Day 1: Coachella's GOODs, BADs and UGLYs (featuring Paul McCartney, Black Keys, Chemical Brothers and Craigslist)
Check out photos from day one at "Coachella 2011: Day One with Boys Noize, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and More"
Compared to last year's problems with wristbands and overcrowding, the first day of Coachella 2011 was smooth sailing. Greasy even.
Let's take a look at yesterday's GOODs, BADs and UGLYs.
GOOD: Paul McCartney returned to Coachella for a surprise DJ set with Afrojack. We originally thought this news was a joke. It seemed a bit like those random Coachella pairings you come up with for kicks. Prince and Pantera in the Sahara Tent... Elton John and the ghost of Freddie Mercury perform a duet backed by Cut Copy... Arcade Fire and Ozzie Osbourne selling jumbo pretzels in the beer garden... But no, this was the real deal.
BAD: No one seems to have a good photo of Sir Paul on the stage. Fists and lighters held aloft at concerts are a thing of the past. Now we're all about cameras and smartphones. But still no one got a good shot of McCartney? The truth is out there. We'll find it.
GOOD: Tame Impala. A big stage at a large outdoor festival was a good place for this Aussie foursome. Slowly building, psychedelic rock is a groove best served while hanging out on the grass. Minimal noodling might not have appeased the jam-band aficionados in the crowd, but that's what happens when psych rock goes mainstream.
GOOD: Nosaj Thing. "L.A.'s own Nosaj Thing turned the festival's Gobi tent into an aural igloo to weather Coachella's blizzard of white noise," says Drew Tewksbury, who thinks the Low End Theory alum could be the next Flying Lotus.
GOOD: The parties are already heating up offsite. The Filter Yacht Club hosted Theophilus London and Blaqstarr, not to mention a lot of pretty people. We'll see how they hold up after three days of drinking in the sun.
UGLY: Sound problems at the Coachella Stage. "The main stage sound system seemed muffled all afternoon, which pissed off a lot of fans, and got them chanting "Louder, LOUDER" - especially during the Black Keys' set," says Wendy Gilmartin. Will Kanye West throw a fit on Sunday night? Might be worth sticking around to see.
GOOD: An impromptu crowd-sourced light show during the Chemical Brothers. Sound wasn't the only problem on the main stage. "Some of the screens were dropping out during the Chemical Bros. light show (essentially the exact same stage set and graphics show that backed them at the Bowl last summer), even though the set had already been delayed about 35 minutes while the screens were tested," says Wendy. "The crowd passed the time with their own quick and dirty light show of sorts, tossing hundreds of glow sticks up in the air simultaneously - which, if you squint - looks a bit like fireworks going off."
GOOD: The Do LaB Tent. Bouncing their way through this tent and getting sprayed with water upon first hitting the grounds seems to be a required rite for many festival-goers, and the girls and boys of Do LaB did not disappoint, keeping the groove going the entire time.
BAD: Ticket scalping seems to be gone for good. Not that we particularly enjoy getting asked a hundred times if we want to buy a wristband. But there's something inherently less desperate about that situation than being asked over and over if we've got a spare ticket. The desert is nice, but that's not what was on people's minds after they drove all the way out here and realized they probably weren't getting into the show. They should've tried Craigslist.
And here are a few more from Drew:
GOOD: Black Keys bringing a full band, including a sweet, squealing Hammond organ, was a great idea. We love them as a duo, but with a little backup, the Black Keys are unstoppable soldiers of soul.
BAD: As much as we respect Robyn for her self-aware, slightly edgy Swedish Pop, we would have loved her a little more if she turned down her backing tracks. Robyn, you've pulled off (nearly) flawless singing before, so why you gotta get all Milli Vanilli on us? You're too cool for that, right?
UGLY: What's up with all the neon Indians? Sorry youngsters, but your lightbulb-filled headdress is blocking my view.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.