Almost as soon as it began, sponsors and magazines have tried to find ways to promote themselves to Coachella's massive audience (as well as its performers), and there's no better way to do that than a party. Booze, food, DJs and other amusements are laid out at some swank Palm Springs/Indio pad, and style-conscious fun in the sun ensues. Unless there's a band we are dying to see (who wont end up playing LA eventually anyway) our M.O. the past couple years has been to skip the sweltering fest to lounge at these freebie-filled oasis' til the temps cool.

Despite the economy, there sure wasn't a shortage of shindigs this year: Filter's pre-party on Thursday, Urb's Indioasis, BPM's Music Loves Fashion, Levi's Desert Gold, Vitamin Water's Good Life, T-Mobile's after bash last night (which we planned to attend, but had absolutely no zing left for by the end of the eve). Yesterday's Anthem magazine gathering, was, as expected, pure mayhem. Ink baring teeny-tiny swimsuits everywhere, drunk dudes in funny hats, all splashing and screaming and shaking amid blaring beats. The DJs were great, even if the guy who played Mr. Mister's “Broken Wings” pushed the irony bar too far. It was the most crowded and crazed Coachella party we might have seen yet, alternately exciting and annoying.

We've got some friends who poo-poo the party scene all together, insisting that Coachella should be all about the music, not corporate-sponsored events. But Coachella is a big corporate sponsored event, and connecting with others is a big part of the experience too. Prancing and posing at parties, in the VIP (and super Artist VIP area where we scored access this year) aside, everybody mostly just wants to have fun. Come with the right attitude and you will make some inspiring human connections. This weekend in particular we made a lot of new Coachella friends… and only some of 'em were on Ecstasy.

Psychedelic drugs are apparently still really popular at these things, especially with the young 'uns. We don't get why someone would subject themselves to the treachery of tripping in the heat and crowds, but we definitely understand the mass of passed-out bodies that blanket the fields at night. 15 years ago that might have even been us.

Music-wise, it was a real snippety Saturday. Started off by shaking up the night to TRV$DJ-AM's crowd-pleasing turntable/drum duet. Nothing new from these two, but the guys' monster-rock and dance-hit meld (stuff from Metallica, White Stripes, Does It Offend You Yeah) was enhanced by nifty mega-lighting. Great to see these two working up a crowd of this size after last year's tragedy.

Thievery Corporation offered their Middle Eastern tinged electro-grooves on the main stage, and we were really entranced by the gal who did most of the singing. Girlfriend has a punker's balls too- she crowd surfed off of the mainstage. M.I.A's similarly rhythmic set was packed with visual stimulation- maybe too much. Dancers came out in Dayglo-lined duds, a neon circus of movement and light. Even in her ugly outfit (big tee and acid washed jeans) and with all the chaos surrounding her, she was a commanding presence, though. One complaint: the alarm air-horn thing is getting a little out of hand, and giving them out to the crowd was overkill.

Weaving in and out of tents later provided an amusing sampler of sights and sounds. The rainbow, synth-sexy moonbounce of Glass Candy, the sweaty bear-man growls of Turbo Negro, the chest-rattling thump (finally got ear-plugs thank god) of The Chemical Brothers and later, the sweet hooks of The Killers (enjoyed on a cool patch of grass in the VIP section with a posse of gal pals) made for full circle kind of day.

Didn't stay for the The Killers encore. Instead, we got sucked into the whimsical world in the center of the grounds known as the Do Lab, where LA's own Lucent Dossier provided a wet and wondrous dramatic spectacle. We'll let the pictures do the talking for this one, but suffice to say, many of the those who partook in psychedelics (and were unfamiliar with LD's interactive zeal) sat transfixed, awed and open-mouthed during the show. Great way to end the eve.

So no T-Mobile after party for us last night. No rave under the Dome in the camping grounds. No rager at some band guy's condo. No, No, No! Coachella partying is a whole different animal, and despite our proclivity for mingling, you would not be reading this post if we pushed the endurance level that far. Hell, we still got a whole day ahead (Urb or BPM bash by day) and then some tough decisions at night The Kills or Public Enemy (both at 9pm).

Once again, we're set up in the computer-crammed hub that is the Press Tent, and with the quest for as-it-happens pics and reports more obligatory than ever, this area is a zoo like we've never seen. You hear some good gossip in here too. Paris Hilton and David Hasselhoff made the scene yesterday (we didn't see either, thankfully), Kate Moss might be side-stage for her man in The Kills tonight, Lil Wayne was supposed to join MIA last night, but flaked or something. We got a bit of The Cure's sound check today. “Jumping Someone Else's Train” with be on the set list.

Post-script regarding yesterday's post: The penis extension photog comment was unfair. The pits have in fact, been pretty jovial, and there's been almost as many female shutterbugs as male. Oh and girls, bikinis are A OK. It's so hot today (and we're not bitching here), we'd understand total nudity at this point.

LA Weekly