Will Call opened at 8am. I waited in line for about an hour, making new friends, before finally getting my wristband.
car camp wait
Whew, it was so relieving to have this $400 thing on my wrist. I went back to the car, woke up my mates, and we ventured into the venue. However, gates didn’t open until 9am, so there was a lot of driving around and more waiting. When we finally got in, police and dogs searched every car, so they got through about 40 cars every 2 hours. I slept on my yoga mat next to the car as people mingled, partied, and played frisbee to pass the time.
I got a half hour of decent sleep, then decided to venture inside. Once I got past security, I saw how massive Coachella was. Everything in the polo club is broken down like a grid, with street numbers. My friend Will was camping at 114 N. Street, so I headed in that direction. On the way, I passed the Red Bull Speakeasy, the Dome, the Farmer’s Market, and fellow campers. There was a buzz of energy and excitement in the air, and everyone was so nice. I couldn’t get over how positive everyone was. I found Will, got the lowdown on the security, and headed back out to the car.
Luckily we had jumped a few spots in line and they barely checked the car. At 11am, we were in.
Parked out on 135th N. Street, we immediately started setting up our tent, laying out carpet, and meeting our neighbors. Luckily our neighbors had a huge army canvas that draped over our site and another one. That canvas probably saved our lives- it was airy yet provided shade. After a lunch of homemade chili dogs, we decided to head inside. Chris had his jellyfish umbrella, which was comfortable, artsy, and knocked about 20 degrees off the outside temp. People milled around and there was just so much to do and we were so sleep-deprived, we didn’t even know where to start.
I immediately lost Alex and Chris on the way into Coachella, and then it was sensory overload. But I headed straight to the act I really wanted to see- Beardyman.
And he was amazing. (View the video teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDr52M-Vamg ) This human beat boxer is so entertaining and he plays festivals all the time in the UK, but I believe this is his first time in the US. I actually met one of his Oxford classmates in Scotland last April, and
always wanted to see him play, but never knew when it would happen. Until now. He talked smack on Justin Beiber, people’s moms, and right after he tried to hook his tour manager up with single ladies in the crowd and talk about how great nerds were, he lost power. It was pretty classic, and I was thrilled to have caught his set. The next two acts I really wanted to see were on Saturday- the Decendents and the Make Up.
Aesop Rock immediately opened up after Beardyman which was a double-bonus. I caught a few songs from their set, including “None Shall Pass“, then headed over to see Stars.
But there was so much to see! Do I go to the Mohave stage, the Sahara stage, the H&M tent? Do I sit in line for the water re-fill station, try to find my friends, dance in the Do Lab? Do I check out the art, watch more bands on the Outdoor and Main stages? I ended up just wandering around, not really doing anything productive, until I settled down in the H&M tent, filled up my water bottle and put on some fancy Kiehl’s sunscreen. Then I went out to see Stars. (View the video teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD60aXlPWI8)
I hadn’t seen Stars since they opened up for Death Cab for Cutie in 2005 in Orlando, Florida. They have those silky voices that perfectly match opening up for someone like Voice-of-an-Angel Ben Gibbard. I swayed to their music and sauntered through the crowd as they played my favorite song, “My Ex-Lover is Dead”. The girl from Stars said, “I apologize- I took a bunch of pills this week.” Then a song later, she said, “it could be the pills, but I think that snail is moving.” And I looked back and thought, I hadn’t taken any pills, but that snail IS moving. Is this heat getting to me?
After Stars I went back to the camp, had a reunion with Chris and Alex, and re-fueled. We got some stuff together and headed back into the festival to see Modest Mouse. I hadn’t seen Modest Mouse since the Chico Brickworks 2002-ish. They played their classics like “Float On” and some new stuff. We rocked out hardcore.
After Modest Mouse we headed over to the Sahara stage to watch Beach House. I don’t really remember them.
chris and alex at modest mouse
But I do remember the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O looked absolutely crazy, and played my favorite songs, “Heads Will Roll” and I think “Maps”. (View the video teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP9kQHOFivs)
Chris and Alex lead me over to the Mojave tent for Infected Mushroom after that and they were sooo good. I don’t know if it was Infected Mushroom that was blowing my mind or the way the stage was set up- with crazy TVs, holographic images, and heavy bass.
All I remember is having 1 hour to sleep before watching the Stone Roses, so I headed back to the campsite to take a power nap. But this was a bad idea- I passed out completely and missed them. That’s what happens when you average 1.5 hrs of sleep in 48 hours. I didn’t wake up ’til 7am the next morning wondering where the hell I was.