Best of Coachella 2014's First Weekend
Round one of Coachella is over and damn, was it a good one! We're all soar, sunburned and smiling. For those of you heading to Cali for Round 2, here's the best of what we saw during the festival's first weekend.
See Also: Worst of Coachella 2014's First Weekend
Nicolas Jaar He opened his Friday night DJ set in the Yuma Tent with Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," and from there kept the packed dance tent on its toes with a set that at times seemed intentionally tuned to drive away fair weather fans with gaps of experimental noise. Those that stuck it out got an ever more thrilling set that included jungle, hip hop and house and induced one of the hottest, edgiest, least self aware dance parties of the festival. -Katie Bain
The new and improved Yuma Tent Last year's introduction of the Yuma tent brought a new disco tech vibe to the electronic scene at Coachella. This year's version of the Yuma tent, however, is new and improved. It's bigger, more organized and allows a place for electronic lovers to enjoy groovy music away from the Sahara tent. The tent's line up this year is another new and improved feature. Over all, the Yuma tent's improvements deserve a round of applause! - Mary Carreon
The Mexican Cantina Club The Polo Field's on site Mexican restaurant was never connected to the actual festival grounds before, but this year it was! (Attendees could enter through the new and improved --and very lovely-- Beer Barn.) Inside, the venue offered cheap (ish) beer and cocktails, clean bathrooms, air-conditioning, ample seating and loads of '90s era hip hop on the stereo. Basically, it was the GA VIP section. -Katie Bain
One of the best cameos we saw on Saturday wasn't on a big stage eating an intro from one of the headliners. Watching GZA from three feet away at the Hieneken House at 8:30 p.m.--that was where you needed to be on Saturday. Most press folks got the notification he was headlining the new indoor lounge area 15 minutes before he took the stage. Hardly anybody had a clue he'd be following LA beat scene royalty Gas Lamp Killer and Thundercat, who gave some rad performances on their own. But there he was, The Genius--killing it Shoalin style for a 30-minute set that drawing heavily from Liquid Swords. And of course, he had to go ahead and drop a few verses of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," an obligatory ode to Ol' Dirty Bastard that felt just right--considering we all felt like dirty bastards any way at that point of the night. -Nate Jackson
There's a remedy for Friday night's pain and suffering thankfully. It's hidden deep in the car camping area in the activity tent--free yoga sessions on the hour every day between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. A North Carolina yogini named Elizabeth Cramond guided Saturday morning's vinyasa flow. After some chaturangas and spinal twists to exercise last night's demons, and serious pigeoning of the hips, 45 minutes later it was time to strut back into Coachella on a cloud of endorphins ready to throttle another night. -Adam Lovinus
The Energy of the Toy Dolls The Toy Dolls have always been a fun band. The 1980's English punk staples are beloved for their take on the lighter side of punk rock, but considering the sole original member, Olga, is 51, it was reasonable to be worried how this incarnation of the Toy Dolls would sound at Coachella. And you know what? These old guys had more energy than young Lorde, Lana Del Rey and Haim combined. We didn't realize until we saw them live that the band are the old punk version of ZZ Top with their choreographed bass and guitar moves and synchronized guitar twirling. Olga even asked the crowd, "Do you think I'm too old for this?" to which we yelled back a resounding "He'll no!" - Taylor Hamby
Finding 20 bucks on the ground. We spent it on a slice of Hot Lips Spicy Pie pizza and a cold beer. Thank you, Coachella gods. -Taylor Hamby
Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum has been playing shows again in recent years (presumably to finance his expensive ethnomusicology habit), and the last time he played Coachella was 2012 -- solo. But those who expected the same type of set this year were wrong; backed by the wild and woolly Neutral Milk Hotel players, Sunday's show at the outdoor stage was a whole different beast. Mangum came out alone for opener "Two-Headed Boy," but near the end of the song, right on cue, the brass came out. Before long there were tuba solos and a dude in a goofy blue sock hat playing the music saw. Oh, and by the way Magnum's beard is now growing out of his cheeks and has officially reached "fuck you, society" levels. Glorious. -Ben Westhoff
Motörhead at Mojave
We make no secret of our love for Lemmy Kilmister. The Motörhead front man is still the archetype of a rock-n-roll badass. But let's not forget how much guitarist Phil "Wizzo" Campbell and drummer Mikey Dee bring to the table behind Lemmy's gravelly voice and growling bass. Casual fans were definitely given a lesson last night as the band throttled hard through a setlist of brutal, classic riffs from throughout their discography. Both band members showcased their solo work at various points. Campbell's glowing green frets and snarling, classic band logo on his soloing axe guitar made his play seem almost extra terrestrial--which fits because the solo he delivered with it was other worldy. And Mikey Dee's dexterously pounding drum solo was priceless. And of course, Motorhead weren't immune from the celebrity guest star game. Slash, the ultimate cameo whore, joined him on stage to rip through Ace of Spades. Between him and Lemmy, these guys still have the two greatest hats in rock 'n' roll. -Nate Jackson
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.