Festival Review: Coachella – Day 1 (Indio, CA)

LANACHELLA: Chemtrails Over The Desert Club

Coachella – Day 1
April 19th, 2024
Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA

While the heat may have been sweating off the glitter on my face, the only heat that mattered was on stage. All 8 stages brought a plethora of memories, dance, and some of the best performances I’ve seen.

There’s a rumor that weekend two is for the music lovers – the ones who keep their phones down (but still in their hands so they don’t get pickpocketed) and really feel the music. The ones who would rather see the main artist than the guests they bring along with them. While I didn’t go to weekend one, the energy I felt at every stage, every barricade and wall that I stood against, was unmatched. Even Blur and Tyler, the Creator said that weekend carries the locals – the ones who care about more than Instagram pictures.

While I bought my pass for the headliners, I found myself stationed at the Sahara stage for so many sets, continuously coming back for more. The friends I went with knew way more about the individual house artists than I did so of course we ventured to Cloonee and Peggy Gou.  Even though we only saw a few of her songs, Peggy Gou quickly became one of my top performances. The visuals, the lights, and the dancers all added to her thrilling and freeing set. Not one person in that crowd was still, everyone danced and it was like a community was forming before us. Being her most popular song, “(It Goes Like) Nanana – Edit” was captivating and inspired many voices to join together and sing its lyrics.

Ken Carson and Destroy Lonely both took over Sahara for the hour they occupied it. The only thing cooler than seeing them in the first place would’ve been if they played together. With their music having such a unique sound and their fan bases being so tight, their sets were insanely fun. Even from the back, mosh pits were forming and everyone was jumping all over the place. Lyrics were being shouted so loud, you could barely even hear them singing. I’m surprised the heel of my gogo boots even stayed on honestly.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the entirety of Chappel Roans set (darn you Coachella and your conflicting set times) but from what I saw, she was a star. Roan has been recently gaining popularity due to her opening for Olivia Rodrigo’s tour, and the rumors are true – she truly is a modern popstar. Her stage presence was unmatched – from her butterfly costume inspired by Lady Miss Kier, an American singer-songwriter and DJ, to her impressive singing style. Even though her career has just begun, her fan base is already solid and continuing to build from every note she sings. She has such a control over her audience – reminding me a lot of the later performing No Doubt who got all the boys to sing “I’m Just a Girl” – by teaching them to dance along to the HOT TO GO choreography. Even dads in the audience were nodding their heads, waving their arms along to the YMCA-esque dance. My own dad even had the tune stuck in his head after I played it in the car enough times. Never a better day than day one to wear my mini skirt and gogo boots than when I was jamming along to “Red Wine Supernova.”

Before I talk about the amazing day 1 headliners, I should note that the community and the overall feel of the festival made it as special and fun as it was. In years past, I would brush off Coachella because it was overhyped and over expensive. And while my bank account is sending me emails concerned about my low funds, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Everyone at Coachella was happy, I didn’t see one upset or angry face and everyone I talked to whether it be on the way into the festival or while waiting for a set were the nicest people ever. I would go again just for the energy of the crowd, especially that of the Sahara stage and the other techno sets. The interactive art and the vast diversity of food also made the festival unique and offered other ways to have fun if one needed a break during sets.

Now for the fun part. I was a little disappointed with the lack of singing from the audience but even through that, Deftones were insane. The energy they had on stage was remarkable. The second they started playing I couldn’t even feel the pain in my shoes because I was jumping around so much. Their cover of The Smiths’, “Please Please Please, Let me Get What I Want” is definitely not my favorite, but live it was filled with energy – everyone from the crowd was singing it. Honestly, I wish they played for longer but I am glad that, “My Own Summer (Shove it)” was extended, the crowd went crazy for it.

I’ve never seen a crowd so truly engaged in music as for Everything Always. Everyone was so legitimately happy, it was refreshing to see people move with the music, paying attention only to the beat drops and the people surrounding them. There was so much love, everywhere I moved there were pockets of people dancing together, singing to every song that they mixed. It was a perfect way to commence the later solo performances of Dom Dolla and John Summit which would later bring in crowds almost as big as the headliners of the night.

I think Lana Del Rey left everybody in the crowd speechless with her performance.  While I still think she should’ve played, “Coachella – Woodstock in my Mind,” her setlist was almost flawless, every song placed meticulously to put the audience through a whirlwind of emotions. Her introduction of riding in on a motorcycle reminded me of her old albums where all she sang of was the thrill of living and existing dangerously, a “live fast, die young” moto which was resurrected in her performance. Even though her new music steers away from her old lifestyle, she still shows us that she is capable of so much and reminds us that change is necessary and beautiful. Lana’s intro playing along with “My My, Hey Hey” encapsulated perfectly her recently changed and upcoming country-esque album while still holding true to her old music and genres.  Her setlist was beautiful, playing songs like, “Arcadia” and “The Grants” which instantly drowned out the rest of the noises from the festival, leaving just Lana and her stunning vocals. I was especially excited to hear “West Coast” live and although it was shortened, it was truly an emotional experience hearing hundreds of thousands of people erupt in song, knowing every lyric. For Lana, this was almost a redemption show, as she has been consistently criticized as an artist since her 2012 SNL performance, as was hinted in her Coachella Billboard “has anyone else died for you?” This quote was the original name for the Born to Die album, the album that got her allegedly blacklisted from the Grammy’s and tarnished her reputation. I think she more than proved herself worthy of redemption because her vocals, her stage presence, everything she put into the production of the set was absolutely divine. Even the backup dancers somehow encapsulated the feel of every song and were so playfully casual about every calculated move they made.

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