Coachella Day One: On Friday, Every Cloud Had a Silver Lining–Plus, the Biggest Frikkin Deal Was Paul McCartney's DJ Set

So many ch-ch-ch-changes at Coachella this year! From the logistics (wristbands instead of tickets; an off-site Will Call; a benign traffic jam to get in) to the music, Coachella 2011's first day is a definite improvement over last year's. We have to say none of today's shows are going on our “most memorable” Coachella list (read our previous musings on Odd Future here, and Lauryn Hill here).

Still, every cloud has a silver lining–here's our Friday in a nutshell. (Remember: Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards!)

The Cloud: On Friday, the big stages kind of dwarfed the acts in them. Interpol, the Black Keys and Kings of Leon are great bands when you're watching them in 3,000-person rooms, but as the big acts on the main stage on the first night of Coachella, it just emphasized the fact that the line up this year just wasn't that strong. 

The Silver Lining: This year, we didn't run around
like headless chickens navigating the schedule and trying to dance for
15 minutes of at a Sahara tent DJ set before rushing off to the Outdoor
stage to catch 10 minutes of another band. We got to enjoy our food, relax by the main stage, stop by the DoLab tent.


The Cloud: What was up with the sound issues
on the main stage? Lauryn Hill had them at the beginning of her show.
The Black Keys–who played on drummer Patrick Carney's birthday–sounded
muffled, prompting the crowd to chant “Louder, louder!” during their
otherwise ferocious set.

The Silver Lining: I snuck a nap in there somewhere after being up for 32 hours straight.

The Cloud: We missed Monarchy's set (so I don't know whether or not they did the flashmob successfully) in favor of Kings of Leon.

The Silver Lining: I once read a review saying that Kings of Leon, while a fucking
awesome band, was not a band for arenas, because arenas kind of made you
realize that Kings of Leon was not U2, per se.  Still, who wants another bloated,  self-aggrandizing
live show ala U2? While Caleb Followill's voice seemed not its suave
self,  their radio-friendly, hit-filled headlining slot made me realize
just how dang likeable those dang Followill brothers are. And while as a
band they execute their live show with a lot more polish, they really
shone when playing songs from their older albums, Aha Shake Heartbreak and Youth & Young Manhood.

The Cloud: Interpol plays the same dirge-y set everytime I see them. And I've seen them more than 12 times in the past five years.

The Silver Lining: Interpol plays the same dirge-y set
everytime I see them! As a fan, I always know I'm going to dance to
“Obstacle 1” when it comes on.

The Cloud: Robyn's set was fun, but not that groundbreaking either.

The Silver Lining: We meandered over to her neighbor Sasha's set at the Sahara tent and automatically felt older. Everyone was playing with glowsticks that were so technologically advanced, they were built into gloves! W000!

The Cloud: We missed Paul McCartney doing a guest DJ set at Afrojack.

The Silver Lining:  Seemed like everyone else did, too. Were
you there? Leave us a message in the comments and let us know what songs
he played on the ones and twos–or, you know, if he only had a one (or
an iPod, har har).

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