Three days of music and sun

This year’s Coachella Music & Arts Festival was packed with old favorites and up-and-coming artists alike.

Christian Davis, Writer

If we are going to give Jack White the benefit of the doubt that his appeal to consume music responsibly and respect local punk bands is not some sort of veiled reference to his involvement with Tidal, he may have easily initiated one of the most honest moments of Coachella’s second weekend. Showing his Catholic roots, he asked the audience to look to one another, shake the hand of the person next to them, and say “peace be with you.”

“It didn’t matter if they were homeless, or a billionaire, you shook their hand,” he reminded us, instantly leveling the playing field of trust-fund, snap-story obsessed kids, earnest music nerds and everyone else who falls in between. Hearing at least fifty thousand people scream the main riff in “Seven Nation Army” cemented the idea that it did not matter why you came to Coachella, it just mattered that you were there.


Unexpected excellence showed up throughout the entire weekend, with artists like Kimbra slaying in a nearly packed Gobi tent. Her wiry vocals sounded entirely visceral and unhinged onstage, and she commanded every bit of respect and attention from those who chose her over Angus & Julia Stone, who played the Outdoor Theatre at the same time. Despite Perfume Genius’ shockingly early set time Saturday afternoon, Mike Hadreas still delivered a simultaneously gut-wrenching and gorgeous set which still managed to give me chills in the nearly triple-digit desert sun. Mac Demarco also kicked me in the head when he dove into the stage during his Sunday afternoon set, but his performance was so hilarious and fun that I could not be mad if I tried.


However, Ride’s midday set in the Gobi Tent felt lackluster, and unexpectedly deadpan for such legends in shoegaze history, which made sticking around for “Vapour Trail” a tall order when paired next to getting a solid spot for The War on Drugs, whose sundown set on the Coachella Main Stage felt all too perfect for the festival’s first night. Drake also closed out the festival with a relatively “meh” performance, rife with altogether too much stage banter and a weird lack of guest appearances. That is, if you do not count Nicki Minaj walking onstage and much to my dismay, never picking up a microphone. Do not even get me started on The Weeknd bringing out Kanye West while I was watching Swans across the festival grounds. Yes, I am still angry.


If I am going to leave emotion out of this, and I discredit crying while watching my childhood hero play “Ball and Biscuit” right in front of me, St. Vincent is a clear winner for best Coachella set. Her wonderfully original music translates indescribably well live, with excellent, minimal choreography and guitar playing that does not even belong in this dimension. Consisting mainly of material from her latest, grand self-titled, she brought down the Outdoor Theatre with a literally jaw dropping performance. Annie Clark is indeed the stuff of legends, and judging from her Sunday night set, she is not letting up anytime soon.

Awesome sets not covered include Brand New, Angel Olsen, Tame Impala, Interpol, Alt-J, St. Lucia, Florence & the Machine, Joyce Manor, Benjamin Booker, Cloud Nothings, Eagulls, Lil B, Run the Jewels and Sylvan Esso.

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