Heat in the high 90s, 47 bands and lots and lots of skin greeted the 30 thousand-plus revelers at last Saturday’s Coachella festival. A massive mishmash of hip hop, electronica and rock, the performers braved the elements and their own dehydration to give the passionate crowd an unforgettable day. At times it was overwhelming: What is one to do when The Chemical Brothers, The Orb and Gang Starr are all playing simultaneously in different tents?
There were so many highlights, it’s hard to pair them down. Living up to expectations, Jane’s Addiction was fantastic. Opening with “Upon the Beach,” their energy continued unabated through the epic performance of “Three Days.” Complemented by a host of sensual dancers, Flea made a guest appearance on stage as they stomped through a vicious, nearly 15-minute version of “Ted, Just Admit It.”
The freestyling of MC Supernatural was amazing to witness as he incorporated three words from the audience (psilocybin, astrophysicist, empirical) into a blazingly entertaining rhyme-fest. The crowd reached a frightening level of energy during Weezer’s much anticipated set as Rivers Cuomo and company interspersed some songs off their forthcoming release with popular numbers off of their debut, “Buddy Holly” and “Say It Ain’t So,” before closing with “Only In Dreams.”
Still, even though Souls of Mischief, Iggy Pop, the Roots and Aceyalone all gave awesome performances, it was the electronica acts that stole the show. Spinning in massive tents where the sound ricocheted around at ear-bleeding decibels, the crowd for Kruder & Dorfmeister and The Chemical Brothers often approached ballistic. Coachella-goers were a remarkably buoyant and happy lot, relentlessly shaking their bodies to the thumping beats spinning off the decks, letting their chemically fueled energy release itself amid the dizzying heat. Let’s hope this becomes a new Southern California tradition.