Occasionally, when I reflect, it can sometimes last slightly longer than originally anticipated. With that said, here’s some random thoughts from the 2015 Coachella Music Festival. In honor of my 12th consecutive Coachella Festival, I’ve provided my Top 12 shows from this year’s fest down below.
* My Arrival Day was spent at the Hollywood Palladium watching The Replacements totally killing it. Thankfully, I got The Mats at their “best” as opposed to the disinterested Mats that usually show up.
* It’s quite obvious that Paul Tollett has changed the culture in and around the festival grounds. Apparently, the days of dealing with rude, uninformed / misinformed assholes are finally over, seriously. What a difference it makes when everyone has a positive attitude and understand that this is actually some people’s “Disneyland.” Thank you Paul!
* Haters will hate and blind lovers will love blind… the line-up wasn’t as bad as some haters thought it was. There isn’t another North American Festival out there in 2015 that’s any better than this year’s Coachella lineup. Seriously, if you can’t find 25-30 non-EDM buzz acts to go and check out, then don’t go. How we’ve become spoiled, just because 2010 had like 60 bands you wanted to see, doesn’t mean in a time of heavily influenced electronic music, 2015 would have more. Besides, you only saw 30 bands perform in 2010, and then got all pissed off you missed the other 30 because of set time conflicts. What’s more, it was just a really bad year for the festival circuit.
*Between the craft beer selections and never feeling like I was packt like sardines in a crushed tin box in any of the venues, allowed for me to forget it was 95 degrees out there.
* It’s a sad day for music when Sylvan Esso attracts 10 times the amount of peeps than a RIDE reunion show.
*Conflicts suck, and this year was no exception. I can’t wait to catch The War On Drugs and Glass Animals on tour sometime, I was only able to catch a partial set for both.
* Folks, the days of seeing Alt-J in an intimate setting are long gone. Unfortunately, I missed them. The next time Alt-J appears on the Coachella poster will be on Line 1.
* Have indie rock guitar bands become that irrelevant? There was plenty of room to get a good spot at Parquet Courts, Cloud Nothings, and The Cribs. Hell, I walked into The Cribs show at the end of the opening song and went all the way up to the second row on the rail without even one excuse me.
* The vibe the whole weekend was cool, it was evident there was a shitload of people there for the EDM Music, but at least the joint wasn’t overrun by teenagers seeking Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Pharrell, like it was in 2014.
* Speaking of EDM, apparently Kaskade drew the biggest crowd at the Main Stage in the history of the festival, no shit, I saw it with my own two eyes. See it for yourself here.
* The schedule makers did a great job placing acts in a completely different genre in front of bands I really wanted to see. Run The Jewels into KASABIAN and Kimbra into RIDE were brilliant moves. Makes getting on the rail like taking candy from a baby.
* Fitz and The Tantrums was a pleasant surprise. I’ve never given Fitz much thought, but they’re actually a good live act.
* When you don’t waste time at Panera, you can be the first person in the Polo Grounds.
* For those wondering, I had absolutely no problem getting the Sharpies in.
* Who decided that Jason Bentley would be the Ryan Seacrest of Coachella? Call me crazy, but at this point I could go for Ryan Seacrest.
* I’m officially a Weekend 2 lifer. It’s much easier to get Weekend 2 passes, plus being fully immersed in the Youtube stream Weekend 1 makes you feel like you went both weekends.
Here’s my list, read’em and weep:
I’m no fan of EDM, but I’m smart enough to know it’s much better than EMO. I stumbled upon Nero during the Weekend 1 Youtube stream, only because I was too lazy to get up and change the channel on the computer. It looked interesting and fun, besides it was either dance my ass off, or have Tame Impala put me to sleep prior to AC/DC taking the stage.
The Los Angles collective did not disappoint. Their groovy mid afternoon vibe on the Outdoor Stage had all the hipsters dancing.
#10 Parquet Courts
When I was asked why I thought these Brooklyn indie rockers got an early afternoon Gobi time? My response, because they set up their own shit and they’re not as big in the real world as they are in my world, that’s how you get 1:45 in the Gobi. Nevertheless, the band delivered a solid set of mostly material from their Parkay Quarts moniker.
#9 The Orwells
These Chicago kids proved that the stage wasn’t too big for them, particularly the gigantic Main Stage. As a band on the come, these dudes are going to be a force to be reckoned with moving forward.
#8 Jenny Lewis
I’m not an alt-county fan, quite frankly, I don’t even know what the hell alt-country even is. But if Jenny Lewis is alt-country, she fucking killed it, in a way alt-country can be killed. Her Weekend 2 performances was sans HAIM, but still included the partial Rilo Kiley reunion with Blake Sennett. If there’s one thing I came away with, I need to pick up her album The Voyager and get with this alt-country thing.
Interpol on the Main Stage never gets old. Man, this band is tight, but I guess playing together since the turn of the century will do that. Did I ever say how much I dig the tune “All The Rage Back Home” ?
If their 2012 set in the Mojave was an education on how the Leicester lads take care of business, their 2015 set in the same venue at almost the same time was just strictly KASABIAN taking care of fucking business. As a wise man once said, “Vlad” followed by “Fire” to close it out is fucking epic!!!
All I can say is thank god Beady Eye broke up and Oasis didn’t get back together. RIDE was as advertised. I savored this one front and center on the rail. My only regret is not seeing them at a local Los Angeles pre-Coachella show where the audience got an epic 17-song set, compared to the 50 minute 9-song set in the Gobi.
#4 Royal Blood
If you haven’t paid attention to Royal Blood yet, it’s time to give them your undivided attention. Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher have put rock music on notice, and they’re willing and able to start taking over. Man, these two can make a lot of noise
#3 St. Vincent
I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong, well, I messed this one up big time. I think my exact words were “her music is good, but it’s not that good.” Upon further review, St Vincent’s music is really good, and her live execution of it is incredible. Consider me a fan, St. Vincent blah blah blah…
I knew it would be good, but who knew it would be an epic celebration of rock and roll. Gotta give those old men credit for one helluva performance. The Bell, the Cannon, and a rare Coachella fireworks presentation was a nice touch.
#1 Jack White
After watching his opening song on the Weekend 1 Youtube stream, I immediately turned it off. I knew Coachella was in for a treat and I didn’t want to ruin it for myself. I can honesty say this was THE best headliner show since Paul McCartney’s epic 2009 set. Mr. White is a fantastic performer and his touring band is phenomenal. Maybe Jack should get The White Stripes back together and leave Meg at home, wait, that’s what he did.
As I put the 2015 Coachella Music Festival in the rearview mirror, I can finally get back to things in my life that are really important, like Coachella 2016.
Here’s an early prediction for the 2016 Coachella headliners, how about Mumford and Sons, Kanye West and Oasis, kids Google Oasis band.