Coachella 2011 Coverage: Day 2, Part 2


Some dude getting in the way of my totally awesome wide angle Coache11a sunset shot. Thanks, bro.

Artist Covered:

Arcade Fire

Following Mumford & Sons the night grew darker and cooled off significantly (thank you lord), and I went and got some food while I caught glimpses Animal Collective’s psychedelic slideshow on the giant Main Stage monitors. By food, of course, I mean a waffle cheesecake/ice-cream sandwich (with whip cream and sprinkles, obviously). Let me just say I was given a fork and knife to eat it. I know—it was a monster. And so, the time inevitably came when basically the entire festival ventured over to the Main Stage to see Arcade Fire, and those sorry ones who didn’t see the set were…well…sorry. Yeah.


Arcade Fire catching flies. Silly Arcade Fire, there are no flies there. Close your mouths!

Anyways, on we focus on emerging and new artists, so an entire article dedicated to the awesomeness of Arcade Fire doesn’t really seem to fit the bill. However, it is in the context of a festival, which we DO cover, so that helps. Also, I couldn’t help but think of some of the recent acts I’ve covered while watching this set, especially Little Tybee and Noughts and Exes. Both bands have a sort of orchestral and grand sound to them, much like Arcade Fire, and I didn’t make this connection until I saw this show.

This brings me to another point of how excited I am about new and emerging bands and their sound. Unlike a lot of critics who live to bash the “uninspired, unoriginal” new music being produced, I think if new acts take hints from the likes of Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Foals, Crystal Castles, etc. than there will be incredible, full sounding, innovative new artists. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t want replicas or tributes—I want amalgams of originality and other artists’ genius. Call me an optimist, but I really believe there are a ton of amazing bands and artists to look up to and be inspired by as a rookie.


Like, totally trippy, am I right?

As for the set, where do I even begin. The septet took the stage before what seemed like 30,000 (minimum) people, and amazingness ensued. The entire set is kind of an epic blur to me, so I’m just going to fire off what happened. There was a big marquee with lights that read “ARCADE FIRE: THE SUBURBS” and some video footage played of kids on bikes and idyllic scenes. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Régine Chassagne wore a sparkly gold dress that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of and sung like a freaking angel. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” is forever impressed in my mind as the most connective and mind-blowing song, the opening of “We Used to Wait” was haunting and unforgettable. Win Butler was sweaty and somehow apologetic-looking despite the beautiful voice leaving his mouth. “Rebellion (Lies)” from Funeral was an incredible and crowd-revving throwback. At the end, hundreds, thousands of giant white balloon-orb things fell from above the stage, and I was sure at this point I was dreaming. They soon began to change colors red blue green white purple, and they were bounced around the audience like ethereal beach balls. When the set was over it felt like no one moved. No one wanted it to end. It was utterly unforgettable. The sounds of violins and voices and keys and guitars and accordions just loomed in my ears and my brain. I was wrapped in an orchestral blanket of awe. How’s that for histrionic.

Like I’ve said before, I’ve always liked the music, found it innovative and enjoyable, but this live performance breathed a new blood into it, gave it life, and I listen to Arcade Fire in a completely different way now.