Bryce's 2012 Coachella Wrap Up: Day 2

April 15, 2012

Coachella day 2 is a strange beast. Particularly this year.  There's some type of special excitement associated with setting foot on the polo fields under the sunny blue sky for the first time each year, and as mentioned in our previous blog...that certainly wasn't day 1. Things started off sunny enough though today, which meant the throngs who hid out in their tents for the first day were all out en mass. Just walking in it was obvious the fest had at least doubled in attendance from yesterday. An interesting occurrence as in past years, the idea of only attending certain days or certain times to see certain things, wasn't even an option. Proving more and more that the fest is becoming a destination event, a place to bring your friends and all have a collective "experience" which occasionally involves a bad or 3 that you love.  Which again, in past years, you'd just buy a pass to the day you wanted to hit and that was that! (while this seems in this writers opinion to be somewhat detrimental to the integrity of the fest, it certainly has helped out with traffic)

While I brushed off The Big Pink, who's guitarless/bassless live set up was a bit disconnected for me to sink my teeth into. I wandered over to the Sahara tent (a bit of a default for most really, when not much is going on). Jacques Lu Cont was in their spinning or whatever it is that dj's do these days and I ran into a friend from my nerdy days on the Coachella message board (before you write it off, that place is a fantastic way to find out tons about the latest in new music, live shows, have great music discussions, as well as just be internet dicks to one another) It's really a fantastic community of people that talk all year long and then meet up one time at each Coachella, and based on your tastes you end up suddenly having a bunch of new friends that you run into all over the place.  This idea is one of the things that feels lost on this "new Coachella" if you will. When I started going in 05 things were much more about going with your buddy and then meeting people all day and hanging out with whoever you enjoyed after the show at the camp grounds.  Coachella was about coming together over the music, and using it as a vehicle to make new friends. Not the other way around. Which, again, this way is fine too, it's just based on different ideals than what some of us are used to. Anyway, he and I were talking about how over the years, (I was 15 when I first attended) the median age must have dropped by at least 5 years, because everywhere you look are packs of rabid 16 year olds who.... I'm pretty sure don't have any idea what's going on before 5 or 6 oclock, and are just there to run around trying to sneak into the beer garden. 

The Head and the Heart are apparently no big secret anymore by the way, as they nearly filled the enormous capacity Mojave tent for their mid-day slot. Kids everywhere singing, dancing, very much aware of what they are seeing, not simply stumbling in and liking what they hear. Though I suppose this could just be the year that thousands of Washingtonians descended on Coachella and came out to show their support, but that seems.... a bit unlikely :)

Perhaps one of the most entertaining things I overheard all day was during Noel Gallagher's set when 2 bros behind me had a steady conversation going about when he was finally going to break out the Oasis tracks, as Noel strummed through "Talk Tonight", from the bands B-sides record, The Masterplan (btw this stands as my favorite Oasis song ever, so my day was pretty much made at this point. if you're unfamiliar, definitely give it a listen)

Other Highlights of the day came from a surprisingly kick ass set from Kasabian (who are clearly used to headlining festivals, and not playing the Showbox market) With huge attitude and a sound that felt like Oasis meets the Prodigy, it was a day of Brits coming through heavily.  To be honest I only happened upon their set out of curiosity, and left feeling like it was one of my favorite sets of the day. That's the beauty of a fest who's stages arent far apart, often times you can just hop between tents till you find something you like, and end up walking away with something new you can't wait to get on your ipod. A testament that no matter how much the internet tells us to listen to something, there's nothing quite like discovering it for yourself. 

St Vinvcent also put on a hell of a show. Drawing heavily from her latest record, Strange Mercy, the set showcased Annies chops both vocally and as a shredder on the guitar, before she went absolutely bananas during the debut performance of her record store day single, KROKODIL, crowd surfing through the whole track and sending everyone in attendance into an absolute frenzy. Thankfully due to the power of technology you can relive the whole thing below via video...

Completely baffling is the fests reputation for booking rare and reunited acts, but again today, those sets seemed of the most poorly attended. Both Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel fame and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, had extremely modest crowds, to the point where you weren't even protected from the harsh wind (seriously, it was unreasonably f-ing cold), and sets times, a struggle to focus on. That said, despite playing to a nearly empty Mojave tent, Godspeed pumped out one of the most powerful, moving sets of the fest. Someone around me called it "the basement show of Coachella", which if you've ever been to one of those, you understand the connection to the intimacy and power of sharing that moment with just a few others around you

I always found it funny the regard people hold Radiohead in. Yes, they're an amazing band. Over the years I've become more than familiar with their catalogue and believe me, I quite like it. It's baffling however that people hold them on their own tier almost above all other bands. One girl behind me shouts "Is this real life??" as the lights go down and the band takes the stage. Their set is largely reminiscent of Seattle, though with a swap for a few hits (Karma Police, and Paranoid Android) which lead to more of those epic Coachella sing along moments I keep referring to. Also can we please talk about something.... Your spot. it's not that big of a deal. if someone wants to get by you, be it going forward, or across the crowd, is it really that big of a deal? Particularly even if the band isn't on yet. Chances are those people are just gonna keep going till theyre far away from you and find a spot where there's room for them. People can take this concert going thing far too seriously. It's a band, if you like your spot, killer, if you don't, move. but don't get mad at people for wanting to get passed you. It's just childish at this point in concert existence. /rant.

The band were in much better shape tonight however, as Johnny's hand was clearly doing better and the guitar was much more noticeable throughout the set. Thom even seemed in quite the cheerful mood.  All in all, the set of the fest for many people, they delivered the spectacle required of a mainstage headliner (and a repeat one at that) you can actually check out video of their whole set streaming below... So let that keep you busy as we venture out to Day 3!