Coachella 2016 – The Good & Ugly of A Festival Attendee

IMG_0798

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.

IMG_0840

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.

IMG_0792

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**

Advertisements

‘My Music is Better Than Yours’ – Generational Music Gaps

My mom’s favorite line when she hears the rap music my brother listens to is, “there is a reason why rap rhymes with crap.” Of course then my brother defends rap music by saying you don’t understand that there is a lot of poetry and deep lyrical thought behind the verses, then of course my mom’s rebuttal is “I still don’t like it.” I’m sure all of you out there have had this disagreement with your parents where they don’t understand why you like the music you like, but what I don’t understand is where did this music elitism stem from? Is it just the love that generations have for the time they grew up in? Is it because they had kids and didn’t really keep up with new genres that were coming up because they were driving kids to baseball practice and dance classes? Or is it because as a kid and a teenager, music speaks to you at a level when you feel like no one understands you?

I still haven’t quite figured out the answer to this question, but what I do know is that new genres and styles of music stem from the past, so why doesn’t everyone like all genres like me?  To continue with the rap music lineage, it is based around storytelling, which is the basis of every music genre in existence. Taking it one step further, this type of music is tied to other styles such as jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. It is tied to the rich history of the streets of New York City and ultimately became a way of expression for the African American and Latino communities in the 1980s. Rap music started off being spoken instead of sung with strong beats, an intense rhythm, and ability to develop strong lyrics if the rapper is truly talented.

Now, I know what the baby boomer generation is thinking especially my mother – “it’s still crap.” In many cases, just like any genre, if you listen to one artists and you don’t like their music it turns you off to the entire style. TuPac is one of the greatest rappers to ever exist. His song Dear Mama is something that hits you deep in the gut when you are listening to it. It brings you back to various points of time in his life, regrets he’s had from his choices, and gives you an image to develop characters in a story like you are reading a book. My brother is obsessed with Eminem. I think Eminem is another artist who has come out of this genre strong. His songs connect to his life, and gives an insight to what he has gone through. This gives listeners the ability to feel like they are understood and connect on a more personal level. For example, Eminem’s Lose Yourself says,

“Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?”

How can this music be crap?  Parents, teenagers, and kids I encourage you to give one another’s generational music a chance.  Classical isn’t boring, rap isn’t crap, and pop music isn’t sub par to the rest of the styles out there.  The next time someone comes to you with new music figure out why they like it, ask questions, and develop some insight on where it came from.  History might surprise you.