Coachella and Crew, Day One
In April of 2010, Patrik Sandberg traveled to Palm Desert, CA in order to attend the Coachella music festival, at which he kept a diary for V Magazine. This is part one of that diary.
I kicked off Coachella 2010 early, on board my Virgin flight to Los Angeles, where I bumped into newly anointed actress Agyness Deyn and her BFF, Henry Holland. Using the airline’s chat function at 30,000 feet, I asked why the two were separated and Aggy confessed, “since birth, and it’s been hard on us both.” 24 hours, 500 emails, and 300,000 BBM messages later, I arrived at the festival just in time to catch Grizzly Bear playing a shimmering and visceral set for a tent so packed it was nearly impossible to get inside. When the Brooklyn four-piece launched into their hit “Two Weeks,” raucous screams erupted from the crowd. Later, I ran into frontman Ed Droste with his friend from Passion Pit, Michael Angelakos. When they tried to kidnap me to stand on the mainstage and watch LCD Soundsystem, I had no choice but to bail. It’s not that I’m opposed to seeing New York rip the desert a new one in the form of James Murphy and his disaffected drawl, but I had a date with one of the world’s greatest living bands: Echo and the Bunnymen.
Having just played a rapturous set of their career-spanning hits at the Outdoor Theatre, the Bunnymen were in high demand. On stage, before launching into “Killing Moon”, Ian McCulloch chastised the lighting technicians (I suppose they were to blame for the beautiful waves of pink and blue smoke that enveloped the legendary rockers), asking “Could we calm down on all the lighting? This next song is the greatest song ever written.” I took sincere pleasure in the silent, though palpable agreement that emanated from the audience on the field. Only Ian McCulloch could say such a thing without seeming arrogant. After finishing a pulse-pounding rendition of “Lips Like Sugar”, McCulloch tested some Shakespearean stand-up comedy on the crowd. “Knock, knock,” he offered. “Who’s there?” yelled the elated masses. “Yorick.” “Yorick who?” “Yorick Hunt.” Say it out loud for the full effect.
Backstage, the Bunnymen were holed up in their trailer, where guitar legend Will Sergeant offered me a Heineken and told me about the festival and their excitement over their forthcoming two-night stint at NYC’s Irving Plaza.
After I failed to get the attention of one Mr. Danny DeVito, who was being swarmed by screaming fans like he was Justin Bieber (appropriate considering they are probably of similar stature), I happened upon another pop-cultural figure much more scream-worthy to me: movie director Gregg Araki. I was relieved when Gregg told me that he his friend James Duval were late to the festival as well, although they had a better excuse than I: “When I picked up James he was doing his laundry. Why are you doing your laundry?” Gregg exclaimed. “We’re going to Coachella!”
I met up with my friends Chris and JR from San Francisco’s Girls and we had to choose who to see at conflicting times: Jay-Z, Fever Ray, or PiL. After catching the beginning of Jay-Z with the Girls and Cody Critcheloe (aka the SSION), I booked it to the Mojave Tent to catch most of Fever Ray’s astonishing and romantic set. The swirling wind, billowing clouds of smoke, detailed set design, and prismatic lasers were a perfect climax to a surreal day… that is until we headed back over toward the exit and caught a cameo from Beyoncé on stage with Jay-Z. Performing, of all things, Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” Beyoncé ushered in a major league fireworks display. Always upstaging, that one.