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Best of Coachella 2014

Best of Coachella 2014
Timothy Norris

Round one of Coachella is over - it a good one! We're sore, sunburned and smiling. Here's the best of what we saw during another memorable weekend in Indio.

See also: Worst of Coachella 2014

The Mexican Cantina Club
The Polo Field's on-site Mexican restaurant was never actually connected to the festival grounds before, but this year it was! (Attendees could enter through the new and improved Beer Barn.) Inside, the venue offered cheap (ish) beer and cocktails, clean bathrooms, air-conditioning, ample seating and loads of '90s era hip-hop on the stereo. Basically, it was the VIP section for GA. -Katie Bain


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Timothy Norris

The Replacements' "Androgynous"
Several songs into  the Replacements' set , singer Paul Westerberg invited the audience to sing along. "Androgynous" began, but before long he stopped singing, allowing (or, obliging) the crowd to fill in the gaps to one of the (presumably) most meaningful songs of their youth. It was a unifying experience. -Taylor Hamby


The new and Improved Yuma Tent
Last year's introduction of the Yuma tent brought a more experimental electronic vibe to Coachella. This year's version was even better, however: Bigger and more organized, and the lineup was killer. More on that below. - Mary Carreon

The Evolution of the Bro
The Yuma Tent also seemed to mark a advancement in the appreciation of EDM among bros, as many of them defected from the dubstep haven of the Sahara and lost themselves in the house-and-experimental-heavy Yuma. There was far less fist pumping, and, blessedly much less of this-Katie Bain

Nicolas Jaar
He opened his Friday night DJ set in the Yuma with Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," and proceeded to keep the packed dance tent on its toes with a set that at times seemed to intentionally drive away fair weather fans. Those who stuck it out got an ever-more thrilling set that included jungle, hip hop and house. -Katie Bain


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Nate Jackson

GZA at the Heineken House
One of the best cameos we saw on Saturday wasn't on a big stage.  Watching GZA  from three feet away at the Heineken House at 8:30 p.m. - that was where you needed to be on Saturday. -Nate Jackson


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Adam Lovinus

Morning Yoga at the Campground
There's a remedy for Friday night's pain and suffering. It's hidden deep in the car camping area, in the activity tent - free yoga sessions on the hour every day between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. A North Carolina yogini named Elizabeth Cramond guided Saturday morning's vinyasa flow. After some chaturangas and spinal twists to exercise last night's demons, and serious pigeoning of the hips, 45 minutes later it was time to strut back into Coachella on a cloud of endorphins, ready to throttle another night. -Adam Lovinus


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Chris Victorio

Calvin Harris
We're not necessarily the biggest fan of Calvin Harris' music - though that Rihanna song is perfect - but he was absolutely the biggest thing going on Sunday. Upgraded from the Sahara tent to the main stage this year, he launched into "Feel So Close" and made the whole Polo Grounds go berserk. There was an exodus from every other stage; people were literally running. We were all the way over by the Gobi stage, and could hear Harris much better than the band actually playing on that stage, the poor Toy Dolls, who were in front of a tiny crowd. -Ben Westhoff

Toy Dolls
That said, if you caught them, the Toy Dolls were first rate. The 1980's English punk staples are beloved for their take on the lighter side of punk rock, but considering the sole original member, Olga, is 51, it was reasonable to be worried how they'd fare. But you know what? These old guys killed it. We didn't realize until we saw them live that the band are the old punk version of ZZ Top, what with their choreographed bass and guitar moves and synchronized guitar twirling. Olga even asked the crowd, "Do you think I'm too old for this?" To which we yelled back a resounding "He'll no!"  - Taylor Hamby

Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum has been playing shows again in recent years (presumably to finance his expensive ethnomusicology habit), and the last time he played Coachella was 2012 - solo. But those who expected the same type of set this year were wrong; backed by the wild and woolly Neutral Milk Hotel players, Sunday's show at the Outdoor Theater was a whole different beast. Mangum came out alone for opener "Two-Headed Boy," but near the end of the song, right on cue, the brass came out. Before long there were tuba solos and a dude in a goofy blue sock hat playing the music saw. Oh, and by the way Magnum's beard is now growing out of his cheeks and has officially reached "fuck you, society" levels. Glorious. -Ben Westhoff
Motorhead 
We make no secret of our love for Lemmy Kilmister. The Motorhead front man is still the archetype of a rock-n-roll badass. But let's not forget how much guitarist Phil "Wizzo" Campbell and drummer Mikey Dee bring to the table behind Lemmy's gravelly voice and growling bass. Casual fans were definitely given a lesson Sunday night as the band throttled hard through a setlist of brutal, classic riffs from throughout their discography. Both band members showcased their solo work at various points. Campbell's glowing green frets and snarling, classic band logo on his axe made his play seem almost extraterrestrial. And Mikey Dee's dexterously pounding drum solo was priceless. Slash, the ultimate cameo whore, joined him on stage to rip through "Ace of Spades." Between him and Lemmy, these guys still have the two greatest hats in rock and roll. -Nate Jackson


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Chris Victorio

Arcade Fire's End
"They're going to pull the plug on us at exactly midnight,' announced Arcade Fire's Win Butler towards the end of the band's festival closing main stage set on Sunday. The curfew - which upended Outkast at 1 am on Friday - didn't stop the band from carrying on, however. Each member of the group grabbed an instrument (with Butler on megaphone) and weaved through the audience as the crowd sang the "ooh, ooh, oh oh oh oh" portion of the show-ending single "Wake Up." The singalong carried on until the band eventually slipped away behind the fence, and even then a sizable crowd kept on "ooh ooh-ing" as the festival shut down around them. That's the way you end a fucking show. -Katie Bain

Finding 20 Bucks on the Ground
We spent it on a slice of Hot Lips Spicy Pie pizza and a cold beer. Thank you, Coachella gods.  -Taylor Hamby

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