Justin Vernon of Bon Iver performing at Coachella (Getty)
If Friday night at Coachella was all about the old-timers like Pulp, Refused, Mazzy Star and James looking for a furious comeback, the overarching theme of Saturday (April 14) was the current state of indie rock, with fresh faces and much-ballyhooed veterans taking flight in Indio, Calif. From the hushed beauty of Jeff Mangum's set to the raw talent of The Head and The Heart to the one-two-three main stage punch of The Shins, Bon Iver and Radiohead, the indie fans had their day in the sun (literally -- the beautiful California weather returned after an overcast Friday) on Saturday.
Still, it wasn't all quiet melodies and subtle guitar riffs at Coachella on Saturday. Sebastian Ingrosso set the Sahara tent ablaze with pulsating rave fare. Azealia Banks proved why she is already a voice to listen to in hip-hop. And Buzzcocks demonstrated why simple punk songs still have a place in the youthful hearts. Check out our recap of all of Saturday's action.
DAY 2: COACHELLA 2012
Childish Gambino featuring Kendrick Lamar & Danny Brown
1. Radiohead's new live setup is centered around a dozen flatscreen panels suspended above the band, which are constantly changing positions while showing patches of the performance below. In a way, the nifty visual trick is akin to the many angles in which the alt-rock kings approached their breathtaking catalogue on Saturday night. The headlining set consisted of jittery electronica ("15 Step," "The Gloaming"), haunting ballads ("Pyramid Song," "Give Up The Ghost") and guitar-strewn sing-alongs ("Weird Fishes/Arpeggi," "Karma Police"), with Thom Yorke and company deftly hopscotching through decades of albums and 20 different sounds.
Yorke told the crowd that Radiohead was "playing new songs to prove we are still alive," and the boys certainly alive and kicking on "King of Limbs" tracks like "Bloom," "Morning Mr. Magpie" and "Lotus Flower." During "Lotus," Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney was spotted grooving along in the crowd -- perhaps picking up some pointers on his band's own headlining slot at Weekend 2 of Coachella.
2. Upstart NYC rapper Azealia Banks ended her Coachella set a staggering 25 minutes early, but she made the most of her short time in the Gobi tent. Playing to a packed house at 3pm, Banks performed to her largest crowd ever, assuaging them with bass-heavy beats and raunchy rhymes. Banks, whose album doesn't come out until this summer, made up for her limited catalog of songs by performing covers. She broke into Amy Winehouse's "Valerie" and segued from her hit "212" into Prodigy's "Firestarter." Azealia played it by the book -- always leave them wanting more.
3. Members of Irish indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club, who made their Coachella debut in 2011, took in the scene as spectators this year. Guitarist Sam Halliday told Billboard the trio was taking a break from recording their new album in Los Angeles and decided to make the trek to the record. "The album's coming along really well," he said. "We have about a week left of recording and then we're done. Who knows, maybe they'll have us back on stage next year."
4. During Childish Gambino's afternoon set under the sun rays, the rapper/"Community" star (real name Donald Glover) brought out fellow up-and-coming MCs Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar. Less than an hour after the impromptu stage appearance, Brown was swarmed by fans in the VIP area, snapping pics with his tongue hanging out, licking up the attention. The rapper told Billboard that he was just hanging out this weekend and was excited that underground rapper Death Grips played the Gobi tent on Friday.
5. As always, the Sahara dance tent kept the beats going all day long with an international lineup of some of dance music's best and biggest. French producer Jacques Lu Cont warmed up the afternoon with his slinky house grooves, before Canadian dubstep duo Zeds Dead dropped a barrage of bombshell beats on the crowd. Once wasn't enough for Swedish House Mafia's Sebastian Ingrosso, who followed his trio's mainstage set Friday with a show-stopping solo DJ set Saturday. Parisian superstar David Guetta kept the party bouncing with his hand-waving anthems, paving the way for Illinois icon Kaskade to bring it home with his electro-house grooves.
6. Bon Iver might have delivered the most consistent performance of the day, a tour de force journey under torn sheer panels and in between a collection of blinking lamps. But more importantly: Justin Vernon shaved! The Bon Iver leader was no longer sporting his signature scruf, instead offering a clean new face for indie folk fans to worship.
7. Jeff Mangum's set at sundown was the perfect antidote to the sensory overload of the EDM artists -- the brilliant recluse did not allow any cameras during his set, and the large monitors that flanked the Outdoor Stage reaomed black. Meanwhile, Mangum's stage was empty save for a few brass musicians that guested on songs like "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea." Still, thousands of fans showed up to hear his now-legendary tunes, and the lack of visual artistry meant that everyone in the crowd had been affected by the music of Neutral Milk Hotel enough to not need the usual bells and whistles of a Coachella performance. This was not a performance for the casual, stage-wandering fan, and that was completely okay.
8. Don't tell the kids, but the Buzzcocks made a lot of younger rock artists look like pretenders when they played a raucous afternoon set in the Gobi tent. The quartet tore through their tried-and-true collection of post-punk rockers, from "What Do I Get" to "Orgasm Addict" to "Fallen In Love," and inspired a mosh pit that would have made Refused proud. Guitarist Steve Diggle toasted the crowd with a cup full of champagne, then later laid his guitar on the ground and swiped at it mercilessly before leaving the stage.
9. Saturday at Coachella was The Day of the Wandering TV Celebrities, with "Modern Family's" Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Lie To Me's" Tim Roth, "High School Musical's" Vanessa Hudgens, "Fringe's" Joshua Jackson and Colin Hanks (who was on a few episodes of "Mad Men"!) all being spotted. "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul was once again seen having a blast, hopping from the Rose Garden toward the Sahara tent when Zeds Dead was spewing out bass drops.
10. Thom Yorke wasn't the only British accent Coachella heard on Saturday -- the second day of the festival was a full-on U.K. Invasion, with performances from Radiohead, Kasabian, Squeeze, Buzzcocks, Kaiser Chiefs, and Noel Gallagher's Flying Birds, among others. The latter delivered a special treat when the former Oasis member broke out the British anthem "Don't Look Back in Anger" toward the end of his main stage set.