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I hope you realize for a few seconds each day that music is sacred! -Jack White

COACHELLA WEEKEND 1: A #HENCHHIPSTER'S TAKE

HITS' Twentysomething Year-Old Editor Gives Her Recap of Weekend 1 From Crowd Surfing to Party Hopping

My Coachella experience this year was a little bit different than the rest. For one, I didn’t know I was going to Weekend 1 until about three days prior. I’ve been registered as attending press for Weekend 2 for a while now, but everyone and their grandma seems to know that it’s cooler to go the first weekend.

Of course, by the time I had accepted this, it was impossible to get passes, let alone credentials. I then did something I never do, and said “Fuck it.” I decided to make the annual pilgrimage regardless of my lack of planning to “play it by ear” and “see what happens,” which is extremely atypical for the neurotic basket case that I am. Since what seems like half of Indio dwellers at this time of year only come to town for the parties, I figured I’d answer the call of the desert.

I reached out to an old friend from high school, vaguely remembering that her family had a vacation home somewhere in the vicinity and asked if it was available. Yes it was, and yes I did somehow miraculously stay in a three-bedroom house at PGA West in La Quinta for free all weekend. I’m now officially spoiled rotten and can no longer do Coachella any other way.

All that being said, the other important thing to note is that I was in fact flying solo to a festival for the first time ever. Would baby weasel be able to survive 72 hours of Hey Buddying? No one knew.

Once I arrived early Friday morning, I immediately headed toward KROQ’s party house in Palm Desert to throw back noontime “Indio Mules” in the company of Alt radio royals Lisa Worden (right), Gene Sandbloom, Kat Corbett and Stryker.

Lucky for me, my good friends in Bad Suns were the first act I caught on the station’s intimate poolside stage. In case you’re wildly lame and thusly unaware of Vagrant’s rising new band, their breakout single “Cardiac Arrest” peaked in the Top 15 at Alt radio last summer and the video for its follow-up, “Salt,” was nominated for a mtvU Woodie.

After enjoying an energetic performance from Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, a random attendee offered me her wristband for half the face-value price. Screw what your mama and daddy said about taking things from strangers and let the games begin.

Samantha with Bad Suns' Gavin Bennett, Miles Morris & Christo Bowman

My favorite Friday performance had to be from Alabama Shakes. Frontwoman Brittany Howard was absolutely electrifying.

L-R: Marjorie Bach, Joe Walsh, Brittany Howard, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach

Continuing with the theme of unusual festival experiences, I somehow (begrudgingly) found my way in to the Sahara tent (which is usually reserved for EDM acts). When you run into friends and you’re alone, sometimes you let them convince you to do things you shouldn’t, but, hey, at least it was a learning experience.

I lasted maybe five minutes before I realized that the “music” in there was more comparable to the sound in my head during a swelling anxiety attack than it was to actual music. The accompanying light show was so seizure-inducing and nauseating that I popped on my sunglasses (even though it was considerably past sundown), shoved through the walls of perspiring humans with the force of a Jedi and fought my way out. To the unidentifiable parson who rubbed my ass, molestation is not the proper way to introduce yourself, you filthy rodent. To best understand my discomfort, please see the below pictures of me in the Sahara tent vs. me post-rocking out to Benjamin Booker.


Other Friday faves included the incomparable Tame Impala, who started their set with a delectably trippy cover of Elton John’s Lion King staple, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and, obviously, AC/DC. Angus Young’s still got those hyperactive schoolboy moves. Props.

Saturday began with Stryker’s exclusive interview with Hozier at the KROQ house. Hard-hitting questions were fired off. In case you were wondering, no, Andrew Hozier-Byrne has not watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and yes he is totally dreamy.

I then scurried to Cathedral City for the “Pandora Invasion” to classily nibble on deviled eggs and tiny shots of gazpacho with the charming VP Industry Relations Lars Murray (pictured left).

On the grounds, Saturday was a whole ‘nother beast. Standouts included the mosh pit frenzy that took place over at Royal Blood’s set, Bad Suns’ Christo Bowman crowd-surfing during his first-ever performance in Indio, Benjamin Booker’s ultimate shred-fest and Milky Chance’s breezy, sunshiney vibes.

Glass Animals’ performance of “Gooey” as the sun was setting can only be described as magical. It was truly goosebump-inducing, but that might have had something to do with the fact that their crowd of stoner fans gave me the biggest contact high of the weekend. They practically hot-boxed the Gobi tent, for chrissakes.

Royal Blood's Ben Thatcher crowd surfing

Seeing Hozier’s insane turnout was immensely humbling and emotional for me, thinking back on when I first saw him at the tiny Troubadour. However, I’m sure it was much more moving for him. Of course, everyone went berserk for “Take Me to Church” and “Work Song,” but I also immensely enjoyed “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene,” as well as Este Haim’s appearance for their cover of The Time’s uber-funky “Jungle Love.”

 

I went to church 🙌🏻💒

A video posted by Samantha Gray Hissong (@_taco_belle) on


As for Father John Misty, I liked him before, but after seeing him live, I’m absolutely head-over-heels. A few minutes after I walked over to his 8pm set, he announced, “I’m so happy to have the sort of depressing sad bastard type of people here. We need representation at things like this…people who don’t like going out in the sun.” Man after my own heart.

I also appreciate the moment he took in the midst of I Love You, Honeybear’s “Bored in the USA” (a “sarcastic ballad,” as he puts it) to ask who was peaking.

And I was near tears when he brought up a fan to sit in a throne of heart-forming balloons, while he serenaded her on her lap with Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” and women in tasseled pasties and masks reminiscent of Eyes Wide Shut stood idly by. Apparently, she helped the glorious eccentric “make a very weird dream come true.”

Duke Dumont brought out James Vincent McMorrow, which just warmed my cold little heart. Post Tropical was definitely a 2014 highlight in new music. Apparently, McMorrow is featured on the “I Got U” hitmaker’s upcoming album.

On another note, Jack White (pictured left courtesy of Third Man) proved that he’s still God. His impeccably raucous set spanned his illustrious career, including The White Stripes’ “Icky Thump,” “Hotel Yorba,” “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” and The Raconteurs’ “Steady as She Goes,” along with current smashes “Lazaretto” and “Just One Drink.”

White took a moment to get heartfelt, announcing, “Shoutout to FKA Twigs, Tyler The Creator, Run The Jewels and everyone else who played. I hope you realize for a few seconds each day that music is sacred,.” He then chanted "Music is sacred!" three more times, providing probably the most memorable quote of the weekend.

Mostly everyone was pretty hungover come Sunday, aside from myself, who was uncharacteristically sober all weekend. That being said, attendees seemed to be getting a later start on day three.

Desaparecidos (and Conor Oberst for that matter) woke everyone the fuck up with some much needed angst. I was pretty close to the lip of the stage for a few songs in the 4:35pm set. Let me just say, they were so charged that I could feel my larynx vibrating in my throat.

After an earthquake like that (albeit fantastic), I needed something a bit mellower to bring me back to reality, and I found my fix in Jenny Lewis (right). I couldn't help but blush with nostalgia when she whipped out Rilo Kiley staples "The Moneymaker," "With Arms Outstretched," and "Silver Lining."

HAIM remained hot (even though they weren't technically on the lineup this year), as the siblings came out for "Girl on Girl" during Lewis' set.

I caught Ryan Adams before hitting the road. Early, I know, but there was no way I was getting caught in that godforsaken parking lot for 2+ hours. And boy, did he seal my weekend with one sweet kiss or what? "Gimme Something Good" is the perfect feel-good opene,r and the 15-year-old "Come Pick Me Up" left me with the warm and fuzzies to keep me going on my journey home.

Acts that I regrettably missed and will make it up to next weekend include Cloud Nothings, Allah-Las, Sylvan Esso, Azealia Banks, Ride, Interpol, Perfume Genius, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Belle and Sebastian, FKA Twigs, The Orwells and Florence + the Machine.

Also, everyone should send well wishes to Columbia’s buzzing singer/songwriter George Ezra, who had to cancel due to viral laryngitis.

Thanks to SiriusXM for allowing me to listen to performance streams from Cloud Nothings, Sylvan Esso, St. VincentJamie XX and Ride as I drove about the greater Palm Springs area, party-hopping. Couldn’t have done it without ya. If you didn't know, this was actually the first year Coachella performances (live and recorded) were broadcast on the radio.

My only qualm with Coachella is the attendees. What once was a lovely concept for enjoying music in frizz-free weather, has now become a breeding ground for rich nitwits with poor vocabularies, an over-usage of hashtags and disgustingly short attention spans that only allow them to avert their eyes from their iPhones for the hit singles (the only songs they know).

My entire viewpoint on the desert behemoth’s attendees can be summed up by the left arm of the girl sitting by the Outdoor Stage before Chet Faker’s set. On her bicep, was a large tattooed Om symbol, and beneath it was an equally oversized insignia for Chanel. Namaste, capitalism. 

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