Highlights from Coachella 2014's First Weekend!

The long awaited return of OutKast was met with complete indifference by the Coachella hipster nation, who had initially flocked to see the "Hey Ya" duo, but, once there, seemed either bored or stunned by what they saw, leading an increasingly exasperated Andre 3000 to exclaim, "I can't here you!", which had already become a common mantra among the more hip-hop/DJ-oriented acts at the festival.

This being the first of 40 festival gigs slated to celebrate the group's 20th anniversary, which begs the question "How can it be their 20th anniversary if they took seven years off?

Highlights: "Rosa Parks", "Vibrate", encoring with "Hey Ya", and Andre asking the  crowd, "Are ya'll alive?"

Leonardo DiCaprio dances like a normal person at a music festival, go figure.

Nothing like telling the audience about the amazing backdrop you had planned for them but that a few wind gusts prevented Pharrell from using, or how hurt your feelings are about not being able to, uh, sing I guess with a little dust in the air, but that's exactly how studio-wunderkind Pharrell Williams introduced Gwen Stefani, who then came out and performed like the pro that she is.  Mind you, "Hollaback Girl" is easily the most annoying four minutes in music, but Stefani sells it like it's the greatest thing ever.

How bad-ass were Queens of the Stone Age?  Enough to begin their set with their biggest hit, "No One Knows", thereby allowing the fair-weathe fans to leave, having heard the one song they know, leaving QOTSA to tear it up in the desert despite gusting winds, technical difficulties, and crowd indifference.

Highlights: An inspired "Go With The Flow" and the suitably apropos "Song For The Dead" to close out the set.

What band was the biggest, most refreshing surprise?  That would have to be Future Islands, who celebrated their first Coachella appearance by turning in a spellbinding performance.  Singer Samuel T. Herring seemed the most excited to be there and his exuberance came close to flying off the rails at times, but he and the band kept things in-check and turned in the one of weekend's most talked-about sets.

Highlights: Herring's seductive dancing at the beginning of "Doves", closing with a soaring, triumphant "Vireo's Eye".

Greg Dulli and Co. set the dump on fire with a potent, hard-charging set that left this writer wondering aloud "How are these guys not headlining this event?"  With a powder-keg of a frontman and a rhythm section that, even in festival conditions, was laying down some major grooves, when it came to the best rock performance of the day, there was no contest.  Not that we're complaining, but the group's decision to focus on new material from Do The Beast meant that a lot of older favorites didn't get played, but since the album is such a return to form for the band and the crowd wouldn't have known the older stuff anyway, the band made the right choice.

Highlights: "Fountain and Fairfax", "The Lottery" and show-closer "Miles Iz Ded".

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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