By Zachary Swickey
Yesterday morning all of those lucky enough to attend Cali’s Coachella Music Festival (myself included) were awakened by the blistering sun for one last time as the second weekend of the fest drew to a close. It’s a no-brainer why it’s one of the most desirable festivals with such impeccable professionalism and a wealth of top-tier diverse acts; however, some artists aren’t getting the media attention they deserve for their amazing performances, like Radiohead openers, Other Lives.
My only beef with Coachella is not that it’s not good enough – far from it – it’s that the festival creates such an amazing stack of artists that it’s impossible to see everyone you want while also discovering new music (even two weekends isn’t enough honestly). For example, Avicii was spinning in the Sahara tent for a few thousand – not on the main stage – yet he was headlining the much larger Ultra Music Festival just a few weeks ago for over 165,000 fans. Yes, all festivals have this issue, but it detracts from the purpose of festivals themselves – to discover new music.
With that said, we wanted to spotlight some amazing acts that deserve more chatter about their stellar performances from the last two weekends of Coachella. It’s a crime that none of them were on the main stage … but all in due time, we guess.
I have to start off with the best performance I witnessed at Coachella (perhaps in my life): Brazilian DJ/producer Amon Tobin. Admittedly, I first discovered his music while researching acts to see just a few months ago, but his tour production – dubbed ISAM – is seriously revolutionary and would make Trent Reznor (another tour design innovator) quite proud. Amazing visuals are projected onto a Tetris-like set that makes it appear as if Mr. Tobin is playing inside the heart of a cube – becoming opaque and revealing himself only occasionally (above). Just take a gander at this video I shot (after the jump) and tell me you don’t have to pick your jaw up off the ground (especially around the 1:30 mark).
Check out four more must-see acts below!
As mentioned, these Oklahomans are opening for Radiohead and for very good reason – they’re music and performances will take you to another place. Even playing in a tent around two in the afternoon with 102 degree temps, they won the hearts of many as I heard everyone around me uttering random comments like “Wow, who are these guys?”; “Holy s**t!”; “Dude, this is freaking amazing, who the hell is this?”; “Is this the music that plays when you go to Heaven?”
I’m going to go ahead and say what everyone else at the fest was thinking, “Why aren’t M83 on the main stage?” (A great question indeed for which I have no answer.) M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez worked the crowd like a vet and brought his digital soundscapes to life in the most surreal way possible with the backdrop of lights appearing like stars – as if they were all performing in space. Not to mention the live iteration features Morgan Kibby (of the White Sea) who looked stunningly like a classic Hollywood actress in her low cut black dress.
Dayamn, is all one can say after watching Azealia Banks’ high energy set. For some, rap shows can have a tendency to drag or have rappers relying too heavily on hypemen. Not Miss Banks, who rocked the crowd with wild swagger, lengthy electric red hair and a feisty attitude to match. Her jam “212” brought people back to life who were drained from the sun. Oh, and when a woman – a rapper no less – busts out a cover of the Prodigy’s “Firestarter,” they have won my heart.
I’d bet hard money that Le Butcherettes frontwoman Teri Gender Bender (yes, seriously) has one hell of a “Here’s Johnny” Nicholson impression, because she had the same maniacal glare in her eyes for the duration of their set. The Mexican punk group is shepherd by Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez, who produced their debut album, released it on his label and played bass on the disc (and at their Coachella gig since he was in town with his hold chums, At the Drive-In). Butcherettes even toured with Deftones and Dillinger Esape Plan last summer – that’s quite the seal of approval.