Earl Sweatshirt performs at the 14th Coachella Music & Arts Festival. (Brian VanderBrug / Los Angeles…)
It took a quick refrain from Tegan and Sara’s late night set Friday to fully capture what a lot of the audience was likely feeling under the dark Indio sky.
“If I spend the night then I lose my mind,” the Canadian twin sisters sang sweetly on “Living Room.”
Granted the song, and majority of their set, were anchored in the fluttering matters of the heart – both the yearning and desire of coupling and the earth-shattering devastation of heartbreak.
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But having just experienced the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival a few days prior, it's difficult to go on any musical journey past 11 p.m.
The advantage of schlepping through both weekends in the desert is being able to catch the acts your schedule proved too ambitious to accommodate the first go-round. It was great when you missed afternoon acts like the folk pop of Icelandic indie rockers Of Monsters and Men -- their debut single, "Little Talks," was custom built for festival sing-a-longs -- because they were up against Passion Pit.
Closers like Tegan and Sara and Earl Sweatshirt (both technically went on Saturday morning) felt downright out of reach last weekend – especially after dancing frenetically to the classic hip-hop touchstones of Jurassic 5 and sweating throughout the day. But they were a priority to catch this time around.
Tegan and Sara’s set was one of the more intimate moments at the festival. And when paired with the woozy rhymes of soft-spoken young-in Earl Sweatshirt it created the perfect bookend to the dizzying pace that comes with trying to catch three bands on three different stages at the same time.
Sweatshirt's set, one of the few hip-hop offerings on the bill this year, brought me back to the mid-'90s era of the genre, where rhyme structure was given as much, if not more, attention as the beat. It helped that beat-master Flying Lotus (he’s working on tracks with Earl) was on hand to help steer the groove at the push of a button.
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The 19-year-old breezed through tracks from his first offering “Earl,” and previewed tracks from its oft-delayed follow-up, “Doris,” bringing out Odd Future’s raucous ringleader Tyler the Creator for a tag-team and Mac Miller to tease the crowd with new material.
Energy in the Gobi tent wasn’t at a fever pitch, largely because Earl doesn’t pack the same aggressive chaos into his rhymes that Tyler does. Also the crowd, most of whom probably rushed festival gates when they opened 13 hours prior, were already coming down from their music high (and other substances were likely tapering off as well).
“Y’all look bored,” Vince Staples chided the crowd after his verse on Earl’s “Hive.” Bored? Not at all. Just very tired.
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