We’re back from the wild wild west that is Indio, California. Fresh with stories from both weekends of the infamous Coachella Music Festival.  Simply said, it was a crazy, music heavy, art splattered, groove-centric, beautiful experience, and we want to share it with you guys!  Weekend one was covered by Sam Richardson, and weekend two was covered by Noah Kline.  Below, you’ll find both of our Day 1 experiences featuring photography by Adam Maresca.  We’ll be releasing days 2 and 3 later on this week, so stay tuned.

Sam’s Weekend 1, Day 1:

The first day of The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is like Christmas, but better. If you were smart – you already made it out to Indio the night before and are lodged comfortably, either at your campsite, in a hotel room or at your friends unbelievable house with an infinity pool and a golf course. Either way, your couldn’t be more stoked to see the lush grass, incredible art installations and unbelievable entertainment that is Coachella.

We arrived at about 1:30pm and made our way through the first and second security checkpoints rather quickly. As we finally entered Coachella we dropped to our knees in excitement. After a brief roll in the grass we quickly ran over to the Allah-Las to catch 3 vocalists and their band throwing down psychedelic beach-goth tunes (similar to The Growlers). They were the epitome of So-Cal grunge and the beach goth scene. After a few tunes we

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War on Drugs. Photo: Adam Maresca

headed over to the Hip-Hop beats of Ab-Soul, which we honestly weren’t really feeling. I was rather excited for this act, as he always happens to pop on my Pandora, and I really grew to be a fan of his

tracks. Of course, Schoolboy Q made a guest appearance Weekend 2. Either way, our favorite girl+boy duo, Sylvan Esso was playing the Mojave tent and after watching their KEXP Live performances we knew they wouldn’t disappoint. So honored to be at Coachella, they performed better than any performance we’d ever seen of theirs. She sang and danced in gold platforms, while he DJ’d. He was not messing around at all, either. Nick Sanborn was throwing down the beats, all live, non of that pre-recorded nonsense.

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Alabama Shakes. Photo: Adam Maresca

As the sun set, we caught a little of the raw rock band that is War on Drugs. Rocking out to a quick Sax solo, we made our way over to the Alabama Shakes. Wow… Brittany Howard, the lead singer and guitarist absolutely shredded the Outdoor stage. I’ve never had a woman speak to my soul like she did!

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Steely Dan, Outdoor Stage. Photo: Adam Maresca

Right after the shakes were “old school” legends, Steely Dan. Surrounded by a crowd about 30 years older than us, we jammed out to these extremely talented individuals. With something around 15+ people on stage, they were not an act to miss. They were honest with us too, and said ONE of the reasons they were there were  “financial considerations”. This was part of the 5 minute rant that occurred mid-set.

As Coachella turned to the mystical wonderland of the night, we caught acts like Nero, AC/DC, & Flying Lotus. I must say, after seeing Nero at the Sahara tent in 2012 (before it was the ridiculous monstrosity it is today), they played a bunch of the same music and had a rather similar set up. It was quite cool to seem them on the Outdoor stage, but I felt like they belonged in the Sahara tent (no disrespect).

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Alana Watson (Nero), has got a “Crush On You”. Photo: Adam Maresca

Flying Lotus had the most insane visuals of the night, with a sort of glass projection system encasing him. I really can’t describe it to you, as I didn’t fully comprehend what my eyes were seeing. To cap off the night we saw the Australian riot squat that is AC/DC. While they didn’t garner the crowd they deserved, they absolutely tore apart the main stage. With cannons, fireworks, tons of energy – and of course who can forget that 20 minute guitar solo. Oh my Lord… Legendary.

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Angus Young (AC/DC) tearing apart the Main Stage during his 20 minute guitar solo. Photo: Adam Maresca

 


 

Noah’s Weekend 2, Day 1:

The first day of Coachella is always a shock. Getting into the festival to be greeted by the (now) iconic Ferris Wheel side beside the house music oasis that is the Yuma tent, is a little overwhelming.

Once you get past that, you’re greeted by the largest food court you’ve ever seen with some of the most incredible selections possible. Plus, you’re able to get a view of each stage from this center location giving you an opportunity to understand the magnitude of this world renown festival.

We headed to the absolutely monstrous Sahara Tent to start our day with a little live 808 love from Keys N Krates. The lighting set up was reminiscent of Sub Focus’ live setup with the rings, but three to four times the size. Keys N Krates had the crowd moving relatively early into the hot ass day, a feat that few artists have accomplished. Afterwards, we stuck around to check out Oliver Heldens’ future house grooves –  which went over really well with the relatively commercial EDM crowd; the times they are a changing!

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The night decends on the Do Lab. Photo: Adam Maresca

Afterwards, we went to The Do LaB to check out rising superstar, Mija. This bass house badass brought down what was easily the best designed stage with the perfect vibes to match. As the sun started setting, we headed into the underground, house music “club” designed Yuma tent to catch the legendary Pete Tong. The house was packed and he was getting down with a classic deep house set. Accompanied by the dark vibe of the club setting, minimal strobe lights and intermittent, colored spotlights, he kept a solid groove going amongst the crowd for the entirety of his set. We had our fill of minimal beats and figured it was time to kick things up a notch with Nero at the Outdoor Stage. I am a massive fan of their live shows, and you can see that in my previous festival reviews, but the Outdoor Stage was the wrong setting for them. Their set was solid, but the sound was entirely unfit for a group of their nature, and the visual show was minimal at best for the crowd they had brought in.

We left early to secure a solid spot for Porter Robinson in the Sahara Tent. He brought his Worlds Tour, in full, to Coachella and I can safety say that he was the best act (I saw) in the infamous Sahara Tent all weekend. The tent was flooded out the back and sides for this set, and for great reason. His beautiful live set accompanied by the incredible visuals he had been sporting for his entire tour made for an incredibly moving experience.
After recovering from what was one of my favorite Coachella sets since 2007, we made our way to the main stage to close out the night with rock legends, ACDC. Their stage presence was surprisingly active for a band of their age, and their musical talent was on par with any headliner who has graced that stage. Their performance featured classic tracks like “Back In Black,” “Thunderstruck,””You Shook Me All Night Long,” and ended with a twenty minute roaring guitar solo accompanied by enough confetti to bury the crowd up to their necks. It was one hell of a successful day, as we got acclimated to the festival atmosphere and experienced some incredible music… But we were only getting started.

Read all about Day 2 here.