By Shannon Carlin & Scott T. Sterling
Muse are known for having a consistently good live show and tonight was no different. Even though the weather wasn’t making things easy for the trio.
A high wind advisory forced the festival to lower the screens alongside the stage and the wind also caused a wind storm that meant every time it blew, sand was pelting you in you your face. This means it was getting in your eyes, mouth and anywhere else sand can get stuck, which, unsurprisingly is a lot of places.
But Muse soldiered on with the weather adding a little drama to songs like “Time Is Running Out.” As Matt Bellamy sang “You will squeeze the life out of me,” his hair whipped around like he was in a Beyoncé music video.
The band’s visual aesthetic for the night also leaned towards a modern take on Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Images of children being sucked up by the internet and brokers on the floor of Wall Street, along with angry brokers seemed to convey the danger of our society now and the fights against the one percent. They even had an actor walk out into the crowd throwing dollar bills before suffering a fake heart attack amidst the crowd. He was theatrically taken away on a stretcher.
Related: Coachella 2014, Day 1: Outkast Have a Hard Time Connecting with Crowd, While Girl Talk Blows Them Away
But the night was about the music. They played nothing new, focusing on their tried-and-true hits like “Madness” and “Knights of Cidonia,” and even covered Nirvana’s “Lithium” dedicating it to a “man who died 20 years ago.”
Bellamy also made his way into the crowd to play “Starlight,” high-fiving all the fans who were clearly starstruck. One even let out a blood curdling scream or two as he passed them by. As Bellamy made his way to a barricade out in the middle of the crowd, his mic began to go out. But it didn’t matter, the crowd was more than happy to fill in.
Pharrell Williams, who played right before Muse on the Outdoor stage, used his solo set as a career-spanning showcase, touching on his string of chart-topping collaborative hits from last year (namely Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines”) to a show-stopping revue of his chart history, bringing out a cavalcade of guest stars including Snoop Dogg (“Beautiful,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot”), Nelly (“Hot in Herre”), Busta Rhymes and Puffy Daddy (“Pass the Courvoisier”) and even No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani, who hit the stage for a rousing rendition of her Pharrell-penned 2004 solo single, “Hollaback Girl.” After having a baby only a little more than a month ago, we should add.
His decision to pull out a couple of N.E.R.D. songs (including “Lapdance”) got Tyler the Creator so excited that he hopped from the VIP pit to the stage to turn it up with Williams’ dancers. Pharrell even called up producer Diplo for “Aersol Can,” his collaboration with Major Lazer. Of course, he also highlighted songs from his recently released GIRL album, including “Marilyn Monroe” and “Happy,” which became a dance party with Pharrell pulling the Haim sisters, Lorde and Busta up to the stage to show off their dance moves.
The unexpected dust storm that blanketed the Coachella grounds also claimed Williams’ voice, which had grown so hoarse from the swirling winds that he eventually had to hand off the microphone to a roadie, unable to finish the song. Still, it was an exhilarating show that bodes well for fans planning to see him on a handful of dates opening for Bruno Mars later this spring.
Coachella’s Outdoor Stage continued to serve up festival highlights, closing out Day 2 with hip-hop icon Nas, featuring DJ Green Lantern, performing his legendary 1994 debut, Illmatic, in honor of the album’s 20th anniversary. In celebration of the moment, he was joined onstage by surprise guest Jay Z, who performed “Dead Presidents II” and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 track, “Where I’m From.” It was a poignant moment between the former rap rivals, one that will go down as one of the most memorable hip-hop shows in Coachella history.
Nas wasn’t out of surprises. He followed up the Illmatic tracks with his 2002 single, “Made You Look,” later bringing Puff Daddy back to the stage for their joint song from 1999, “Hate Me Now.” Ending his show with an emotional version of 2002 single, “One Mic,” Puff Daddy made a point of championing Nas as a lyrical genius, saying that “God sent you to us” and that hip-hop would have never come as far as it has without the rapper’s contributions. We have to agree.
Lorde delivered a surprisingly emotional set on the Outdoor Stage, showcasing tracks off her 2013 debut, Pure Heroine including “Biting Down” and prefacing”Ribs” with an impassioned speech about how far she’s come between last May–when she first booked this year’s Coachella gig–and now, and how it was the first really big gig she secured after breaking out with “Royals.”
Lorde has evolved leaps and bounds as a live performer, keeping the huge crowd completely captivated throughout her entire set. Ending with a costume change into a dramatic gold cape for show closers “Team” and “A Word Alone,” she continues to shine as one of this generation’s most promising young musical lights.
If you missed Solange’s set, which overlapped with Lorde’s, you really missed out. Not only did she put on an amazing set that included a cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting” and an impromptu decision to leave the stage and head into the crowd to sing with her front row fans that had her politely demanding a burly security guard to help her down. But at the end of the night, her sister came out to dance with her during “Losing You.” You know, her the big sis, Beyoncé?
The two showed off their moves, smiling the whole way through like their were back in the living room practicing their routines. It all ended with a hug that had Bey lifting Solange up to the air before the “Drunk In Love” singer took her spot in the wings. Solange then thanked the crowd for allowing her to bring out her favorite person. It was all pretty adorable. But even if Bey doesn’t show up, you should run, not walk to see her the next time she plays your town.
A lot has been made of Future Islands frontman, Samuel T. Herring‘s dance moves. Heck, David Letterman even tried to turn it into a meme. (To no avail, unfortunately.) On this night though Herring warned that he wouldn’t be able to go too hard, only because the stage was slippery from all the sand whipping around. But Herring’s moves didn’t seem to suffer much and he even got to try out a few new moves. Herring’s a born frontman, who introduces every song with a little anecdote and seems to have a signature move connected with each song, pulling off a mask for “Tin Man” off their 2010 album In the Evening Air and getting low with a two-step for “Seasons (Waiting On You)” off their recently released album, Singles.
Their show is more like a performance art piece that you have to just see to understand. But know, when you see Future Islands you’ll probably laugh, you might cry and you’ll definitely dance.
Kid Cudi put a huge smiley face on his hip-hop during his blazing mid-afternoon set, turning Coachella’s main stage into a massive musical therapy session for his legions of diehard fans clamoring at his feet.
Sporting the bold fashion choice of a cropped red sweatshirt and jean cutoffs, Cudi charged through a selection of crowd-pleasing tracks from his catalog, including “Erase Me” and “Pursuit of Happiness,” which he turbocharged by referencing Steve Aoki’s notorious remix of the song, made even more famous after being featured in teen party flick, Project X.
Chvrches’ singer Lauren Mayberry made it clear she was happy to be at Coachella, but as she started to expound on all the reasons why, bandmate Iain Cook played a note on his synth. She thought it was her cue to shut up (it wasn’t, just a mistake) and let the crowd know she was going to do less talking and more singing. Which for the most part she did do, cutting in once to let everyone know the face-melting heat was not making things easy for the band. But again, the trio was more than happy to brave the elements. Not that they looked like they were even close to breaking a sweat as they played songs off their 2013 debut, The Bones of What You Believe. The live renditions of tracks like “Gun” and “Mother We Share” were so close to the recorded versions that it became clear that Mayberry’s voice has not be overly produced, auto-tuned or the like on the band’s debut. She just sounds that angelic all the time.
On Day 2, Ty Segall was given the job of playing the role of rock god. During his afternoon set, he spent time shredding through his catalog, which includes at least 17 releases under his own name and other numerous side projects. His fans screamed about his home base of San Francisco, only to have Segall reply that he actually lives in Los Angeles now. “That’s okay, too,” the kid screamed.
The crowd was definitely not being quiet about their love for Segall. At the end when he called out to do another song, only to be told he had to stop, he made a rather abrupt departure that the crowd was none too pleased about. Segall has left everyone wanting more and chanting one more song. Certainly, not a bad way to make your Coachella debut.