One common ground between several of the artists playing Coachella 2019 this weekend was how they shared about feeling nervous for weekend one and how that seemed to dissipate before weekend two. “I get the feeling weekend two is where it’s at… I’m feeling you guys right now. We’re all here for the right reasons,” Kevin Parker of Tame Impala said to the crowd in the middle of their headlining set.
On day two of weekend two unlike day one, rock reigned supreme with Tame Impala headlining a laser light and confetti spectacular along with guitar-centric bands like Ty Segall & White Fence, Sales, Shame, Hop Along, Mac Demarco and more on the bill. But there was still something for everyone with electronic sets from Aphex Twin, Four Tet and more. Not to mention that even with Kid Cudi starting after the night’s main headliner, the majority of the crowd seemed to stick around for the entire night.
The wind was relentless today blowing all afternoon and night, making it feel cooler out than yesterday, but freezing in the later evening. Even Maggie Rogers had to stop and cough during a song in her set due to all the dust inhalation.
“I’ve never been so inspired and jealous at the same time,” Parker said, referring to Childish Gambino’s headlining set the previous night. Headliner Tame Impala took the Coachella stage around 10:30 pm, opened with a short video and went straight into “Let It Happen” complete with huge, psychedelic colors and patterns on all three screens and with confetti raining during the build up to the finale. They played mostly songs off Currents and a couple new ones as well, including “Patience” and “Borderline.” The intricate drumming and trippy visuals had the crowd cheering throughout “The Moment.” An amazing array of laser lights of all colors came together for the epic “Apocalypse Dream,” and the ring of stage lights atop their setup descended on the band, eventually flipping vertically and blasting white light along with the thumping bass line. But the crowd went ballistic when A$AP Rocky joined the band on stage for a couple of his songs, “Sundress” and “L.$.D.” Rocky and Parker hugged before Rocky exited the stage, just like old friends. They closed their set with “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.”
Kid Cudi’s set began just before Tame Impala’s ended, and was completely packed in the Sahara Tent. A special appearance from Kanye West allowed them to play a couple Kids See Ghosts songs, which the crowd ate up ravenously. It was nearly impossible to see anything going on at the stage, and many of the Tame Impala attendees tried to shove their way in only to reach another visual dead end. But regardless of one’s line of sight, hearing Kid Cudi perform songs off Man On The Moon: The End of Day and Man On The Moon III: The Legend of Mr. Rager made everything okay. He appropriately performed “Marijuana” for 4/20, “Erase Me,” and “Mr. Rager,” all of which brought a certain nostalgia for 2010. “I missed you… I’m working on some new music,” Cudi shared with the crowd about it being only his second time performing at Coachella. The crowd cheered in support. He dedicated “Pursuit of Happiness” to anyone in the crowd going through challenges. The night closed with the club version of “Day ‘N’ Nite,” which had everyone singing along and jumping around.
Billie Eilish jolted the crowd with eerie electronic blasts and high pitched sounds, but they were already drawn in. At just 17 years young, Eilish has risen to the top of pop stardom, winning the hearts of fans young and old alike. While her music plays as pop generally, seeing the live performance almost moves it into hight-art territory. Dark visuals of spider webs, flames, and hooded figures provided an eerie backdrop to her electronic-infused pop sound. She opened with the soft, “Bad Guy.” Highlights included Vince Staples joining her on stage for “&Burn,” and “Ocean Eyes,” which included visuals of her drinking a blue drink and then crying blue tears. “I used to sit in my room and cry because I wanted this so bad and it’s happening!” said Eilish. She encouraged everyone to be in the moment and took a moment herself to appreciate her adoring fans.
Aphex Twin hypnotized the crowd with electronic sounds in the Mojave tent. The abstract visuals added to the set, featuring distorted views of various faces in the crowd over flashing red lights. The crowd was packed in and danced along to the consistent driving beats which quickened and subsided, adding additional sounds and chirps. Some of the bass beats just obliterated the crowd.
Weezer played to a massive crowd at the Coachella stage. They opened with “Buddy Holly” with backdrop of flying W logos on the large screen behind them. They covered all the nostalgic favorites during their set including “Hashpipe,” “My Name is Jonas” and “Undone – The Sweater Song.” Fans enjoyed their cover of “Toto” by Africa. When “Say it Ain’t So” came on, the audience on hand had fun singing along during the chorus.
The Gobi Tent was stuffed to the brim when Maggie Rogers opened her set with “Give a Little.” The singer/songwriter said she’d be playing songs off her debut album, Heard It In a Past Life. Highlights included “Give It Up,” which had everyone dancing and “Alaska.” Rogers belted from the stage really showing her full range during several softer songs. She coughed during one of the songs causing her to pause for a bit, no doubt because of the dust flying around. But when she bounced back the crowd cheered for her. Rogers shared how she spent a lot of time at music festivals and how attending one is about being part of something bigger than yourself. “Give yourself permission to dance a little harder and sing a little louder,” she said, sharing words of wisdom before going into probably the most popular song off her latest album. Everyone in the crowd gave themselves permission to sing along to “Light On,” an uplifting anthem. She tossed around an oversized pink scarf, portraying a carefree vibe. The lights flashed on the audience who cheered loudly and Rogers looked close to tears. “This is unbelievable,” she said in awe of her fans.
The cancellation of Christine and the Queens created about a 30 minute delay in set times at the Outdoor Theater. When Mac Demarco took the stage, it was about 30 minutes after his original set time. Demarco introduced his band then started with “Salad Days.” The band wished the crowd a happy 420 and happy Passover. “You guys going to Kanye’s Sunday service tomorrow?” Mac asked. The played a new soft song, possibly called “Creature.” Old video games played on the background video screens throughout their set. “I’d like to introduce you to a son of mine I recently found out I had,” Demarco said as he brought out a 16-year-old Asian kid to the stage, most likely joking considering he dedicated another new song to his girlfriend, Kira. “The Stars Keep on Calling My Name” picked up the pace and had the crowd dancing. They played another new song for its second premiere called “K” dedicated to his girlfriend. They invited Jamie Lynch to join on yo-yo during the next song, “Viceroy.” “On The Level” had the crowd swaying side to side, and a muted trumpet joined on stage for the last few moments. He played another new song with a funky jazz feel with trumpet and keys solos before announcing to the crowd that he had “swamp ass.” Maurice Brown, trumpet player for the Anderson .Paak’s band the Free Nationals joined them on stage for the new songs. They played an older song, “Rock and Roll Night Club” which the crowd seemed to appreciate before also being joined by bassist Kelsey Gonzales from the Free Nationals to close the set with “Chamber of Reflections.”
The Garden, an experimental punk band headed by twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, played a hard rock set inside the wind-free Sonora Tent. During “Banana Peel,” a particularly fast song, the bassist jumped into the crowd while the drummer, who Donned a slinky black dress, took the mic with his brother. “Stallion” was more straight-up rock before completely trashing the audience with its finale. But the crowd really went wild when Mac Demarco took the stage and joined band, screaming a couple verses, getting on the guitarist’s shoulders and then crowd surfing. The ended their set with “All Smiles Over Here.”
The singer from Hop Along’s raspy vocals could be heard from outside the Sonora Tent. There’s something nostalgic about Hop Along, whose sound is reminiscent of grunge with an indie-pop twist. “I Saw My Twin” showcased more of those vocals that were in the middle of a sing and a scream. “This is the very last day of our tour… I’m going to go home to that can of expired beans. They might be a hallucinogenic now.” A highlight included “The Knock” which the crowd cheered for at the beginning and headbanged along during the breakdown at the end. They finished the set with a couple songs off their latest album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog.
On the way to Sales, U.K. punk band Shame could be heard playing a muffled “One Rizla” inside the Sonora Tent. Sales’ music and visuals were what one might want when stepping on a plane… there was a soothing quality about the set that made it easy to forget being in the middle of a huge festival. “Life is just one big technical difficulty” the singer said, referring to a technical difficulty in their first song. “Off and On” had the crowd swaying and some singing along inside the Gobi Tent. During “Pope Is A Rock Star,” a kaleidoscope of colorful flowers were displayed on the screen in the background. “I heard there’s a dust storm coming.. it’ll be my first dust storm, we’re from Florida,” the singer explained. The crowd squealed when “Getting It On” started. “We wrote this song in my childhood bedroom. We mixed and mastered this song in my childhood bedroom. We posted this on the Internet in my childhood bedroom,” she said introducing one of their first songs. The closed the set with the dreamy “Rainy Day Loop” which went from soft indie song to mellow house music which had everyone dancing along.
Due to sound issues, the outdoor theater was already a half an hour behind, pushing Ty Segall and White Fence’s set back about 40 minutes. Fans who were waiting around looked confused as a DJ, Nostradahm set up on the stage. This gave enough time to squeeze in a set from LA based indie pop outfit Steady Holiday, who were just starting in the Gobi tent around the same time Ty Segall and White Fence were supposed to begin.
Having missed Steady Holiday’s recent opening sets in LA for both Charlotte Gainsbourg and Khruangbin, this was a good opportunity to finally catch their set. They played “Your Version of Me” while their singer showcased her violin skills. The keyboards and synths were resting appropriately on a surfboard. “You guys wanna hear a song about cannibalism? You look like that’s your kinda thing,” the singer said before going into an ironically cheery, polka style song with a quick paced guitar solo that had the crowd cheering. The highlight of their set though was “Open Water,” which was their heaviest, most theatrical song yet and a dance worthy, funky track as well. The Gobi Tent was a gusty wind tunnel, the breeze swept through one end and out the other.
When Ty Segall and White Fence finally took to the Outdoor Theater, it was around 3:30 and to a much larger crowd than their initial set time would have drawn in. They opened with “Please Don’t Leave This Town” a fuzzy, distorted number then went right into “Body Behavior.” Their raw, raucous sound drew in more people as they played songs off Joy their album together that came out last year.
Our day started with The Messthetics (which features former members of Fugazi) playing to a small but grateful audience inside the Sonora Tent. Their instrumental set droned through the tent. The drums pounded, guitars wailed and the crowd headbanged along to the fuzzy, heavy sounds.
Day three will bring pop music to the forefront, with Ariana Grande headlining and Khalid performing right before her on the main stage. Here’s hoping they are weekend two enthusiasts as well and have some new tricks up their sleeves.
File photo by Marv Watson