Bryce's 2012 Coachella Wrap Up: Day 3

April 16, 2012

Coachella day 3 is always a bittersweet adventure. Exhausted from the days previous, you think that while you're having a blast you might just be ready to leave, however not before some of the best sets of the weekend.

The day kicked off early, and right with killer set from Houss e de Racket and Metronomy (who you can catch by showing up early to Coldplay's Key Arena show) as well as a smooth avant-garde jazz set from Thundercat (during which I took a thundercat-nap. It was glorious, and felt like the complete proper way to enjoy the set. Laying down on the grass in the Mojave tent after a long weekend letting the notes push me in and out of sleep) Afterall, had to save strength for later. Some of the biggest and most hyped performances of the week, need all the energy you can muster.

The Weeknd played his first show in the states to a sunset slot on the Outdoor stage which felt, honestly more like seeing a boy band than anything. Girls screaming at the top of their lungs on the shoulder of their boyfriends. People holding up home made signs they'd lugged around all day in the heat just to get Abel's attention for a moment, and more than anything, crowd singalongs like I've never heard. It's not often that you can collectively experience an artist all for the first time at once, so the first chance they got to the last chance they got, everyone clung to every word, making it almost difficult at times to hear the man himself belting out the notes.  Expect huge things from this kid though, believe the hype. I give him mainstage in a year, maaaybe 2. The only reason he's not already enormous is because he doesn't want to be. It's an incredible thing to be 21, label-less by choice, and playing to such a huge crowd at such a major music festival. His showbox date next month is already sold out, but catch this kid while you can cuz next time it just might be in an arena. 

Justice took the stage 20 minutes late, cutting an already short set almost in half, but that didn't stop them from throwing down incredibly hard. Their new lighting set up turns the club show they built for their first tours on it's head and brings a whole new level of epic to the show. Plus hearing songs like Genesis, Horsepower, and Civilization through the mainstage sound system is just something else entirely. It is an odd niche they've carved for themselves though. Flirting with mainstream awareness and playing to a giant crowd, no one really seemed that... into it. I mean, clearly people were enjoying it, but it was nothing like 07 when mosh pits were popping up left and right, crowd surfers were everywhere, and things in general were just turned up to 11. But perhaps that's what makes those days so special, and propagates the legend to begin with. "I was there when cross dropped and the kids went crazy". Maybe that's what people will say.

At The Drive In, I hate to say it. A little bit of a let down. Sure it sounded great, the band were tight, and it was absolutely fantastic to finally hear those songs live. But Omar clearly could not have cared less, Cedric's vocals have long since abandoned the guttural roughness they once had. And overall the whole band lacked the synchronicity present in the Refused reunion. It was obvious this wasn't for fun or nostalgia, but purely a cash grab. Which, to be honest, kind of hurts. Where Refused struggled with separating with their punk ideals, they succeeded with pouring overwhelming passion and care, and genuine heart and excitement to their set. Where ATDI still clearly are not a band anymore, despite all member being on the same stage, it's a bit of a shell of what it used to be.

What to say about Snoop + Dre that hasn't already been tweeted, texted, broadcast on national news. Yes, there was a Tupac hologram, yes, there were more blunts than I've ever seen at one place, at one time, in my life. Yes there was Eminem and 50 Cent. Yes there was every hit you could have imagined. And definitely yes, it felt a whole lot like an enormous version of the Mitchapalooza scene from Old School (Snooop, snooopalooop). Is rap everyones thing? certianly not, but it's hard to deny easily the biggest mainstage crowd I've ever seen in my 8 years of attendance, going absolutely bananas as these legends of their genre throw down a hit packed set that leaves everyone feeling high on the last sounds of the weekend.

Walking out of the grounds after that last set is bizarre every year. It never gets any easier, and always leaves you feeling hollow. Even though it's a grueling couple days of heat, exhaustion, and malnourishment/dehydration, there's nothing quite like it for the rest of the year (except you know, weekend 2 now haha) so until we meet again. That's a wrap on Coachella 2012