In between highly-anticipated sets in Coachella’s newly-vaulted Sahara tent, Dog Blood – composed of EDM stars Skrillex and Boys Noize – were rumored for a secret set 135 miles to the west at the Echoplex for the venue’s edgy Check Yo Ponytail 2 series.
It was a packed slate for this unofficial “Localchella” show with “secret guests” taking up three of the slots on the set list. After all, Goldenvoice’s exclusivity clauses limit where artists can play before, after and during appearances in Indio. So Cal venues, unless they’re somehow affiliated with the promoter, are off-limits. Performers booked in the desert, then, aren’t billed locally.
One of the secret guests was Raider Klan. Led by underground rap artist SpaceGhostPurrp, the collective that played an early Sunday set on Coachella’s Outdoor Stage almost overflowed the Echoplex’s much smaller stage with nearly everyone taking turns rhyming onstage.
Next up was The Gaslamp Killer, who with his rabbinical beard and wild hair looked like a street corner prophet, and commanded the stage with a surplus of energy. Breaking out from behind his turntables, he tapped out rhythms on an iPad, strummed air guitar and generally turned his set into performance art. Out of nowhere, A-Trak came onstage during the set and gave The Gaslamp Killer a broey, behind-the-back hug.
On his musical philisophy, Gaslamp Killer proclaimed, “I’m just fucking around, playing some songs.” His set reflected this eclecticism, sampling music ranging from “The Legend of Zelda” to traditional Jewish folk songs.
Next on stage was Salva, who was joined by Shlomo on the second set of turntables. Together they put out bassy, syncopated beats that had the crowd jumping. As the set moved toward midnight, the pack of photographers, friends and hangers-on grew around the artists. By the time R.L. Grime came onstage, they had packed the wings.
R.L. Grime’s rugged hip hop set was punctuated with f-bomb-laced admonitions to the crowd to dance, jump and move. He was interrupted, however, when his turntable suddenly cut out, leaving a stunned crowd in silence.
Then, it was time for Dog Blood to take the stage. The posse receded and Boys Noize was introduced… but no Skrillex. Whatever the reason (rumor had it he had imbibed a few too many) the other turntable sat empty and only half of the supergroup played the set solo.
The onstage entourage thinned as Boys Noize played a more industrially-edged set, laced with vocal drops. Eventually, the crowd began to filter out too as the night moved past last call. At about 2:10am, Boys Noize asked the remaining crowd to join him onstage for a last dance. So at the end of the night almost everyone who was left at the Echoplex was partying with Boys Noize. And even though Dog Blood was only half-represented, try getting an experience like that at Coachella.