Coachella 2015 Photo Gallery: Weekend Two, Day One
Friday (April 17) was a special milestone for Coachella as it marked the 50th day that the groundbreaking festival has taken place at the Empire Polo Fields, and with it came some stellar performances from the second weekend acts. Almost as if the first weekend was a dress rehearsal, many bands upped their confidence this time around, from Tame Impala’s whirling psychedelic set to Sylvan Esso somehow managing to be even more charming to Ride’s second festival appearance since their reunion.
The buzz around the early afternoon bands undoubtedly drew larger crowds this weekend for acts like Eagulls, Cloud Nothings and Reverend Horton Heat. The high-energy acts were well worth the early trek to the field.
Chicago’s spry 21-year-old Vic Mensa opened up the main stage with an explosive performance to set the bar high for all other hip-hop acts to follow throughout the weekend. His collaborations with Chance the Rapper and Kanye West have helped bring Mensa to the spotlight, but the energetic talent he brings to the stage on his own has ensured his status as a star in the making.
U.K. radio sweetheart George Ezra finally made it to the stage at Coachella, having canceled last week's performance due to a case of viral laryngitis. The cancelation meant that the second weekend marked Ezra’s first festival performance of his young career. While his single “Budapest” seems inescapable, it quickly became apparent that he has many more stories to tell.
While she may have initially gained global attention through her collaboration with Gotye, fans’ eyes have been fixed on Kimbra continually through the years; she’s both a feast for the eyes and ears, drawing you in with her striking outfits and incredibly enigmatic personality and keeping you around with genre-melding tunes. Like a theater performer, her expressions and movements were projected so boldly that she made an impression even on those hovering towards the back of the tent.
Out of all the acts on the bill, Steely Dan might have had the most mixed reaction of either weekend. While many underwhelmed young Nero fans were staked out along the front rail at the Outdoor Theatre to catch the electronic act, a slightly older crowd gathered, ecstatic to see one of the most unique bands to come out of the early ’70s.
As one of the oft talked-about acts of the first weekend, Alabama Shakes are constantly proving that they are here to stay, both in sound and stage presence. With each breath, Brittany Howard elicited praising howls from the crowd. Where their material from debut album Boys & Girls established their sound, their performance of songs like “Don’t Wanna Fight“ and “Future People” from upcoming LP Sound & Color are filling the shoes that they were bound to grow into.
In a genius booking move, the onslaught of Australian acts was represented by new-wave psych rockers Tame Impala opening for AC/DC. They've only performed their new tune “Let It Happen” a handful of times (making its live debut at the Fox Theater just days before weekend one); frontman Kevin Parker stepped back from the main mic midway through the song, at which point the tune evolves from the dreamy stoner psych the group is know for into a super catchy, danceable hook. Tame Impala are the type of group we like to see rising quickly and justifiably to secure a main stage spot in support of the night’s headlining act; delivering well-composed, ear-catching songs, all while remaining incredibly humble. This weekend around the band seemed to settle into the main stage slot with much more confidence.
Even in their 60s (with exception of guitarist Stevie Young), the aussies of AC/DC are still showing rock bands a thing or two. Their second-weekend performance was punctuated by canons, a huge swinging bell, flames, a giant inflatable Rosie, fireworks and Angus Young’s kick-shuffling jaunt around the stage (and eventually onto a rising platform mid-crowd) while performing an extended guitar solo. Although, it was clear that Young gave it his all during their first weekend performance -- skinning his knees in the process -- this time, he was a bit more conservative with his around-the-stage antics. Big production aside, the five-piece group still performs with a fervent energy that gets all generations of festival goers head-banging. We just wish that they had been able to time the impressive set's finale fireworks better with Young’s concluding, scorching guitar solo.
Check out our photo gallery up above to see everything we saw at the first day of Coachella's second weekend. Were you there? Share your experiences in the comments section below!