Jul 18, 2019
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Camping through Coachella


Photos courtesy of Kevin Garcia

Here is a day by day rundown of the festival:

By midday, attendees already had a lot to talk about—DJ Lance Rock from TVs “Yo Gabba Gabba!,” performed alongside the shows dancing cast members in the Sahara Tent. Escape Plan guitarist Jeff Tuttle dove head first with his guitar into the crowd; adding even more wear to his already tattered Ramones shirt. Puerto Rican hip-hop duo Calle 13 spoke very little English, but tried their best to express their anguish over the immigration policies and acceptance of all types of people.

The stakes were set high, but the night’s headliners did not disappoint.

Gil Scott-Heron, a legendary street poet turned underground sensation with the song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” performed his first album in 16 years “I’m New Here.” While Scott-Heron’s performance won over the crowd, it was English electro-pop act La Roux that had the audience members overflowing out of the tent.

The night’s headliner, Jay-Z, humbled acts throughout the day as many of them gave shout outs to the rapper. LCD Soundsystem, who opened for Jay-Z, ended his set with the words “I’d never thought I’d ever get to say this in my life, but Jay-Z is up next.”

The lights dimmed and Jay-Z arose from a trap door on stage. He performed hits spanning his entire career like “Hard Knock Life,” “99 Problems” and “Empire State of Mind.” Jay-Z surprised the crowd toward when he introduced his wife Beyonce to perform the song “Young Forever.”

The Fans who arrived early braved the desert sun to catch early sets by rock band RX Bandits, metal band Porcupine Tree and English artist Frank Turner. Those who weren’t ready for the heat caught a spoken word performance by cult director John Waters, who spoke of his work with actor Divine, his blockbuster movie “Hairspray” and his life in Baltimore.

Later, people packed into the Mojave Tent to catch sets from some of the festivals up-and-coming bands—Dirty Projectors, Shooter Jennings and Gossip. Others went to the Outdoor Theatre to hear Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Coheed and Cambria and Hot Chip.

One of the night’s most anticipated performances ‘90s alternative rock band Faith No More, who re-formed after breaking up in 1998. Vocalist Mike Patton, known for his offbeat performances, walked off stage to the front of the crowd where he performed a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Ben” followed by the notable Faith No More track “Epic.”

Muse headlined the Coachella Stage as MGMT, Les Claypool, Devo and The Dead Weather played simultaneously on the alternate stages.

Fans arrived at the tents in the morning to check out Local Natives, Mayer Hawthorne, Matt & Kim and a solo set by The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas. Others camped out at the Coachella Stage and Outdoor Theatre to see established acts like De La Soul, Yo La Tengo and the newly reunited ‘90’s outfit Sunny Day Real Estate. As the sun began to set, Phoenix served as a co-headliner at the Outdoor Theatre. However, the night belonged to this generation’s neo-rock legends.

Stockton-based band Pavement played its first United States show in more than 10 years as die-hard fans shouted lyrics to their favorite songs. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke played his first high-profile performance with his new band, Atoms for Peace, which includes Red Hot Chili Pepper’s bassist Flea. After Yorke ended the set with two Radiohead songs, headliners Gorillaz began its set in front of the festivals largest crowd.

While the Gorillaz were the most popular act of the entire festival; it was Sly Stone who created one of the most memorable performances.

Sly Stone has always been one of music’s biggest mysteries. He frequently missed shows with his band, The Family Stone, and was known to disappear for long periods of time. The performance was highly publicized, but immediately brushed off by fans due to the fact that he has only appeared once with the group since its split in 1975.

The Sly and the Family Stone set was postponed twice and moved to a completely different stage. Four-hours after the band’s scheduled performance Sly walked out on stage to a mere crowd of 300 attendees. Camera flashes went off everywhere as people stood in disbelief over the sight of the entire band together on stage once again. However, Stone was anything but ready to perform.

He began the set by telling the audience he had been kidnapped and could not get through a full song. The band was halfway through “I Want To Take You Higher,” when Sly walked off stage, leaving both the band and the audience confused. While some were disappointed over the performance, others were excited to witness one of the most rare and memorable performances in Coachella’s history. If there was anything to be learned at this year’s festival, it was to be sure to keep your eyes peeled. There were definitely surprises on each stage.

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