[Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

coachella crowd 385 240 [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Christopher Polk//Getty Images

Coachella is a beautiful beast. So many bands, so little time and–eventually–energy.

We might not have seen all the bands we would have wanted to like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Chromeo[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Two Door Cinema Club[/lastfm] or [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]PJ Harvey,[/lastfm] but we got to see some of the more hyped-up bands playing the festival and weigh in on whether we think they met our subjective “expectations.”

See if you agree (or even better, disagree) and let us know how you feel in the comments!

7. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Duck Sauce[/lastfm]

duck5 faith ann [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Faith-Ann Young


Dance-floor friendly turntablism meets DJ-sampling of older hip-hop, disco, and house music from infamous A-Trak and Armand Van Helden. Renowned for giving house-disco DJ’ing a more accessible, mainstream feel.


Even if you don’t like dance music, DJs, or the constant thump of house, Duck Sauce does a good job of making you feel like you are not at a rave with a bunch of teenagers rolling around you. Their mix of musical genres and sampling styles has enough witty sonic touches to keep the listener engaged.

One Exception:

Even though we aren’t completely knowledgeable about every Duck Sauce song, the set didn’t seem to vary that much. That could just be a product of us being “rock” people instead of “dance” people.

Bottom Line:

From the frenzied state of the half-coherent crowd, the kids just want to dance. The demographic of any of the “rave” tents seemed between 18-25. Duck Sauce plays up to this and creates a fresh sound for the fresh-faced.

6. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Death From Above 1979[/lastfm]

dfa1 faith ann [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Faith-Ann Young


Sleazy, swaggering take-no-prisoner alternative punk from two musicians who sound like six and have been defunct since pretty much 2005. This means that if you are a young Death From Above 1979 fan, all you may know about their live performances is what you’ve heard from is from us aging (late-20s) dance-punk kids.


Reunited duo, Death From Above 1979, is probably one of the coolest bands to grace the main stage at Coachella with their thrashed out dance-punk circa early ’00s and their underground reputation–rather than being a currently popular mainstream artist or an old popular band. Yeah, you could see Wire or Big Audio Dynamite or even one of those tiny music blog babies like the Joy Formidable, but DFA 1979 are straight-up street cred cool.

One Exception:

If you’ve never seen DFA 1979 play a tiny club, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. They can play a roof off a joint. A dreamy afternoon in the desert is not the most effective way to see them, even if they did completely rock.

Bottom Line:

Not all the reunited acts of Coachella had steam behind them no matter how good they “used” to be, but DFA 1979 sounded like the raddest rock band that you wish was currently on the radio.


5. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The London Suede[/lastfm]

the london suede charley gallay getty images [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Charley Gallay//Getty Images


One of the first Britpop, neo-glam bands to reach worldwide success, the London Suede is one of those bands that most people under the age of 30-years-old have not had the opportunity to see, despite growing up listening to their music (especially if they were underage girls sneaking in Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco.)


Every second of Brett Anderson’s performance was imbued with a raw sexual energy, gorgeous grimaces, rhythmic hip swivels, and glam theatrics. All the audience members were hardcore Suede fans, singing along in perfect unison like they were 18-years-old again when Anderson offered the mic their way. The audience got a set of Suede’s luckiest thirteen hit singles including “She,” “Trash,” “Filmstar,” “Animal Nitrate,” “The Drowners,” “So Young,” and “Beautiful Ones.”

One Exception:

Really, there are no exceptions. Suede was amazing in every way and did not disappoint whatsoever. Sorry, some musicians really are just perfect.

Bottom Line:

Watching Suede really did make me feel like a “beautiful one” again, soaking in the sonic mojo of Brett Anderson’s wondrous power to guide the audience into an ecstatic stage of musical union. For me, the crazy Suede fan, they were the best show of Coachella and the best show I have ever seen in my life–and I do not typically run so over enthusiastic, so you can trust my word is true.


4. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Best Coast[/lastfm]

bestcoast1 faith ann [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Faith-Ann Young


Fuzzy, buzzy ’90s surfer rock reverb with ’60s pop chord structures that has been hyped up by people like Pitchfork and Hipster Runoff. Lead singer, Bethany Cosentino, has been deemed as the newest of the indie rock darlings with her awesome tats, constant sneer, bratty attitude, and tendency towards the effortlessly cool lackadaisical.


Best Coast’s album is a flawless, getting-stoned-in-the-summertime listen, but their live performances are sonically sloppy with too much reverb grind and very  little energy. They are the band you want to love when you see them, but you end up just making excuses for them.

We’ve seen Best Coast several times and the live performance are always the same. There is no excuse. They need to work on their stage presence.

One Exception:

The songs are just really shimmering, easy to sing along with, and evoke a sweet, nostalgia that makes it hard to dislike the band.

Bottom Line:

Best Coast is like your first crush the you idolize your whole life, until you see them again with three kids at the grocery store and you realize that they are not as perfect as you would have dreamed.

3. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Kanye West[/lastfm]

kanye faith ann1 [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Faith-Ann Young

Hype: It’s hard to describe Kanye West as a “hyped up artist” when he’s been around for such a long time, but West does create his own “hype machine.” His gaudy, ostentatious, awkwardly manic personality fills many music lovers with a special kind of rage that makes them forget that the man is actually talented.

In a way, for Kanye, his hype is “reverse hype.” People detest his personality, so that projects to the way they feel about his music.


This was not just a concert; this was an artistically conceptual hip-hop opera with fully formed story line.

Pretty much everything about the show was amazing. From Kanye West being lowered on to the stage from a crane to the creepy angelic backdrop and the tan-clad dancers to the epic fireworks to the passionate, sublime look on West’s face as he performed.

One Exception:

It took the man almost twenty minutes before he even acknowledged the audience which for any musician–no matter how theatrical your performance and how in tune with your “character” you are–does not usually bode well. Thankfully, we were all so distracted by the shiny goings-on that having West personally “connect” with us wasn’t as much of an issue.

Bottom Line:

People either love or hate Kanye West as both a person and an artist, but one overwhelming theme after his performance last night was “I might hate him, but that was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen.”

West always brags about his grandiose concepts and he hypes up a lot of his art. Luckily for West, the hype always lives up to the end result and his stunningly theatrical performance last night at Coachella was literal, of-the-moment proof to all the Kanye West naysayers.


2. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tame Impala[/lastfm]

karl walter tame impala getty images [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Karl Walter//Getty Images


One of the reasons I went to go see Tame Impala was because of what I like to call the “hipster hype.” Loosely defined, “hipster hype” is the adoration of a brand new band to the point of obsession–for about six months. After that, they are totally forgotten about.

A little drugged-out psychedelic 70s rock during a Coachella dusk sounds like the perfect way to chill out after running back and forth from tent to tent. Aussie Cream-esque fuzz trio, Tame Impala, brought that and a lot more.


Tame Impala live up to the hype, but they are also so classic and timeless sonically that they easily sound like one of those quintessential rock bands that could have played Woodstock.

One Exception:

Although they rocked out on stage, for the first half of the set, Tame Impala seemed really nervous. When they finally started to connect with the audience and loosen up, their performance became exceptional.

Bottom Line:

Are these past-inspired musicians the wave of the future musically? It seems like a lot of indie bands are going down a buzzy, reverb-y tripped-out sonic route and Tame Impala could be the band that leads the pack to a new musical movement. Definitely a band to watch out for.

1. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Odd Future/OFWGKTA[/lastfm]

odd future michael tullberg getty [Coachella 2011 Review] Seven Hyped Up Bands At Coachella Get A Dose Of Desert Reality

Photo by Michael Tullberg//Getty Images


This über-hyped Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective of misanthropic teenage skater boys has single-handedly taken the “swag” epidemic to a new level.

Virtually unknown outside of California rap communities, Odd Future went from just being a group of rowdy kids dubbed the “Wolf Gang” with musical (and artistic) talent to being virtually plastered all over hundreds of music blogs.

They’ve been touted as the “new artist to watch” from major music magazines, are building a buzz with their extremely difficult to decipher acronym (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), and are the “buzzband” name to drop if you want to sound “with it” musically.


The drugged-out, die-hard kids in the front row loved the show; the bandwagon music critics loved the show; the group themselves tweeted that they “swagged it out.” Truthfully, we even love the recorded stuff.

But Odd Future’s performance from the perspective of seasoned and critical music performance purveyor was sloppy, cacophonous, and boring enough to make people start yawning and walking out. Even with the animal masks, the screaming crowd, and the special appearance by Pharrell from [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]N.E.R.D[/lastfm].

One Exception:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tyler the Creator[/lastfm]. There is something borderline dangerous in that young man’s eyes that makes him a powerful performer–even when he is just standing there saying nothing.

Bottom Line:

Odd Future just needs time to polish their live performance–and maybe grow up a little if they want to get to Kanye West level. Tyler the Creator even said it himself.


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