April 19, 2011

Coachella Wrap-Up

Luckily, half of the Galley was able to make it the the Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival in Indio, CA. Here's our take:


The Black Keys:
Playing one of the most exciting, raw sets of the first day, Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach rocked through 45 minutes of their bluesy best. Highlights: A huge disco ball rising up from the stage for "Everlasting Light" and the crowd wishing drummer Patrick a happy 31st birthday.

Freelance Whales:
This show early on Saturday showed exactly how new some of the bands at the festival really are. While they looked extremely nervous and admitted to being afraid of public speaking, the New York group's show was an awesome way to start the day.

The Tallest Man On Earth:
The acoustic beauty of Swede Kristian Matsson was at its finest in the Gobi tent on Saturday. Running through all of his fan favorites, Matsson's set was essentially perfect. Highlight: The fan sing-along to "The Dreamer"

Mumford & Sons:
A crowd as large as any the whole weekend showed up for these guys and it was well worth the crowded, bodies-packed-like-sardines atmosphere. The band, wide-eyed at the biggest crowd they have ever played to, kept their cool and had the fans singing along to almost every song. They even played a new tune "Lover of the Light", something unusual and refreshing for a band that high up on the bill. Funny moment: Prior to the band's entrance, a spontaneous crowd rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" started up, leading a Mumford "fan" to ask, "Is that a Mumford and Sons song??"

Arcade Fire:
The finale of Saturday, hundreds of huge flashing color balloons dropping from a crane onto the crowd during "Wake Up," couldn't have been better. The group sounded amazing, playing a wide-range of their material and ending the night with a bang.

Angus and Julia Stone:
This brother-sister duo from Australia was a total treat. The funny Julia and shy Angus had a wonderful dynamic and relaxed the masses in their hippie-like outfits. Highlight: Julia rocking out on the guitar, piano and trumpet.

Ellie Goulding:
British singer/songwriter Goulding is known by many through the dozens of popular remixes that have been done of her electro/acoustic ballads. Highlight: Everyone wearing star-shaped glasses during her hit "Starry Eyed" and her incredible cover of Elton John's "Your Song".

Tinie Tempah:
I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that Tinie Tempah, a British rapper that has made waves in his homeland, is going to get big. Maybe it was his incredible command of the audience or the fact that he showed up twenty minutes late due to technical difficulties and the initial booing turned to cheering when the band played their first note. Or maybe it was the fact that David Hasselhoff, Clint Eastwood, and Usher all showed up to catch his set. Either way, the highlight was definitely when Ellie Goulding returned to the stage to join him for "Wonderman".

The electrofunk duo, made up of Dave 1 and P-Thugg, kept the crowd moving Sunday night with their infectious dance cuts. Highlights: The band being joined by Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and Dave 1's younger brother, A-Trak.

Kanye West:
Needless to say, this was the biggest show of the weekend. After entering on a riser, emerging from the middle of the audience, dozens of ballerinas accompanied West on stage as he ran through 25 of his biggest hits. The set, which he dedicated to his mom, was clearly a huge hit with the crowd, who sang along to most of the choruses. Backed by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on backup vocals, who was never credited in any way, Kanye was surprisingly without any special guests the whole show. Rumors had been circulating about Rihanna, Katy Perry, Jay-Z, or even Daft Punk possibly joining him on stage. But this event, Kanye wanted to enjoy all to himself. Even so, this show was epic.


Kings Of Leon:
While their headlining set on Friday night wasn't bad, it was simply boring. There was none of the flair or excitement that was clear during Arcade Fire and Kanye's sets.

Cee-Lo Green:
This complete failure of a show made headlines. After showing up about 30 minutes late, Green complained about poor sound quality during his show and the crowd singing along to his hit "Fuck You" seemed to be directed right at him. He was soon booted off stage during a strange cover of "Don't Stop Believin'".

Animal Collective:
The die-hard fans up front were having fun, but the experimental group drew a much smaller crowd than Mumford & Sons who played right before them and seemed to only appeal to those at the festival who chose to be inebriated enough to enjoy anything.

Wiz Khalifa:
This up-and-coming rapper's set drew a huge crowd during the middle-of-the-day heat but fell flat with boring beats and tired rhymes that were all about "Money and Ho's".

The Strokes:
While this set wasn't bad at all, (the group sounded amazing), Julian Casablancas wins the award for the worst stage banter of the weekend. After describing his flight in on a "diamond encrusted jet," and making a snide comment about Californians in California, the crowd seemed slightly put-off.


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