This past weekend, over 100,000 people journeyed to Coachella Valley in Indio, California to take part in the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Known by many as a modern-day Woodstock, the festival serves as a “pilgrimage” to thousands of people every year. It’s also a hot spot for celebrity cameos and surprise performances (more on that later). This year’s festival had an amazing EDM lineup which was based mostly in the Sahara Tent, but, to be fair, there were plenty of non-EDM artists that were outstanding as well. I just want to give shout outs to those who had exceptional performances: Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Kings of Leon, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Yelle, Erykah Badu, Empire of the Sun, Lauryn Hill, Mumford & Sons, and Nas & Damien Marley. It was truly a great festival for fans of all kinds of music. Now, let’s move onto the stuff that you’re here for!
LessThan3 kicked things off with the rising dubstep superstar 12th Planet. In classic 12th Planet style, he was jumping up and down and was going nuts on stage; I counted three stage dives during his set! To raise the crowd’s already boiling-over level of excitement, Skrillex came on and dropped his deadly collab with 12th Planet, Needed. Speaking of Skrillex, he put on an unbelievable set himself. He even brought out Korn and debuted his newest single with them. People climbed on top of other people’s shoulders for this, and needless to say the tent went insane. Dutch house star Afrojack had some special guests during his set as well. Paul McCartney (yep) and Usher both came out on stage with him–an indicator on how big EDM has gotten in the past couple of years. A-Trak frikkin’ killed it, as he usually does. He displayed his mastery on the turntables with his signature Robot Rock juggle and his remix of Heads Will Roll by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The last EDM artist we saw on Friday was indie electronica artist Nosaj Thing. A personal favorite of mine, I was expecting big things from Nosaj Thing. Let me tell you, he did not disappoint. Proto, Meshblorg and I were mesmerized by how his masterful ability to mix sync-ed up perfectly with his projector visuals. One of the highlights of his show was when he dropped his remix of Islands by The XX. We all agreed it was the best set we saw all day. For more on some of the Coachella Friday happenings, check out our cross-coverage with Billboard.
Day 2 kept things going with awesome sets from almost everyone. Chuckie taught California what “Dirty Dutch” really means. Drop after drop, he had the crowd in the palm of his tribal, trumpet-y hands. He might have been the best EDM set of the day. href=”http://blog.lessthan3.com/2011/02/the-grand-funk/”>Fedde le Grand was certainly trying to compete with Chuckie’s monster set, though; when it was time for his set, he came on and tore the crowd a new one. The most memorable part of the set was when he dropped a mashup of his song Amplifier with Empire of the Sun’s Walking on a Dream. People went bananas when that first vocal dropped and danced and sang the whole way through. Fedde was a much needed refresher for the Sahara Tent. The last two performers, Paul van Dyk and Steve Angello, both put on fantastic sets, with the former being the only trance act of the night. Steve Angello even bringing out his baby on stage. That kid is gonna be a rock star some day.
There was also some amazing talent in the Do Lab on Day 2. The tent was playing mostly techno and minimal house, two genres that aren’t quite that big in SoCal, while picking things up later with dubstep and glitch hop. The thing we loved so much about these sets was not only that they were masterclass intros to the genre for those unfamiliar with minimal/tech, but the stage was also the best one at the festival. Scantily clad girls with huge mist guns sprayed the entire crowd in the relatively small tent. People were going absolutely nuts, taking off their clothes and jumping up and down in a wet, muddy upheaval. Lee Burridge laid down some seriously sick techno and minimal. Another DJ, Patricio, mixed genres like nobody’s business, and quite frankly may have been one of the best multi-genre sets we’ve ever heard. Later on, NiT GriT melted faces with his signature grime. Crazy, wet crowds, hot chicks with mist guns, and ill DJ sets made it the best stage at all of Coachella.
By Day 3 the crowd was noticeably tired, but the partying must go on! We started things off real big with the wobbly sounds of Jack Beats. Their signature wobbles stomped all over the crowd, and despite the extreme fatigue and heat, you just couldn’t help but dance! After a solid electro section, they switched to dubstep halfway through and dropped some serious bombs. Next up was future bass producer Joy Orbison. He put on a very unique set consisting of garage, funk, house, hip hop, and UK future bass. He’s definitely somebody to look out for here in the US.
One of the best sets of the day belonged to Duck Sauce. They brought out a huge, smug-looking duck on stage with them and threw out rubber duck masks into the crowd. Out of nowhere, people started singing Barbra Streisand before they even got a chance to play it, and basically forced them to drop it to enormous effect. They also dropped an unreleased track, Big Bad Wolf. By the end of the day, people were exhausted; that is, until Chase & Status went on. To say that they killed it is an understatement. First of all, they had one of the best MCs we’ve ever heard, so mad props on that. But what made the set truly special was that they utilized pauses in between songs to actually bring up the energy in the room–something we’ve never seen done well before. They continued to rage with tracks like Flashing Lights featuring Sub Focus and Takura. It was the best way to end the festival.
Coachella was one of the best festivals, if not THE best festival, I’ve ever been able to attend. It’s almost impossible to describe how amazing the people and the music were. The setup was superb and it was the most comfortable I’ve ever been at a massive event like this. It’s no wonder why people fly in from all over the world to come here. The moment I walked in, I knew I would have to come back next year. We’ll be there with bells on at next year’s Coachella, but until then, enjoy these tracks by some of the festival’s biggest EDM acts.