Well, it clearly wasn't Outkast. Saying that makes me sad, but it all comes down to the evolution of the music festival. Gotta keep up or step to the side, guys. You're not just dealing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dispatch anymore - you got over-stimulated fans on your hands paying top dollar for high production value and non-stop action. Outkast is slated for a TON of festival lineups this summer, so I hope they get it together in time for the first weekend in June when they take the stage at The Governors Ball. Some sweet lasers and a bit of confetti never hurt nobody! Just sayin...
Coachella, in sum, is a whole other beast when compared with music festivals frequented by the majority of Bad Kids Nation. Some of us are all for it, while others could take it or leave it. Before I launch into the stand out acts from Weekend 1, allow me to provide a little background if I may, about why my stance on Coachella is in perpetual turmoil. I can't quite commit to plunking down a few grand to experience it first-hand, but at the same time experience a mild degree of FOMO every year that I don't.
"OMG like, 'chella with my #girlies"
The source of my inner turmoil is two-fold: First and foremost, Coachella is not really an EDM-focused festival, although in the last three years there has been a considerable shift in the lineup that leans more towards dance music. I'm not exactly EDM-or-bust when it comes to live shows (I'm hitting up Jazz Fest in a few weeks while down in Nola), but a good chunk of the non-EDM lineup didn't really interest me. Second, and stemming from both the broad scope of genres represented as well as the way in which the festival is branded as a 'scene,' is the demographic of attendees. Juggernaut EDM festivals like Ultra and EDC have become magnets for the younger, highly-impressionable demographics through intense marketing and branding campaigns. The organizers behind Coachella, however, take this to another level (and a level which some may argue dilutes the entire experience). Coachella is not just about the music, it's also very much about the scene. It's about what you're wearing, whether or not you were spotted at one of the exclusive sponsored parties, or just plain spotted all over instagram the entire weekend. Celebs who go to Ultra are not toting highly-publicized endorsements to do so. At Coachella, it's competitive to the point where we know how much certain celebs were paid to show face. In my opinion? Not cool, bro. Not cool at all.
Anyway, for those of you who weren't able to make it out to Indio (and the rest who missed the live stream), I've put together some of the best sets of Weekend 1 (in no particular order) complete with links as well as reasons why they're worth a listen. Obviously, heavy hitters such as Disclosure, Calvin Harris, Alesso, Martin Garrix and Carnage did not disappoint, but the below sets really stole the show. Hopefully this will help guide you when figuring out which sets to tune into before Weekend 2 drops in a few short days:
Have to sum this up with a pop culture reference....SO MUCH WOW. Like, wow. Bad Kids everywhere were feeling this one so hard. It's no secret that Adventure Club puts on a great show so I had high standards for them. But these guys were ALL. OVER. THE. MAP. They played to the Coachella crowd perfectly. They dropped filthy beats, they dropped hot dance tracks, they went deep, they hit high points with some serious bangers, they threw in alternative rock that wasn't Nirvana. I caught the live stream of this one - both basic bitches & bros as well as ravers alike were losing their shit for this duo. Get it here.
Any time I see Fat Boy Slim on a lineup, my heart skips a beat. His festival sets never fail to impress...as they should - this cat's been in the game for a very, very long time. One thing I love about Fatboy Slim is his ability to bring something new the table each year, consistently dip back into his throwback collection for some old-school tracks I've loved since middle school, and most importantly, he brings the funk. We attend festivals to hear music in a way we can't in our every day lives - Fatboy Slim helps us fulfill this and makes spending big bucks worthwhile. Get it here.
Skrillex...what a crazy motherfucker. Crazy hair, crazy head bangs and DJ antics, crazy shoutouts mid-set. Everything this dude does is flat out crazy, and I can't get enough. Seeing Skrillex shed his former strict dub/bro-steppy sound in favor of a wide range of influences is really what makes this set a stand out. Oddly enough, even his deeper tracks still hint at a signature style one can only attribute back to this half-mop-headed genius (I say that as a term of endearment). This set primarily showcased his ability to cross over multiple genres within EDM, and did a great job of working in almost every track on his new Recess album. I caught the beginning of his Takeover Tour at Brooklyn Bowl earlier this year, and must admit I walked in a skeptic and walked out a hardcore fan. Definitely one of my top three favorite sets of Weekend 1. Get it here.
Quack-a-chella hell to the fuckin' yes this was a dope set. Fatboy Slim brought the funk, but Duck Sauce threw that mother into overdrive. This set went way old school on the track selection, punctuated with some new releases, and almost entirely 'Duck Sauce' music. Normally I'd hate a bit on an artist who only brings their music to the table, but I just can't not like anything Duck Sauce does. It's borderline ridiculous in a Dada Life kind of way, which is what makes it even more fun to experience live. Get it here.
Not the biggest trap fan, but I do like to get a little ratchet every now and then. What made this set particularly enjoyable was the selection of hip-hop throwbacks woven into the mix (whattup Missy Elliott, I see you girl). There was a well-executed balance of Flosstradamus-produced tracks thrown in as well as a few non-trap numbers to help switch gears throughout the performance. All coworkers within 8 feet of my desk have been angry at me for the last three days for listening to this set on repeat. In sum, this set was filthy as fuck, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Get it here.
Chromeo - New album dropping in May and so far every single released this year has been incredible. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT THEY DID IN INDIO!
TJR - Never disappoints. Ever. His set at No Sugar Added Festival during WMC this past year blew us away.
Lauren Garnier - What can I say, I need my techno fix...
Deorro - I've been following this guy closely for a while now, and very interested to hear how his live sets have progressed since I saw him last year at Webster Hall.
Opening with Clarity? Talk about EDC NY 2013 all over again. Look man, I know you're playing for A LOT more basic bitches than you're used to, but if you're going to drop Clarity at least remix it and hit us with something new straight out the gate. I gave this set a shot, but in the end it really just left me feeling empty and sad inside. I was really rooting for Zedd here, been a huge fan of his for a very long time, and just think he fell kind of short on this one when it comes to EDM enthusiasts attending Coachella (but I'm sure the neon bros and face-painted-instagram-loving-ladies were eating. it. up). Sorry to be so blunt about this, my sweet Zedd. I got lost in your baby blues at the SiriusXM Music Lounge party during WMC this past year, but after hearing this set, I was just plain lost. Get it here and let us know if you agree.