There’s nothing like two days of nonstop stage-hopping in 95-degree heat to satiate the need for a good live show. Once again, the big money masterminds behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival spent their weekend pulling out all the stops and putting together what quite easily may have been the event’s most successful showing to date. Boasting shows from the nearly unbookable – Massive Attack, Daft Punk and Madonna – to the industry’s up-and-comers – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bloc Party and the Like – Coachella met – and exceeded – most expectations, leaving attendees bruised, burnt, battered and begging for more.

Howling at the Moon
By Marissa Stockham

Truth be told, I stumbled onto Wolfmother’s set mistaking them for another band. In hindsight, the Coachella gods must have led me there, as my misstep brought me face to face with one of the most electric performances of the day. Just to set the mood, the Aussie trio started up their set with a howl that would have put Iggy Pop in his place. The performance did not let up from there. With a mix of thundering drums, sizzling guitar solos and choppy breakdowns surprisingly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, the show was definitely worth the busted eardrums.

Born to Rock
By Fergal Madigan

While many have, quite rightly, been waxing lyrical about the jaw-dropping shows of the weekend by the likes of Massive Attack and Daft Punk, I would like to put forward one of my personal highlights of the festival. It is always a joy to come across a previously unknown act that rips your head off and deposits it somewhere between the beer garden and the port-o-loos in a state of ethereal bliss. For me, Lyrics Born fit that bill. Performing early Saturday in the small Gobi Tent, the Bay Area MC and his band played perfect party funk in the blistering heat. If any group acted as a soundtrack for the mood of the weekend, Lyrics Born was it.

Clap Your Hands!
By Fergal Madigan

Coachella has a tradition of throwing up at least one of the big new bands on the festival circuit. Festivals can make or break a new band, especially in the fiercely competitive United Kingdom, and so a slot at Coachella often acts as a trial run for new bands. Last year, the Arcade Fire emerged from relative obscurity to international acclaim after a memorable performance on Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre. This year, based on the crowd alone, that legacy might just be passed down to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Handed a dream timeslot – 5 p.m. in the large Mojave tent – with little else on going on elsewhere, Clap Your Hands saw one of the biggest crowds of Saturday afternoon, packing the tent to capacity.

For those that did manage to get a good view, the boys did not disappoint. The band gave a hugely energetic rendition of their eponymous debut album to one of the more enthusiastic audiences of the weekend. For a newer band, Clap Your Hands were extremely confident to play in front of such a large crowd and showed a high level of professionalism and polish to go along with their high energy, onstage indie-thrashing.

Hear Me Out
By Aly Comingore

Vocal chops aside, Imogen Heap took to the Gobi stage Saturday afternoon looking like a woman on the run from the mental ward. Donning a red strap-on keyboard that matched her impeccably teased tresses, Heap swayed and pounded through the majority of her Speak for Yourself release as if she were channeling an otherworldly spirit through song. But wild-eyed expressions and an outlandish costume failed to mask Heap’s raw talent and impressive octave range. Though songs like “The Walk” and “Just for Now” were unable to pack the same reverb-induced punch that they do in recordings, the stripped down version of “Hide and Seek” made the experience wholly worthwhile.

By Marissa Stockham

Damien Marley’s knockout performance truly embodied the spirit of the music festival, combining passionate, yet peaceful, reggae melodies. Marley and his crew of dancers, trumpet players and flag wavers performed at sunset over a suspiciously smoky crowd. His lyrics were hard-hitting, but they touched the revelers in all the right spots as audience members jumped and grooved to songs off Marley’s Grammy winning album Welcome to the Jamrock. However, the youngest sibling of the musical Marley family showed that the success of his album didn’t all go to his head. The performance hit an undisputed high point when Marley paid homage to his late father, singing the classic, “Could You Be Love.”

Luck Be a Lady
By Fergal Madigan

Ladytron is another band that has a busy summer ahead of it as the members embark on a U.S. tour following their Coachella performance. The Liverpool-based band is bizarrely popular over here considering the relatively low profile they keep in their home country. Their ghostly cold synth-punk transfers very easily to the stage, and their light show warmed up the crowd as they awaited the electronic madness that would take to the stage later in the evening.

Desert Eagles
By Marissa Stockham

Just to get it out of the way, Eagles of Death Metal is not a metal band. Legend has it that the name was conceived during a fight when some drunk guy adamantly argued with former Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme that Poison was, in fact, a metal band. This, of course, begged the question – what happens when you electrify some soft rock tunes with heavy metal attitude? Eagles of Death Metal provided the answer when all nine members flocked on stage and dished out some hip-jiving, head banging headbanging, soul-stealing boogie tunes. Playing songs off their album, Death by Sexy, the band revealed their dishonorable intentions with hits like “Whorehoppin’,” “Chase the Devil” and “I Want You So Hard.” Just to make sure the audience was in on the joke, the Eagles ended their electrifying set with a cover of Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” – aptly renamed “Stuck in the Metal With You.” Get it?

Daft Punk Is Playing at My House
By Marissa Stockham

Masters of electronica, Daft Punk proves that two old robots can still rock a house, or a dance tent in Coachella’s case. Headlining the first day of the festival, the duo of DJs kept the crowd on their feet as they deftly integrated classics like “Around the World” and more recent pieces like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Mounted on top of a 60-foot pyramid, the twosome pumped out a constant stream of beats while dressed in costumes reminiscent of 1970s star troopers. The set – illuminated by multicolored plasma screens – flashed lights so fast and bright that even the sweaty, bald guy grinding next to you didn’t look so bad.

Pharmaceutical Bandit
By Aly Comingore

Though Ted Leo and the Pharmacists might not have been the most innovative – or even the most ambitious – namesake on the 2006 Coachella lineup, some credit has to be given to any group who can power through nearly an hour’s worth of pop rock in 100+ degree heat. Though dripping with sweat and openly admitting his envy of fellow timeslot holder, James Blunt – who managed to finagle his way into the shade of the Mojave Tent – Leo took it all in stride and sang his little heart out. Suffice it to say, the band’s enthusiasm was contagious, as tunes like “Me and Mia” and “Shake the Streets” got most of the crowd up and dancing.

Hungry Like the Wolf
By Daniel Haier

While the rest of us in the aptly named Mojave tent fueled ourselves with water, Canadian indie-rockers Wolf Parade fueled themselves with J