Four years into my Coachella career and I’ve never experienced an Indio spring so mild. It’s a gift from the gods meaning Brooklynites like Scott and I can wear jeans all weekend, a blessing with the residual benefit of ensuring nobody in Indio is forced to see our unsightly Brooklynite legs (you are welcome, California). The lineup is beautiful, too, and full of connective threads: The last time I saw Jay-Z he whipped APW into a frenzy the same weekend as did Vampire Weekend. Again, the impossibly charismatic life champion was paired off with our “Cousins,” one after the other on the Coachella stage and Outdoor Theater, respectively. (Fun notes: Jay-Z was spotted checking out Ra Ra Riot, Beyoncé was spotted dancing sidestage to her Hova with Maria Shriver, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé did “Young Forever” TOGETHER. Video below.) Stage props carried their own reflective aesthetic merit and connective tissue: L.A. loving LCD Soundsystem (ruling as always) played This Is Happening and older cuts under a giant disco ball; Vampire Weekend, chandeliers. (While we’re recapping lights, Fever Ray had her trusty antique lamps and ultra-modern lasers.) From stage, LCD asked who all saw Gil Scott-Heron (or, “GIL SCOTT-HERON!”) just before excellently dedicating “Losing My Edge” to him. (I was there — didn’t see you, James.)(Yes, I looked.) The 11211 connection is here, Yeasayer turning the Mojave tent into a dance party (“O.N.E.” did it) and proving their festival mettle (“Madder Red” had hands waving) hours before the same space became a celebration of Grizzly Bear‘s oeuvre (suddenly, festivals become them). (Dirty Projectors on today.) Sleigh Bells are still working on translating their small-club spitfire to wide open spaces, though “Crown On The Ground” shows it’s possible. If they can write more like it, at least. Passion Pit played to a massive crowd at the Outdoor Theater, and while it was nice to see the Specials, the most special thing about The Specials is how badly everyone dances to The Specials. Someone needs to edit footage from the grounds on that. It will be horribly amusing.
What isn’t beautiful, or connective: AT&T’s wireless service. Texts roll through three hours late, Internet’s spotty at best. That means our Twitter game isn’t what it oughta be, but as they say, ABT (Always Be Twittering.) If you’re into it, we’re at @stereogum, @scottgum, and I’m @amritsingh. For now, pass through these photos by me alongside some from more professional photographers.
We’ll leave you with the world’s coolest couple performing “Young Forever,” together: