REVIEW: Coachella 2015 | Weekend One Live Stream

I won’t be able to go to Coachella this year, but I still got to enjoy a ton of the performances from weekend one of the festival. Thank God for the internet!

Certain performances are being “rebroadcast” on Youtube and you can try your luck at catching your favorite band by clicking: ->THIS LINK <-

Select performances from weekend one of the festival were streamed on three channels on Youtube. When I wasn’t otherwise busy, I logged on to  to watch/listen to some of the performance. Here are some of my thoughts.

While at my desk working on some paperwork late Friday afternoon, I logged on to watch the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”, Charles Bradley. I’ve seen him perform three times, in much smaller venues, and watching him perform on the Main Stage evoked some seriously paternal instincts from me. I was damn proud. This man, with his heart-on-his-sleeve performance, embodies the trials and joys of the American Dream, and was simply overjoyed watching him perform in front of a huge crowd like the one at Coachella.

As soon as Charles Bradely finished his set, I switched over to a stream with Action Bronson. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan, but his performance animated and his flow was on point. I enjoyed the stream quite a bit, but that had more to do with Action Bronson’s stage antics, or rather off-stage antics.

He spent a good portion of his performance in the crowd, giving fans high-fives and even letting one fan touch his bushy beard. My highlight was when he rapped to a fan in a wheel chair. Watching from my home, I could appreciate the different camera angles and the close ups of the performance. I’m not sure, however, how I would be as a fan at the festival. Unless the the LED screens on stage showed Action Bronson’s antics, and I was somewhere in the back, I’m not sure I could have appreciated Action Bronson’s lively performance.

Any why are all of the media publications hyped about George Lopez waving to the audience from the stage during Action Bronson’s set? That’s news? I would have been focusing on the story of Clint Eastwood getting denied entrance to the festival (yes, that really happened, and I’m sure I could probably scour the web to find out about it).

A little later in the evening, as I was driving to an event, I decided stream the festival from my iPhone and play it through my car speakers on my long drive. Interpol was performing. I enjoy this post-punk revival band’s moody guitar and synth work, but I did find it a little odd that they were on the Main Stage. They held their own, but I think I was more excited when I accidentally took a screen shot of the youtube stream.

Holy shit … it’s like I’m in the photo pit! Ok … not at all like being the photo pit 😦 but at least I could some moments to share with you guys.

When Interpol’s performance ended, I switched to another channel and landed on Gorgon City’s performance. They are an electronic house duo from England, and I must have landed on their performance just in time because they called up a special guest to the stage, Jennifer Hudson! Okay, so we heard about Drake brining out Madonna and David Guetta bringing out Black Eyed Peas, but why didn’t we hear anything about Gorgon City brining out Jennifer Hudson?

She killed it, by the way.

I had to log off because I was drinking with client, but when I got home I decided to stream some music before calling it a day. Playing on channel 1 was The War On Drugs. This performance is probably the last of their album cycle, and good on them. I bought their LP “Lost In The Dream” on a whim when it first came out, but after listening to it I knew that it would be a critical darling. Good on Adam Granduciel and company for making it relatively big time. You want some good ol’ Americana? Some new wave, neo-psychedlia? Check out their set at sunset. Hell, if I were there, I’d lay down the on the polo field, and just soak it in.

Before knocking out, I got to catch a few Alabama Shakes songs. You just can’t go wrong with this band. I saw them earlier this year, and all I can say is Brittany Howard is a vocal force of nature. You feeling like rocking out to a soulful voice that doesn’t end? You should check out their set.

On Saturday, I was back at my desk working. Ugh. To I opened up my laptop next to desktop to stream as much music as I could.

On of the bands that I have been dying to see live has been Royal Blood. This bass and drum duo have been compared to The White Stripes and The Black Keys. In my humble opinion, they are as raw as The Black Keys, but as catchy as The White Stripes. They have an early set, but I would have made my way to the festival ground early JUST to catch them perform live. These guys rock.

I caught a few songs from Father John Misty‘s set. Maybe it was the fact that I was confined to my desk working … all day … and night … but I just couldn’t handle the somber tone of his music. Look, I know that his latest album is very moody and deals with heavy topics, but I just couldn’t listen to sad tunes. I needed something more upbeat …

I did a lot of channel switching with this next two performances because I wanted to make sure I caught each of their acts. Again, I’m thankful for the Youtube stream, because if I were at the festival, I’m not sure I would have been able to enjoy as much of their sets traversing the polo fields as I did watching them at home.

Tyler The Creator is an interesting dude. I my opinion, his hip hop is more artists than anything. I’m not the biggest fan of his raspy delivery, but I do appreciate him for keeping his lyrics and his persona real. Whether it was calling out Kendall Jenner or thanking the kid who let him use an inhaler, his seemingly care-free performance was refreshing.

I haven’t seen Jack White in concert yet, and I probably won’t for a while insofar as he’s announced that he was taking a break from performing. I’m glad I could watch a bit of his Coachella performance.

He mentioned that, “Music is sacred,” and his set reflected that mentality.  If you are a Jack White fan, his performance at the second week of Coachella could be his last for a VERY long while. I suggest you check it out.

FKA Twigs. Good lord. Her performance was one of the sexiest live performances I’ve seen in a while. Her music is already smoldering, but the way she moves, and what she wore … yowza. Based on what I’ve read, her performance at week one Coachella was hampered a bit by the sounds bleeding from Jack White’s and Tyler’s performance, but sitting at home watching the stream, which I’m assuming is using the soundboard feed, it sounded perfect to me.

To be honest, even from the comfort of my desk at home, I could tell that her sound and performance would have been better suited for a smaller, enclosed venue as opposed to an open- air festival. Just my thoughts.

The surprise performance of Saturday was The Weeknd. I won’t lie, I was surprised/confused when I heard that The Weeknd would be going on after Jack White. To me, that just didn’t make sense. I had been to Coachella a few years ago when he performed and midday set on the Outdoor Stage. I left that performance thorough underwhelmed, and I just didn’t think he would be able to handle closing the Main Stage, by himself no less. Man, was I wrong. This dude has evolved. His stage performance has evolved. Still understated to match the mood of his music, The Weeknd didn’t dance around the stage or move around much at all, but his music, coupled with his stark but bold stage design, really impressed me. I questioned whether he was worthy of shutting the Main Stage down. I don’t anymore. This is definitely a performance to check out if you’re into his music.

So, it’s Sunday, the last day of Coachella, and I’d been sitting at my desk working since 11am. Even though the live-streams didn’t start till 3:30, I had my laptop set and streaming, waiting in anticipation.

The first act I caught was . I saw MØ perform late last year in an intimate club venue (which performance I thoroughly enjoyed), so I was interested to see how her performance would be on a larger stage. It was a solid performance, although her dance moves (which were incredibly fun at the Echoplex) looked a little out of place on the main stage.

RAC was enjoyable to watch. I wasn’t expecting a full band, but was thoroughly impressed. I was more familiar with his remixes (i.e. The Shins’ “Sleeping Lessons”), but their original songs were definitely fun and had a terrific pop sensibility to them.

Sturgill Simpson‘s performance slot at Coachella may have seemed a little out of place, but I think Coachella’s move to give everybody a little taste of everything was a good move. Fans of county music … fans of good songwriting … had an outlet at Coachella, and that was Sturgill Simpson.

Mac DeMarco‘s music has been called “slacker rock”, but his performance at Coachella really opened my eyes, and ears, to the breadth of his music. Sure … it rocks, but there are so many layers to his sound that I think it’s a disservice to really categorize it. I missed his latest Los Angeles performance’s, so I’m glad I was able to watch his Coachella performance online. I definitely need to catch him live the next time he’s in town.

St. Lucia had a very 80’s vibe to their performance. Kind of like a cross between Duran Duran and Washed Out maybe? It wasn’t necessarily what floats my boat. Goldenvoice must have a lot of faith in this band giving them a Main Stage slot.

I like Jenny Lewis. I wasn’t the biggest Rilo Kiley fan, but I loved her contributions with The Postal Service. I love her latest solo album just as much. This was my first time watching her perform live, and I thought it was a solid performance. A pleasant surprise was when HAIM joined Jenny to sing “Girl On Girl” (Este Haim also pulled double duty singing a duet with Hozier). That was a nice little treat. Another nice little surprise was Blake Sennett (ex-boyfirned and Rilo Kiley bandmate) joining Jenny onstage for “Portion of Foxes”.  Jenny Lewis fans probably wet their pants with the performance.

I switched over to Vance Joy‘s set to see what all the hubbub was about. I’m not going to lie. I listened to one song, and I was done. Good looking dude. Mediocre music. Just my opinion.

After Jenny Lewis’ stream had ended, Ryan Adams‘ stream followed. I’d say that that was an excellent move by Goldenvoice. After all, Ryan did produce Jenny’s album. Solid set by a solid musical.

I was particularly amused with his banter to the audience joking, “I gotta cut one song … I had this whole 17 minute guitar solo, where Mike was gonna punch my balls half way, and I was gonna spit fire. Next time.” LOL.

I only caught a couple songs from Marina & the Diamonds set, so I can’t really say whether I liked it or not. She looked good in the green jumper though.

Fucking Kaskade. I’m not the biggest proponent of EDM musicians as performers. As is always the debate, are they really performing? If you’re just punching buttons, I don’t consider that a performance. He had a chance to redeem himself when he announced that he would “play” a new song … a new song that he sings … and he DIDN’T sing! Fucking EDM Djs. I switched the channel for another stream.

ATTENTION! If you are going to catch ANY act Coachella, it should be Stromae. This dude is an amazing performer. He performs the same time as Florence and St. Vincent, but I couldn’t help but keep going back to his set. In fact, I watched his set again in it’s entirety when it was re-streamed.

I don’t know how to explain his music. He’s like a male version of a modern day Edith Piaf (so much emotion!) with with awesome electronic/live backing music. His performance was a show. Numerous costume changes with amazing stage/screen effects. The moment when the LED screen made it look like he levitated in the air before exploding? Mind blown.

I’m just mad that I missed his performance in Los Angeles between Coachella weekends. This performance is a can’t miss good time.

I feel like St. Vincent has been touring forever. I’ve watched some of her performances from other festivals online, and this performance was really more of the same. The amazing music coupled with precise choreography. You can’t go wrong with St. Vincent, especially if you haven’t already see her perform in support of her latest album, but if I had to choose, I would pick Stromae over her this time around. Still love her though.

I had to switch back and forth between Stromae and Florence and the Machine often. I saw Florence a few years ago at Coachella during an early evening stage on the Outdoor Stage, and she was amazing. She was equally amazing with her set Weekend One.

Watching her perform it was hard for me not to compare her style to St. Vincent’s. While St. Vincent was controlled and choreographed, Florence was more wild and spontaneous. Going barefoot on stage allowed Florence to run stage left to stage right, jumping off the stage and into the crowd … which apparently caused her to break her foot. Get better, Flo!

Flo’s freedom was even more “exposed” when she urged her audience to take off one article of clothing, and wave it in the air. She took her shirt off, and performed her last song in her bra! Talk about getting in the spirit of things!

Her performance weekend two will most likely be more subdued than weekend one, but her stage presence and her voice will compensate for her lack of movement.

While waiting to see to last minute add of Drake’s streaming performance, went to watch Fitz & the Tantrums stream. Ever the terrific live performers, their performance on the Outdoor Stage was as solid as ever. I’m still longing for another amazing album like their debut, but as long as they played the old favorites, you’ll be entertained if you check their set out.

Drake. I dunno. I don’t know all of the lyrics to his songs like the young tykes in the audience. I was unimpressed with his jungle stage design. I was confused with Madonna’s appearance. And that kiss? Meh. I have a feeling that Drake spent a nice chunk of change to get Madonna to show up. That money could have been used to get Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, etc. to make a cameo. Did it get a lot of media buzz? Sure. Was it musically worth it? Not quite sure. Was her appearance executed well? Could have been better. Was Drake’s performance worthy of the closing Coachella? No comment.

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