Nov 01

#LOTD2013: July Playlist

Clearly, it was a heck of a summer. Just as I am playing catch-up with my Photo-A-Day project right now (the last blog post got us to mid-July), so too am I woefully behind on sharing the monthly #LOTD2013 playlists I’ve been working on. But, the time is now to move ahead! Here are July’s Lyric-of-the-Day Tweets (find the Spotify playlist I’ve created from these lyrics linked at the end of the post or on the clickable image at right), with some brief explanations (in italics) for a number of the lyrics. Remember, if you want to see the lyrics as they pop up daily, just give me a follow on Twitter!

  • “We all live under the same sky/We all will live, we all will die/There is no wrong, there is no right” #Travis “Side” #LOTD2013 7/1
  • “You’re a needle in the hay/The water at the door/You’re a million miles away/Doesn’t matter anymore” #TheNational “Fireproof” #LOTD2013 7/2
  • “This crazy fog surrounds me/You wrap your legs around me/All I can do to try and breathe/Let me…” #Live “The Dolphin’s Cry” #LOTD2013 7/3
  • “This train/Hear steel wheels singin’/This train/Bells of #freedom ringin'” #Springsteen “Land Of Hope And Dreams” #LOTD2013 7/4 #Happy4th
  • “Be the sun that bursts through my clouds/It’s hard enough just living on this ground” #BlackCrowes “She Gave Good Sunflower” #LOTD2013 7/5
  • “You were better to me than I was to myself/For me, there’s you and there ain’t nobody else” #MarvinGaye “How Sweet It Is” #LOTD2013 7/6 (Celebrated the engagement of friends Seggie and Jamie on the Sunset Strip)
  • “Running from the law the press and the parents/Is your name Michael Diamond/No mine’s Clarence”#BeastieBoys “Shake Your Rump” #LOTD2013 7/7
  • “You know the night time, darling/Is the right time/To be with the one you love” #RayCharles “(Night Time Is) The Right Time” #LOTD2013 7/8
  • “Got a revolution behind my eyes/We got to get up and organize” #LoFidelityAllStars “Battleflag” #LOTD2013 7/9
  • “If you hear him comin’, won’t you say for me/That I just don’t want to go” #Coldplay “Death Will Never Conquer”#LOTD2013 7/10
  • “Thinkin’ of a few/Taboos that I ought to kill/Dancin’ on their face/Like a stage on vaudeville” #RHCP “If You Have To Ask” #LOTD2013 7/11
  • “I was crowned with a spike right thru my head/But it’s all right now/In fact it’s a gas” #RollingStones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” #LOTD2013 7/12
  • “By the time Paul McCartney’s microphone failed/We are all well into the Live Aid groove” #JohnWesleyHarding “July 13th 1985” #LOTD2013 7/13 (The 28th anniversary of the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia)
  • “First I’m gonna make it/Then I’m gonna break it/Till it falls apart” #EchoAndTheBunnymen “Bring On The Dancing Horses” #LOTD2013 7/14
  • “There’s one in the spotlight/He don’t look right to me/Get him up against the wall!” #PinkFloyd “In The Flesh” #LOTD2013 7/15
  • “Now when I was a little boy/At the age of 5/I had somethin’ in my pocket/Keep a lot of folks alive” #BoDiddley “I’m A Man” #LOTD2013 7/16
  • Must play catch-up for #LOTD2013. Here’s 7/17: “Break me down, got a lovely face/Goin’ to your place” #Buckcherry “Crazy Bitch” #RiverRock (Ah yes, the annual Mississippi River houseboating excursion … and its de facto theme song)
  • “My nerves is wrecked/Heart beatin’/My hands swollen/Thinkin’ of the Gs/I’ll be holdin'” #2PAC “Picture Me Rollin'” #LOTD2013 7/18 #RiverRap
  • “I travel from Maine down to Mexico/To find that girl that loves me so” #TheBlackKeys “Have Love Will Travel” #LOTD2013 7/19 (Sure it was in reverse, but over the course of a few days, starting in California, I was in eight states to make my way to a wedding in Maine the following day)
  • “Hey little sister who is it you’re with?/Hey little sister what’s your vice and wish?” #BillyIdol “White Wedding” #LOTD2013 7/20
  • “Was in the spring/And spring became the summer/Who’d have believed you’d come along?” #NeilDiamond “Sweet Caroline” #LOTD2013 7/21 (Saw five hours of Red Sox-Yankees at Fenway, capped off by a Mike Napoli walk-off HR)
  • “So much for the city/Tell me that you’ll dance to the end/Just tell me that you’ll dance to the end” #TheThrills “Big Sur” #LOTD2013 7/22
  • “Camera got them images/Camera got’em all/Nothing’s shocking/Show me everybody …” #JanesAddiction “Ted, Just Admit It …” #LOTD2013 7/23
  • “It was just a man with something to prove/Slightly bored and severely confused” #ThePostalService “Sleeping In” #LOTD2013 7/24 (Postal Service concert at the Greek Theater in Hollywood)
  • “Promise not to sell your perfumed secrets/There are countless formulas for pressing flowers” #Nirvana “Scentless Apprentice” #LOTD2013 7/25
  • “Straight off the f**kin’ streets of CPT/King of the beats you ride to em in your Fleet” #DrDre #SnoopDogg “The Next Episode” #LOTD2013 7/26 (Back in Palm Springs for a couple nights — will always associate this song with the desert after Coachella 2012)
  • “Don’t come back anytime/I’ve already had your kind/This is your payback” #FitzAndTheTantrums “MoneyGrabber” #LOTD2013 7/27 (Fitz And The Tantrums concert at the Wiltern Theater in L.A.)
  • “You wear a mask/An equatorial haze/Into the past/A colonial maze/Where there’s no more confetti to throw” #Beck “Tropicalia” #LOTD2013 7/28
  • “Do you sometimes lust/For the grace that others have inside/The simple peace they make with life” #Cracker “I See The Light” #LOTD2013 7/29
  • “Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp/And it read, ‘Ice Cube’s a pimp'” #IceCube “It Was A Good Day” #LOTD2013 7/30 (Bumped into Cube outside Dodger Stadium after the Dodgers beat the Yankees and my buddy Danny asked, “Is this a good day?” The response: “Hell yea!)
  • “Oh man, I think the clock is slow/I don’t feel tardy/Class dismissed!” #VanHalen “Hot For Teacher” #LOTD2013 7/31

Here’s the Spotify playlist if you’d like to listen along: #LOTD2013: July

Dec 31

My 10 Favorite Moments of 2012

Sure, you’ve read your share of 10-best lists of 2012. But most of them are laser-focused: books, movies, music, sports moments, restaurants, etc. Well, this one’s laser-focused, too. But since it’s my blog, that big laser is shining brightly on me — and anyone who knows me realizes that a list of my 10 favorite moments of the year about to pass is going to include a number of different things. So, here they are … my 10 favorite moments of 2012:

Does this look like November to you? It does at Duke's!

Does this look like November to you? It does at Duke’s!

10. Brunch at Duke’s Malibu, November 4: The opportunity to enjoy a Sunday morning on the patio at the Barefoot Bar at Duke’s in Malibu is something anyone — native or tourist — should enjoy as often as possible. This particular November Sunday featured unseasonably warm temperatures tickling the 80-degree mark and great company, as Caitlin’s family was visiting for the weekend. Sunshine, relaxed smiles, tiki drinks and a great buffet made for one of the best mornings of the year.

9. Jack White at the Shrine Auditorium, August 11: As I wrote in my quick-hitting review on the blog on Aug. 12, “There’s nothing better than going into a concert with high expectations and having them met, let alone exceeded. Such was the case with Jack White’s epic performance last night at the Shrine Auditorium near USC.” The moment of moments that night, though, was White’s stinging performance of his White Stripes classic, “Ball and Biscuit.” To grab my Spotify playlist of that night’s setlist, find it here: Jack White Shrine Setlist 8/11/12

One of the most beautiful spots in NYC.

One of the most beautiful spots in NYC.

8. A Sunday in New York City, September 9: In town for the previous night’s USC football game against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium across the river in New Jersey, we had a full day to kill before catching a late flight back to Los Angeles. It’s been a long time since I did a bunch of “touristy” things in NYC, but with glorious weather to wander the city, we set off on just such a journey, with no pressure and no schedule. The day ended up including: a visit to Gray’s Papaya on the Upper West Side for some dogs; a stop by Strawberry Fields in Central Park; a walk across the park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where we relaxed on the steps and watched the city move by); and, finally, a taxi ride to the Empire State Building where we enjoyed both observation decks. Truly, a perfect day.

7. Dinner at Chicago Chop House, March 10: The company, the city and the celebration would have made this a pretty memorable night no matter what. But, the staff at the Chicago Chop House on this night made it incredible — from the chefs who absolutely nailed the entire meal, to the maitre d’ and servers who made sure the whole experience was smooth, fun and special, there was a high likelihood from the moment this amazing meal ended that it would be my favorite of 2012. Only something incredibly special would be able to push it aside.

6. Christmas Eve at Dad’s, December 24: The most recent entry on this list, last week’s holiday celebration at my dad’s home was among the most relaxed and pleasant we’ve had. After spending last Christmas on the East Coast, it was a pleasure to be back in California for the holiday in 2012. Though the afternoon and evening were still missing a few key pieces, the return of my Aunt Sue to Southern California in 2012 was a massive factor in how great and memorable the day was. It was simply fantastic to have her a part of the family celebration and to see her so happy and relaxed with all of us.

This view of the Eiffel Tower at night was simply stunning.

This view of the Eiffel Tower at night was simply stunning.

5. Viewing the Eiffel Tower Light Show from atop the Arc de Triomphe, October 5: The early fall trip to London and Paris was full of amazing and memorable moments — one of which ranks slightly higher on this very list. However, from the perspective of having a purely “Paris moment,” nothing was better than our climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe on a Friday night. The views were stunning 360 degrees around, but our timing was perfect — we arrived just 10 minutes prior to the 9 p.m. version of the hourly light show on the Eiffel Tower. What happened next can only be the magic of the City of Light.

Compton and Long Beach got back together at Coachella with incredible results, including this great t-shirt.

Compton and Long Beach got back together at Coachella with incredible results, including this great t-shirt.

4. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg Live at Coachella, April 15: My first Coachella was a truly fantastic experience, one that I summed up with one of my longer blog posts of the year. But the highlight of highlights was the event’s closing performance by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. With “The Chronic” being a major part of the soundtrack of my college years, my hopes were incredibly hight, but as I wrote on April 25: “… to say they lived up to those hopes would fall short. An unbelievable 75 minutes that featured a bevy of SoCal hip-hop greatest hits; cameos by Wiz Khalifa, Warren G., Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Eminem; and the much-discussed Tupac ‘hologram’ – what more could you ask for?” Dre & Snoop grabbed the crowd by the throat, opening with their classic “The Next Episode” and showed the 80,000 in attendance that night one helluva great time. To grab my Spotify playlist of that night’s setlist, find it here: Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg Coachella Set List 4/15/12

3. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Perform “Jungleland,” December 4: It took 27 years and nearly 20 Springsteen shows before it finally happened: I got to see the epic “Jungleland” performed live. That it happened as the third of a four-song arc that also included “Badlands,” “Thunder Road” and “Born to Run” — even better. That, two songs later, I also saw my first live performance ever of the band’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” — wow. And all of this was at the tail end of a show that had spent its first two hours and 45 minutes being one of the best Springsteen shows I’d seen in more than a decade. It was one great night.

This menu was simply beyond reproach!

This menu was simply beyond reproach!

2. Dinner at L’Ami Jean, Paris, October 4: I got the idea to possibly visit this bistro during our Paris journey from a short piece I read on When we arrived in town, we had our hotel book a reservation for us. What happened when we showed up is one of the greatest dining experiences of my life. Chef Stephane Jego’s food — advertised at seven courses for $75 Euro, but in reality closer to 10 courses — was beyond creative. I’d have never imagined eating foie gras with smoked eel in a herring bouillabaisse — let alone thinking it was one of the most delectable things I’ve ever tasted. Each course built on the last and was simply spectacular, finishing with the best duck I’ve ever had. For dessert, the restaurant’s famous rice pudding was as good as advertised. Beyond the food, the atmosphere in the tiny (maybe 40 seats) location was so alive. There was great service and great conversation with the folks sitting so close to you that you felt you were at — almost — a communal dinner. The entertainment of Jego finishing each dish for delivery to each table just outside the kitchen was also worth more than the price we paid. If you’re ever in Paris, trust the menu and do not miss this place.

Just minutes after the best moment of 2012, this was captured by the best person of 2012.

Just minutes after the best moment of 2012, this was captured by the best person of 2012.

1. The Kings Win the Stanley Cup, June 11: Yes, certainly the moment of victory was the best. But it was the two months — not to mention the 33 years since my first Kings game in 1979 — leading up to the final seconds ticking away in the 6-1 Game 6 win over New Jersey that made this so sweet. Committing to getting to one game per round prior to the playoffs didn’t seem like such a big thing, considering the Kings were the No. 8 seed in the West. But as they upset Vancouver in round one, thumped St. Louis in round two and put away Phoenix to reach the Stanley Cup Final, those pilgrimages to Staples Center became more and more enjoyable (and expensive). I thought we’d peaked out by attending the Kings’ 4-0 win in Game 3 of the Final, one of the great sports experiences I’ve ever had. But, no … at midnight the night before Game 6, I was about to shut down my computer for the night and head to bed when I decided to jump on to see if anything might have been released for the “sold out” game. When those Premier level seats popped up for face value, I was stunned. Seventeen hours later, we were in the building. And four hours after that, we saw THIS. Go Kings Go, indeed!

All the best for a great 2013!

Apr 25

3 Days, 24 Sets, 1 Unforgettable First Coachella

A week ago Sunday night, I was wrapping up my first ever trip to the Coachella music festival. Not for a lack of wanting, I’d just never been able to make the trip out for the much-beloved and incredibly hyped annual spring event in Indio. After years of hearing stories from friends about the music, the scene, the campers, the house parties … and on and on … I finally made it out for the 2012 edition – the first two feature two full weekends of music.

Coachella Vista

The view from inside the masses near the main stage during Coachella 2012's Weekend 1.

Before discussing all the great music I heard over those three days, one word of advice for anyone who’s never been but who may be considering it: go. It’s a truly gratifying event on many levels – even considering all of the different issues you have to grapple with. “Security,” idiots, Heineken’s near total-ownership of the beer concession – all of these things (and more) pale in comparison to the joy of the music and the excitement of sharing the communal experience when an act is truly connecting with an audience.

Here goes!

Day 1 – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

My sets: Kendrick Lamar, James, Gary Clark Jr., Grouplove, Arctic Monkeys, Madness, Pulp, The Black Keys

Friday night at Coachella 2012

Madness' throwback performance drew a great crowd to the Outdoor stage on Friday night.

 Set of the Day, Senior Division: Madness transported me back 30 years. I felt like an 11-year old in 1982 all over again. The legendary Brits pumped through a rollicking set near sundown, hitting all the high spots of their great ska collection. The crowd that joined them at the Outdoor stage was the first I saw all day that had a median age somewhere near mine – and that crowd was throwing itself one hell of a party throughout the set!

Set of the Day, Period: Hands down, the Black Keys were the highlight of a frigid and sometimes wet Friday. This was my first time seeing the band, and from the opening strains of “Howlin’ for You” to the last notes of “I Got Mine,” this dynamic duo left you in awe of the fact that – for the most part – it was possible just two people could make this loud a noise. Joined only intermittently by backing keyboards and bass, their set (here, less a couple of songs not currently available on Spotify and the full set listing here) was literally drawing droves of people in and closer to the stage throughout. The music was simply magnetic.

Main stage, Coachella 2012 night one

It's hard to imagine all that sound coming from two guys, until you see The Black Keys do it live.

The Advertising Generation Wins: Grouplove’s late afternoon set at the Mojave tent was fun. The L.A.-based band drew a young crowd with their eclectic pop sound. But when they ripped into their hit, “Tongue Tied,” which gained momentum from an Apple commercial late last year, it was sociologically mesmerizing. My, how the music business has changed over the years. Bands now USE commercial endorsements to gain notoriety rather than shunning advertisers to maintain cred. And it works. For Grouplove, it’s clear that borrowing the Apple brand’s popularity and credibility has only been a boon.

Wow of the Day: Austin-based guitarist Gary Clark Jr. He’s often given the “blues guitar” tag, but that sells him way short. He’s only got a four-song EP out, but his debut album, rumored to be arriving this fall, is now in my “can’t wait” category. Incredible guitar work, knowing vocals. And the man can hold his own mixing Hendrix into one of his own original bluesy songs.

Friday Night, Weekend 1

Jarvis Cocker owned the Main stage on Friday.

 The Rest: Compton’s Kendrick Lamar, one of Dr. Dre’s newest proteges (he popped up for a performance during the Dre/Snoop set on Sunday), impressed with his MC skills. More importantly, after braving the horror of Friday’s wholly mismanaged security when trying to enter the grounds, his performance of P&P (pertinent Tweet: You know, I’m goin’ thru sumpin in life, but pu$$y and Patron make it feel aight! Indeed, #KendrickLamar, indeed. #coachella) while we were hanging in the beer garden helped turn the day around right at the start.

Main stage, mid-afternoon

Kendrick Lamar's early Friday show helped set the tone for the weekend.

90s-era Brit rockers James were in fine form during an afternoon set, with the highlight being – predictably – a rousing performance of “Laid” with about 50 or so fans joining them on stage. Arctic Monkeys put in a solid late afternoon set, reminding folks why they were among the “next big things” in the middle of the last decade. Last, but certainly far from least, Jarvis Cocker led mid-90s Britpop giants Pulp through a rousing set in the spot just before The Black Keys. While most were waiting for the set-closing (and, honestly, show-stopping) “Common People” for most of an hour, Cocker – now a near doppelganger for former Eurythmic Dave Stewart – reminded those who remember why he was one of that decade’s top front men.

Day 2 – A Dash of America, A Heap of Britain

My sets: The Black Lips, Childish Gambino, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Kaiser Chiefs, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Squeeze, Kasabian, Radiohead

Saturday night at the Mojave tent

Kasabian repeatedly had the Mojave tent about to burst at the seams.

 Set of the Day: Kasabian absolutely annihilated the Mojave tent in the middle of the evening. Mentally lumped in by me among other solid mid-decade acts from the 2000s (appropriately, two others from that particular lump – Kaiser Chiefs and The Hives – were also part of my initial Coachella experience), I’d heard of their reputation as a stellar live band. Well, to say they brought the 10 songs they played to life on this Saturday night would be a major understatement. The group’s swagger was matched only by the power of its sound, and during songs like “Club Foot,” “LSF” and the closing “Fire,”they repeatedly sent the overflowing crowd bounding through the tent. A truly great live performance.

El Coyote

Sporting my El Coyote hat at Kasabian! The Manson murder tie in = complete!

Song of the Day: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’ “Medicine” simply overwhelmed a mid-afternoon crowd at the Outdoor stage. The musicianship and Potter’s strutting stage presence were on full display. Fans of pure, old school rock have to be excited about the Vermont-born Potter’s emergence.

Shock of the Day: Childish Gambino, a/k/a Donald Glover (of NBC “Community” fame), may be a better rapper than a TV actor. A favorite as Troy on the NBC sitcom, Glover’s hip-hop name came straight the online Wu-Tang name generator – something you might expect from a comedian (FYI, my Wu-Tang name: Vizual Magician. Find out yours here: Wu-Tang Name Generator). However, his MC skills, and the fusion of music he chooses to back up those skills (when’s the last time you saw a solo violinist on stage at a hip-hop show?), belie anyone’s thoughts that this second career may be a joke. He united a large Saturday afternoon crowd on the main stage with witty lyrics, hard-core rap sensibility and great showmanship – even though he performed in a walking boot with a broken foot.

Sad of the Day: Radiohead. Whether it was bad timing for me, a performance that just didn’t reach the size of this particular crowd or, blasphemously, just that they weren’t all that good, Radiohead’s set was a disappointment. And if I could, I’d grab two or three of the dozens of concert-goers who streamed away from the mainstage in the 45 minutes preceding my departure to back me up. Though I’d felt this since early in the evening on Friday, my reaction to Radiohead’s performance – a band I truly enjoy and “get,” though I believe Thom Yorke maybe getting too deep inside his own brain rather often of late – confirmed it: at a festival like Coachella, you really have to follow your own heart and your own mood to make the most out of it. The night before, I’d been looking forward to seeing Mazzy Star. But when it came time for their set, I just wasn’t in the mode for their brand of music. Not that I don’t still really like Mazzy Star – it just wasn’t right for me at that moment. And, unfortunately, Radiohead – at best – fell into that category on this Saturday night.
Saturday afternoon at the Mojave tent.

Georgia's The Black Lips were thoroughly entertaining and definitely rocking.

 The Rest: The day started with The Black Lips out of Georgia. A truly entertaining quartet of southerners, they impressed with their range away from their punk roots, hitting on some early-60s pop beats and some country twang as well. Kaiser Chiefs were unspectactular in a main-stage appearance. It was great to hear the always entertaining “I Predict A Riot” live, but there wasn’t much else to report.

Sunset show at the Main stage.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds took advantage of a twilight set time on Saturday.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (the Oasis songwriter’s new act) was also solid with a sunset slot on the main stage. While Gallagher’s new material is as strong as his stage presence is not, it was not surprising that the highlight of his set was the closing sing-along to “Don’t Look Back in Anger,”the mid-90s Oasis classic. It’s a personal favorite and, therefore, was likely more memorable for me than most.

Saturday evening at Mojave tent.

Squeeze was surprisingly strong, harkening back to their 80s heyday.

Finally, Squeeze definitely put in a performance to rival fellow-80s stars Madness from the night before. Sounding incredibly tight, and with impeccable vocals by Glenn Tillbrook that made you wonder how his voice is still so on-point after so many years, the Englishmen ripped through a series of hits, including “Tempted” and “Black Coffee in Bed,” much to the glee of a surprisingly mixed-age crowd.

Day 3 -Better Than You Even Hoped

My Sets: First Aid Kit, Santigold, Fitz & the Tantrums, Wild Flag, The Hives, Girl Talk, Florence & the Machine, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg

Main stage on Sunday night

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg did, indeed, rip shit up.

 Set of the Day: “CPT, LBC, yea we hookin’ back up” Unquestionably, there were high hopes for the reunion of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at Coachella. Personally, “The Chronic” was one of the key soundtracks to my college years, so of course I wanted an amazing show. But to say they lived up to those hopes would fall short. An unbelievable 75 minutes that featured a bevy of SoCal hip-hop greatest hits; cameos by Wiz Khalifa, Warren G., Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Eminem; and the much-discussed Tupac “hologram” – what more could you ask for?

Snoop & Dre on Sunday night

The crowd for the Dre & Snoop show was alive.

The opener, “The Next Episode,” is a personal favorite and threw tens of thousands of fans – from age 15 to 50 – into a tizzy that never stopped throughout the set. (Of course, the classic “Gin & Juice” a couple of songs later had much the same effect.) I think the look on Wiz Khalifa’s face throughout his performance of “Young, Wild & Free” with Snoop probably spoke for all of us there – he was stunned at the size of it all and enjoying the hell out of the moment (with a spliff the size of a Cuban).

Set of the Day, ‘Fuck You’ Division:The Hives’ late afternoon takeover of the main stage was awesome. The garage rockin’ Swedes, led by the indomitable personality of Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, exploded on stage in top hats and tails and rocked through 10 ripping tunes, including a few debuts from their upcoming album. While the music was great, the expected bombast from Almqvist between (and during) songs may have been even more entertaining. A couple samples:

Main stage on Sunday afternoon

The Hives rocked the faces off the Coachella crowd on Sunday.

In all, The Hives may have put on the most entertaining 50 minutes during the entire weekend.

Speaking of Sweden: The first (and mellowest set of the day) was by Stockholm’s latest import, First Aid Kit. The Soderberg sisters’ folky set included the gorgeous song “Emmylou,”which they basically dedicated to every classic country artist they could think up. On the event’s warmest afternoon, First Aid Kit was the perfect soundtrack to lay on the grass in the sun outside the Mojave tent and just ease your way into the day.

DJ area water blasters!

Sunday was the warmest day of Weekend 1, making the DJ area water soakers popular.

The Uber Mash-Up Artist: I probably can’t put this any better here and now than I did in my Tweet from the moment it was happening: “And now, Girl Talk will play every song you’ve ever loved all at once, and make it awesome. #coachizzle” The DJ led a fantastic Sunday night dance party at the Outdoor stage, mixing and matching everything from the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” to Eminem – and just about everything in between.  The crowd only stopped dancing long enough to celebrate a number of “Oh my god, it’s THAT song!” moments. Between The Hives, this set and Dre & Snoop, the latter part of Sunday was one hell of a fun time.

Outdoor stage on Sunday night

The Girl Talk set on Sunday night was one big dance party.

The Rest: On the main stage, both Santigold and Fitz & the Tantrums provided entertaining diversions on Sunday afternoon. Both were excellent and generally unchallenging soundtracks for hanging out in the Beer Gardens (especially the one between the Main and Outdoor stages since they broke the Heineken stranglehold there by offering Newcastle) and enjoying the sun. Wild Flag rocked as you’d expect a “supergroup” of 90s-era chick-rockers might, while the stage presence of leader Florence Welch was the most mesmerizing thing about the set by her popular Florence & the Machine. To be honest, there was so much BIG about the best parts of Sunday, most of the rest (while good and enjoyable and all that) just kind of fades into the background.

Based on reports, it seemed that weather was just about the only difference between weekends one and two of the new Coachella. Well, that and the report that The Black Keys welcomed John Fogerty on stage to help with a tribute to the recently deceased Levon Helm (that would have been great to see). However, the more I look back, the more I realize that any person’s experience of Coachella is wholly personal. Yes, the communal experience when seeing specific acts is amazing, but the reality is that there’s so much music and so much activity that your enjoyment of the event is wholly on your shoulders. If you don’t pressure yourself too much (“Oh god, I have to see this band because X and X and X said so, but they’re at the same time as one of my favorites!?!”) and follow your own personal mood through the day, you’ll likely find what’s right for you and have an incredible time. I can’t wait for 2013!