This time around, it's all about the music.
As anyone who has experience Coachella knows, there is no possible way to see every single set. When the lineup is announced, it's pretty exciting to see who you might have a chance at seeing. Some of the excitement goes by the wayside when the set times are finally announced and all the possible conflicts come to light but hey -- this is still Coachella. It's about the experience of it all -- of simply being on the festival grounds -- as it is about the music. Saturday's lineup was certainly no slouch.
Gogol Bordello's 3:35pm set on the main stage was full of insane energy, as we've come to expect from the band. Eugene Hutz worked the crowd into a fervor despite it being the hottest part of the day. There's something intangibly remarkable about Gogol Bordello. They could be perhaps the perfect Coachella band.
Word got out about Irish indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club. Their 4:30 set in the Mojave was packed out the gills -- literally. People were spilling out the sides of the tent. They did a fantastic job keeping the crowd moving and shaking, even playing a few new, unreleased songs. That particular time at the Mojave -- 4-5pm on Saturday -- has been a pretty distinguished set time throughout Coachella's years. Two Door Cinema Club earned every right to be there.
French electronic/dance music trio Yelle played perhaps my favorite set of the weekend thus far. Lead singer Julie Budet took to the stage in a heavy camouflage cloak, finally revealing her bright red, leopard-print unitard after the first song. Budet has an unbelievable energy onstage -- one that spills over into the crowd. That crowd in the Gobi for Yelle's sunset set was yet another huge turnout. If you are in Phoenix tonight and have nothing to do, hit up Yelle's set at The Rhythm Room. You can thank me later.
Animal Collective's nighttime set on the main stage utilized the mechanics of the massive stage setup. Their set was preceded by a 5 minute light light show on the scaffolding/rigging that is a part of the main stage. The "doors" on either side of the stage closed in front of the band, the lights flashed for a while and the "doors" opened back up. Unfortunately, it was the most interesting part of Animal Collective's admittedly "weird" -- as stated by Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox -- set.
Empire of the Sun closed out the outdoor stage. As expected, Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore brought out their offbeat, funky aesthetic. I was immediately hooked on Empire of the Sun's set from their opening song "Standing on the Shore." It took me about 3 songs to realize that Animal Collective was going to "challenge" the crowd with their overtly artsy-fartsy approach to their music. It pains me to say it, but Animal Collective's set was pretty boring.
Also, I suppose yesterday was the "Fuck Arizona" day at Coachella -- Jenny & Johnny, Bright Eyes and One Day as a Lion all had sets during the day. I actually saw someone wearing a Sound Strike t-shirt on Friday. Wearing that shirt to a music festival is doing about as much as de la Rocha and Oberst are collectively doing to combat SB 1070.
Next up is Sunday, the day of the mega Strokes/Chromeo/Phantogram/Ratatat conflict.