The Worst of Coachella 2015

Not every moment at Coachella can be magical
Not every moment at Coachella can be magical
Photo Timothy Norris

We didn't have too many lowlights at Coachella this year, but a few minor annoyances and major bummers did stand out. Let us vent about a few them right now.

Those EDM Headliner Billboards

It would be nice to at least wait until setting foot on the festival grounds to see such stark reminders that Coachella is all about marketing, just so we can hold onto the illusion that the festival exists solely for our entertainment for a few minutes longer. But billboards pestering us to go see Axwell and Ingresso’s set started up right around the windmills. Alesso’s people even bought him two, which came off as a little needy. Please, let us drive and spend money in peace. — L.J. Williamson

Antemasque

I worship at the altar of the Mars Volta and At the Drive In, but Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala's return to Coachella as Antemasque had no chemistry, no inspiration. Cedric's voice was at constant shrill; Omar basically sat there. Neither exhibited the musical genius they're so capable of. Watching Antemasque expecting ATDI or TMV levels of entertainment is a bit like chewing a piece of your favorite type of gum a second time around—bland, flavorless and terribly disappointing. — Taylor Hamby

Photo by Timothy Norris
Photo by Timothy Norris
She has no idea of the torment taking place beneath her

That Guy Holding His Girl on His Shoulders for Way Too Long

His intentions were good. Let the beautiful girlfriend or lusty random stranger sit on your shoulders so she can see and be seen. But by 7 p.m. on Friday, you know your back is already a little sore from walking all day. Three songs in, the person on top of you has no idea about the sweaty, spine crushing personal hell you live in. Only that their stomach is a little gassy from too much Spicy Pie. The only people who have an inkling of your plight are the others on the ground who lock eyes with you as you struggle to preserve what's left of your soul as your muscles cramp and your neck between her thighs gets sweatier than Brittany Howard after a blistering 50-minute tour de force. But hey, at least the girl on top of you is happy, right? Oh, the things we do for love. — Nate Jackson

Graffiti and Trash in the Fancy New Bathrooms

This is why you can't have nice things, Coachella-goers. It only took two days for the festival's pristine new bathroom facilities, inside two sturdy buildings with actual flush toilets and running water, to get completely trashed. By Sunday afternoon, the urinals were all filled with discarded gum wrappers, and some knuckle-dragging, gang-banger wannabes had apparently decided to see if they could tag and pee at the same time. (You can't, by the way. Your tags looked like they were made by a pre-school finger-painting class.) If you care that little about your surroundings when you're doing your business, stick to the stank-infested Port-O-Potties and leave the grownup bathrooms to the rest of us. — Andy Hermann

VIP Attitudes

So let me get this straight: You spent at least $899 on a wristband and $150 to park, yet the only thing you want to do is sit on the grass in a fenced-off area next to the Coachella Stage? And not only that, you spend more time watching and judging other people who walk into your plush zone of prosperity than you do watching Hozier. You might be able to mouth the lyrics to "Take Me to Church," yet you elbow and cut in front of anyone who dares walk past you in order to get somewhere. Maybe someone should take you to church and teach you some goddamn manners. We're all thirsty—and we all want that $14 mojito at sunset. But spending the entire weekend giving people side-eye and talking shit doesn't sound like the ticket you paid for. Maybe try getting off your privileged ass and go meet some actual festival-goers. It's never too late to let them teach you a thing or two about having a good time. — Nate Jackson

Love you, Brittany! Your band, not so much
Love you, Brittany! Your band, not so much
Photo by Timothy Norris

Most Middling Rhythm Section: Alabama Shakes

Brittany Howard is a rock star. From the moment she took the stage, the Alabama Shakes lead singer owned it, turning Coachella’s Outdoor stage into her church revival service. Her gritty, husky, powerful voice, filtered through Southern rock and gospel, nearly levitated her adoring disciples. At times, the ghost of Janis Joplin seemed to materialize. Unfortunately, so did the Queen of Acid Soul’s middling rhythm section. It’s not that Shakes drummer Steve Johnson and bassist Zac Cockrell lack chops. But they wouldn't stand out in almost any bar band on a hazy Saturday night, and Howard deserves more. During her Friday night Coachella gig, she had to contend with Cockrell’s oft-distorted bass and Johnson’s occasionally out-of-pocket drumming. That they were followed by Steely Dan, a group with some of the most accomplished musicians in the business, only underscored the pair’s limitations. Just as Joplin did with Big Brother and the Holding Company all those years ago, Howard should replace her uninspired rhythm section. Imagine how much harder the Alabama Shakes would shake then. — Marc Ballon

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Brutally Slow Phone Charging Stations

Although the number of phone charging stations increased at the festival this year, festival-goers had to wait for extended periods of time for their phones to charge. What gives? It took half an hour to build my cell phone battery even 5 percent, so don't underestimate how long it will take to charge yours to the halfway point, lest you end up having to choose between charging and missing out on your next favorite act. — Aimee Murillo

Father John Misty's Greasy Hair

Father John Misty knows how to work a stage. With his gorgeous voice and shambolic, Jim Morrison-like stage presence, he is one of the most compelling acts to come around in a while. The crowd’s rapturous response to his Saturday evening set bears this out. I love the dude – but I hate his hair. Theoretically, it’s pretty awesome: thick, wavy and dark. However, it’s also oily as hell. Maybe he puts special gunk in his mane to get it that way. Maybe he doesn’t wash it. Maybe he doesn’t care. Whatever the case, it’s gross. Mr. Tillman, your talent is undeniable. And your rugged good looks make you a poster boy for the Coachella Generation. But dude, dirty hair doesn’t increase your authenticity or artistry. It just makes you look unkempt. — Marc Ballon

All That Trash

If their performance at Coachella is any indicator of the current generation’s level of environmental awareness, then our planet is indeed deeply fucked. Single-use plastic water bottles — the recyclable kind — littered nearly every square yard of the polo fields. Maybe people think someone else is going to pick their shit up for them, and sure, they’re right — but before that happens, we have to spend our Coachella evenings traversing a garbage-strewn wasteland, contemplating the day when the 20-year-olds stomping around the festival grounds today become the 50-year-old CEOs of pharmaceutical companies and nuclear plants tomorrow. — L.J. Williamson

The Sahara tent crowd does its impersonation of the Sunday night line for the parking lots
The Sahara tent crowd does its impersonation of the Sunday night line for the parking lots
Photo by Timothy Norris

The Sunday Night Exodus

Getting home at the end of Friday and Saturday night was a breeze this year. Sure, exiting Coachella always feels like a trek, but with the festival's vastly expanded parking facilities, you can typically make it out in under 30 minutes. However, for anyone who’s been to Coachella, you know the last day is always the worst. All sets are strictly cut off at midnight, so everyone bottlenecks under the Ferris wheel, frantically calling their friends about which palm tree they decided to meet at. Also, after three days of intense raging, everyone is just exhausted, pissed off and hungry.

This past Sunday was an unprecedented pain in the ass, though. After we all funneled onto the yellow line track towards the parking lots and shuttles, it was like walking — a generous description of our slow shuffle forward — directly through a dustbowl. You couldn’t really see, breathe, or have any room to take a break, as we were all being moved along like cattle. Lazily intoned directions pumped through tired megaphones even gave the whole thing a dystopian, 1984 vibe. Maybe next year, Coachella should consider letting the Sunday night headliners go on earlier, so there's a steady trickle towards the exit instead of a stampede. — Artemis Thomas-Hansard


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