Just in time for Weekend 2, here are my thoughts on the best and worst of Coachella 2012 (Weekend 1):
TOP 5 ACTS AT COACHELLA 2011
- Jeff Magnum
- The Rapture
- Fitz & The Tantrums
- “The Next Episode”, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
- “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”, Jeff Magnum
- “When My Time Comes”, Dawes
- “I Predict a Riot”, Kaiser Chiefs
- “Karma Police” by Radiohead
- “Steady as She Goes” (The Raconteurs), Fitz & the Tantrums
- “Breathe” (Pink Floyd), The Shins
- “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (Whitney Houston), Grouplove
- “After the Gold Rush” (Neil Young), Radiohead
- “Valerie”(The Zutons/Amy Winehouse), Azealia Banks
BEST ON-STAGE PROPS
- The Hives’ ninja stagehand
- Childish Gambino’s ZZ Top jersey
- Jeff Magnum’s bagpipe horn-thing (not quite sure what it was)
- Black Lips’ effects microphone
- Girl Talk’s toiler paper gun
MOST OVERCROWDED SHOWS
- Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
- Florence + the Machine
- The Rapture
BEST STAGE BANTER
- “Everybody sit down for this next part. Including you in the VIP section. Just because you paid more for the same tickets or know someone in music middle management doesn’t mean you don’t have to participate”, The Hives
- “Holy shit! This next song is about buried treasure!”, Black Lips
- “We’ve been getting along quite well so far but I’m afraid now I’m going to have to penetrate you”, Pulp
- “Glad to see some young faces in the crowd……and you, sir”, Madness
- “Close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful sunny place surrounded by mountains and now open your eyes and you’re here!”, tUnE-yArDs
- The two male guitarists from Black Lips playing back to back and then kissing each other
- Grace Potter rocking out
- Jarvis Cocker from Pulp humping the feedback monitors
- Azealia Banks in her skintight bodysuit
- The Weeknd just being The Weeknd
BEST SAXOPHONE PLAYERS
- The screechy wacky duo from tUnE-yArDs
- The super bass sax from Fritz and the Tantrums
- The guy who brings home “How Deep is Your Love” in The Rapture
- The soloist for Madness
WHAT THE HIPSTERS ARE UP TO THESE DAYS
- Furry animal hats
- Face paint (more dots, fewer stripes than years’ previous)
- Obviously fake moustaches
- Taking photos where they’re jumping in the air
BEST DRE/SNOOP GUEST APPEARANCES
- Hologram Tupac
- 50 Cent
- Wiz Khalifa
- Kendrick Lamar
AMOUNT OF SECURITY AT COACHELLA
Day Three (featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg)
TWEETABLE RECAPS OF EVERY SHOW I SAW (IN THE ORDER I SAW IT)
5 An all time classic that will be talked about for years to come
4 Absolutely incredible
3 Really good
2 Decent but disappointing
* denotes I only caught part of the set
Capably owned the Main Stage and showed they were festival-ready before festivals were big.
Gary Clark Jr.
Lived up to the hype with guitar solos that made you gasp for breath.
New Pornographers meets Black Kids songs that had the packed tent bouncing in unison.
Talented for sure but every bit as boring as I remembered them last time.
The soaring harmonies sound even better in person.
Proving nothing creates more fun than a tight horn section.
Consummate showman, thy name is Jarvis.
Dance music with live instruments that shamed every tool with a computer in the Sahara Tent.
The Black Keys
Keep getting better. The new tunes sounded like headliner material.
The Black Angels
Create the perfect atmosphere even if it sounds just like the record.
Ripped through every one of their 3 minute songs to the delight of an adoring crowd.
Played their goofy hipster part while the young male audience burned off their excess energy.
Clearly enjoyed herself and showed off her machine-gun style but only played 20 minutes.
Was clearly out to prove himself and did so convincingly. Had the crowd alternately laughing and dancing.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Every schoolboy’s fantasy of a female rock star.
If this is your type of music, you’ll love it. Otherwise, it won’t convert you.
Not of this world. Easily the most unique thing I heard all weekend and truly entertaining.
No one studies the Book of Rock Star Moves more carefully.
To be fair, I was super far away and eating. Always love him though.
Proved that stripped down folk can work at a festival if you’re really good enough.
Started slow but was revelatory by the end. A long-time wish to see him finally comes true.
To be fair, I was far away and eating again. Bravo for playing lots from Chutes Too Narrow.
What?! Had no idea. With something like 17 people on stage she added a ton of muscle to her wistful songs. My favorite set of Coachella 2012.
Another total surprise. Original view: too slow to be good. Revised view: Gorgeous + complex = hypnotizing.
Moody music you can dance to.
Their obsession with minimalist atmospheric music is starting to create some boring live shows (yep, I said it).
Admittedly I was bitter from the long security lines and it was hot. She was still impressive though.
Sounded really good though nothing jumped out to me.
Fitz and the Tantrums
Show me the person who doesn’t like them live and I’ll show you someone you need to avoid at all costs.
Best proof yet that the girls rock at least as hard as the boys.
A total assault of power chords and witty banter. No one tries harder.
Voice sounded great but a bit chill and repetitive for my tastes.
The albums are great but live it ends up sounding too much like every other DJ.
Pulled out all the usual tricks but extra fun dancing to it under the stars.
Florence + the Machine
Did that “bewitching gypsy Stevie Nicks” thing to great effect.
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
The opposite of Kanye’s set last year. Took their headliner money and turned it into the greatest “you had to be there” hip hop party ever thrown.