Photos + Recap: Coachella 2014 - Day Two

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Photos + Recap: Coachella 2014 - Day Two

One aspect of Coachella that fails to get much attention is the loyalty that the festival shows to certain artists, particularly those for whose rise to fame the festival has played a part in supporting. Simply looking at this year’s headliners points to this, as Muse and Arcade Fire are typically considered Coachella artists. But, that extends beyond the the top of of the bill. Girl Talk’s Greg Gillis noted the fact that he’d played the festival a number of times over the years, but never the main stage, and it is hard to say that he didn’t bring it for the moment.

Likewise, Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss also saw her band getting their best positioning yet: after dark on the outdoor theatre, right between giants Lorde and Pharrell. Krauss noted it is the third time Sleigh Bells had been booked at Coachella and the third time they were about to play “Crown to the Ground,’ showing her appreciation for the support the fest and its fans had shown the band. It was a tough spot for the band to play, right between two of the most populated sets of the festival. But Sleigh Bells rose to the occasion, entertaining the skeptical pop fans without softening their set, visually or sonically.

And while Pharrell and Lorde were love it or hate it commodities, some of the afternoon sets were more unifying in their appeal. Delivering the single most impressive set of the festival to that point was Cage the Elephant, igniting the afternoon main stage crowd with good humor and energy to spare. It was a reminder that no situation is unconquerable if approached with the right attitude. Likewise, CHVRCHES were given a daylight set that seemed to oppose their aesthetic, but Lauren Mayberry’s genuine sweetness and the energy of her two bandmates created an atmosphere conducive for the enjoyment of their brand of synth pop. The Head and the Heart, playing right after, didn’t draw the same size crowd as they would at Outside Lands or Bonnaroo, but they drew people in by going full-steam ahead on a mix of material from their two albums. “Lost in My Mind” served as a cathartic, feel-good moment that contrasted the rampant drugged-out teenagers that packed tents for acts as different as Julian Casablancas and Future Islands.

The latter of those two proved their many vocal supporters right, as the sincerity and uniqueness of their sunset Gobi performance was about as perfect a a festival performance can get, seeing their stock rise tremendously as a result. Along with a feverish set from the Pixies, there was plenty of reason to skip the main stage for such tired acts like MGMT and Foster the People. While Lorde certainly packed the people in, Banks was far more impressive as fresh act in the same field. Banks and Future Islands could easily be next in Coachella’s tradition of booking at an early point in their career only to see them rise and play after dark, outside in future years. Those of use who strayed from the more obvious choices this year can say we saw them when.