California Knows How To Party.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It's finally here. Three months late and now completely irrelevant. Sod it. It's my Coachella post. Now that I am back in the blogging game, have come to terms with being back in bleak, blustry Blighty and am able to talk about the desert do without sobbing into my Metro I am going to attempt to describe with mere words the epicness that was Coachella 2012. But where to start...

Firstly the place was beeeeeeaaaaaautiful. Like seriously stunning. Blue skies, palm trees and the Rocky Mountains set the backdrop to this foreign fiesta. A much welcome change from the grey skies and shrubs we have become accustomed to here in the UK. We literally strolled around necks craning, jaws hanging and cameras snapping like a bunch of Japanese tourists even stopping on several occasions to pose next to the iconic big wheel, throwing up our peace signs. Natch. And just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any more gorge the sun starts to set. Only one word can describe it and I'm sorry to say that the word be amazeballs. In fact it be amazebollocks. The blue fades into oranges, pinks and dusky purples and the wind turbine's energy is harnessed to full effect. Up lights the wheel, pink and blue palm trees dot the horizon, luminous balloons bob overhead and a giant neon flower (that looks very much like a vagina) stands proud in the sky. Alternative.

Now the scenery wasn't the only thing to coo over. Oh no. The folk out there are fooooooking fit. FIT. I swear to Lord baby Jesus they are a different species altogether. Girls have legs the length of my entire body, perfect tanned complexions and those effortless wavy locks that us mere mortals can only dream of. Bitches. And the boys, sorry MEN, at Coachella look as though they may have gotten lost on their way back from Mount Olympus. Positively Godlike on the whole. Tall, toned, tanned and, most importantly, tatted. They had fur too. Oh yes there were ample face and chest rugs on show. I basically spent the entire weekend tripping over my tongue. And dribbling. Attractive non? However with the consumption of alcoholic beverages strictly prohibited to 'designated drinking areas' (Meh) my courage of the Dutch variety was seriously lacking and and so the manfolk of Indio escaped a groping. This time. *knowing look*

As expected Coachella like totes rocked in the style stakes too. The fash pack were ever-present in those effortlessly awesome ensembles and 'statement' pieces you find plastered all over uber cool magazines, blogs and Jeffrey Campbell's instagram. Ahem. However after weeks, nay months, of meticulously planning the perfect Coachella togs we were in no way prepared for the intense Indio heat. Wowza. It's not easy to be a stylista in a sizzling 40° desert let me tell you. Even a tee felt like a jumper in the valley. Despite the scorchio situation it seems that us Brits faired well with many fellow Coachellians expressing their love of our 'really cool style'. I assume they had failed to notice the sweat-tache that had formed on my upper lip but wotevs. All will be revealed in my upcoming Coachella outfit posts. Our boys from Blighty didn't do too badly either in vintage-looking rock band vests, chino cut-offs, Snapbacks, LOTS of Hawaiian print and denim shirts a-plenty. Apparently being a dickhead really is cool.

Now for the part you've all been waiting for. The music. I'm sure you'll recall from my Calfornia Dreamin' post that I was just a teeny bit excited and ever so slightly smug when the immense line-up was announced? No?! Well I was. And I had every right to be for the artists at Coachella 'go in' as the kids say, lavishing us with performances so stupendous that folk will tell tales of it for years to come. I will anyway. And here's a run down as to why...

DAY 1:
Rocking up a little later than planned on Day 1 we missed out on Kendrick Lemar (boo) however we did manage to catch a glimpse of veteran mover and shaker Jimmy Cliff. The man cuts some hardcore rug for a 64 year old. Believe. A few Margheritas later and it was the Arctic Monkeys turn to WOW us. Or should that be WOE us? Accustomed to the Midland's man dem being met with full on frenzy in the UK personally I found the atmosphere on t'other side of the pond to be, now how do I put this?, piss poor. Indeed the Arctic's setlist offered up some pogoworthy tracks such as Brianstorm, I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor and Brick By Brick (not to mention Mr Turner's new look adding the swoon factor) however Lereese and I decided to call it quits at half time and made a dash over to catch Madness. Best life choice we ever made TBH. The crowd were immense, getting right involved and lapping up classic after classic from Our House to My Girl, House Of Fun to One Step Beyond and even shunning the traditional mosh pit in favour of a skanking circle during Baggy Trousers. Awesomeness. Next up was Odd Future favourite Frank Ocean whose technically traumatised set of weekend 1 had received a fair few rotten reviews. Taking to the stage with a brand new band (including Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger) all was forgiven and forgotten as Mr Ocean launched into a caramel cover of Lauryn Hill's Tell Him followed by stream of Nostalgia, Ultra greats. Strawberry Swing, Swim Good, American Wedding and Novacane as well as new tracks Thinking About You and Forrest Gump. Having gotten our grind on it was now time to get our rocks off in a spectacular fashion to none other than the legendary Black Keys. Well Lereese and I would have if we hadn't of passed out 6 songs into their set. Serious like. I'm blaming the Margaritas. We bounced about to Howlin For You, Next Girl and Gold On The Ceiling before deciding to have a lickle 'sit down' to catch our breath. A 45 minute 'sit down' that we were awoken from by a roar that signalled the start of Swedish House Mafia's explosive set. Lights flashed, bass pumped and confetti canons fired sending the diverse crowd into a frenzy, within mere milliseconds SHM had cemented themselves as the monarchs of EDM. Having just woken from my ill-timed disco nap I was a little overwhelmed by this sensory overload, but my shock quickly switched to euphoria as a blanket of lazers saturated the sky and mind-blowing mixes of tracks such as Calling, Sweet DispositionEvery Tear Drop Is A Waterfall and Save The World rained down on us. A massive 'moment' for me was waiting for the drop during The End vs. You Got The Love. There may have been squealing, goosebumps and wobbly bottom lip. An incredible end to an incredible day.

DAY 2:

Ready for a roasting on day 2 (not like that) we headed straight for The Do Lab. An oasis of shade in the sun-drenched valley where we danced to dubstep whilst being hosed down by water-canon wielding transvestites. The usual then. Cool, calm and collected we wiggled our way into the rammed Gobi tent eager to sneak a peek at Harlem's very own 'Yung Rapunxel' aka Miss Azealia Banks. Despite being relatively new on the 'scene' Azealia's fans were out in force, curious to see if she could 'bring the hype' for a second weekend. Well, not only did my girl bring the hype, the 212 songstress also brought diva dancers, a couple of kick-ass covers and plenty-o-swag. Over at the main stage it was time to get our Team UK on with lovable Leeds lads Kaiser Chiefs who OMG'd, Na Na Na Na Na Na Naa'd and successfully Predicted A Riot. What we didn't predict however was that charismatic frontman Ricky would jump off stage, go On The Run through the crowd and into the beer garden for a bevvie! Don't worry though, he Never Missed A Beat (sorry). Noel Gallagher was up next and to say I was excited is to tell porkies. I was piss-my-pants-with-absolute-joy excited. Seriously a little bit of wee actually almost came out when after performing his awesome High Flying Birds hits the Godlike Genius launched into Oasis anthems Little By Little, Half The World Away and Don't Look Back In Anger. But when the man pulled Champagne Supernova out the bag... Elation. Knackered from all the downright epicness we'd experienced that arvo the gyal dem and I decided to refuel with a beer and a burrito before heading off to see yet another of Blighty's best, Kasabian. To be honest I've never been massively into these guys but the hundreds of branded glow sticks being lobbed into the crowd gave me an inkling that big tings were about to g'wan. I weren't wrong. Opening with the robust new Days Are Forgotten and followed by a barrage of rip-roaring hits such as Velociraptor!, Underdog, LSFClub Foot and Fire Kasabian's stand-out set successfully transformed the Mojave tent into a rampant rave scene. The frenzied bouncing, hollering and general tearing up of the place left me in need of a little lay down but I decided it was in my best intrest to remain upright. Ahem. Being a skanker not a swayer there was never any question that Radiohead would get the elbow and SBTRKT would be my headliner of choice and so with garage guns locked and loaded we were off to see what the rising star of two and/or dubstep could do. Accompanied on stage by Sampha (his partner in lyrical crime) and a suped up drum set SBTRKT's tunes took on a whole new texture. Tracks such as Never Never, Hold On and Something Goes Right were augmented by amplified beats and throwing the OVO intro to Wildfire into the mix was a genius move, sending the crowd into mass sing-a-long hysteria. The highlight for me though was definitely set closer Right Thing To Do (my fave track on SBTRKT's self-titled album) which morphed from a deep, sexy, old school garage  beat into a fast-paced electronic mash up that had our hands pumping harder than the speakers. Gnarly.

DAY 3:

Despite hungover heads and exhausted extremities we eagerly began dolling ourselves up for the final day of Coachella 2012. The day we'd all been waiting for. Dre Day. Exiting our apartment it became apparent that the acts weren't going to be the only thing super hot about our day. The mercury soared to a sizzling 44° but it was going to take more than a spot of heat stroke to deter us gallies from shaking a leg to our first artist of the afternoon, electro-punk songstress Santigold. Decked out in neon-fringed frocks Santigold and her dutty-winding dancers executed a 45 minute set of unadulterated fun. Booty shaking beats Lights Out, LES Artistes, Say Aha and Hold The Line were accompanied by befittingly booty shaking choreography and shit got kray when Santigold invited the audience on stage for Creator. A stampede ensued, bows were thrown and I was deprived of my 3 minutes of fame. Humph. Determined to make the afternoon as messy as possible that AM the girls and I made like chickens and hatched a plan to get boozy. A plan that consisted of 2 emptied bottles of tanning oil and one large bottle of cherry vodka. No surprise then that much of Dre Day was a booze fueled blur. One performance however kicked my beer goggles swiftly to the curb. Ladies & gents I give you The Weeknd. Drawing a crowd the size usually reserved for Platinum selling artisits The Weeknd  delivered a gloriously laid-back set with a string of hits from his Thursday, House Of Balloons and Echoes Of Silence EP's, showcasing his impressive vocal range to perfection. Crowd pleasers included D.D, Outside, Glass Table Girls, Crew Love, The Zone, High For This and a personal fave, the deliciously dark Wicked Games. After a quick ride on the legendary Coachella big wheel (standard) and the purchasing of merchandise (obvs) we pranced over to the Outdoor stage to marvel at the UK's indie-pop princess and golden-throated goddess, the fantastical Florence and the Machine. Belting out track after dark, robust, romantic track from both her Ceremonials and Lungs LP's Flo's majestic performance was apparently lost on the stony-faced spectators around me. But not I. The anthemic Shake It Outuplifting Dog Days Are Over and euphoric Cosmic Love had me twirling around all starry eyed. But time was a-ticking and we hurriedly made our way over to le main stage for what was set to be the performance of the decade. Dre and Snoop D O double G.

The air felt thick with anticipation, granted the previous week's video footage and reviews had like totes eradicated the element of surprise but did it feel like we getting sloppy seconds? Hardly! As the stage lit up and the dramatic operatic intro began all that mattered was what was about to go down right hurrrrrr right now. 'Come ooooon Coachellaaaaaaa!' Dre boomed and the unmistakable riff of The Next Episode kicked in, 'la di dah di dah, it's the one'n'only O double G, Snoop Dooooogg' the entire crowd spat lyrics as if we were up on stage with them and classics such as Gin & Juice, Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang and Deep Cover transformed us all into faux gangstas. Heads bumped, lips pursed and a LOT of blunts were lit. Naturally the duo paid homage to the late, great Nate Dogg with the massive T.U.N.E Ain't No Fun before the first of the night's non-surprise guests, Wiz Khalifa, took to the stage to perform what would turn out to be one of the soundtracks to our LA adventure, Young, Wild and Free. Dre was then joined by Kendrick Lemar for their bad ass beat The Recipe when none other than the head of G-G-G-G-G-Unit appeared launching into What Up Gangsta and sending me absolutely apeshit. In a good way. After performing P.I.MP and In Da Club (topless OBVS) 50 Cent departed leaving the crowd hyped and thirsty for more. Que the return of headliners Dre and Snoop who kept the party vibe very much alive with kush-fueled banter and apt hip hop hit California Love. But the vibe wasn't the only thing the pair had kept conscious. It was time. Thunder rumbled, lightening streaked and right in front our very eyes was Tupac Shakur who, might I add, looked extremely well for a fella 16 years brown bread. We watched transfixed as the 2Pac-ogram performed Hail Mary and 2 Of America's Most Wanted before vanishing into a beam of light. Surreal. As. Fook. We barely had time to digest what we had just witnessed when Marshall Mathers aka Eminem aka FITNESS decided to join the festivities belting out a trio of tracks namely I Need A Doctor
Til I Collapse and of course Forgot About Dre. The show was drawing to a close but being the connoisseurs of cool that they are Dre and Snoop had no time for the usual faux finale and mock-shock encore nonsense, why would they? Instead they fired into the only two tunes that could suitably sign-off this monumental night, Who Am I? (What's My Name) and Still D.R.E. Deliriously we echoed iconic lyric after iconic lyric and were left in a complete state of bewilderment as the band played out, lights dimmed and just like that one of the best nights of our young lives was over.

Aaaaaaaaaand there you have it. Coachella 2012 through my petite peepers. Being a champion of the UK festival scene I have to admit that for me Coachella often lacked the off-the-wall atmosphere and idiosyncrasies you'd find back home. But despite these deficiencies Coachella's stunning surroundings, glorious weather and out-of-this-world acts more than make it a must for any dedicated follower of festivals. So Coachella I will be back next year because in spite of our differences I do love you. Not in the all consuming, obsessive, Edward Cullen, Bella Swan kind of way that I love Glasto you understand; but in the illicit, hot-and-heavy-in-the-back-of-a-motor-with-a-married-man-when-you-think-nobody-is-looking kind of way. Ahem. Just don't tell Bestival.

1 comment

  1. this has made my morning, your writing is also amazing, I need and want to go back even more now!!!!!