Coachella 2014 review: Pharrell, Outkast, Calvin Harris and more
Mixing music with art and that quintessential Californian vibe (palm trees and all!), the theme of the 3-day event seemed to be ‘surprise’ – with unexpected performances, celebrity guests and heaps, heaps more.
While Solange bringing big sis Beyoncé onto the stage for her set during weekend one was an obvious highlight, this festival was owned by the man in THAT hat – the one and only Pharrell Williams. During his Weekend 2 performance, it seemed like all Skateboard P wanted to do was throw one hell of a party, and what's a party without Jay Z, right? Yep, as the sun set on Saturday and the smooth tones of ‘Frontin’ started oozing through the crowd, Hov made sure Pharrell didn't have to do it alone. But the ‘Happy’ singer wasn't done calling up his friends, with Usher and Busta Rhymes next to make some surprise appearances.
Lana Del Rey's ‘Blue Jeans’ engulfed the air on the final night, with the singer-songwriter delivering a strong set which tied closely to the sounds of music ‘It’ girl Lorde, who took to the stage just a few hours before. For the old school peeps, Muse and Beck did not disappoint, with their heavy sounds proving a soothing break from the dance music beats across the field.
Calvin Harris played as if it were his last set, to the point where we felt sorry for anyone playing at the same time (the entire festival was at this stage!). The superstar DJ spun each of his hit tracks, from ‘Summer,’ to ‘Need Your Love,’ and ‘Thinking About You.’ He rounded out his monster set with 2012 chart-topper ‘Feel So Close.’
UK electronic duo Disclosure were a highlight in the dance arena, while Flume and Flight Facilities filled us with Aussie pride. Canadian electro funk lords Chromeo played the main stage and delivered a killer performance, with an elaborate light show supporting them through a set list which included tracks from their 2007 album ‘Fancy Footwork’ to their upcoming LP ‘White Women.’
For those wanting to see and hear how it’s really done, Fatboy Slim’s performance was off the chain, as he belted out a blinder in the Sahara Tent complete with a gigantic blow up astronaut in the background. Why? Who knows, but it's Coachella, right?
Now what goes up, must come down and unfortunately for all the fanfare that Coachella deserves, there was one notable act who missed the mark over both weekends – OutKast.
Diehard fans weren't disappointed but with such an absence from the music scene, Andre 3000 and his gang should have used this opportunity to take a leaf out of Pharrell’s book and really play to the crowd. Hits were few and far between, with hotly anticipated ‘Hey Ya’ and ‘Miss Jackson’ barely making any form of splash in the hipster pool that is Coachella. Let's just hope they pull it together for Splendour in the Grass this July…
Our verdict? Everything you thought about Coachella is true. It’s an experience like no other and whether you choose to camp or lap it up at a nearby hotel or desert mansion, one thing is for sure – you'll be making plans for next year’s festival as soon as the last beat drops.
— Alice Joyce
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