My time at Coachella 2012
April 25th, 2012 by Matt
[Just a heads up: MGD flew me out to California to blog for them at the Filter Yacht Party and Friday of Coachella. They payed me to guest blog for their facebook page. Part of the deal is that they asked when I write about these events on YANP, I have to explain that these are my own opinions. So as always, these are my own opinions about what I saw in California]
My first time at Coachella, much like my first time at nearly every other music festival, was all about how incredibly wrong I was. I thought it couldn’t possibly be hotter than Lollapalooza (the fest so hot and grueling that I’ve come home sick from it), and I was wrong. My car told me it was 104 degrees when I drove to the fest at 1pm. I exited the car and immediately felt my skin begin to tighten and burn. I thought it was miles from civilization in a barren desert. Oh so wrong. Coachella is about two blocks from fast food and department stores. You could easily have a pizza delivered if it wasn’t for the gates.
So Coachella was a hot hot festival located in a heavily-populated area of California. What else? My first impression was that it was exceptionally well run. I think a lot of that comes from having the infrastructure already in place. Coachella’s grounds seem to be used nearly year-round. You’ll pass horse stables, riding areas and other permanent fixtures. So directing the flow of people is one thousand times easier here than at a festival like Bonnaroo. However, I will say that the grounds seemed a bit cramped at times; there was a place you could stand at the center of the festival where you could see and hear four stages at one time. Youch. Bonnaroo’s definitely got the advantage there.
Being that I had no media pass (I didn’t know I’d be going until about a week before I got on a plane), I have no photos to share with you all. Believe me, I would’ve loved to have been snapping shots of Refused, Pulp and Jimmy Cliff but it just wasn’t going to happen with my three-year-old phone. But I still have to give some quick notes about groups I saw on the Friday of Coachella.
Refused were incredible. I honestly haven’t listened to them much since my freshman/sophomore years of college, but even coming to them with nearly-fresh ears was a joy. Their show was powerful and even a bit funny (“I tell you, however skeptical you were of our reunion… we were 1000 times more skeptical.”) The only frontman who might’ve topped their energy was Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. I’ve seen his solo show before, but the Pulp reunion blew that out of the water. They made even songs I didn’t know sound like hits. They were charming, skilled and a welcome addition to my concert-going life.
Not having a camera did help me for one show. During Jimmy Cliff‘s set, I got a smoothie and laid down in the shade. That was such a fun and relaxing time. I also gave the people behind me a good laugh when I, after not having moved for about 10 minutes, obliged Cliff’s request that we all “put one hand in the air!”
And of course The Black Keys were awesome. John Fogerty came out to play “The Weight” in tribute to the recently deceased Levon Helm. That was a great moment. I hope everyone appreciated it for more than just a good collaboration.
In the end it felt like a cruel tease to spend only one day at Coachella. Sure it was too hot for 70% of the day to really enjoy anything other than a smoothie. But this lineup was amazing! If I can ever find deals on flights to California during April, you might see me back at Coachella — hopefully with my camera.