Coachella 2011: 10 Things Seen & Heard Saturday
There's so much happening on Coachella's five stages (not to mention behind the scenes), that it's impossible to catch everything that goes on around the festival grounds. Here's 10 things we witnessed on Saturday (April 16) that you may have missed -- even if you were there.
1. "If you told us in 2002 we'd be headlining Coachella with Animal Collective playing before us, I'd have said you were full of shit," said Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler from his main-stage perch. The band earned its headliner status on Saturday with an epic 90 minute show that included highlights from their trio of anthemic albums. The seven-member crew gave it their all as usual, but the performance was taken to new eye-popping new highs through the band's partnership with the Creators Project, who transformed a standard rock show into a multimedia extravaganza. The climax came at "Wake Up," when hundreds of balloons dropped from above the stage and dazzled the crowd with a colorful, syncopated lighting display, timed to the music.
Video: Arcade Fire at Coachella 2011
2. Coachella is a place for newer bands to shine, as seen by stellar afternoon sets from Irish indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club, London based trio The Joy Formidable, the Swedish-born Tallest Man on Earth, French electro-dance troupe Yelle and Kentucy rockers Cage the Elephant (whose frontman, Matt Shultz, bounded around the stage wearing a red polka-dot dress). But Saturday also gave a few forefathers of alternative music a chance to show the kids how it was done. Recently reunited UK rockers Big Audio Dynamite -- led by frontman (and former member of The Clash) Mick Jones -- played their first stateside show in ages to a large crowd on the side stage. (Keeping with the band's political leanings, Jones dedicated the second song in the band's set, "Beyond the Pale," to everyone whose descendants came through Ellis Island and also the Mexicans living in California and Arizona.) At the same time, post-punk patriarchs Wire made thier Coachella debut by rocking angular guitar grooves to a smaller, but equally appreciate audience across the field in the Gobi tent.
3. If his Twitter feed is any indication, Tyler, the Creator had quite the eventful second day: the 18-year-old (who played the Sahara tent with his Odd Future crew on Friday) was kicked out of the fest briefly for fighting, then returned as a special guest during Lil' B the Based God's set at the Oasis dome. He later tweeted about getting kicked out of one of the beer gardens and being chased by fans across the festival grounds.
4. Technical trouble was a common thread during day two: both indie rockers Cults and hip-hop queen Erykah Badu ended their sets early out of frustration with sound operation.
5. "We're here to bring the weird," said Animal Collective's Avey Tare. Taking the stage after Mumford & Sons' sing-along set, the band did its best to bug out the crowd with a set of droney, psychedelic electro-rock that was punctuated by a trippy lighting display courtesy of visuals by noise rock three LED cubes that hovered over the quartet. Mission accomplished.
Video: Animal Collective live at Coachella 2011
6. The Creators Project's crown jewel opened for business Saturday, as attendees were finally able to experience the installation designed by film director Jonathan Glazer and UK band Spiritualized. The exhibit served as a three-dimensional representation of Spiritualized's most famous track, "Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space." Guests drifted through the cathedral-like structure and stood (or laid, in some cases) under five beams of light, each of which echoed a specific frequency of the angelic tune. The line for the exhibit stretched through the field throughout the night as the word spread of the heavenly experience inside.
7. As always, a handful of colorful characters showed up to the festival this year. Spotted Saturday? Folks dressed as Gumby's horse Pokey, a banana or two, Green Man (a character from FX sitcom "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia"), Steve Zissou, and a shirtless guy with his chest hair waxed into the shape of the Superman logo.
8. As expected, Twitter was all about Coachella buzz today, too. L.A.'s own Silversun Pickups (@sspu) announced their arrival this afternoon (the band has performed at the festival but will not be this year), while Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison and members of the Antlers grumbled over not getting invited.
9. As usual, the Coachella VIP area was a-buzz with paparazzi snapping pics of the famous faces backstage. Caught in the lens Saturday? Aziz Ansari, who was spotted devouring tacos outside of the Koji food truck, 'True Blood' hunk Alexander Skarsgård, who we saw bringing sexy back to the port-a-potties, the always beaming Vanessa Hudgens, who made the most of her second day at the festival, and Rihanna, who hid her fiery locks under a black hat while taking in the scene backstage.
10. Even when the music ends, the party doesn't stop rolling in the campground. One of the site's more recent additions is a 120-by-100 pop-up roller-skating rink -- constructed just for Coachella and the upcoming country-focused Stagecoach by Down & Derby - where campers can roll the night away to groovy disco tunes for a more $5.