Coachella 2013- Saturday April 20, 2013

I woke up bright and early since I missed all of my favorite bands the night before (like the Stone Roses and Blur). But that was ok, because Saturday had all the bands I really wanted to see, like New Order, the Decendents and the Postal Service. It was game on.

At 7am, I took a shower in the little trailer, which was surprisingly clean and nice. And since I got there so early, I didn’t even have to wait. The line was at least 500 girls deep on Sunday. After showering, I did yoga in the Dome, got an avocado smoothie from the Farmers Market, at breakfast at the camp, then headed inside.

I don’t really remember what I did all day besides dance in the Do Lab for a solid hour, until my hands were pruny from the spray guns, that 8-yr-old boys were blasting from the stage. After that, I probably went back to the H&M tent to fill up my water bottle and put more sunscreen on. But I DO remember seeing the Violent Femmes, Major Lazer, The Make-Up, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, The Postal Service, the Decendents, Moby, Franz Ferdinand, New Order, and Phoenix. And those are just the ones I remember.  One of my favorite acts was The Make Up- Ian Sedoni walked onto the crowd, multiple people holding up his feet, and he sang right into my face. It was amazing. Even though someone dropped a roach on my foot and I caught a beach ball right to the face, it was so gratifying to get to see The Make Up play. Ian is so weird and crazy, it reminded me of watching the Dik-Diks in college. Now I know where Micah got his moves. I got to hold Ian’s hand, even if it was for a second.

It was a double-bonus to see Yeasayer directly afterwards, and they were so thrilled to get to play Coachella and said, “and we were setting up, but one of our favorite bands, the Make Up just played. Did anyone see them?” I DID! Then Yeasayer played one of my favorite songs, “O.N.E”

Watching Franz Ferdinand and New Order was a huge bonus too. Franz Ferdinand was a major dance party, and New Order played all of my favorites. I thought it was great that New Order said, “can someone turn that disco shit off?” referring to the Do Lab’s constant beats.

All I remember after that was going to the Silent Disco and dancing until I couldn’t move anymore. At my campsite, I fell asleep watching a group of people doing hand puppets with a headlamp and a sheet. It was a good day.

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What NOT to do at Coachella

– Don’t wait until the last minute to buy beer. We had to camp out in a Palm Springs Walmart sleep-deprived with a bunch of crazy bums before we could get inside.

– The Farmer’s Market is delicious, but don’t get an avocado protein shake followed by a can of chili, and then decide to alter your mind. That combination leads to some time on the porta-potty, where it’s blazing hot and there’s no toilet paper, plus you’re freaking out Trainspotting style.

– Don’t go back to your campsite for a “power nap“, you’ll end up missing your favorite bands. It’s better to sleep in the grass inside thesidewalks end festival, (preferably on the Sidewalks End, between the Main stage and the Outdoor stage).

– Put sunscreen on everywhere, including the backs of your knees. I don’t know what happened, but mine got fried.

– Don’t hand over the stuff you really care about to your friend, they’ll lose it.

– Don’t shit in the shower. I would think this is a given, but they told every girl not to do this when you go to take a shower. They don’t tell the guys that. What? Who does that?

– Don’t get the shuttle pass. I never used mine and I heard it was tough to get from the hotels to Coachella. Car camping is the way to go.

– Don’t expect to see and do everything. Pick your top 3 favorite bands to see and view everything else as an extra.

– Don’t take any important stuff into the porta-potty with you. I found a girl in tears because she dropped her wallet, keys and cell phone into the toilet.

– Bring cash. Don’t expect to trade, barter or use anything else to survive the weekend. Two kids came to Coachella with their wristbands and stuff that they planned on selling- when the stuff was confiscated by officials, they were screwed. We found ’em sleeping in our campsite. Who knows how they got home.

– Don’t try to bring any liquids inside. I had to help a girl pound a Vodka/Emergen-C before going in (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing)

– Don’t go anywhere without your wristband. I saw one guy get caught without one and the officials treated him like an escaped prisoner.

But overall, everyone is so nice and they’re willing to help you out when you get in a bind. It’s still good to be prepared.

Coachella April 19, 2013: Friday

Will Call opened at 8am. I waited in line for about an hour, making new friends, before finally getting my wristband.

car camp wait

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.

our camp

our camp

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

jellyfish

jellyfish

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

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.

April 9 Postal Service Part 2

I survived a rough morning dealing with the US Postal Service, but walking into the GSR that evening with a goggle tan I could barely contain my level of excitement. I remember when the Postal Service debuted 10 years ago; they put out the CD “Give Up” and never toured. Rumors would be going around that they would play some show in Washington, and then I’d get all excited and never find out the details. They’re one of those bands that’s like, “man, I would die happy if I could just see the Postal Service live”.IMG_1858c

Well, now I can die happy.

I arrived at the GSR at about 8:15 pm. I headed straight for the merch table, money out, and inquired about the Postal Service “Give Up” 10th Anniversary 3-Vinyl LP 1st Edition set. If I bought it now would they hold it for me? Would they sell out? I decided I couldn’t risk it…I bought it right that second and kept it clutched to my chest for a while before carefully taking it to the car.

Then I went back in and watched the opener, Baths. Will Wiesenfield was eh, not my thing.

About 9:10 pm, the lights dimmed, the level of excitement among the crowd was IMG_1860cnoticeable, and my friend Penny and I snuck our way up to the front. We had huge smiles and uncontrollable giddiness as the band took the stage. Jenny Lewis and Ben Gibbard took to the front, with Jimmy Tamborello and that other chick in the back (Jen Wood?) Then the familiar, electro-pop sound filled the air and everyone belted out the lyrics in unified chorus. Every song they started, two girls behind me screamed, “I love this one!” It’s the first show I’ve ever been to where everyone knew the songs. Everyone. Knew. Every. Song.

And Ben Gibbard started out by saying, “so, we got the band back together. This is the first time we’ve played in 9 years.” He mentioned that it was a sold out show. Yeah, their whole tour is sold out.

I was impressed with their use of instruments and electronics- the xylophone, keyboards,

Jimmy can play the melodica AND do something else at the same time- that's musical talent

Jimmy can play the melodica AND do something else at the same time- that’s musical talent

mixing boards, and whatever else they used. For a few songs, I noticed that Jimmy played a melodica, which I never realized made soft background noise in songs like “This Place is a Prison”. (I have a melodica and now I can practice being a backup melodicaist for the band!) Now when I listen to the “Give Up” deluxe LP, I imagine Ben and Jenny holding up weird cans or pedals to their mics to distort their voices, just as they did at this Reno show.

Even though the Postal Service played a solid hour set- all of my favorite songs and their  new ones (did I mention “Turn Around” makes my heart pitter-patter?), it felt like they played for 20 minutes. It was an incredible show and I wished they had the stamina to go all night.

But afterwards, we got some tacos and some Modelos and reminisced about the time we

it was hard to leave the house after getting a hold of this little gem

it was hard to leave the house after getting a hold of this little gem

just had. And even though it was technically my Saturday night and I could’ve stayed out and partied, all I wanted to do was listen to my new Postal Service LP set. I drove home, went into my spare room, put the translucent disc 2 on my record player, and fell asleep on the floor with a smile on my face. Thanks for redeeming the name Postal Service, Postal Service. I can’t wait to see you again at Coachella next weekend.

By the way, can someone give me a ride?