The 2015 Coachella Report
I’ve been attending Coachella since 2006 with the exception of last year when I had to have ‘a procedure’ and missed Girl Talk damnit!!!
I’ve often had parents ask me if it’s safe for their kids to go. I’d then launch into my description of all things awesome about it, which is considerable, and then ask if they’re going too? That’s when they’d laugh in my face and say “Oh, fuck no.” which baffles me. Because the first time I set foot on the Empire Polo Field back in 2006-
I felt, well, there’s no other word for it: enchantment.
That feeling has never left me and it keeps me coming back every year.
This report is designed to help others navigate Coachella in relative comfort and ease. Don’t look at me like that. It can be done. Oh yes it can.
These are the topics I’m going to cover:
When and how to buy your tickets
Front Gate handles Coachella tickets now, which is great because we all know Ticketmaster is the devil. Look! Horns on their logo! How refreshing that evil is self-aware. Now, I must urge you ONLY to buy from the Coachella website and Front Gate.
Don’t even think of buying a ticket from Cheney’s brother’s girlfriend’s roommate’s cousin Glen.
Where to stay
La Quinta Resort is an example of the ideal place simply because of its proximity to the venue. It also has plenty of activities for your parents. It’s fancy as hell, so not for everyone.
If you want to be able to ‘say’ that you ‘camped out’ how ‘bout this? The Safari On Site Luxury Tent. It has all these unimaginable amenities that could double for a refuge when the Zombie Apocalypse comes. VIP access included in the package. Only $7,000.00!
But for the rest of us, budget hotels or camping on the grounds of the festival is a perfectly good option. The Shuttles serve most of the hotels, even ones as far away as Palm Springs. Which brings me to…
Transportation (The Shuttles)
Because of the heat, there is an imperative. The imperative not to waste more energy than you have to.
Know this: it is approximately a mile from where you can enter the polo fields to where you can then walk to the entrance to the festival. Add the distance of the parking lot and you’ll be hating life at the end of the night when you’re exhausted, it’s dark and the battery on your phone is dead so you can’t use the flashlight app.
The Shuttles are the answer. They have their own parking section and it’s closer than any other lot. They services all the hotels and even if you’re not staying at a hotel, you can park near the nearest hotel to where you’re staying and get the shuttle from there. You will be SO glad you did!
It is a fool’s errand to think you can beat the system by taking a cab. Again, distance from the entrance AND try getting a cab at night when 60,000 other people had the same bright idea.
And in addition to the shuttle’s convenience “ye never knows who may climb aboard matey”!
One time I saw this girl who, at the end of the night, staggered onto the shuttle wearing nothing but a bikini and a song in her heart. A very drunken version of “Barbara Streisand” by Duck Sauce.
She then proceeded to have a screaming phone conversation saying, “What do you mean you’re mad at me? I’m mad at you! Where the fuck am I? Where the fuck are YOU DAD!!??” Now THAT’S entertainment!!! Shuttles people!!
Use the Coachooser and the Coachella website in general.
It’s important to read the list of things you can’t bring on to the festival grounds. On the list besides DRONES, was the question about medical marijuana.
Q: I have a medical marijuana card and ‘medicate’ daily. Cool?
A: Sorry bro. Medical Marijuana cards are not valid at Coachella Festival.
One year, for some reason, fountain pens were on the list. I watched helplessly as the woman who patted me down casually dropped my Monte Blanc pen into the trash. Good times.
The Coachooser is brilliant but I must caution you on one thing:
There will be bands that you love playing at the same time. So, sadly, unless someone’s set is so amazing (and that happens) that you stay for the whole thing, you have to make the choice when to leave to go see the other band you love. It’s like Sophie’s Choice. I’ve just compared Coachella to the Nazi’s. Seriously, use the Coachooser. It simplifies everything and gives you a printout of your customized lineup. You’ll realize that if you’re lucky, in one day you’ll get to see, at the most, 6 or 7 bands.
My picks for which bands to see.
I have listened to every single band and solo act for all 3 days. You’re welcome. I’ve based my choices on the YouTube links associated with each one. You can find these on the Coachella site under Lineup. But, sometimes you can tell, those songs don’t really represent the best of these acts. So do a little digging. I did. Which took twice as long…. You’re welcome.
I AM NOT A ROCK CRITIC. THIS LIST IS FORMED FROM MY HUMBLE OPINION. I AM BIASED. I HAPPEN TO LOVE EDM AND DUBSTEP. MY OLDER DAUGHTER ACTUALLY SAID TO ME “MOM, THAT’S JUST NOISE.’ (SFX. Crickets)
I’M NOT GOING TO LIKE A LOT OF ‘EMO’. BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN BANDS THAT ARE JUST SO TALENTED, THEY CAN’T BE DENIED. SO, I’M GOING TO RECOMMEND A LOT OF BANDS THAT I WON’T BE GOING TO SEE, BUT I THINK OTHER PEOPLE WOULD REALLY LIKE. ALSO, THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT OF REALLY GREAT BANDS THAT WON’T BE ON THIS LIST SIMPLY BECAUSE WE’D BE HERE FOREVER. HERE GOES:
1. AC/DC….Oh, wait…
Ok, they’re old…
So, they won’t be putting on the kind of kick-ass show they did in “their day”. But they’ve figured out their limits and know how to pace themselves. This is my favorite bit about rock starts that over reach, done by the great Patton Oswalt.
Go see AC/DC. Think of it as an archeological dig. You’ll be head banging before you know it. They invented it.
2. Alabama Shakes– Brittany Howard, badass lady guitar player and singer. Great Sound
3. Alesso– Here’s one of those cases where the You Tube link didn’t show, in my opinion, his best work. A lot of EDM DJs/Producers collaborate with other artists. I think it can ‘pussify’ their sound. For pure Alleso, listen to Tear The Roof Up. The drops are sick! (start @ :48)
4. Alison Wonderland– Know what you get when you combine a classically trained Australian cellist who becomes a DJ? I’ve listened to 6 of her songs. They’re all great.
5. Azelia Banks– A rapper with interesting lyrics. Thank you! She’s like SO totally cute too!
6. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band—If you like Goblin Cock, and that Rob Crowe sound, you’ll like this band. I do. Besides, there’s a big fat weed graphic so…..
7. Bad Suns—When I listen to them it makes me think if Grizzly Bear and Franz Ferdinand had a baby, they’d be saying “Look darling, the lead singer sounds just like the lead singer from the Cure.” How-evah, I like their fresh sound and I think they’re definitely worth checking out.
8. Chet Faker-Oh yes you’d better cross your arms and stare all sexy n’ shit because you are a talented motherfucker! This guy is what’s great about Coachella!! A complete original who can’t be classified. He is a MUST!
9. Clean Bandit—Well, I guess I’m the last one to know about them. Listen to Rather Be and Dust Clears. Wow. My notes say Yes, Yes, Yes.
10. George Ezra–Look at that face. Doesn’t it just say, “I could get away with some total bullshit.”? But, he’s got a rich baritone voice and a sound that’s all his. Listen to Blame It On Me.
11. Gesafflestein– This is someamazing techno. Creative, powerful and interesting. I don’t think it’ll be a boring show. I’ll be there!!!
12. Gorgon City–I love these guys. Wikipedia (a reliable source) classifies them as House, Electronic and UK Garage. Either way, you decide. Listen to Ready For Your Love.
13. Gramatik– What the…?This guy does the coolest mash ups I’ve ever heard and I’m not going to miss his show. Listen to Lonely & Cold and I’ll see you there.
14. Jack White– Uh, just, fuck yeah.
15. Kaskade–a pioneer in EDM and certainly one of the best. If you’re not familiar with him, you’ve probably heard him and didn’t know it.
16. Kele– LOVE HIM!! He had me at Tenderoni. Listen to it. You’ll Coa-choose him.
17. Kimbra– when you click on the link to her music video you think, oh, she’s got that pop princess baby voice that you hear….a lot. But, her performance in the video is terrific, so I checked out her other stuff and saw that stripped down, this girl can sang. So, I’m looking forward to this show. So, even though her sound isn’t to my taste, I think her show’s going to be great.
18. Los Rakas–There’s depth to the lyrics and wonderful vocal harmonies. Here’s another genre I’m not crazy about, but they cannot be denied. Not only is the link song great, but here are other songs worth listening to: Bien Ribetiao, Cueria & Sueno Americano. I gotta see them.
19. Nero–Now you’re talking!!! Yes!! Haunting vocals from the lead singer. Songs like Promises and Crush on You are staples on my iTunes that I transfer to my iphone machine.
20. Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible– This band defies description. A mixture of traditional Nortenio and techno to form Nortech. I love this sound. Listen to Camino Verde. Wow. I’m SO there!!
21. Panda Bear– So I’m watching the music video for this guy and thinking, ‘Wow he sounds so much like Animal Collective.” Then I see at the bottom of the screen. “Oh, Animal Collective, duh.”. This is his solo act. If you like that sound, and I really do Gesaffelstein,(sniff) hey, it’s here. Genre is experimental neo-psychedelic electronica.
22. Perfume Genius– I love this guy’s sound!!! Listen to his song “Queen”, which is current, then go back and listen to his earlier stuff. Hood and Normal Song. Shades of Peter Gabriel with a voice like a sob. A beautiful sob. Wow. And his videos are super cool.
23. Ratatat- This is my jam. And I’ll tell ya, one year they appeared to be so drunk they were just pressing buttons. I wrote them off the following year and that was my mistake. Luckily I didn’t miss much of their set because I stayed for the whole thing. Rare for Coachella since, as I said, there’s so much to see at the same time.
24. Ryan Hemsworth–He’s unique in the electronic world, I think. Very atmospheric. Reminds me of Stephen Wilkinson of Biblo. Anyone? (Crickets) Also he looks like one of my daughters’ math tutors.
25. Ryn Weaver– Powerful voice like Katy Perry. Similar indie pop sound. Really like her. Oh stop. Listen to OctaHate.
26. Squarepusher– Oh hell yeah!! This is somecrazy shit and I LOVE IT. It’s described as acid house, electro acoustic. Just go. I mean it.
27. Steely Dan– is a great and innovative band but when they start getting into that jazz trash, you have my permission to walk away. But, if you don’t know their music, ask your parents and know that they are the original indie pop band. Respect. Fun fact: Chevy Chase was their original drummer….what do you mean ‘who’s Chevy Chase?’
28. Stromae– Sings in French. An Afro-pop sound that is irresistible and you should listen to his song Papaoutai. The music video is unbelievably cool.
29. Sturgill Simpson– Oh my dear lord one of those country voices that goes right to your tear ducts and puts a lump in your throat. If his set plays right as the sun is starting to go down, you know, that campfire light, well, take out your handkerchiefs cuz you’re gonna feel homesick for your momma.
30. Tame Impala– I always liked this band for a pure alternative rock sound. Listen to their song Elephant for a taste man.
31. Trippy Turtle– this sounds like old school funk mixed with hip hop and it’s so fucking cool and entertaining. The music video for Trippy’s Theme is so weird and wonderful. A must.
32. Tyler The Creator– another true original. His sound is irresistible. His lyrics and music come at you fast and harsh and it’s great. Tamale is the song to listen to but if you’re in doubt, listen to Wolf. He’s one of a kind and a serious talent.
WHEW!! So, for what it’s worth, these are my picks. As I said, I left out some really good bands, just not to my taste. These are the ones that, for my money, really stood out as exceptional and worth seeing.
COACHELLA OF YESTERDAY’S GONE BY
That title is some pretentious bullshit, isn’t it? Anyway, I have been to Coachella a FEW times now, and in case you want to take a trip down memory lane with me… I’ve brought back a few photographic keepsakes for you, along with set lists!
Did YOU go to Coachella? Were we there at the same time? Let me know and tell me what your thoughts on the proceedings where. Hit me up on Twitter or find me on Facebook!
Ryan Bingham Passion Pit
LUCENT DOSSIER CIRCUS!!!
THE BLACK KEYS SCI-ARC INSTALLATION… Zach Galifianakis AMY!