The Best Of Coachella: Friday, April 13

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Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Coachella! Yeah!
See also:

*Coachella: The Garbage Situation Is Out of Control

*Coachella Preview 2012: Everything You Need to Know About the Performers

Day one of The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival brought something more unusual than ironic outfits or that poor guy who couldn't get his flip flops on for the life of him: this year there was rain. The festival held in the Southern California desert is known for scorching, sometimes three-digit heat. Rain and wind be damned, Coachella was still a blast. We put together a list of our favorite moments from Friday and offer them for you here. Tell us your best moments of the day in the comments section!

Choking up During Jimmy Cliff's Set
I choked up during Jimmy Cliff's performance. It happened, of course, during "Many Rivers to Cross" which played at my father's funeral. For most of the day, it seemed that Coachella had been upended -- nothing was familiar about the festival I'd attended for the past eight years. I'd been accustomed to a music lover's paradise: 90+ degree weather, incredible bands, beautiful bodies laid out enjoying the vibe. Instead, the later part of the day was miserable. It started off well enough; at around 1 p.m. what was usually a time of oppressive heat made walking through the field bearable. Later, however, it got cold. Really cold. And it was drizzling, the skies were gray, and nothing seemed fun anymore. I wanted to watch less than half of the bands today. Girls were wearing ludicrous chain mail headpieces and wellies. The bathrooms were so far away, and I kept needing to pee. But as the first few opening notes of Cliff's song about love and loss wafted through the crowd, the festival finally jelled for me. I was at Coachella, and I was watching fantastic bands in one of the most beautiful venues in the world. The past few hours had been a chaotic mess, marked by bands I just wasn't that impressed by (Yuck); a state of denial regarding the weather (Overheard: "It doesn't mean anything if you can't feel your toes. It won't get gangrene or anything from the cold." !) and the general feeling of distate for those fucking hipsters (stupid chain mail headband-wearing girls, I'm looking at you). Jimmy Cliff, with his populist set of standards, was just the antidote to the feeling that everything was just meh. "Many Rivers to Cross" reminded me of why I was here in the first place, bad weather be damed. Sometimes all it takes is a really custy song to get to you, and "Many Rivers to Cross" brought that connection--between my emotions and the music I loved back to the forefront of Coachella and its raison d'être. -Lilledeshan Bose

gary clark jr
Ben Westhoff/LA Weekly

Gary Clark Jr.
Shadowed, beneath a fedora, sunglasses, and thick beard, Austin guitarist Gary Clark Jr. obscured himself at his performance Friday afternoon. From a distance, he could have been 70 years old. His music, too, hearkens back to another era. God knows there aren't a lot of freaking blues players who can win over a crowd of thousands of young white kids with slight attention spans. Who knows, they may have come in to escape from the rain, but they were quickly and completely won over; Clark's sound is practically a windstorm itself, possessing a swirling, driving quality, wrapping you up and kicking your ass just a bit. Exhilarating. -Ben Westhoff

The Weather
As storm clouds collected overhead, casting a foreboding shadow over the day's festivities, the crowd thinned to a manageable size, making bathrooms, like, available. Though cool temperatures and some rain led to some shivers, it beat being sandwiched between sweaty-shouldered strangers. -Gabrielle Canon

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