Thursday night when I got off the plane at LAX I decided to check the website for new updates. Their latest post was the bird eyes view festival map. As I quickly clicked it open, I was disoriented by the layout. Although there are differences every year, this was the first time I saw that Golden Voice had made some significant changes on the location of some of my favorite spots. After seeing the revised festival map of Coachella and upon entering the pearly entrance gates of the royal polo fields, my initial thought was to immediately run around and explore the newest additions and changes:
My biggest concern was the location change of the Do Lab Stage. Over the past 4 years I have attended Coachella, I've found that I'm drawn to the Do Lab stage as if it’s a literal human magnet. I've missed out on countless big name artists’ time slots because I literally cannot leave the inner circle of pounding bass music, positive vibes, freaky dancing, and all around friendly sexy aura the stage projects – it is my personal oasis on the polo fields. Typically located in the center of the festival, they opted to move it over by the food vendors behind the Sahara Stage.
My second point of exploration was the art installations. Written descriptions would never do them justice – the pictures below of the installations are Reflection field, Lightweaver, Escape Velocity, Chryochrome, Squared, and The Robot, and should sum up how amazing they were.
My third point of investigation was the newly added Craft Beer Barn. I apologize Heineken, but it’s difficult to drink you all day consecutively for 3 days. Offering over 100 different types of beers via 40 taps, this was my first choice to go when I needed a libation.
The Glitch Mob – This was one performance of the weekend I was extremely anxious to see. It's rare for me to be a fan of artists’ for years before seeing them live. With the drop of their new album in February and tour, I knew this show was going to be magical. They had one of the most exciting live performances, including a unique instrument known as the lemur to launch and alter elements in the set while also playing live drums for a great blend. This is all in accompanied by some incredible visuals to fully set it off. They played tracks from the new album along with old favorites for an amazing set.
LowRIDERZ - as the name would suggest, prepare to ride the lows pleasantly hard during their sets. Quickly carving out a slot as one of bass music’s up and coming artists, these two bass music veterans, An-Ten-Nae and Laura Low weave their own blend of deep, melodic dance floor grooves. They have perfected the art of ultra low frequencies that leaves the dance floor begging for more. Surprising the crowd with live guest, Ava Raiin to sing “I Got 5 On It,” their sexy bass filled set was definitely one of my favorite performances of the weekend.
Minnesota vs. G Jones – Unfortunately, after being disappointed by Outkast's performance at the main stage and determined to finish the night on a good note, I journeyed back to the Do LaB to get down with Minnesota vs. G Jones. This was probably the most unique performances I experienced over the weekend. The two California natives teamed up and collaborated their unique genres to bring their audience a smooth, astral, hyphy, glitch hop-like bass sound that almost blows your clothes off from the thunderous 808 sub-bass kick drums. When dancing, my body couldn’t decide if I should get low to the ground or blast off into outer space, and I loved every minute of it!
Kid Cudi – I made it to the main stage just in time to witness “Pursuit of Happiness” live and it was AMAZING!! My favorite part was the fact that the whole entire festival was jamming out. It didn’t matter if they were walking, getting food, or about to enter into another stage – EVERYONE was singing.
Dillon Francis – Mr. Francis himself was truly responsible for getting my night going on day 2. His set was unforgettable and one for the books. Between being surprised by special guest Diplo or watching the entire Sahara tent crowd get completely low to the ground before Francis dropped the ever so popular hook to “Get Low,” I loved every single minute of his set. Notable mention: When he played his newest remix of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk live.
RL Grime – This artist had the Mojave tent so packed I could barely see. There was literally an entire radius around this stage where every single person was getting so turnt up. He blew our minds and destroyed the crowd when he concluded his set with “Tell Me,” his newest release with "What So Not."
Fatboy Slim – Dust started to rage through the festival from the haboob during this set. Fatboy Slim's set proved that although he might be a veteran, he's still “got it” and man did he make the crowd go wild.
Empire of the Sun – brought an unusual level of showmanship to the Sahara Tent with a troupe of synchronized dancers decked out in feathered costumes, glow-in-the-dark instruments and an eye-popping laser light show. And in his towering, barbed headgear and floor-length golden coat, Steele looked like some kind of dance music pharaoh or gold lamé-bedecked disco Viking. If you have never seen them live yet – you are missing out!
Skrillex - pulverized thousands inside the Sahara Tent with bass that could cause hemorrhaging and a light show that could induce seizures. I had been hiding from the wind in the beer garden for the past 2 hours and decided to embrace the dust storm for his set. This performance was by far the most unique set I have ever seen Skrillex play and by having guest appearances from Dillon Francis to A$AP Rocky made the experience that much more memorable.
Since the Friday and Saturday brought so much visual over stimulation, by Day 3 my body and mind just needed to be “wowed”. Although I saw a handful of performances only 3 really made an impact in my favorite memories.
Flosstradamus – If you ever were curious about what turning a crowd into a mosh pit looked like then this was the show to attend. This could possibly be my favorite performance of the weekend. With the entire crowd partying so hard and of course, "turning down for what" anyone could see the outrageous energy was contagious. Every single song they dropped the crowd responded to by raging even harder. I not only danced with a banana man, I also tried to help people with crutches dance harder. This hour of my life was out of control.
Dimond Saints – A new bass music project, consisting of An-Ten-Nae & ReLeece, proved that their intricate music defies categorization and is deeply rooted in electronic music, yet manages to maintain a organic presence that is missing in much electronic music today. Their performance blew my mind as they meshed haunting vocals over resonant bass lines in and out of the wobbly synths to create a feeling as eerie as it is beautiful. After seeing them live I cannot wait to see what their next upcoming performances have in store.
Lucent Dossier Experience – I ended my night in the Gobi tent for the Lucent Dossier Experience. Known for their unique fusion of tantalizing dance, aerial maneuvers, and heart throbbing electronic music, Lucent Dossier pleased the crowd for another year with a high impact performance. Through their numerous different styles of performers accompanied by their grimy, bass music band I was taken to another world before having to go back to reality on Monday. This in my mind was the perfect way to end my weekend.
I think LA Times put it best when they said, "In any case, no matter where you put it, the Do Lab is the best thing about Coachella. There's no other stage where you can get quite as wet or weird. And it's the only one where, rather than a passive relationship between performer and audience, the audience is an integral part of the experience. The fact is, metaphorically (if not geographically anymore), the Do Lab is the heart of Coachella. It's also the festival's best, non-judgmental space to go completely balls out, to music that is pretty darn good." Even with its new location the three performances I witnessed at that stage over the weekend were some of my favorites, and when I didn’t have a place to be, the Do LaB is where I would go.
[funky_quote ] The fact is, metaphorically (if not geographically anymore), the Do Lab is the heart of Coachella. [/funky_quote]
I know my review as well as experience from Coachella is very “off the beaten path”. I didn’t see many of the popular artists performing, and really was only at the main stage for less than 10 minutes, but my style of enjoying festivals is wandering and exploring the grounds until I end up at a destination. It’s so much more intriguing to me to end up at a stage where you have no idea who the artists is but couldn’t resist wandering over because you were drawn to the music they were projecting. With life being always revolving around schedules I wanted to take festivals out of that category and make it purely about the journey and experience. Coachella 2014 in my mind is another one for the books. The Sahara tent's production was out of control, the Do LaB stole my heart again, the art installations “wow-ed”, the beer tasted good, and the crowd was wild – I CANNOT WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!!