Coachella 2014, Day 1: Outkast Have a Hard Time Connecting with Crowd, While Girl Talk Blows Them Away
By Scott Sterling and Shannon Carlin
Where the more fashionably flamboyant half of the group was notorious for cutting-edge looks next to the relatively more traditionally street wear attired Big Boi, when they took the main stage to close out this year’s opening day of the popular desert festival, Andre 3000 looked like he stepped out of 1994 wearing denim overalls, hoodie and baseball cap.
The band’s set for the most part was reflective of that same no-frills spirit, running through a selection of deep cuts reaching all the way back to Outkast’s 1994 debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.
Anticipation had been running high for Outkast’s live return throughout the day, generating a massive crowd crowding around the stage to get a glimpse of the duo side by side. Opening with the bombastic single “B.O.B.” from 2000 full-length, Stankonia, the crowd bounced along frantically to the song’s rapid-fire beat.
As they settled into the set, however, the deep cuts and throwback tracks slowly seemed to alienate the crowd, hungry for more recognizable hits like “Hey Ya” and “Ms. Jackson.”
They would eventually perform both songs, but only after delving into less immediately recognizable material, like “Hootie Hoo,” “Elevators (Me & You)” and “Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1.” It was set that would have felt much more at home to a heavily hip-hop audience at a Rock the Bells show, as opposed to Coachella goers hungry for the hits.
The Knife (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)
If you were on of those people who headed over to see The Knife hoping they would play “Heartbeats,” you were out of luck.
The band, which is made up of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, but on this particular night consisted of at least seven additional members, did not play the 2009 song that they’re most known for. In fact they didn’t play much music at all. At least not in any conventional sense.
The duo instead performed their latest album, Shaking the Habitual as if it were a modern dance production. Or what they like to call DEEP – “Death Electro Emo Protest Aerobics.” For some songs they didn’t even bother singing into a mic, but let the track play so they can get in the spirit of the dance, sometimes banging on something. Usually a piece of the stage, which seemed to be a musical instrument in its own right.
Was the tribal chanting and movements weird? Yes. But it helped push the boundaries of what a band could do at a big festival like Coachella. And according to the sibling duo, you can clearly do anything your little heart desires. Someone’s bound to show up to watch you no matter what.
Busta Rhymes joins Girl Talk on-stage. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)
Last night, Girl Talk’s Greg Gillis was once again on stage sweating it out with all his devoted fans, some of which got a chance to be onstage with him for his nearly hour long set. Also on stage with Gillis was four giant inflatable pieces that included two large red sneakers. Though the stage decor was a little childish–did we mention he had confetti canons and bags of balloons, which he unleashed into the crowd only to watch them float off into the night sky?–the show itself showed a more grown-up Gillis. He showed off an on-the-spot set that had him seamlessly mixing Radiohead’s “Idioteque“ with Quad City DJs’ “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” and later Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” with Busta Rhymes, who came out to spit his rhyme live. Needless to say the crowd was into it, and got such a good response that we wonder why he wasn’t higher up on the night’s bill.
Chromeo (Kevin Winter Getty Images Entertainment)
The same can be said about Chromeo. The Canadian duo started off their evening set with chants of their own name, set to the same “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!” tune sung by the Wicked Witch of the West’s guards in The Wizard of Oz. Certainly not the most subtle way to kick off their show, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from the Canadian duo whose keyboards have legs. Literally.
Standing behind their high heeled keyboards, the guys powered through old hits like “Tenderoni” and new ones from their upcoming album, White Women, like “Come Alive,” featuring Toro y Moi, who came out to help them with the track.
They were having fun and the crowd couldn’t help but do the same. They even got a big, bad security guard to bust a move, along with at least one Haim sister.