Witnessing legendary UK producers and DJ’s move the floor… in an Air Museum?

After a long awaited winter, we finally arrived in the desert for weekend 1 of Coachella! Our first stop before hitting Indio was the Palm Springs Air Museum to catch some artists off of London based record label, Young Turks. The only thought on my mind was, “who throws a party at a museum”? With no expectations, I was surprised at Palm Spring Air Museum’s captivating atmosphere.
The outdoor stage was home to the disc jockeys while the intimate indoor setting was reserved for the live sets. Each stage was illuminated by subtle lights radiating off jet planes which gave way to some well executed aesthetics. This allowed the real show to take place on the decks and through the sound system. Knowing this, we should expect powerhouse closing sets by Four Tet and Jamie xx (unfortunately we missed Ben UFO). After taking a look at the booth setup, I immediately noticed there was also a turntable light. I was fairly giddy as I knew would this mean some vinyl exclusives to come!
The only thing that could have topped this all-star line up would have been a 4-hour b2b set between Jamie xx and Four Tet, as they’re known for working together frequently. Whether they’re in the studio remixing each other, or gifting us with one of their eclectic BBC Essential Mixes, these two seem to feed off of each other in brilliant ways. The UK bred artists have been together on tour in the past and it was a pleasure to see them closing out one of the best shows I’ve been to in the past year. A big shout out to FYF and Goldenvoice for gathering such a well-rounded lineup before they hit the Coachella mainstage.

Four Tet

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Fast forwarding to our first DJ set of the night we have Kieran Hebden AKA Four Tet. In my decade of show-going, I’ve rarely seen anyone pull out so many tracks from different genres that just WORK. Between his eclectic ramp ups of big kick drums, UK basslines and countless unfolding melodies, we also get a little taste of humor through his track selection. Casually dropping “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” rallied some chuckles on the dance floor. Laughter quickly turned into yet another impressive changeover into what anyone could feel was the final portion of his set.

With endless crafty transitions I’d happily crown Four Tet as the filter king, making such exquisite use of their function time and time again. The two big track highlights for me during this set were the following:

1. KHLHI – Percussions

My ears immediately perked after the initial vocals slid in to the mix chanting…”I think I’ll keep him like he is”. Soon after you could find me front and center enjoying myself for the remainder of his set.
2. KMA Productions – Cape Fear

Did I mention how I love vinyl only releases? This 1997 Garage classic seems to be a back pocket gem for Four Tet as heard on his extraordinary Fabriclive 59 mix a few years back. Good luck finding this in a digital version unless you have a vinyl enthusiast who is keen on buying and ripping it for you.

Jamie xx

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Let’s start off by saying this was the ultimate highlight of my night! Not only have I never seen a Jamie xx set live, but I was completely enamored by the track selection from start to finish. He crafted what I would consider one of the most well rounded DJ sets I’ve experienced in a long time. His set was packed full of nonstop tension building and backed with perfect timing, solidifying his genius mixing knowledge at every turn. It’s no surprise this guy could be considered the backbone for The xx, as their core producer.
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After donning the stage upon Four Tet’s exit, we get hints of a slow jazzy start. The transition feels like something from Floating Points (another member of the UK clique) but that’s TBD. Gently gracing his way to a higher BPM, he hits us with disco cuts and big arpeggiated bass lines that create the perfect vibe. Coupled with amazing dance floor readability, Jamie xx brought extraordinary energy as he easily created some peak euphoric moments throughout his set. Some track highlights for the set include some of the following:
1. Addison Groove – Changa

Only 2 month’s after it’s release I had eyed this track myself as a big time summer jam, I was delighted to hear those tribal voices muttering to me live in the desert.
2. Jamie xx – Gosh

What better way is their to close out a Coachella pre-party then with one of the bigger songs off of your own debut album? I can’t think of many. The awestruck look on the attendees faces as Jamie xx closed out the night in epic UK fashion was a memory I won’t forget for a long time.

For those of you out there hungry to see these UK superstars again I hope you have money for a trip overseas as this is likely the last time they’ll be playing here for the next few months. Hopefully we have another well curated Young Turks event in the near future as it was surely an experience to remember.

Image Credit:  Jude Malagon @kidcubano (IG)