Coachella 2010: CoS Strikes Back

The only thing I love more than actually going to Coachella is reading the everlasting banter on various blogs that precedes the festival itself. I will say that the Coachella crowd (on the web) is one of the most condescending, self-righteous and very hateful groups of people I have ever seen making fun of each other anonymously. That is to say anybody going to Coachella understands that this festival is the cream of the crop, offering the finest in mainstream and underground music, so needless to say all the die-hards have every right to expect a lot, but the fact that everybody has to be so mean about it is slightly ridiculous. Therefore, I scour the message boards for hours for a few laughs in between cranking out essays for school.

However, one quote stuck out at me while being a dork this year that truly captivated what this festival is all about. When people were all bickering over whether or not Jay-Z would be the third headliner (which he inevitably was), somebody stated something along the lines of, “Why would Goldenvoice get three contemporary headliners? They’ve never done this before.” Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that, but Coachella was always known for having at least one headliner who had been around for awhile, but the reason this festival stands alone is because of the fact the bands on the bill are of such a high magnitude.

2010 marks the first true hip-hop headliner with Jay-Z, arguably one of the best rappers of our generation. Finally, Muse was called to the Polo Fields, after years and years of internet fans obsessing over the fact that the band needed to return with a higher spot on the bill. And the Gorillaz finally decided to make an appearance, which is something they rarely do anywhere, let alone at Coachella. Plus, they have written three of the best records in our time. Not to mention an amazing plethora of classic rock artists (Faith No More, Sly Stone, PiL, Echo and the Bunnymen) DJs (Deadmau5, Tiesto, Infected Mushroom), unique spectacles (Pavement, the Specials, Devo, and the USC marching band alongside Coheed & Cambria), the best in modern electo-pop (MGMT, Phoenix, Passion Pit) and finally one of the guys from Radiohead came back (Thom Yorke and his new band, Atoms for Peace). If this festival is too contemporary for people, they are clearly uninformed or misunderstand the definition of the word. This festival isn’t for contemporary music fans, it’s for people who love music. -Ted Maider

Friday, April 16th

Mojave: 2:00-2:45 p.m.

The cool thing about Baroness is that the band members always come out and set up their own instruments before a gig. Coachella was no different. That being said, the sound never seems to falter when a band sets up their own instruments the only way they know how. With energy that I haven’t seen from Baroness in a long while, the band came out on stage and billowed through an almost hour long set that consisted of only the best from their Red Album and Blue Record.  John Baizley, lead singer, trudged and stomped his way around the stage and him and guitarist, Peter Adams, had many riff duels, back to back. This was one show of the weekend that should not have been missed. -Matt Rhodes

DJ Lance Rock
Sahara: 2:15-3:00 p.m.

Little children seem to love the television program Yo Gabba Gabba, a trippy Sesame Street that embraces modern day music to convey the same universal ideas of good living that children’s programming is supposed to teach. DJ Lance Rock brought this whole idea with him in his 45 minute show of bizarre monsters in an ecstacy explosion of infantile awesomeness. It didn’t matter how old you were, you could still rock out to a song about eating a healthy dinner. -Ted Maider

Avett Brothers
Outdoor Theatre: 3:20-4:05 p.m.

The Outdoor Theatre has become known for its technical difficulties throughout the years, and inexplicably, this year was no different. This is what plagued an otherwise fine Avett Brothers set. From the incessant buzzing on the right side of the stage to the fluctuating pitch of the mics, this set was doomed to never reach its potential. However, it had its highlights, including the rap portion of “Slight Figure of Speech” – fun despite setting back the White race about 20 years. -Harry Painter

Sahara: 5:15-6:25 p.m.

These two nerdy looking air traffic controller types made some of the coolest airport techno to get you where you needed to go. Remember, music is the most quintessential part of any journey, and these cockpit party-geeks brought their audience to a new realm of dancing awesome. -Ted Maider

Dillinger Escape Plan
Gobi: 5:45-6:30 p.m.

When Dillinger Escape Plan took the stage, they took to it with a welcomed surprise: a tent packed with some of their biggest fans. The first couple songs were plagued with microphone problems but the band didn’t let that affect the bombastic set. Lead singer, Greg Puciato, climbed rafters and speakers and threw a microphone stand and himself into the crowd. Dillinger burned through songs spanning their whole career. They dove into newer material and even touched upon the oldies “43% Burnt” and “Sunshine the Werewolf”. Too bad Mike Patton didn’t come out to sing songs off of Irony Is A Dead Scene, though. Wishful thinking, I guess. -Matt Rhodes

The Specials
Coachella: 6:20-7:20 p.m.

Even after all these years, the Specials are still able to redefine the genre of ska even thirty plus years after its’ conception. Nothing beat the band’s dedication to the “rude boys and girls” as they blasted through “A Message to Rudy” as the sun set to just to the left of their already blazing set. This was the point in the day where everybody in the festival was skanking their hardest; except this time they wore sandals instead of checkered Vans. -Ted Maider

Passion Pit
Outdoor Theatre: 7:00-7:50 p.m.

With the California sun setting in the in the desert paradise of Indio, Passion Pit worked their crowed, as they are known to do. It truly just may be the way he speaks, but Michael Angelakos sounded rather intoxicated when conversing with the crowd. But as ever, Coachella witnessed spot on vocals from Angelakos and wonderful showmanship from the rest of the band. They played mostly Manners tracks, still plugging the re-release. Tracks included, but were not limited to: “The Reeling”, “Let Your Love Grow Tall”, and “Drive Me Crazy.” As the sun was in its last minutes of shining down of the enormous crowd, Angelakos asked the question: “The darker it gets here at Coachella, the more wild you’re gonna get, isn’t that how it works?” He couldn’t have hit the nail on the head harder if he were Lady Cleo. -Winston Robbins

Pretty Lights
Sahara: 7:50-8:50 p.m.

Sporting a lot of hype and – what else – some very pretty lights, Colorado electro artist Pretty Lights brought the energy to live up to the expectations. Those not drawn to the star power of Them Crooked Vultures or the even bigger hype surrounding Grizzly Bear one tent over were treated to a memorable, glitch-happy one-hour live set featuring Cory Eberhard on drums. “Hot Like Sauce” indeed. -Harry Painter

Them Crooked Vultures
Coachella: 7:50-8:40 p.m.

Imagine getting run over by an enormous truck of sound and you basically will understand what Them Crooked Vultures show was like. Dave Grohl smashing his drums with fury and grace, as he sweat out his entire body weight in a 50 minute set. Meanwhile Josh Homme pounded on his guitar like a madman as the band raged their greatest songs like “Mind Eraser”, “Dead End Friends” and a Phish-style jam on “Scumbag Blues,” which was dedicated to the entire crowd. Let alone John Paul Jones of Led fucking Zeppelin was sitting up there playing every instrument known to man and just absolutely killing it even 40 years after the band that made him famous got their big break (not to mention he sat down at a piano to play a beautiful piece, while Homme took a cigarette break in front of the whole crowd). -Ted Maider

Grizzly Bear
Mojave: 8:05-8:55 p.m.

A packed audience in the Mojave tent eagerly awaited the highly anticipated Brooklyn folk group. Starting off slow and building towards fresher material, Grizzly Bear gave their fans a taste of old and new. Of course we were all waiting for “Two Weeks”, and when it came it sealed their status as future headliners. The fact that all four members contributed to the vocals was awe-inspiring as every harmony recreated their albums seamlessly. The Mojave tent stayed dark throughout most of the set, further captivating the chill-factor that Grizzly Bear fans love to talk about. -Elias Newman

LCD Soundsystem
Coachella: 9:05-10:00 p.m.

A beaming James Murphy, clad in a sharp white suit, took the stage to uproarious fanfare. With the success of his previous two releases and the impending success of his upcoming (and possibly final) album This Is Happening, Murphy has evolved into a full-fledged legend. The LCD crew took no time leading us right into “Us v. Them” off of their transcendent 2007 release Sound of Silver. He expressed to us his sadness that he wanted to meet Them Crooked Vultures when they came offstage, but he found himself “stuck in the bathroom,” a shame indeed. Regardless of his disappointment, he soldiered on cheerily with new power hitter “Drunk Girls”. The remainder of his set would be largely from Silver, but he was intent on getting his new music heard. Apologizing for the “Faux pas of playing two new songs in a row”, he dropped the psyched-out anthem “I Can Change” followed by half monologue, half dance floor filler “Pow Pow”. He finished the night off with 11 minute crowd pleaser “Yeah” and funky love ballad “NY, I Love You”. One thing’s for sure, if this is truly Murphy’s last effort as LCD, he’s going out with a bang. Or a “Pow”, if you will. -Winston Robbins

Imogen Heap
Mojave: 9:20-10:10 p.m.

What made Imogen Heap’s set truly incredible was not just the music itself; her stage presence really made the late night set one of the best of the weekend. Speaking to the crowd as if they were old friends made for one hell of an intimate show. She even allowed us to learn and sing a song with her. Multitasking was her main theme of the night as she continued to play every single instrument on her own. She closed out the night on a keytar, finished on the baby grand piano, with her famous track “Hide and Seek”. -Matt Rhodes

Little Dragons
Gobi: 09:35-10:20 p.m.

After two appearances on Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach, Little Dragon has soared in popularity over the last few months. Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano alongside her three-piece band is an amazing sight, and her presence dominated the Gobi tent. The absence of “Twice” was disappointing but understandable, as the song would have brought the fast-paced set to a lull. In between Nagano’s power and shrills was a glimpse of a girl who was still light-headed at the thought of playing Coachella. It was that innocence that made for a special performance from a blossoming band. -Elias Newman

Vampire Weekend
Outdoor Theatre: 09:55-10:45 p.m.

Talk about a band that blew the fuck up. Vampire Weekend played the Outdoor Theater two years ago to a crowd that had merely just heard of them and wanted to check them out, but this time they played the same stage and you couldn’t get near it if you didn’t get there in time. The band ripped up versions of “Run”, “A-Punk”, “Walcott”, and “Oxford Comma” to a crowd that was ecstatic to be in the same place as the newest indie East Coast sensation. -Ted Maider

Coachella: 10:50 p.m.

A countdown engulfs monitors on both sides of the stage. 10 minutes… 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4:20 (cheers and smoke loom overhead), 4, 3, 2, 1. Hova rises from inside the stage, with his 10-piece band right behind him. Starting off with “Run this Town”, Jay-Z didn’t waste any time. He worked through The Blueprint 3 alongside Memphis Bleek with a backdrop of skyscrapers and New York City behind him. At one point President Obama came on screen, and as he brushed his shoulders off during a previous speech, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” blasted through the outdoor theatre. The moment was as humorous as it was surprising, and shows how Jay is not just a rapper but an entertainer. A few more hits (“99 Problems”, “H to the Izzo”), and then there she is. “Come on out B!” Beyonce’s cameo included the rendition of “Forever Young” as fireworks flew above the Coachella stage. Witnessing the romance was truly magical, especially as their first child is rumored to be on the way. Leaving the audience only to return for “Encore” was predictable, but it didn’t matter. The Jigga Man used his whole arsenal Friday night, and did it bigger than anyone could have expected. -Elias Newman

Saturday, April 17th

Rx Bandits
Outdoor Theatre: 12:25-1:15 p.m.

Thanks to a volcanic cancellation by Frightened Rabbits, both Rx Bandits and Porcupine Tree had extended sets, much to the delight of early comers to the festival. Rx Bandits played a full hour (10 more minutes than second-billed Faith No More), and it was easy to see why 60% of the people in the crowd (allegedly) traveled from out of state just to see them at Coachella (allegedly). The band’s jammy pop-punk made for enough good vibes to last into the evening. Rx Bandits are in serious need of an additional vocalist though. -Harry Painter

Porcupine Tree
Outdoor Theatre: 1:35-2:25 p.m.

Steven Wilson is a genius and it showed during Porcupine Tree’s afternoon set. The group was welcomed to the stage by a big fan base and went on to perform one of the best 50 minute sets I have ever seen. They played mostly new stuff but the musicianship shown was undeniable. Wilson and company were meticulous. They are true music nerds and the connection between the group was felt by all. Finding a band that can perform their funky progressive rock and metal with utmost perfection is almost impossible these days. -Matt Rhodes

Craze & Klever
Sahara: 4:05-5:25 p.m.

In a year rife with no-shows, turntablists Craze & Klever pulled through after missing their scheduled performance at last year’s festival. They put together a solid set featuring a couple of MC’s, one much better than the other. It was nothing to beat yourself up over from one April to the next, but it was very good, despite alienating some of the Sahara’s typical dance-oriented crowd. -Harry Painter

Beach House
Mojave: 4:25-5:15 p.m.

Beach House came out playing music that sounded like the soundtrack to my death. The trio played a heavenly brand of material, mostly culled from this year’s remarkable Teen Dream, that lifted you up to the clouds from paradise on Earth as they rocked a mellow set  that smoothed over a good vibe in the overcast heat. If you were just trying to cool off, there was no place better than with Beach House. -Ted Maider

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
Outdoor Theatre: 5:10-6:00 p.m.

Edward Sharpe announced his arrival onstage by tying his sweaty, white t-shirt around a guy in the front row’s face. That pretty much kicked it off from there as the band played to a devoted crowd in the hot air. Their triumphant brand of indie rock truly connected well with the masses at the Outdoor Theater that afternoon.  Edward Sharpe and his posse proved to the crowd that power could be expressed through an elegant performance. At the end he sang out, “Thanks for being alive!” and all I can say to them in return is, “You’re welcome and thank you for making me feel that way.” -Ted Maider

The xx
Outdoor Theatre: 6:25 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.

“The roof is on fire,” announced bassist Oliver Sim with an uncontainable grin, after the roof of the Coachella Stage was literally aflame during Coheed and Cambria’s set. These grins appeared repeatedly on Sim’s and guitarist Romy Madley Croft’s normally deadpan faces, perhaps due to the large and growing crowd they had at least helped attract. Sim is a rock star in the making, and his band The xx has the chops to back up the almost comical neo-goth image. -Harry Painter

Hot Chip
Outdoor Theatre: 7:35-8:25 p.m.

Unfortunately, this set was not as epic as I had intended upon it being. Not because they aren’t talented musicians who make some of the best electronic music out there right now, but because the crowd seemed so uninterested. Also because frankly, the song choice was strange, which may or may not have been their fault. They were just one in a long list of bands who deserved a longer time slot. The five-piece outfit from London left out quite a few of their big hits to play obscure songs from this year’s One Life Stand as well as obscurities from 2008’s impeccable Made In The Dark. Hot Chip hit hard with the first song “One Pure Thought”, and much to the crowd’s delight, Alexis Taylor had donned his iconic mustard yellow pants to rock the Outdoor Stage at Coachella. They went on to play old favorites “Over and Over” and “Ready For The Floor” as well as new favorites “Hand Me Down Your Love” and “I Feel Better”. However, mixed in with the favorites, they played oddballs such, “We Have Love” and “Hold On”. On the whole, they got the crowd pumped, but I came away with the impression that they were trying out for the part of LCD Soundsystem, Jr. (Insert remarks about Al Doyle being a member of both bands here). They left the stage after saying, “We’ll see you all at Devo!”, who was scheduled to play later in the night. -Winston Robbins

Faith No More
Coachella: 7:55-8:45 p.m.

Three words sum up this show sufficiently: more dates please. As great as it was to see Faith No More’s “Second Coming”, this particular portion of the second coming lasted 50 minutes and just wasn’t enough – for any band near the top of the bill, and especially a high-profile reunion like Faith No More. Not to mention the cooperative but indifferent crowd, which caused even hardcore Faith No More fans to shy away from “Epic” and “Midlife Crisis” sing-alongs. Mike Patton was right on target: “I know we look like we’re 80 years old, but give us a fucking break!” Patton won over some people with that kind of humor. He was never actually on the stage for more than three minutes at a time, and at one point found himself diving off a barrier into the crowd. All other bandmembers brought their share of energy to the stage as well, and really, you couldn’t have asked for anything more from the band – except maybe replacing the too-long “Reunited” cover that opened the set with a…er, real song – this was essentially Faith No More playing a show to clueless Muse’s fans. – Harry Painter

Outdoor Theatre: 8:50-9:40 p.m.

Plenty of harsh fingers have been pointed in the New York electro-pop band’s direction recently due to harsh words about their latest effort, Congratulations. But would it hold up live? Fuck yes. MGMT opened with “Flash Delirium”, and the crowd was stoked as the ever-popular MGMT cranked out tunes onstage with new greats like “It’s Working” and “Song for Dan Treacy” alongside excellent renditions of “oldies” like “The Youth”, “Electric Feel”, and “Time to Pretend”. No “Kids”, however, which probably left some feeling dull. Nonetheless, this performance proved one truly remarkable thing; people actually like MGMT, not just the few singles. People are learning. -Ted Maider

Major Lazer
Mojave: 9:25-10:10 p.m.

One of the more interesting sets of the night, that of Diplo and Switch’s latest project Major Lazer, was one continuous, seductive dance party. The music literally did not stop for a single second and neither did the dirty dancing. The infamous tutorial on creative ways to dry hump one another video AKA Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor”, made its presence known in Indio. Fronted by the man from the “Pon” video with the re-imagined Sisqo haircut, they nearly shook the Gobi Tent to its destruction. They played what seemed like every track from 2009’s Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do, the crowd pleasers being “Jump Up”, “Hold The Line”, and “Pon De Floor” and remixes of Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” and Benny Benassi’s “Sastifaction.” The designated Major Lazer dry-humper even pulled out the ladder and did the massive dive hump as featured in the video. Rarely have I seen a show summon this much energy. They impressed (and quite possibly aroused) all in the crowd. -Winston Robbins

Coachella: 9:35-11:05 p.m.

You hear all these claims about Muse’s live show and either don’t want to believe the band is that good, or you believe but can’t quite grasp it. Whichever side you’re on, you must watch Muse live at some point. God knows The Resistance isn’t a great album or even a noteworthy one, but the band just makes it fun live. Some of the new tracks slow down the show a little, but that may be because the crowd interaction slows along with it. This is to say that the sing-alongs throughout the course of a Muse set are nothing short of epic. Screaming “We will be victorious” over and over again is, like the glitter adorning Matt Bellamy’s guitar, a little silly but it feels right in the moment. Bellamy can shred though; it’s obvious he idolizes Tom Morello as much as he does Thom Yorke, and Bellamy can make even his silliest songs sound worth hearing – isn’t that what being a good live act is about? -Harry Painter

Les Claypool
Mojave: 10:35-11:25 p.m.

Les Claypool made quite an entrance, as he always does. He dubbed himself the “festival whore” and showed disappointment for not playing the Polo Fields in previous years. But the whore seemed to enjoy himself quite thoroughly while he did his usual bass thumping and crazy antics to a well-attended and quirky crowd. And nothing made it better than Claypool retreating from the stage to get his pig mask and finish off the night in true, weird Claypool style. Note: Oysterhead/Police drummer Stuart Copeland was spotted checking out Les in the front row at his set. -Ted Maider

Flying Lotus
Gobi: 10:45-11:35 p.m.

Despite conflicting times with Muse, The Dead Weather, and Les Claypool, Flying Lotus gathered a considerable amount of people to see his set in the Gobi tent. A set list would be hard to produce from this very crowded show for two reasons. A) A lot of improvisation goes into a FlyLo show and songs are hard to distinguish one from another, and B) His album Cosmogramma has yet to be released (May 3rd, for those of you drooling in anticipation) and much of his set was devoted to debuting new tracks. The man of few words did play some old favorites including “Camel”, “Melt!”, and “1983”. The deepest, most secret part of my heart hoped that Thom Yorke would show up to do the vocals on the track he collaborated with Flying Lotus on for the new album, but that unfortunately never happened. Next best thing, however, FlyLo did an incredible cover/re-working of Radiohead’s “Idioteque” saying that “This one’s for my man, Thom.” He also did an impressive tranced-out re-working of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” that got the crowd all kinds of riled. -Winston Robbins

The Dead Weather
Outdoor Theatre: 11:05-12:00 a.m.

Only the truly deserving (or blessed) get the chance to say, “How you feeling, Coachella? Good to see you again,” and Jack White took this opportunity before transitioning into “Hang You from the Heavens” Saturday night. He’s now had three appearances at Coachella, each with a different band. While The Dead Weather is the worst of White’s projects, the band is certainly capable of rocking, and while it couldn’t follow Muse, the band sure as hell rocked the Outdoor Theatre. Frontwoman Allison Mosshart and White have pleasing onstage chemistry and were a joy to sit back and watch after a long Saturday. -Harry Painter

Die Antwoord
Sahara: 11:35-11:55 p.m.

South African internet sensation Die Antwoord is no joke. When I first saw the video for “Enter The Ninja”, I was under the impression I was watching this year’s “Chocolate Rain”. I was as terrified as I was entranced. Something about them seemed less gimmicky than most internet spread musicians. And on night two of Coachella, my suspicions were confirmed. Die Antwoord is for real. Despite their extremely short 20 minute set, they destroyed their U.S. debut by playing “Enter The Ninja” “Beat Boy” and two other previously unheard tracks. Expect to hear more from and about this up and coming South African trio as the days go on. It was quite a spectacle to witness their fearless debut in the United States. -Winston Robbins

Coachella: 11:40 p.m.

Tiësto is the king of DJs, hands down. His next Coachella Main Stage installment was just as epic as his performance in 2007. Tiësto once again threw down some of the tightest produced techno in modern day music as a huge crowd rage on around him. This was the biggest party of the weekend with a full house packing in at the most expansive portion of the festival while techno lit up the night. The final number of the performance was a remix of the Platoon score, which brought tears to ravers’ eyes as they danced their hearts out under the stars. -Ted Maider

Mojave: 11:50-12:45 a.m.

As anyone at the Devo autograph signing Saturday will tell you, the guys that make up Devo are either out of their minds or very good at pretending they are. This point is illustrated very well by Devo’s live show, featuring cheesy songs supported by cheesy visuals and, of course, cheesy hats. Of course, Devo has always reveled in this sort of cheese, and that’s why the band was not to be missed closing the Mojave Saturday night – because it’s kind of brilliant. -Harry Painter

Sahara: 12:05-12:55 p.m.

Choosing between Sia, Devo, and 2ManyDJ’s late Saturday night was difficult, but I couldn’t imagine a more enjoyable time than that offered by the Dewaele brothers. The pair took the stage and took the audience on a journey of remixes and mash-ups, documented with moving album artwork displayed on two screens. Guns N’ Roses, MGMT, and even The Clash had the neon crowd dancing for the entire hour. They’ve played almost identical sets at other festivals, but the repetition had no effect on the chemical-induced audience. Whether they go by Soulwax or 2ManyDJ’s, the Dewaeles have mastered the art of putting on a good time. -Elias Newman

Sunday, April 18th

The Middle East
Outdoor Theatre: 12:15-12:55 p.m.

Likely due to Delphic’s volcancellation, The Middle East didn’t show up on stage until about 1 p.m., inadvertently pissing off some of the reasonably-sized audience. Luckily for the band, there wasn’t much early competition, since the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble didn’t show up. Luckily for everyone else, The Middle East was quite good, putting on a set ranging from soft folk rock to energetic post-rock. It’s not hard to imagine we’ll be hearing more from this band in the future. -Harry Painter

The Soft Pack
Mojave: 12:55-1:40 p.m.

Starting around one in the afternoon, The Soft Pack was one of the best early-birds. Saving “Mexico” and “Answer to Yourself” for last, they kept the intimate crowd alert throughout the entire set. Lead singer Matt Lamkin is no Alice Cooper, but his overall blasé attitude on stage worked well with the band. He even told the crowd to go drink a Heineken, and then admitted to earning a whopping 50 bucks for the advertisement. Not exactly professional, but damn funny. An excellent start to day two. -Elias Newman

King Khan & The Shrines
Mojave: 2:05-2:50 p.m.

The experience was religious. With a six-piece band behind him, King Khan brought soul music to a new level. No shirt, headdress, and a cape. How about that for an outfit. He had us screaming, burning money, and then crying at the end. Add the Yo Gabba Gabba crew and DJ Lance Rock to the mix, and you have one of if not the most insane act of the entire weekend. Seeing The Shrines live is not an option, it is a necessity, and apologies to anyone who missed the King himself. -Elias Newman

Owen Pallett
Outdoor Theatre: 2:25-3:10 p.m.

He may not have been the best violinist performing Sunday (see Yann Tiersen), but with apologies to Thom Yorke, no one used a loop pedal to better effect than Owen Pallett. The artist formerly known as Final Fantasy was brilliant, constructing beautiful songs by himself out of parts that could easily have taken all of Arcade Fire to perform separately. The downsides: geeky chuckles after every song, and he closed the set with an awkward inquiry to his guitarist about cornholing. -Harry Painter

Outdoor Theatre: 3:35-4:20 p.m.

It was a mellow afternoon at the Outdoor Theater when Deerhunter took the stage sometime early in the festival. People sat down as the cool breeze sent chills down their spine, along with Deerhunter’s epic and melodic music, while the soothing notes began the final hours of the festival. Deerhunter played a great selection of lazy afternoon tunes and closed with a “jam medley” that was inspired by Echo and the Bunnymen’s performance from Friday night. -Ted Maider

De La Soul
Coachella: 3:50-4:40 p.m.

Hip-hop was certainly in the house on Sunday when De La Soul took the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon, turning the festival’s most happening spot into the biggest afternoon party. The group had a live band accompanying them, and spent no time messing around with single verses of popular songs, but blasted through tracks off all the old LPs that spanned their entire career. If you wanted to get funky on Sunday afternoon, this was the place to be. -Ted Maider

Julian Casablancas
Mojave: 5:35-6:20 p.m.

Donning a studded leather jacket and some scorching hot, red pants, Julian Casablancas makes no secret that he’s cooler than you’ll ever be. As he strutted about the Mojave stage, The Strokes frontman whisked through a number of solo tracks — “11th Dimension”, “Out of the Blue”, and the now-crowd favorite cover, “I Wish it Was Christmas Today”– which all but solidified his status to the crowd that he is the brains of modern day rock music. Contrary to what you might expect, Casablancas wasn’t too shy about cranking out a few Strokes tunes, which he did and to which the crowd enjoyed immensely. Nothing like hearing some of our generation’s best rock tunes. -Ted Maider

Charlotte Gainsbourg
Gobi: 5:40-6:30 p.m.

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s set was a rare event; she never tours, so the chance to hear live renditions of songs from her 2009 album IRM was enough of a sell for a guy who had already seen Jónsi with Sigur Rós. Well, okay, plus the Beck rumors and everything. IRM has some great songs on it, but Gainsbourg just isn’t much of a singer, and that becomes painfully clear in a live setting, as did the absence of Beck’s vocals on “Heaven Can Wait”. The band was very tight though, unlike Gainsbourg’s shirt. -Harry Painter

Outdoor Theatre: 5:55-6:45 p.m.

Thousands gathered to see what the long-time frontman of epic Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós would produce as a solo artist. What they got was first of all, not in Icelandic, but English, which surely threw some listeners off. People began to leave minutes into his 45 minute set, which is a real shame because it was beautiful. Jónsi has one of the most unique, beautiful voices on God’s green earth and he flaunted it in every way during his set. The peacock pageantry that is prevalent in his album artwork and solo videos made its real life manifestation on the Outdoor Stage at Coachella on Sunday. His set ran a bit short, and was in the middle of the sun, which stole from the atmosphere he was going for, but he played songs from his impeccable Go flawlessly. He hit especially high highs during the subtle “Grow Till Tall”, the enlivened “Animal Arithmetic”, and the centerpiece of his album “Boy Lilikoi”. And while we’d all rather see him with Sigur Rós presenting a new album, this is surely the very next best thing. -Winston Robbins

Outdoor Theatre: 7:10-8:00 p.m.

Phoenix took the stage at sundown to see a mammoth crowd awaiting their musical remedies. And I will personally assure you that not one person in that monstrous crowd left disappointed. A band like Phoenix is so fun to watch. Everything is organic, and it all rides on sheer talent. And they are writing some of the best Pop-Rock music in the world today. Not only are they some extremely talented musicians, but they’re fronted by Thomas Mars, who seems to be right at home while entertaining a crowd. As he looked out at the crowd he commented, “You guys are forever! I can’t even see the end of you!” Despite the number of watchers, he sang the songs note for note and moved with an easy swagger that made Phoenix so much fun to watch. “He implored us to enjoy the sunset and enjoy the music” as they jumped right into Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix hits “Lisztomania”, “Lasso”, “Rome”, and “Fences”. They visited their past music with songs such as “If I Ever Feel Better”, “No Consolation Prizes”, and “Long-Distance Call”. They closed up with an explosive “1901” and left the crowd screaming. -Winston Robbins

Coachella: 7:45-8:55 p.m.

Nothing was cooler than seeing the Stockton, California quintet back together for their first American performance. The group of pals was right where they left off 11 years ago at the first Coachella, except this time they weren’t at one another’s throats. A “Silent Kid” opener was met with a couple sound glitches, but even that couldn’t silence the band as they melted everyone’s faces with “Shady Lane”, “Summer Babe” ,“Cut Your Hair”, and a very memorable rendition of “Grounded”, one that hypnotized every member of the crowd. Coachella made a band that was never supposed to be overtly glorious into something to remember for ages to come with this performance. -Ted Maider

Yann Tiersen
Mojave: 7:55-8:45 p.m.

It was one of the best sets of the weekend, and almost no one saw it. No one should have seen it, had Yann Tiersen been in his original slot opposite Gorillaz, but Gary Numan canceled, making it actually possible for people to watch the Amelie composer. The Amelie crowd got its fix with a gorgeous solo violin performance of “Sur Le Fil” (and a not-immediately-recognizable brooding version of “La Valse d’Amelie”), but the dark post-rock that made up the majority of Tiersen’s set was a perfect lead-in to Thom Yorke’s gig. -Harry Painter

Thom Yorke/Atoms for Peace
Outdoor Theatre: 9:00 p.m.

Let’s be honest – Coachella had four headliners in three days; everyone was at Thom Yorke right before everyone was at Gorillaz. And Yorke’s was a headline-worthy show. He and his band, Atoms for Peace, played his 2006 solo album The Eraser from start to finish, complete with out-of-control bass explosions by Flea. The Eraser has always gotten better with each listen, and Atoms for Peace’s versions of the album’s tracks work because they highlight instead of negate the strengths of The Eraser. Never before have I considered dancing to any song on The Eraser, but I didn’t have to think twice about it at Coachella. Yorke was quite the dancer himself, consistently goofy and having the time of his life. The inevitable encores were worth sticking around for; the first was a three-song solo bit that included new song “Give Up the Ghost” and a couple acoustic Radiohead tracks, while the second cued Atoms for Peace back on stage to end the show. Also of note: Yorke dedicated the song “Atoms for Peace” to Pavement. -Harry Painter

Coachella: 10:30 p.m.

This may have been the first time in Coachella history that 99% of eyes at Coachella Sunday were on the headliner (the other 1%, of course, being on 2010’s most predictable train wreck in Sly Stone). That large majority of eyes saw a spectacle, and it was almost everything it was cracked up to be. Almost, that is, because some expected names like Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, and Shaun Ryder were no-shows. However, this was but a slight blemish in a wholly captivating experience, the first full-blown show supporting new album Plastic Beach. Damon Albarn, along with guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon of The Clash, and several other guests, performed selections off Plastic Beach and Demon Days with precision and funk. Bringing the most funk was Bobby Womack, who completely botched his first line in “Stylo” to the point of embarrassment (Albarn even gave him a dirty look), but redeemed himself by the end of the night by nailing “Cloud of Unknowing”. Booty Brown was on point during “Dirty Harry” and De La Soul kept the energy up during its appearances. The highlight may have been “Empire Ants”, however, with Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon nailing her part at the peak of the set. In fact, this was a dream Gorillaz set for those more inclined toward the cartoon band’s mellow output. -Harry Painter


And so ends another memorable year at Coachella. Does time fly by or what? 2010 was filled with bearable heats, sold out crowds and one of the best line-ups the festival has ever seen. Thanks to the changes in ticket sales, camping truly felt like a communal experience and whether or not you partied in the campsite all weekend, danced in the Do-Lab or saw all of the wonderful headliners, your time at Coachella should have been some of the best spent. I actually felt terribly sad to be leaving Monday morning and wished it could have been just a couple days longer. Signing a decade-long renewal contract obviously shows that this was one of the best years Coachella has ever seen.

So now it’s back to the message boards to argue and debate and make false rumors of who is going to be at Coachella 2011. Lives do revolve around this one amazing weekend and I am sure all of you are already looking forward to next year. So until then, “good morning, good afternoon, and good night” all of you “Coachellians.” -Matt Rhodes


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