‘it-boys’ and LA natives Capital Cities. The duo of Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian killed it with ‘Safe and Sound,’ new single ‘One Minute More’ and a cover of Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’ The latter was particularly impressive and included a full-on thumping EDM ending. Throw trumpeter Spencer Ludwig into the mix and it makes for an even richer, exciting experience. Following their Coachella set, they’ve catapulted to the top of my list of outstanding bands to see live. Don’t miss these classy gents.
New Zealand wunderkind Lorde was one of the most anticipated acts and like moths to a hazy flame, and delivered a powerful performance at her Coachella debut which she confessed was the ‘first-major-booking‘ she made last year as she planned her worldwide tour. ‘Team,’ ‘Ribs’ and ‘Royals’ were the stand-outs in her set. Angsty and young, I have a lot of respect for Lorde but I’m sort of on the fence about how much I love her. I like Lorde. I love Solange. I saw her last year in New York and she was terrific, but after seeing her in the Gobi Tent, it’s clear this lady has grown as a live performer, exuding fierce confidence, sexuality and self-awareness. Dressed in a red jumper with hair as big as Diana Ross’ ever was, Ms. Knowles dubbed the evening Grindella with her sexy, sultry performance of ‘Don’t Let Me Down.’ Then the chandeliers came crashing down during ‘Losing You’ as Queen Bey herself joined her sister on stage to dance. Can you think of a better way to celebrate this week’s national Sibling Day? It was just one of those unbelievable and unforgettable Coachella moments when you realize, ‘wow, I was there for that.’
Another highly anticipated performance was Pharrell Williams who brought out a bevvy of special guests. He opened with Daft Punk’s ‘Lose Yourself to Dance,’ called on Snoop Dog for ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot,’ hollered for Gwen Stefani on ‘Hollaback Girl’ and made everyone happy with his Despicable Me dance inducing theme ‘Happy.’
But the queen crowning performance of the day was the Pet Shop Boys as they brought their Electric Tour to Coachella in the Mojave Tent. Shut down the fog machines production crew, we don’t need them. Mother Nature played that role as the Pet Shop Boys just played a sandstorm. Lasers and lights, shimmying dancers in horned minotaur headdresses, disco ball helmets and Neil Tennant between the sheets were the visuals that accompanied their set list of classic hits like ‘West End Girls,’ ‘Suburbia’ and ‘Rent’ and newer materials that included ‘Love Etc.’ ‘Fluorescent’ and ‘Vocal.’ As I wrote in my review of their show last year, the Pet Shop Boys were early pioneers of EDM so all you kids next door in the Sahara Tent please note: they paved the way for your precious Skrillex. These two acts performing simultaneously and side by side is the beauty of Coachella.