Coachella: Weekend 2, Day 1
As weekend two of this years Coachella music festival got underway it was clear that there was a very different atmosphere unfolding across the massive venue and it’s seven performance stages. Gone were most of the Hollywood elite and their entourages, who invaded the festival the first weekend. Most of the giant corporate after parties that catered to the rich and famous, that took place during the first paparazzi crazed weekend also seemed to be winding down.
The focus for the second weekend seemed to be squarely back on the music where it belongs. There seemed to be a relatively older and more sophisticated crowd of music fans swarming the Indio Polo fields this first day. With near perfect temperatures peeking in the low 80’s, aided by an unusual cloud cover and practically no wind, the weather itself seemed to be more relaxed than the wild swings it had experienced the week before.
The festival has continued to expand in physical size over recent years and the immensity of the venue is most evident in the early hours of the festival when the grounds are most devoid of the masses yet to come. This year, the restaurants and bars, the institutional Do Lab, and the newest tent stage, the Yuma, have all been moved to yet another impounded polo field in the back. The resulting move has created a massive main stage area, complete with delayed speaker systems stretching out to all corners of the grassy Polo fields. The new restaurant area features a new multi microbrew bar modeled after the popular ones at festivals like Bonnaroo. The old Polo field restaurant has also been annexed, adding much needed chill space, complete with a large air-conditioned dining room and real bathrooms.
All the new space seems necessary to cater to what appears to be a bigger audience every year. But in 2014, even while huge crowds swarmed the main stages for headliners, more intimate moments with veteran perfumers could be found across the expansive festival all throughout the day and night.
Here are a few highlights:
The Preatures are an Australian based band from Sydney, New South Wales. The five-piece was formed in 2010 and began as a Rolling Stones cover band. Led by the charismatic Isabella Manfredi on vocals/keyboards, the band also includes. Gideon Bensen (guitar/vocals), Jack Moffitt (guitar), Thomas Champion (bass) and Luke Davison (drums). The band played a tough early afternoon time slot on the MainStage, but got the early bird crowd excited with their clean Indie rock sound.
As their name implies this “Beast Coast” rap band hails from the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Rappers Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick "Arc" Elliott led a tight funk rock band through an electric early afternoon set on the second largest Coachella stage, the Outdoor theater. The three rappers, sang, danced and crowd surfed their way into the hearts of a frenzied crowd. The band even played a medley including Nirvana’s iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
Probably best known as the lead singer of Circa Survive, this veteran lead singer of multiple metal bands appeared on the MainStage, also in the early afternoon, with his solo project band. With a decidedly more temperate sound than the thunderous evocations of Circa Survive, the singer was able to showcase his exquisite vocal skills to a relatively mellow but appreciative crowd. Seemingly a workaholic, Green is also planning a reunion tour with his former metal band, Saosin.
While this California singer had his biggest hit playing with EDM superstar Avicii, his live stage show in the Mojave tent just before sunset harkened back to classic soul music. Fronting a top notch soul band complete with horn section, the wiry performer sang and danced his way into the hearts of the crowd packing the tent.
The Replacements with Billie Joe Armstrong
The reunion concert by one of Alternative rocks first American bands, was already one of the most anticipated sets of the 2014 Coachella festival. But when Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong joined the band shortly after their set began on the Outdoor stage, the massive crowd went wild. The iconic punk rocker meshed perfectly with the lead vocals of Paul Westerberg from the veteran band.