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My favorites of the weekend included Lava/Republic’s Lorde, Capitol’s Capital Cities, Virgin’s Bastille, ATO’s J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Columbia’s HAIM and Merge’s Arcade Fire, along with unforgettable performances from Columbia’s chart-topper Pharrell and Matador’s Queens of the Stone Age.

HOW I SPENT MY
COACHELLA WEEKEND

Our Resident "Hench-Hipster" Dishes the Music and Other Desert Happenings

by Samantha Hissong

Weekend two of Coachella 2014 was its own beast. As HITS’ resident hench-hipster, it was only fitting to pack my noir sun-wear and have my SPF 110-sporting friends tag along for the annual pilgrimage into the desert.

With seven different performance venues (the open Gobi, Sahara and Mojave tents, the enclosed and air-conditioned Yuma tent, the Do LaB, the Outdoor stage and the Coachella/Main stage), crowds of approximately 90,000 questionably intoxicated music lovers and about 170 performers, I have to say it was rather difficult making time for everything the three-day Indio festival had to offer.

That said, my favorites of the weekend included Lava/Republic’s Lorde, Capitol’s Capital Cities, Virgin’s Bastille, ATO’s J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Columbia’s HAIM and Merge’s Arcade Fire, along with unforgettable performances from Columbia’s chart-topper Pharrell and Matador’s Queens of the Stone Age.

Friday started off a bit shakily with technical difficulties, as the site, app and the online wristband registration were down and not working; this caused a delay for many attendees, but was fixed relatively quickly. Aloe Blacc (Aloe Blacc/XIX/Interscope) got the crowd moving with his funky jazz-inspired vibes on songs like "You Make Smile," and had everyone cheering wildly when he stated, "I had the pleasure to write a song that changed the world" to introduce his hit with Avicii, "Wake Me Up."

Danielle Haim of HAIM garnered a fantastic crowd response when she told everyone, "it’s the first day of the festival. We’re fresh. Let’s fucking rage!" The sister trio then killed it on fan-favorites "Forever" and "The Wire."

Broken Bells’ distinct ambient post-disco/new wave combo, which could only come from the pairing of producer Danger Mouse and Shins’ frontman James Mercer, sounded particularly complex, full and delicious on After the Disco song "Medicine" and Broken Bells song "The Mall & Misery." Their current single "Holding on for Life" was also wow-inducing.

Paul Westerberg of The Replacements (or the best Replacements cover band, as he put it) told the crowd of his back pains, before laying on an on-stage couch and welcoming the assistance of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.

Of the many guest appearances and collabs, HAIM and MGMT joined Kid Cudi’s set, Damien Marley and Lauryn Hill each came on during Nas’ headlining slot and Tyga, Freeway, Busta Rhymes and Waka Flocka Flame came out for the Girl Talk performance. Much to the public’s dismay, Beyonce did not hop on stage during her sister Solange’s set, as she did last weekend, but she was seen side-stage.

The award for most diverse set-list is undeniably given to Pharell, who was joined by TI, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes, Usher, Diplo, Jay Z, and hip-hop dance group and winners of America’s Best Dance Crew, Jabbawockeez. Songs included his current smash "Happy," N.E.R.D.’s "She Wants to Move," Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines," Snoop Dogg’s "Beautiful," a brief bit of Nelly’s "Hot in Herre," Daft Punk’s "Lose Yourself to Dance" and "Get Lucky," among others.

I personally had a few moments to glow and gush, upon hearing Pixies’ classics "Wave of Mutilation," "Gouge Away," and "Where is My Mind?"

Chance the Rapper fell ill on Friday and was hospitalized, thusly cancelling his Sunday night set; he is expected to make a full recovery.

Stars spotted randomly amongst the crowd included Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Willow and Jayden Smith, Courtney Love, Paris Hilton, Jessica Alba, Lucy Hale and Russell Simmons.

This year included the return of the official Coachella app, which allowed you to activate your wristband, review both weekends’ schedules, create your own personalized schedule of your must-see acts with the "Coachooser" section, search through interactive venue and parking maps, browse food vendor options and reviews, browse retail points and highlighted activities and chat with other fest guests on the message boards. Attendees could download the app via iTunes or Google Play for free.

Between sets, attendees could relax backstage at The Do LaB’s spot with veggie burgers and beer. The L.A.-based event production company works closely with Lucent Dossier Experience, an experimental music and avant-garde performance group that closed the festival after Arcade Fire on Sunday night. The Do LaB will also be presenting the EDM-heavy festival Lightning in a Bottle again this Memorial Day weekend.

I spent half my Saturday pool-hopping between The Saguaro’s Desert Weekender and Desert Gold Festival at the Ace Hotel, which featured a Rolling Record Store presented by Third Man Records, along with live on-site recordings by NPR Music and performances from Flying Lotus and other buzzing artists.

On Sunday, I made sure to check out the brand new Sephora tent, which offers make-up, sunscreen, pro artists and Sephora collection trainers for assistance, as well as air-conditioning and charging stations. Trust me, as a girl who gets to watch the make-up melt off her face in 96-degree heat, their presence was greatly appreciated, as one could tell by the line around the corner. Sephora also provided a private trailer for performer touch-ups.

Before I go, I really must stress that if you haven’t heard of J. Roddy Walston and the Business, you should check out their album Essential Tremors, which dropped in 2013. Their Sunday noontime show, or "the hangover set" as frontman J Roddy dubbed it, included raw rockers like "Heavy Bells," "Take It as It Comes," and "Don’t Break the Needle," and it was a powerhouse.



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