April 17, 2013

LA, Indio, Kings and Coachella

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.” 
― Hunter S. ThompsonFear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Not much tops boarding a plane for California with your best friend. We had only sunshine and laughter to look forward to after Toronto's long winter.

Things started out in Los Angeles on beautiful Manhattan Beach to visit one of my oldest friends from Kenora, who lives a rad beach lifestyle when he’s not playing hockey in the NHL. After strolling the boardwalk and eating sushi, I ripped around on Mike's bike while catching the sunset over the Pacific and followed that up with an early morning long run along the coast.

While I've had the opportunity to see Mike play in many North American cities, it was really special to see him play in LA. And what a game he played, earning himself the highly-regarded first star of the game. I never fail to be inspired by his drive, dedication and talent.

LA was a hit but we had places to be. That meant taking a grubby beat-up Greyhound bus to Indio.

In the months leading up to Coachella, my little hippie brother Ben and the ever-amazing Ali shared their passion for music festivals with me through song-of-the-day texts, tweets, posts and emails. Their love for music is so deep; you can't help but want to be a part of that energy.

I had no expectations for Coachella nor did I necessarily plan much of anything in advance after my brother Ben took all the initiative to rally the group in preparation for what would go down during our days in the desert.

Led by Ben's plan, we saw over 40 bands play of the 190 bands who performed during the three day music and arts festival.

The Empire Polo Field grounds produced countless moments of music induced greatness and awe. 

A few highlights and moments to remember...
  • The epic sand storm on the final day that forced us all to wear bananas and sunglasses over our face through the night.
  • Camping with only the bare essentials without showering for three days. 
  • Watching Maeve sleep in the freezing car every night because she while remembered to bring her jean jacket and suede vest to the festival, she forgot to bring a sleeping bag and any camping gear for that matter!
  • Dancing in the wind under a dusty desert sky to Red Hot Chili Peppers. 
  • Maeve and Ben taking turns on each others shoulders to catch views from the top.
  • Finally hearing Band of Horses live.
  • Entering the Sahara tent for the first time when C2C started their set...music and dance will never be the same for me. You just have to freakin' dance like a maniac.
  • Spending hours upon hours dancing like it was the last time in our lives we ever would. Major Lazer was a highlight for this.
  • Experiencing the artful side of Coachella that showcased a roaming snail, early morning arts and crafts tent and countless installations.
  • A few turns on the Ferris wheel.

And finally some moments that won't mean anything to anyone except Benny, Ali and Maeve. 
  • None for me thanks.
  • Welcome to Indio. Pink. Pink. Pink. Pink is my favourite colour. Follow the pink path.
  • Dirt tans. Dust tans.
  • Where are the seagulls?
  • Slow motion "don't sit down"
  • Who brought the motha f**kin' sand storm?
  • Lilo's last weekend. 
  • Peanut butter and jam with trail mix wraps.
  • Heineken tent.
  • Spicy pie.
  • Glow sticks.
  • If you've got a head. You can do a stand.

Friday's plan, and list of what we made it.

Lord Huron
The Shouting Matches
Jake Bugg
Dillon Francis
Of Monsters and Men
Dog Blood
Modest Mouse
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Band of Horses
Jurassic 5
Tegan and Sara
The Stone Roses

Saturday's plan, and list of what we made it.

Birdy Nam Nam 
Billy Clyro
Wild Nothing
Ben Howard
Major Lazer
Hot Chip
The Postal Sevice
Franz Ferdinand 
Lucent Dossier Experience

Sunday's plan, and list of what we made it.

Geap Vally 
Little Green Cars
Alex Clare
James Blake
Vampire Weekend
Pretty Lights
Father John Misty
Wu-Tang Clan
Red Hot Chilli Peppers

And as the dust storm set in, we were on our way back to LA.

Seven days of California sunshine is great for the soul.