Coachella Diary: April 2016
THURSDAY, APRIL 14
THURSDAY, APRIL 14
THURS 10:00AM – Location: Home, LA. Bags are finally packed, lined up and ready to roll. I feel like Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills about to embark on a camping trip. The Prius is gassed up and our Spotify 'Coachella Weekender' playlist is ready to start soundtracking this mini roadtrip to the desert. My dog Chappy is fully aware something's up. She's ready, too, bully-stick in her mouth, one eye locked on me. Sadly, to the nanny she goes, but Indio...here I come!
THURS 12:30PM – Location: Palms Springs. During a quick pit stop at the local grocery store, Tyler, Joe Joe and I were met by a judgemental clerk side-eyeing our variety of alcohol, red Solo cups, ping pong balls, and carbs. My look back said lady, mind your own beez. A few blinks later, we were back on the road anxious as can be passing billboards on the freeway and already debating which artists should make our itinerary. I predict our house will get separated, probably often, hopefully that doesn't leave anyone alone (me, lol).
THURS 1:30PM – Location: Indio. We made it. Our house is 8 people deep, 8 feet away from the Sahara Tent, and also boasts an 8 foot deep pool. Didn't take long to test it out. That's me and Tyler below, and a picture-perfect Katie adding a little extra heat to the pools already 90° temperature water!
THURS 5:30PM – The crew has assembled. Except for Frankie who is shockingly MIA and now completely ignoring my texts. I'm placing bets that she hasn't left LA yet. I'm going to double-down that she's swaddled herself in sheets, and quite literally in bed. Forward march! Heading to media check-in at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to pick up my festival wristbands. Side note: this is the first year Kick Kick Snare has been granted full media credentials which is one of the blogs Top 3 most validating moments so far along the ride. Thank you and thank you again, Coachella!
THURS 11:30PM – Frankie has arrived, and noticeably rested from the nap I predicted. That said, she did make it to the house having already picked up her Neon Carnival wristband and Coachella media credentials, so I let her in the house, rewarded her with a vodka soda, and started the tour. Goal #1 and #2 is to stay hydrated and rested, though, so not long after it was off to bed for me and this 64 fluid ounces of lemon-lime Gatorade!
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
FRI 8:00AM – Location: Way the f out of the way. I woke up like a kid about to go to Disneyland and felt compelled to share this excitement in the form of bagels for the house. Turns out, the Einstein Bagels I drove 15 miles to is now an Applebee's. Come to find out, there's zero bagel establishments within a 25 miles radius of Indio. I mean, obviously I'm not going to buy bagels from a grocery store. Cut to: I ended up at Vons for said carbs, which at least had a Starbucks, and the latest issue of Palms Springs Life with this cover I obviously couldn't resist.
FRI 9:30AM – Location: Indio. Yes, a full hour and a half later, I arrived with $50 worth of substandard bagels and cream cheese, $1.3M dollars worth of Starbucks, and a sweaty face at least partially hidden behind sunglasses. Apparently I missed the memo on Ben and Frankie's McDonald's run which took its place at the top of the award podium, while I stepped to the corner and gave myself a private honorable mention. This was after eating two bagels, of course. Not only was I still alive, but they were pretty damn good so there's a chance two actually turned to three.
FRI 10:00AM – House meeting. To my side, an always dapper Ben, and - "You love her to bits, but also want to kill her on the reg, please welcome to the stage, it's" - my basically little sister Frankie! Together, were the self-elected welcoming committee. Each of the remaining team, Tyler, Katie, Joe Joe, Cooper, and Thomas, were welcomed to the stage with our best Lara Marie Schoenhals impressions. If you're unfamiliar, trust me, familiarize yourself immediately, below. This video is genius. I swear 500,000 of those streams are from me though.
FRI 11:30AM – First group picture, sans Cooper who gets the ? credit!
FRI 12:00PM – Location: The streets! (of Indio). Katie arranged for a private driver to shuttle us to and from the festival. Please give it up for Kaaaaaatttiiiiiiieeeeeee, but for real tho. Day 1, we made the mistake of turning into the Uber lot which basically led to the beginning of at least a mile-long walk to the closet VIP entrance. This was when we were met with a line in the shape of a giant circle. It was one person through through the failed metal detector every one minute. Pretty brutal, but considering this was the starting line, the million-minute gender-segregated mosh pit we were able to shake off.
FRI 12:50 – Location: Coachella! Locker attendant: "Did you print your locker receipt? No?" I get pointed to a line that definitely stretched all the way to Disneyland's Space Mountain.
FRI 1:30PM – Locker key in hand. Decided to do a walk-by of Nina Las Vegas's set in the Sahara Tent en route to the VIP Rose Garden (my heaven on earth), en route to the bar (heaven adjacent), en route to Sumo Dog (which was the best hot dog I've ever had/decision I've ever made in my life).
FRI 2:45PM – Location: The Sahara Tent; Artist: Louis The Child. We're obviously versed on their music, and we had some insight to their set per our pre-Coachella interview, but boy did they exceed all expectations. Having racked up 50 million streams in just over a year, and receiving endorsements from the likes of Skrillex, Lorde and Taylor Swift, it was finally time to soak in their live performance, which included a cameo from Swedish dynamic pop duo Icona Pop who debuted their forthcoming collaborative single.
FRI 3:15PM – The wifi and overall phone signal is ?. Pro tip: helps if you turn off LTE!
FRI 3:55PM – Location: Outdoor Stage; Artist: Robert Delong; Temperature: Lava. I'd like to personally thank Frankie's Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. Her purse is no joke, apparently hand-sewn by Merlin, the wizard. Or Robert Delong, who took music lessons from a wizard, or was it the teaches of Peaches? Either way, he's equal parts musical genius and bo$$ a$$ bitch.
FRI 6:20PM – Location: Mainstage VIP/The Mojave Tent. After refueling with some delicious food and cold beverages (did you know they have an actual sit-down Polynesian restaurant?), Tyler and I left behind a few members of our crew to witness R&B's legend-in-the-making Gallant in the Mojave Tent. If there's anything you can count on, it's the Mind of a Genius crew. The artists they represent are made up of full body massages, two servings of dessert, Tom Ford's wardrobe, a 1954 Mercedes Formula 1 race car, and a case of cherry Pull n Peel Twizzlers. In other words, only the crème de la crème. Not to mention there was a cameo from flippin' "Kiss from a Rose" himself. Yes, Heidi Klum's ex, you thought it, too, please welcome to the stage Seal!
FRI 7:15PM – Location: still the Mojave Tent; Artist: BØRNS. After our interview with the singer, standing as close to the front of the stage was necessary. We settled about 25% in from the back, quickly realizing all neighboring festival-goers shared our plan, some which looked more than happy to roll up their sleeves and get alpha to maintain their spot. Die-hard fans. But don't worry, I kept unscathed, and the second BØRNS took the stage, it was an "Electric Love" fest that felt peace sign-delivered from 1969's Summer of Love. ✌️
FRI 8:20PM – Location: The bar. ??? count: EXPEN$IVE
FRI 8:30PM – Location: The Coachella Stage. Even though M83 turned down our pre-Coachella interview, how can you hold a grudge? This was technically my first time at the Coachella Stage where I was surrounded by fans singing louder than the festival's PA. People-watching was at peak time and - no question about it - brought both high-level ewwwws and ahhhhs.
FRI 9:20PM – Location: The Coachella Stage. Can’t win em all. I think that was the PA’s motto during the beginning of Ellie Goulding's main stage set. It was a clash of unexpected echos and feedback jabs to the brain. It was unfortunate but eventually fixed and the fans were able to un-squint everything above their shoulders. The performance was flawless otherwise.
FRI 9:50PM – Since the grounds surrounding Coachella's main stage and neighboring Outdoor Stage (where we planned to see Jack Ü) were basically more congested then the streets of LA during CARmageddon, we started over early. By that time, our group somehow multiplied to about fifteen. Since someone was always either in the bathroom, getting a hot dog, semi-unresponsive...working our way through the crowd closer to the stage was off the table.
FRI 10:15PM – Location: Outdoor Stage; Artist: Jack Ü. Luckily, Skrillex and Diplo's combined volume was louder than the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 and could be heard from nearly 5000 km away. PROS: Guests included Kanye West center stage during "Power," Post Malone with a mashed version of his single "White Iverson" & "Where Are Ü Now," and glimpses of Kiesza, AlunaGeorge, and more. CONS: Justin Bieber was seen backstage during the performance who was rumored to make an appearance, which did not happen. Only remaining con is that every single drop was almost unrecognizable and slightly too suped-up and dubstep-leaning for me. I just wanted to hear some of the drops I've played at a minimum 194 dB across the streets of LA. OK, we're talking Skrillex and Diplo so obviously it was still going to be one of my favorite sets of the weekend, but I found myself easily distracted rather than swept away. At this point of the night though, Deee-lite could have make a surprise reunion and I would have shrugged. Time to go home and dip into the pool.
FRI 11:15PM – Location: IndiNO. When 1.4 miles feels like 1,400,000 miles. This will be the very last time we return to the house without being shuttled. My dogs have lost their voices from extreme barking.
FRI 11:55PM – Pool time never felt so good. Those Pizza Bites weren't too shabby either. Going to be up even later night tomorrow thanks to Brent Bolthouse's Neon Carnival, so with the help of a little herbal assistance, it's time to start counting sheep.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
SAT 10:15AM – Location: Indio. This morning I’ve been on a very tight schedule of not getting anything done. Robe-clad, food delivery and Dateline (literally my favorite combination), but I’m not letting this turn into an all day affair. After all, we have Vanic in the Sahara Tent at 2:00PM, Matoma, CHVRCHES, AlunaGeorge, all the way to Disclosure to look forward to! Then, somehow taking a shot of Adrenalin to the heart to make Neon Carnival light up. Wish me luck!
SAT 12:15PM – Collecting my life. Someone please send Gatorade.
SAT 1:00PM – Location: The Streets! Solo ride to the festival. Going to attempt the impossible and collect my friends at the house between Vanic and Matoma. Always up for a challenge. "A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it," isn't that how the saying goes? Like Ice Cube said, "When I come to yo' town (bow down). You hear that future obstacles? Sorry, it must be the heat.
SAT 2:00PM – Location: The Sahara Tent; Artist: Vanic. This guy is A+ and same goes for his management team. Like I mentioned in our pre-Coachella interview, when his music turns on, it’s like I’m suddenly a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance and I’m like FUCK YES I KNOW I CAN! Hit after hit after hit from Vanic, and high kick after almost cartwheels from me. I didn't think about the heat or that I need to schedule an emergency facial first thing Monday not even once while he was on the stage.
SAT 3:45PM – Location: Back to the house! "Home, home on the sand, where the friends and the giant gusts of wind play. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are hot as fuck all day."
SAT 5:25PM – Location: The Sahara Tent; Artist: Matoma. From the second I laid eyes on Coachella 2016's lineup, Matoma was the first name I saw and committed (hand-on-Vogue's-last-September-issue) to seeing. In fact, I rallied the whole crew and threatened their safety if they weren't by my side sweating the Creme De La Mer off their smiling faces. It actually didn't that much convincing. I also got the chance to interview Matoma leading up to Coachella, but had no idea they would be cameos from Madcon, JaRule, Sean Paul and Nico & Vinz. The year of the cameos winner: please welcome to the stage Matoma.
SAT 6:10PM – Location: Rose Garden. Here's Tyler and me at the tail-end of Matoma's set back in the Rose Garden, looking like my dad stepping off a sailboat. ⛵️
SAT 6:20PM – Location: Rose Garden. Don't feed the celebrities! I know there are flocks of those red carpet walking humans sprinkled across these polo fields, but so far the only ones I've seen in the flesh (but hella noteworthy) include supermodel supreme Cindy Crawford and Scream Queen's Cher #1, Emma Roberts!
SAT 6:30PM – Location: High on my own pedestal. Decided against trying to make the impossible mission to the Coachella Stage to see a glimpse of CHVRCHES, plus they didn't have 10 minutes for my interview, so this was mostly due to principle. A sad, but real-life, fan/artist breakup moment and (said while throwing a dish against the wall) I want those years of my life back! End scene.
SAT 6:40PM – Location: The Sahara Ten; Aritst: AlunaGeorge. Onto an artist that did have time for my pre-show interview, and one of my favorites, PLEASE WELCOME TO THE STAGE me losing my shit and AlunaGeorge! Girl came out on stage looking like she could knock LL Cool J and his momma out with one swift dance move. No doubt, Aluna is in control and don't you know she wants it all? Not only did she sound incredible live, she looked incredible and brought a bag of choreography that she unloaded on stage to the audience's delight. #TKO #AF.
SAT 7:35PM – Location: Coachella Stage; Artist: Disclosure. The Lawrence brothers opened their set announcing ""We're Disclosure, and boy, do we have some surprises for you." And boy did they. How did the crowd love thee? Let me count the ways:
1) Right out the gate, Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge performed "White Noise."
2) Followed by "Magnets" singer and pop royalty, Lorde.
3) Kwabs literally rose from the stage to perform "Willing & Able."
4) Lion Babe's Jillian Hervey was like a giant disco ball mesmerizing the rowdy crowd while high-kicking her way through "Hourglass."
5) Brendan Reilly joined in the fun and was caught "Moving Mountains" with his angelic and instantly recognizable R&B crooning.
6) Last but not least, and to everyone's enjoyment, Sam Smith joined Guy and Howard on stage to perform not only "Omen" but also "Latch" which brought Disclosure's show to a perfect close. Let's be clear though, Disclosure didn't need to bring on one single guest to quench this crowd's thirst, proven during "When a Fire Starts to Burn," "Holding On," and their mind-boggling LED show which was reminiscent of Apple's dancing silhouette iPod adverts. Bottom line, these guys are professional curators, and have demonstrated so time after time. *bangs down gavel*
SAT 8:30PM – Unfortunately I'm missing Zedd, ZHU and Grimes, but listen, I only allowed myself one off-grounds party and that's going to be Neon Carnival hosted by Brent Bolthouse held at the Thermal Airport. We'll be covering the party in a different review (update: click tweet, below), so I'll brb and catch you on the flip side.
— Kick Kick Snare (@KickKickSnare) April 20, 2016
SUNDAY: PART ONE, APRIL 17
SUNDAY: PART ONE, APRIL 17
SUN 4:00AM – Location: Thermal, CA @ Neon Carnival. Leaving the party, our group was separated. The crowd felt double in size compared to previous years. Tyler and I managed to link up with Katie, but after sweeping the grounds multiple time, Cooper, Thomas, Frankie and Ben were nowhere to be found. Perhaps they were together? Perhaps they left early back to the house? We did originally agree to meet our driver out front at 3:00AM. That Investigation Discovery episode aside, it was a magical evening and time flew by at warp speed.
The streets were gridlocked with party-goers, the parking lot was camouflaged by a tornado of dust, cars were slowly filing out. We decided to walk down the airport's side street to the main road and hoped to see our driver, but ended up flagging down an Uber after about a 30 minute wait. Meanwhile, I continued to try Frankie's cellphone, which went straight to voicemail, and Ben's which rang and rang and rang before eventually going to voicemail. It was very unlike Ben to not answer his phone, but it was Ben, not one I've ever had to worry about.
SUN 6:00AM – Location: In bed. Woken from the deepest of sleeps, Katie was standing in our bedroom doorway, panicked yet soft spoken. She didn't knock. She just called out me and Tyler's names. I knew something was wrong immediately - and urgent.
I'll never forget when Katie said, "Ben was hit by a car crossing the street and taken to the hospital." "...what?" "It sounds pretty bad."
Katie had to repeat herself no less than ten more times - the world started to spin slowly counterclockwise - before I could pull together a complete sentence. Tyler asked, "how?" which I echoed while at the same time asking myself so many questions, each worse than the last: "How could this happen? Was he taken by an ambulance to the hospital? Was this a hit n run? How long after he was hit was he lying, alone, on the side of the road before 911/help responded? I should have been with him and protected him. He's going to be OK though, right?"
(Location: Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs. From 6:10AM until later that afternoon around 4:00PM, I completely lost track of the time. Roughly ten hours later, all I knew is that we had seen our friend lying helpless, hurt, in a stretcher. I knew there wasn't enough talking in the hospital room, and too many tears that couldn't help themselves. I knew we had bought a giant giraffe to try and cheer him up, but it somehow backfired. Not because Ben wasn't appreciative, I just hoped it wasn't cliché and if I should just beat myself with it instead. I knew I had seen my boyfriend cry which broke my heart. But, most importantly, I knew that Ben was expected to be OK. But that's also the moment being scared turned to feeling guilty. But I don't want to say anything more about it except that I'm lucky to have Ben as one of my best friends and I hope he knows how much I love him.
SUN 4:00PM – I felt careless even thinking about going back to the festival. How could anyone have a good time knowing your friend and housemate was just hit by a fucking car? I guess the thought of Ben lying in his hospital bed smiling when showing us his new festival-like wristbands. On one arm, 1 Coachella VIP wristband, one for Neon Carnival, and our matching bracelets that Ben gave everyone in the house. On the other arm, hospital wristbands that read: FALL RISK and ALLERGY. The boy had a double stack worth countless engraved memories. The struggle from there consumed me and the next thing I knew I was back at the house waking up. I guess I convinced myself that Ben would encourage me to go, for our mutual love of music, and not let yourself go all the way there yet. Go back to the hospital in the morning, and let yourself go there then.
SUNDAY: PART TWO, APRIL 17
SUNDAY: PART TWO, APRIL 17
SUN 6:00PM – Location: The Sahara Tent; Artist: BAAUER. If you search "Baauer" on Kick Kick Snare you'll see that we've not only covered him numerous times, but that our admiration for his craft is pure genuine. He's in my Top 10 list of go-to producers for every playlist I curate. From his collaborations with G-Dragon, M.I.A., AlunaGeorge, to Rae Sremmurd, Boys Noize, and Just Blaze, if that alone doesn't give him major clout points, then just let the music speak for itself. His set was a definite highlight for me and appeared the airtight crowd resoundingly agreed.
SUN 7:30PM – Location: The Coachella Stage; Artist: Major Lazer. As the sun goes down, the stars start to appear. If Major Lazer was a constellation it would be in the shape of a Bic lighter with a flame Smokey The Bear wouldn't even try to fuck with. Separately Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire are each a force to be reckoned with, so basically they are the musical version of the Power Rangers after combining forces and turning into that giant humanoid machine thing, Megazord. The boys indeed lit up on stage, with cameos from Sean Paul, MØ & DJ Snake.
SUN 7:30PM – Location: The Sahara Tent; Artist: The Chainsmokers. I will have you know Kick Kick Snare was the first blog that Alex & Drew made a Chainsmokers mixtape for. We're talking 4th of July 2013 and fireworks fireworks fireworks. Years later they obviously have since exploded - but to make clear, these are two of the most talented, hard-working human beings on planet Earth and deserve every bit of their success. This was of course proven from their set in The Sahara Tent (which should just close down now and retire, The Chainsmokers won) where they were essentially the equivalent to Miley's wrecking ball and demolished every one's expectations within a mile radius. Special guest cameos ensued from G-Easy ("Me, Myself, & I"), Tiësto ("Split (Only U)"), to singers ROZES ("Roses") and Daya ("Don't Let Me Down"). What about Stephan Jenkins, though? Yes, we even time-traveled back to the mid-nineties where Third Eye Blind's lead singer summoned their classic 1997 "Jumper." Other highlights included Walk The Moon's appearance (Shut Up And Dance") and a new unreleased Chainsmokers song with live vocals delivered from Chainsmoker Drew. I'm getting anxiety all over again just typing this out. If you missed it, try not to beat yourself up about it too much, but you definitely should a little.
SUN 9:00PM – Location: The Coachella Stage; Artist: Sia. As someone whose family owns a dance company, this performance was on a completely different realm. Most take advantage of the time and talent it takes to create something on such a level Sia continues to reach time and time again.. If you're that guy who criticizes Sia for her elaborate wigs, her mini-me dance prodigy Maddie Ziegler, or her eccentric videography...I hope you're medical insurance covers counseling.
SUN 10:00PM – Location: Cross-country Olympics. The maddest dash to empty my locker and return its key. At this point of the evening I am running entirely fueled on the hope that Rihanna appears during Calvin Harris's set.
SUN 10:45PM – Location: The Coachella Stage; Artist: Calvin Harris. I think the pictures below say what I can't possibly put into words.
UNTIL NEXT YEAR!
UNTIL NEXT YEAR!