Coachella
  • Coachella

For the first time that I can remember, arriving in Palm Springs for Coachella yesterday morning felt a whole lot like Seattle: cool temperatures and the omnipresent threat of rain. By the time we arrived at the Polo Grounds, the much ballyhooed (by certain Southern Californians) wind and wetness had arrived, making the parking lots a hilarious mud field and helping the merch booths to move a whole lot of sweatshirts. Trendspotters from another planet might have assumed that matching event hoodies constitute the major festival fashion outlook for 2k12.

PULP, Coachella Mainstage
  • PULP, Coachella Mainstage

In some sort of delusional ambition, I'm going to both Coachellas—this weekend's original recipe and next week's expected clonechella zombie apocalypse. As such, I'm trying to make each of them less hectic by checking out bigger chunks of sets rather than sprinting from stage to stage to see little bits of everything. Though it makes me feel supremely uncritical, like a fawning American Idol judge, pretty much I saw yesterday was top notch. Everyone's in it to win it, slaying the biggest fish, wanting to have it, killing it, etc.

That said: Pulp! Are an extremely good band, right? And have you heard that Jarvis Cocker is ridiculously charming? A thrower of poses, grapes, and banter. The recent reunitees brought all of this to the mainstage along with a pretty major laser and light show, holding everyone's attention through a lull through back catalog wanders until a triumphant "Common People" finale.

Also spectacular: the Rapture, back from the bloghaus era with just enough cowbell. It was nearly impossible to get anywhere near the tent (let alone the stage) where churned up an undeniable dance party that boiled over with "House of Jealous Lovers". M83: you already have your tickets to see them at the Paramount, right? This is the first time that I've managed to see them touring behind Midnight City and they're playing at a staggering level of cosmic.

I also enjoyed: the ever-reliable and increasingly strong (and very well attended) sets by world conquering Black Keys, seeing that Arctic Monkeys seem thoroughly over their dejected-with-fame era, and noticing that GIRLS have added a trio of hype-women soul-chorus backup singers to enliven their stage presence; the tortured vocals over optimistic post-rock discordance of WU LYF; and the return of Refused: still insistent after seventeen years, but now with a power-to-the-people in place of a world conquering agenda.

And finally, CelebWatch: spotted David Hasslehoff posing for every possible camera, hamming it up with fans; more excitingly, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul (not pictured) all over the place.

A bunch of pictures from day one after the jump. Today looks sunnier, watch along on the Coachella YouTubes and let me know what I would be a fool to miss.

GIRLS
  • GIRLS

Hoff
  • Hoff

Arctic Monkeys
  • Arctic Monkeys

WU LYF
  • WU LYF

Pulp
  • Pulp

Pulp
  • Pulp

13_Pulp_1247.jpg
  • Pulp

the Black Keys
  • the Black Keys

the Black Keys
  • the Black Keys

M83
  • M83

M83
  • M83

M83
  • M83

Refused
  • Refused

Refused
  • Refused

Refused
  • Refused