Our #HenchHipster Returns to Brave Dust, Bros & Caffeine Depletion
    Photo by Erik Voake for Coachella

I like to think that the scene of me driving through the desert on my way to my weekend refuge as the sun sets on the last day before Coachella is most comparable to the one in The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl approached; her sunglasses bigger than her face, her hair perfectly swept and her coffee bigger than the aforementioned eyewear. “Gird your loins,” screams Stanley Tucci… or, in my case, the people of Indio. In actuality, though, they’re probably muttering something like “what the fuck is that girl wearing and why is she waving out her car window like a pageant queen on a parade float?”

That’s, indeed, how it begins. Then, a plethora of sun, dehydration and tunes follow. By festival’s close, I end up looking more like Meryl in Silkwood, before the shower. This year, my biggest qualm was the wind—my least favorite natural element and mortal enemy. Dust storms are no joke, and attempting to eat tacos during said storms should honestly be an Olympic sport. That being said, I started off the weekend throwing back tacos and Prosecco, courtesy of the lovely folks at KROQ, who threw their annual, three-day bash at a private residence in La Quinta.

KROQ does it right, man. They turn the place into a mini ‘chella with their pop-up performance and interview stages. This year’s bill included James Bay, Of Monsters and Men, Silversun Pickups, CHVRCHES, BØRNS, Foals, Wolf Alice, Joywave, Robert DeLong, Phases, Grimes, Gary Clark Jr., Flume, DMA’s, Haelos and more. Shout-out to Lisa Worden and Kat Corbett (pictured right with this writer), as well as Stryker and Nicole Alvarez and the whole crew for being so damn hospitable.

My other gold star-deserving parties include the Pandora Invasion, where execs Lars Murray and Jeff Z could be found curating tequila shots, and the Republic event. Pandora offered up a standout DJ set from Walk the Moon, while Republic brought the chill to ‘chella with sounds from DNCE, James Bay, Of Monsters and Men, Grace MitchellAndrew Watt and more.

  Republic SVP Rock & Alternative Mike DePippa, Samantha Hissong, VP Rock & Alternative 
  Amanda Dobbins, Southwest Regional of Promotion Talia Gilboa

Oh, right, I almost forgot the festival. This year's sold-out shindig, which drew an audience of about 90k, garnered a whopping 3.8m tweets on Twitter. Per usual, there were a ton of celeb cameos during sets. A graphic of the Most Tweeted About Performers (on the bill and not) is below. 

Kanye joined A$AP Rocky (pictured below) at the end of his Friday set. ‘Ye also popped up at for a brief appearance and flash of that signature grin at Jack U.

On Saturday, MC Ren and DJ Yella reunited with Ice Cube for an N.W.A. throwback, before Cube welcomed his son (and Straight Out of Compton mini-me), O’Shea Jackson Jr. and, later, Snoop Dogg for “Go to Church” and “The Next Episode.” The most surreal moment of the weekend for me, though, had to occur as I watched about 10 police officers clear a path and make a beeline to help an unconscious, suffering fan sprawled on the floor in the middle of the crowd, and of course, seconds later came “Fuck Tha Police.” I’m sure that was entirely coincidental and not intentional, but it was eerie to witness.

  Photo by Chad Wadsworth/Coachella/Goldenvoice

Earlier that evening, a not-as-expected guest appeared via video message to introduce Run the Jewels, and that guest was none other than presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Speaking of ‘YUGE moments, the crowd went absolutely bonkers later in the night when Halsey teamed up with Panic! at the Disco for smash “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” with frontman Brandon Urie.

Saturday attendees were also graced by the presence of Kesha, who performed “True Colors” with Zedd. And Lorde and Sam Smith both appeared on the main stage to dazzle during their Disclosure collaborations.

Calvin Harris made sure to end the weekend with a bang by bringing the squealing to a new decibel level, thanks to a performance of “We Found Love” with Rihanna. Naturally, Taylor Swift was spotted dancing along nearby.

G-Eazy, who drew a serious crowd on Friday, returned to the stage on Sunday. Fans just weren’t satiated by one performance of megahit “Me, Myself and I,” so he did it with The Chainsmokers too. The Chainsmokers also wowed during “Shut Up and Dance” with guests Walk the Moon. In typical Sia fashion, the reserved (and uber talented) songstress kept her face shrouded by bangs and stood elegantly behind the mic stand, allowing interpretive dance moves from Dance Moms star and partner in crime Maddie Ziegler and Kristen Wiig to be the eye-catchers. "See-a" an embed of her full set below—oh god, it seems so delusional, I've turned to bad puns.

  Andrew Watt, SONGS' Ron Perry, Post Malone

Other personal highlights included Post Malone’s Nirvana cover with SONGS President Ron Perry (yep, you read that right) during Andrew Watt's performance at the Republic house (pictured above), dynamic sets from Friday headliners LCD Soundsystem, Joywave (see embed below), James Bay, Courtney BarnettAlessia Cara, Zella Day, DMA’s, The 1975, Cold War Kids, BORNS (see embed below), Gallant and Chris Stapleton, who actually made me cry  during “Fire Away” and belt my heart out (much to nearby attendees’ dismay) to “Tennessee Whiskey.” Stapleton’s genuine passion and soulful licks united music lovers of all genres, just proving the power of a damn good song. And considering I spent the majority of my youth in an Appetite for Destruction crop top on the Sunset Strip, getting to see Guns N’ Roses was pretty irreplaceable. Axl’s signature howl reached those notes like it’s 1987, and Slash is… well, Slash. But that's not all, folks! It was a classic rock two-for-one special when Angus Young—still donning that schoolboy outfit—appeared to electrify with GNR on AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Riff Raff." The moment, albeit a total surprise, made perfect sense, considering Axl is set to tour with AC/DC as the band's vocalist on an upcoming tour.

  Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella

As for a pro-tip, I highly suggest looking into Here Active Listening–wireless earbuds that allow you to have an equalizer in your head, as you adjust the volume, EQ and effects of live sound. Said tech is great for pumping up the bass if you’re into that PLUR life, or for turning down the volume real low to aid in drowning out the animalistic sounds of drunken frat boys; “Bro-chella” is very real, people.

Another thing that’s very real: my need to float in bath and blankly stare at the ceiling in a manner that’s almost as creepy as that front-row fan who ogled the Chainsmoker boys, while eating her own hair. If that last comment has you intrigued, see my interview with them here. My convo with the wonderful Ellie Goulding (a fest fave) is also available as part of a series to be displayed throughout the week. Stay tuned for more, as I continue to bond with my Aspirin bottle.

His first stop at the top (5/6a)
Khaled gets another party started. (5/6a)
A heartwarming virtual hook-up (5/6a)
Vaxxed and masked, Nicole ventures out. (5/6a)
The Great White Way begins to repopulate. (5/6a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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