Coachella Day Three: Last day with Tame Impala, Pretty Lights and RHCP

Music connoisseur Elizabeth Kahn recounts her journey from Syracuse to her favorite place in the world: The Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.

Sunday, April 21: Day Three

11 a.m.: I sleep in for the longest on Day 3, probably because I’ve been overexposed to the sun for the last 48 hours, jet-lagged, and finally adjusted to the desert nighttime and camping lifestyle conditions… too bad it’s all going to be over soon.

2 p.m.: Coachella Art Studio sponsored by The Coachella Valley Art Scene During the day I managed to check out the Coachella Art Studio on the camping grounds, about a five-minute walk from our campsite.

Everything was free inside the tent, which had a DJ playing a mixture of old-school rap to Wu-Tang Clan (who played on the Outdoor Theatre later that evening), as well as several tables with various crafts like cloth headbands, letters, necklaces and pole-like objects decorated in glow-in-the-dark lights to make it easy to find your companions in a crowd. 

4:15 p.m.: Grimes at the Gobi Tent - I only stayed for a few minutes because I wanted to get on the Ferris Wheel before Tame Impala and try to catch some of The Lumineers at the Coachella Stage, but what I heard I thought was kind of weird. I have mad respect for Grimes as an artist; she’s original and does her own thing, but I thought her dances kind of put me off so I dipped. Listen to “Oblivion” if you aren’t familiar with her.

I checked out Water Bar, which was a Hydration and Education tent in between the Gobi and Mojave tents. Global Inheritance sponsored the Water Bar, which was all about starting a dialogue and getting festival attendees to be conscious and mindful of the future of water. They had a survey for people to fill out, which yielded free “shots” of various kinds of drinking water once they were finished.

Oasis Water Bar

6 p.m.: James Blake - I absolutely loved James Blake’s set. I’ve been itching to see him ever since he dropped his CMYK EP back in 2010. His voice was superb and his surprise performance with RZA of Wu-Tang Clan made for a nice splash of trip-hop in between his mellow set.

6:35 p.m.: Rodriguez for a hot second at the Gobi Tent - As per usual, my timing was on point and I walked through the only Rodriguez song I knew “Sugar Man.” If you don’t know it, get on it. He has a Santana-like sound that’s really chill. Glad I got to hear him, even if it was only in passing to the most anticipated act of the weekend, Tame Impala.

6:40 p.m.: Tame Impala at the Outdoor Theatre - I managed to snap three photos in the press pit until security kicked me out. Tame Impala is my favorite band next to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I’ve been waiting to see them ever since missing their shows in Boston and LA this past year. Their sound reminds me of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. It’s a beautiful mixture of ‘70s psychedelic rock with a pinch of MGMT. I wish they would’ve played longer, but I was very happy they mixed up their set with tracks from their newest studio album Apocalypse Dreams, Innerspeaker and their self-titled EP. This is a band that is just about to hit it big, take my word for it.

Tame Impala

7:40 p.m.: Father John Misty at the Gobi Tent - Good folk music is hard to come by, but the ever so talented Father John Misty (Joshua Tillman) knows a thing or two not only about music and being a performer. He’s quite funny too, describing the combination of his and Vampire Weekend’s sets as “the voice of god” (since the two bands were playing at the same time). His band looked like something out Almost Famous, and his voice sounded beautiful as the sun set on the last day of the Coachella 2013 festivities.

Father John Misty

8 p.m.: Pretty Lights at the Outdoor Theatre - As a huge Pretty Lights fan, I was somewhat disappointed of Derek Smith’s set at Coachella. This was the first time I saw Pretty Lights and before the festival I read that Smith’s been very aggressive with drugs in recent months, which has impacted his live shows. At one point, the camera caught Smith’s face as he lifted up his cap, his eyes completely whited out — not normal. He had a visually stunning light show, but I wish the music was better.

Pretty Lights

9:30 p.m.: Wu-Tang Clan at the Outdoor Theatre - I stayed for the first three songs of Wu-Tang since I had to be at the front of the Coachella stage in time to enter the press pit for Red Hot Chili Peppers. The field was packed with fans, who were a little aggressive. One girl hit me and gave me a mean look as I was trying to squeeze my way to the front of the soundboard to find my friends — not very ‘chella-like. Seeing these hip-hop legends reunite for Coachella was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something only Coachella would pull off. As I was exiting the Outdoor Theater to head over to the Coachella Stage, “Shame on a Nigga” started and I couldn’t help but have a mini dance battle with a man in the crowd (stranger)… something that would only happen at Coachella.

10:20 p.m.: Red Hot Chili Peppers on the Coachella Stage – Dream come true. I was granted permission to shoot RHCP from the photo pit as they closed the second weekend of Coachella. I was beyond thrilled to have this opportunity, especially since I have been a huge fan since seventh grade. I even had a Red Hot Chili Peppers-themed 13th birthday party.

This was my third time seeing RHCP, and by far my favorite. They know how to perform and put on a great show, but more than that RHCP connects with the audience unlike any other rock band I have seen live. Flea jams like no other, throwing his body back and forth as he “slaps da bass,” while Anthony Kiedis soulfully sings his way through the set list, which was a nice compilation of old and new tracks. New addition Josh Klinghoffer (John Frusciante’s replacement after leaving the band before I’m With You) really impressed me. I don’t know if it was because he was 8 feet away from me rocking out like no other or if I was just mesmerized by his good looks.

11:30 p.m.: I left RHCP to enjoy my last meal from the Coachella Food Court, which never fails to deliver a good meal.

Midnight: I wanted to get to the merch tent before the end of the Chili Peppers set. There was one tent with the bands’ merchandise and a separate “Coachella Boutique” with fake wood floor panels, couches and air conditioning, looking very much like an Urban Outfitters. I really loved the prints they had for sale but they were too expensive. It’s interesting to see how Coachella is branching out and becoming more mainstream.

Total Acts Seen: 8

Things I wish I had seen: Disclosure, Paul Oakenfold & Mord Fustang

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