Coachella 2016 – The Good & Ugly of A Festival Attendee

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The people we bonded with at the Festival on Saturday night.

People attend Coachella for various reasons. Some go to be seen in the latest fashions, celebrities go for the free publicity, and others go for the music. Attendees spend an exorbitant amount of money over the course of the three days each weekend and this past year was no different. Every year it is a guessing game of “which weekend do I want to attend.” If you are lucky you can go to both, but very few people have that kind of money or time to burn. You risk missing special guests when you chose one weekend over the other, or purchase tickets based on rumors that may never happen.

For the second year in a row my brother and I decided to attend Coachella but this year we did weekend 1 instead of weekend 2. It seemed in years past the special guests have been more exciting the first weekend then the second weekend, when in reality neither weekend is better than the other; you always miss someone you wanted to see. This year the two big conversations surrounded the reuniting of Guns N’ Roses as well as the possibility of Ice Cube reuniting N.W.A.

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Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses did not disappoint. Even though Axl Rose was set up like an invalid with his broken foot, the band made sure the crowd was visually entertained. Richard Fortus jamming on his guitar as his long hair and opened shirt continued to rock out with each song as a series of facial expressions made attendees get a little more lost. Slash on the other hand was calm, controlled and cool with every note that whaled out of his guitar you couldn’t help but think “God I want to be that cool.” The band brought out a rock guitar legend Angus Young from AC/ DC. His school boy charm dressed in an all blue shorts suit is infamous as is his fish like mouth opening and closing in an “oh yeah” fashion throughout his playing.

Ice Cube’s set was a little disappointing. The rumors swirled over the previous months that N.W.A would be getting back together for a performance at Coachella. He brought back DJ Yella and MC Ren, but Dr. Dre was missing. The heart pounding excitement that formed as I watched them perform “Straight Out of Compton” and “F*** The Police” bubbled up, but it would have been more of a celebration if Dre was there and they brought another artist in to sing Easy E’s parts. The second weekend got that treat and I am beyond jealous. Dr. Dre did not sing on the original N.W.A recordings as he was primarily the producer for the group. At the show he came out and performed “California Love” and they had Easy-E’s son come out to perform “Boys N’ the Hood.” It was a full-blown N.W.A love feast full of every guest that truly needed to be there.

Rapper and rocker fans are no different to boy band fan-girls. No joke I have never witness a bunch of 20 and 30 something year old boys lose their shit when Tim Armstrong of Rancid come down from the stage to sing right in the crowd. Being a girl at the front of the gate as a bunch of men reached to touch the coat of their punk rock idol was not only a laughable moment, but one where I could see the inner fan-girl on every outer boy’s face. Lord Huron received a different kind of worship where everyone in the vicinity knew all the lyrics to each song and proceeded to dance with one another as the L.A. Indie folk band played songs ranging from their six year repertoire.  Personally never heard of them, but I felt like I was in the middle of a cult that I didn’t truly understand yet.

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Chvrches

Disclosure and Chvrches were some of the best electronic music and bands that were at the festival this year. Unlike Calvin Harris’ music which all sounds like a Jersey Shore after-party they had music that actually says something. Maybe it’s because Disclosure studied all styles of musicians in college and from their musically gifted parents from funk and soul to hip hop and dub step that intertwines with electronic beats. Maybe it’s because Lauren Mayberry (Chvrches) had a career in journalism where stories were her livelihood and now lyrics hold that place. Not every artists that dabbles in electronic music is good. The best artists in electronic music usually have a background in playing more classical instruments and have a deeper exploration in rhythms, beats, and how it all intertwines.

Alessia Cara was one of my personal favorites at the festival as her sound is still honest and pure. Her set and wardrobe were simple as her band knew every lyric and drowned the audience into the synthesized sounds of guitar, bass, and keys. Her songs are poetic. “Seventeen” is something that I have been able to relate to lately. Turning thirty in the next few months I sometime wish that time could be simpler. It’s not about not wanting to be an adult but to be able to have some moments where time can stop. Where life doesn’t have to move so fast.

“My view with a looking glass won’t catch the past
Only photographs remind us of the passing of days
Oh nothing stays the same from yesteryears
See I recall being afraid of the dark
And holding on to teddy bears
I’d wrap myself in blankets just to cover me from fears
That was then and now I’m here
And the night is mine

So hear me scream
I was too young to understand what it means
I couldn’t wait til I could be seventeen
I thought he lied when he said take my time to dream
Now I wish I could freeze the time at seventeen”

In consideration of attending the 2017 Coachella don’t let anyone try to fool you that weekend one or two is better than the other. More special guests do attend weekend one – Sam Smith and Lorde with Disclosure, Angus Young with Guns N’ Roses, and O’Shea Jackson Jr, Snoop Dogg, DJ Yella, and MC Ren with Ice Cube. Weekend two may surprise you and have such a huge event blow up like a group reuniting that hasn’t performed together in years (N.W.A). There is no right or wrong weekend only an enjoyable one full of memories where you wish you could freeze time. Make music your refuge and curl up into the space between the notes as you fall into the perfect sound.

**Be on the lookout for a video coming soon**

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A Soundtrack for the LA Commuter

3608475365_189200eaa5The normal Los Angeles commuter usually consists of people spending hours in their cars, by themselves, driving five days out of the week to get ten to twenty miles to work.  We waste an exorbitant of time alone, miserable, and constantly in a hurry to get nowhere.  It amazes me that in Los Angeles people are in such a hurry behind the wheel of a thousand pound bomb, but walking they have no sense of urgency.  Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me, but I can’t handle walking behind slow people.

Communing on the Metro you get experiences that you will never get to experience in the comfort of your own car.  Like a homeless man sleeping sprawled out over two seats, a father and a child who carry all their possessions with them in a baby carriage, or a woman passing around the same story everyday at the same time saying that she hadn’t eaten today, but will never accept food given to her only money.  In Los Angeles, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have and as I people watch on the train, moving in slow motion, you see that society is nothing but a big giant high school full of judgements.

Yesterday, there was a man on the train probably in his 60s, long white beard, balding, and kind of looked like Santa Clause who hadn’t taken a shower since last Christmas.  He seemed sad, empty, lost, and smelled a little funny.  Everyone that was sitting in a two foot vicinity moved to the opposite end of the car; except me.  He watched everyone move away and it made him sadder. He looked at me, and was waiting for the same reaction, but all I did was smile.  He smiled back and then got off the train at the next stop.

A few weeks ago there was an African-American man in his 20s that sat next to me on the train.  His friend told him that he scared me.  So, he looked me straight in the eye and asked if I was scared.  I told him that very few things scared me anymore.  We had a long conversation about work and our lives.  He grew up in LA and worked with children in the inner city and teaching them to play basketball.  I guess my point in this post is to listen to everything and everyone around you – smile, talk, and laugh with people you don’t know.  Sometimes we are so connected to technology that if the world unplugged for the day I don’t think any of us would really know how to have a normal conversation; how to truly slow down.  Society judges people based on appearance.  We are brought up in a world where people who look or dress in a certain way are more worthy of our attention.

Sometimes music can be a basis of conversation.  Full of understanding our feelings.  We never truly understand what people are going through on the outside.  Someone could be smiling and laughing, but be a complete and depressed mess on the inside.  So, I leave you with this playlist full of fifteen songs that I hope encourage you to look at people a little differently.  To slow down in more ways than one.  Change does not happen over night.  It takes year of practice.  Full of critical mistakes, being stressed out, and scars to your beautiful self, but with a little bit of real friends, images of when life was simpler when we were young, and developing close functional relationships, we can all change the way we think, act and do.

Check out the playlist here!

My 2015 Songs of the Summer

The last official day of summer is September 22nd, and as fall approaches, you reminisce on all the memories that you have collected over the last few months, and you realize another chapter of your life just ended.  For me, I had some life changing events occur, such as making a big move across the country, leaving the only life I have known on the east coast, and embarking on a new adventure at an amazing company in the dance industry in Los Angeles.  As I look back on all these changes, there is one thing that remands constant in my life; the music is never silent.

Flipping through Billboard Magazine, I noticed that most of the songs that slammed the charts over this summer don’t even touch my top ten favorites.  So, here are some of the songs that have been drowning out the constant noise of LA as I ride the train home.  They allow me go to my happy place where my world is whatever I want it to be.

Bea Miller – “Force of Nature” – This sixteen year old singer, signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records is starting to blow up the music scene.  Granted, she had some help from participating in the X Factor, but I think what really sets her apart from the other young singers is she doesn’t need the bells and whistles to have her voice shine.  The first time I heard her sing was an acoustic cover of “We Can’t Stop” with Boyce Avenue.  “Force of Nature” is basic.  It is basic in the good sense, that sometimes all you need is an acoustic guitar and a great voice.

Marianas Trench – “One Love” – Lead singer, Josh Ramsey never ceases to amaze me with his song writing abilities, his voice, and the harmonies of the men that make Marianas Trench.  “One Love” was recently released last week in anticipation of the release of their new album “Astoria.”  All the other songs that have been released as singles thus far have been a twist of sarcasm to the mainstream pop world.  “One Love” is a series of statements and questions that are constantly running through your mind.  Questioning your choices.  The affects of those choices:

“What if we could find a way to try to heal?
What if there’s no stopping us yet?
What if the one true love’s the only one that you get?
What if there was still a reason not to go?
What if there was still a little bit of hope?”

Seriously Josh Ramsey?!  I cannot understand why Marianas Trench is not lighting up the Billboard charts.  Society you need to get on this level ASAP.

Alessia Cara – “Here” – She has just broken into the Billboard 100.  I have been obsessed with song since May.  Granted, I didn’t feel that these lyrics fit my 20 year old self, but totally describes my almost 30 year old self.  Ice cream and my best friends sound like a better idea than a party:

“But honestly I’d rather be
Somewhere with my people we can kick it and just listen
To some music with the message (like we usually do)
And we’ll discuss our big dreams
How we plan to take over the planet”

Icona Pop – “Emergency” – I love the piano, the thing that sounds like a horn, but it definitely isn’t, and that constant rhythm line that carries the tune.  This song is catchy and will make you tap your foot and ultimately jump out of your seat and start dancing to that bass line.

Years and Years – “Shine” – This three piece British electronic group exploded when they released their single “King.”  Personally, I like “Shine” more as it gives an R&B side to the group and is highlighted with what they do best by mixing their synth machine and keyboard that makes their vocals glow.

5 Seconds of Summer – “She’s Kinda Hot” – I know this one has been on the charts and it is totally deserved.  As you have probably come to learn, I love the pop-punk and punk-rock scene.  I think it is epic that a band now is starting to bring back the sounds of Simple Plan, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and Blink 182 to the radio, and new generation of youngsters.  Now, I am not saying 5 Seconds of Summer is any of these bands, but I love the loud guitars, the in your face and abrasive lyrics, and the encompassing drums that brings you into that full rock sound of not being able to hear when you take out your headphones.  I think this lyric sums up the scene that was big in late 90s and it is making a come back – “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene.”

Drumroll please…my all time favorite song of the summer is…

Sigala – “Easy Love” – This British DJ mixes The Jackson 5’s “ABC” and a full blown remix of popular songs, which gives you some easy listening, a pop of color, and a full on explosion of sound that makes it the perfect summer song.  It even gives you some cues on when to start clapping a long.  Also, the music video has two of my favorite things – danceable music and talented dancers.  So, here is my vote for the 2015 summer song anthem.