Saturday’s second edition of the Coachella Festival — an eclectic 14-hour music and arts event that came 18 months after the first two-day edition — had something for just about every modern music lover, gathering as it did major headliners from the worlds of rock, hip-hop and electronic.
In fact, there was almost more good music than one person could effectively take in, considering that attendees were often forced to choose between two or more compelling acts playing at the same time. If you watched all of Jane’s Addiction, you missed both Tricky and Fatboy Slim, who were each performing in separate giant tents on far sides of the expansive, 78-acre venue.
Catching punk icon Iggy Pop, who turned in one of the most exciting shows of the day, in the afternoon sun on the main stage, meant forgoing Latin hip-hop-funk merchants Ozomatli, on an adjoining smaller stage, not to mention Bay Area rapper Del Tha Funky Homosapean, who performed under one of three large tents.
Temperatures under a steadily beating sun hovered in the mid-90s during the day, and garbage was quick to accumulate just about everywhere, which provided the event’s main comfort hazards.
Attendance was estimated at 32,000.
Jane’s Addiction went on at 10 p.m., and based on the crowd size and noise, the reunited quartet (together again after a four-year hiatus, with Martyn Lenoble on bass) was the day’s biggest draw. A best-of set, featuring such songs as “Stop,” “Jane Says,” “Mountain Song” and the decadent “Three Days,” was similar to past Jane’s reunion shows. Guest bassist Flea joined in during an acoustic version of “Been Caught Stealing.”
Pop worked as hard as any of the day’s performers, seemingly catching many listeners by surprise with his very physical performance style. A long version of the Stooges’ “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog” was a highlight, along with “Raw Power” and “Search & Destroy.”
The Roots followed Pop and were as impressive as ever with their energizing live hip-hop.
A deejay set after midnight by Chemical Brothers generated rave-like conditions in the large Mojave Tent. Wild and hypnotic lights sparkled above the jam-packed crowd, which danced and cheered in reaction to the mesmerizing beats and tension-building samples. Deejay Ian Pooley was an afternoon star in the same tent.
Around 8 p.m., second-stage rapper Mos Def and popular London deejay Paul Oakenfold, who gamely held court on the main stage, competed for the crowd’s affections.
Mos Def deftly blended reggae, hip-hop, R&B and rock, with props due his excellent band of Bad Brains guitarist Dr. Know, keyboardist Bernie Worrell and the Living Colour rhythm section of Doug Wimbish (bass) and Wil Calhoun (drums). Oakenfold struggled, as many of the day’s deejays did, with bouncing turntables on the big stage.
Shortly after sundown, as French duo St. Germain plied jazz-techno waters on the second-stage, unsigned L.A. trip-hop band the Peak Show impressed about 200 curious listeners near the center of the venue, while nearby fire acrobats twirled and spit flames into the dusky sky. Sculptures and other modern art could be seen scattered about the field.