Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coachella Day 1

Coachella is in the desert of Indio, California, and the heat played a major part in many decisions during this trip. We actually watched the temperature the car displayed creep up while we neared Palm Desert, CA where our hotel was located. It started around 75 in LA and I think it stopped around 108 degrees when we got to our hotel. Palm Desert was only a good two hours south of LA. The mountains, palm trees, and desert area made for a beautiful scenery on the way down. I took a couple of pictures...

When we first stepped out of the car at the hotel, I got worried lol. I just couldn't foresee how one could survive such extreme heat for long periods of time. Let me say this, I do not recommend clothes for Coachella...I almost don't recommend skin lol. After the first day, I learned my lesson and had to make a stop at Target and reconfigure some things. Ladies, I'd recommend a loose and light something or other...or just a bathing suit with a cover up...Fellas, you all have it easy as usual. No shirt, or if you can't pull that off, a tank top and some shorts. If you must wear sneakers, I would make sure they're very light. Otherwise, I recommend you pull out the mandals lol. It's too hot out there to care about your image. Hats and shades are also the move.

Before stepping out to Coachella, we hit up a tasty Mexican spot for nourishment...La Casuelas Quinta. We didn't do any major planning on who to see and everything beforehand. However, Coachella does provide you with a pretty awesome app that lets you know where artists will be performing on the grounds and at what time. You can also add artists to your favorites. This was the feature I used most. It narrowed everything down to just the people you want to see. In the app, you were also able to check their videos, website, and Facebook page. If you wanted to keep track of who you saw, there was also a share function that allowed you to tweet, post to Facebook, text, or email who you were watching perform. This came in handy for I knew I would be writing these posts lol. I did delete some notes I wrote on accident. I almost slapped myself lol. Here's a peek at the app..

Lineup just showed you all the artists for the weekend in alphabetical order, Places was an interactive map of the grounds, Experience linked to Coachella happenings on social networks and gave you a guide and shuttle service locations, and Favorites I already explained. Whatever team planned Coachella did a lot of really thoughtful things, which you'll see throughout these posts. A round of applause to them. Also, I don't think there was one stage that I stepped to that didn't start either on time or a couple minutes early. That's MASSIVE, because there were about 50 artists performing everyday. They also constantly updated the app, so if something changed, you'd be aware.

Let me tell you how wack we were the first day though. We COMPLETELY missed Kendrick Lamar. I don't normally loaf on this level and I'm really not sure how that happened. The Mexican food was good but not THAT good to miss Kendrick. We definitely could've been out there. I just don't think anyone was paying attention to the least I wasn't. Upon arriving to the venue, we only experienced a little traffic getting into the parking lot but it moved fast enough. We could faintly hear those last golden bars from Kendrick as we approached the gate to go in, but by the time we got there...he was gone. On another note, I was awed by Coachella as soon as I walked in. Everything slowed down. It was most beautiful thing I'd ever seen lol. I was on that payment plan for almost a year and it was finally here!!!!! I'm so dramatic.

You will do A LOT of walking and A LOT of standing so be ready for that if Coachella is on your list of things to do. The first day was kind of overwhelming. There was so much out there to take installations, a plethora of vendors, five different stages all going at pretty much the same time, cool down stations blasting music (you'll see those at some point), and people everywhere!!! We winged it on the first day for the most part. I think the only people we had on the "Must See" list were Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean. We just walked around from tent to tent exploring in the mean time. Me and my best friend were pretty much on the same page with wanting to discover new music and not just sticking to a list of people we already knew about. 

We saw quite a few acts here and there but the ones we stayed the whole time for were Ximena SariƱana, Gary Clark Jr., and Frank Ocean. Let me put your expectations in the right place right here, right now...I did NOT take down set lists, so you won't be seeing me name a bunch of songs. All the artists I talk about (that you know about) did all the songs you would expect them to lol. Each artist performed for about an hour, and I was too busy living life to keep pulling my phone out to take notes at that detailed level...well maybe for the finale I will...the others...nope lol. I'm sure you can Google that, however, if you really want to know.

Back to Ximena and Gary. Those were two artists I had never heard of prior to Coachella, but I really liked them. Ximena SariƱana is a Mexican singer and songwriter. She does pop, jazz, alternative, and rock music. She sounded really good and I think she was playing the keyboard...we were kind of far back at one of the smaller stages so I couldn't really see. I read that she plays the piano, percussion (didn't say which one(s)), and the charango. She did some of her old songs...some new. They were all new to me lol. I liked her song "Echo Park" from her latest album. There were a lot of others she performed that I liked, but I have no clue what the name of the songs were. Echo Park just stood out. It sounded really good live. 

Gary Clark Jr. I LOVED!!! I am a FAN. He has a blues/rock/soul/r&b kind of sound. He's one of those artists that you have a hard time placing in any one category. I'm actually having a hard time thinking of how to describe him lol. He sang very well live but his skills playing that red electric guitar is what got me. He performed at one of the smaller stages and it was PACKED! A lot of the people there seemed to be really familiar with his music, which left me wondering "Where have I been and how did I miss this?". I'm just going to include a video so you can see for yourself. (You may have to watch this video on YouTube when you click on it.)

He's not doing any insane guitar playing in this video like he was in his Coachella performance but, you get an idea of how awesome he is...and this was one of my favorite songs that he performed :). Another song that I liked...

If you says he's not dope, you're a hater lol. Some pics from inside the tent during his performace...

There were too many heads, arms, and cameras blocking the actual Gary Clark Jr., so you're left with some screen action.

There were also some interesting art installations scattered throughout Coachella. One that I found oddly intriguing was a gigantic mechanical flower. I love flowers :). It had two dudes riding in it and moving it around. I didn't see any info that explained the art but I may have just missed it.

There was also this interesting wood structure that functioned as refuge from the sun. 

After wondering around for a while, texting, taking pictures, etc. phones started dying and here's where Coachella impressed me again. They had charging stations...tents with tons of outlets and some cool air. Two necessities out there. It's really smart and it pays off I'm sure. Dead phones can't text and tweet and tell the world what a great time Coachella is lol. Here are some pictures from inside the tent. It definitely got crowded in there at times.

After that, we decided to take a ride on the ferris wheel. Woohoo! I was kind of excited about it lol. There were a lot of couples on there, one in particular that looked like they were about to take things to another level. They definitely didn't realize that they came back down lol. I was dying...his face when he looked up and saw people was priceless.

I have no idea how the picture above happened, but I was like "I'm NICE" lol...complete happenstance.

I think it was at this height that I realized I might be a little scared lol. It was only because they had to keep stopping the ferris wheel and letting people on/off, so it would rock back and forth...wasn't feeling that.

View of the main stage from the ferris wheel...


After that we ate, chilled and ended the night with Frank Ocean. He did songs from Nostalgia, Ultra. He put on a really good performance and the people loved him! He sounded really good and hit all his high notes. I'm always concerned that that won't go well in live performances but, he did his thing. It was hot and packed in there so I only got like one picture but, it's blurry and lame, so I'll leave that alone lol. We were pretty beat after that and called it a night. I did make a stop in their record store tent and swiped an autographed copy of Gary Clark Jr's EP (press lol) and picked up Ximena's album as well. More Coachella thoughtfulness/smartness...they had a section in there that was organized by the days each artist performed so if you saw an act you really liked Saturday, you could just go to the Saturday section and find their music. Tis' all for today.

To be continued...