Best of the best at Coachella

A shout-out to Coachella’s hottest hap­pen­ings

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - randall.roberts@la­times.com Twit­ter: @liledit

Pop mu­sic critic Randall Roberts touts fest’s top mo­ments.

RANDALL ROBERTS >>> We laughed, we danced and we slogged through dust, cough­ing up muddy phlegm and glug­ging wa­ter. At the 2015 Coachella Val­ley Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val, which con­cluded on Sun­day, 90,000 fans rev­eled in heat while artists re­vealed their pump­ing mu­si­cal hearts on­stage. ¶ But the truth is, not ev­ery act was equally great. Some, such as Belle & Se­bas­tian, seemed merely to go through the mo­tions. Oth­ers, like Kaskade, drew the masses but de­liv­ered one-di­men­sional mu­sic. But who cares what didn’t work? Suss that out among your­selves. Let’s cel­e­brate the fes­ti­val’s ac­com­plish­ments with the highly biased Coachella Awards, which were determined by a poll of one.

Best wardrobe mal­func­tion: Fa­ther John Misty, who split his suit pants dur­ing his Week­end 2 set.

Trouper award: Florence Welch of Florence + the Ma­chine, who broke her foot dur­ing the group’s first-week set but re­turned the fol­low­ing Sun­day to per­form any­way.

Best pos­ing: FKA Twigs, whose sparse dance moves drove the Gobi Tent nuts.

Best rea­son to be dis­grun­tled with Coachella 2015: Dur­ing an era in which two des­tined-to-be clas­sic al­bums by Ken­drick La­mar and D’An­gelo were uni­formly praised, nei­ther gigged in the desert.

Best use of fog: The in­stru­men­tal gui­tar-dance band Ratatat re­turned from an ex­tended hia­tus to fill the Sa­hara Tent on Satur­day. As wind blew the fog, gui­tarist Mike Stroud took cen­ter stage and soloed like he’d just climbed Mt. Ever­est and was cel­e­brat­ing with a few tasty licks above the clouds.

Best public mo­ment of clo­sure :On the Out­door Stage dur­ing Week­end 1, Jenny Lewis in­vited her for­mer Rilo Ki­ley band mate Blake Sen­nett up for a ver­sion of that band’s “Por­tions for Foxes.” Kin­dred spir­its Haim also joined Lewis for a take on her “Girl on Girl.”

Best gui­tarist: St. Vin­cent, who proved that she would dev­as­tate AC/DC’s An­gus Young in a wail-off.

Best cover song: Florence + the Ma­chine and Fa­ther John Misty, who came to­gether dur­ing Florence’s set to per­form Nazareth’s heart­break­ing bal­lad, “Love Hurts,” dur­ing Week­end 2.

Best new fea­ture: Ac­tual bath­rooms!

Best set: Cari­bou, the Canadian dance band whose per­for­mances were a mem­o­rable blend of house, techno, elec­tronic dance mu­sic and rock.

Best af­fir­ma­tion: Abel Tes­faye of the Weeknd. Per­form­ing to close the main stage on the first of two Satur­day nights, the smooth Toronto se­ducer looked at the teem­ing masses, dropped his cool de­meanor for a sec­ond and said, “This is the great­est mo­ment of my whole life.”

Best day-open­ing per­for­mance: Nortec Col­lec­tive presents Bos­tich + Fus­si­ble, whose 1 p.m. Satur­day set on the main stage chris­tened both week­ends with a mirac­u­lous mix of beat mu­sic, Mex­i­can horns and a gen­eral ex­u­ber­ance.

Ris­ing star award: Benjamin Booker, whose chunky, throw­back-ish rock ’n’ roll songs were hard and con­fi­dent.

Best stage de­sign: Fly­ing Lo­tus, who per­formed in a screened-in cube that hosted pro­jec­tions of tripped-out images.

Best band in­tro­duc­tion: Fes­ti­val el­ders Wal­ter Becker and Don­ald Fa­gen of Steely Dan, who were in­tro­duced by Fa­gen as “Un­cle Don and Un­cle Wally.”

Best late-af­ter­noon ex­er­cise rou­tine: DJ Martin Solveig, who aban­doned his mixer mid-set to lead him­self, two dancers and the thou­sands of rev­el­ers in the Sa­hara Tent for a round of jump­ing jacks.

Best ded­i­ca­tion: Ryan Adams, in­tro­duc­ing “Dirty Rain” on the sec­ond Sun­day: “This one goes out to Florence’s foot. Get well soon, foot.”

Best scream: Jesse Lacey of Brand New, whose roar cut across the pitch on both Sun­days.

Best singing voice: Lykke Li. Her respite from per­form­ing has added even more tex­tured nu­ance to her al­ready-won­drous tone.

Best vi­ral stunt gone wrong: Madonna’s big, wet kiss on Drake’s lips, and more telling: his none-too-pleased re­ac­tion.

Best pep talk: The Gaslamp Killer. At the end of his brave, bois­ter­ous set of beat-based fu­sion mu­sic, the Los An­ge­les artist pumped the crowd with a speech. In it, he urged fans in the crowded tent to be­lieve in them­selves and to fol­low their muse wher­ever it takes them.

Best chant: Jack White, lead­ing fans at his Sun­day farewell per­for­mance in a chant of “Mu­sic is sa­cred!”

Ris­ing star award: Ge­orge Ezra. His be­guil­ing set high­lighted his boom­ing croon, es­pe­cially dur­ing his break­out hit “Barcelona.”

Best Ger­man techno set: Ben Klock, whose bump­ing set in the Yuma Tent turned the room into a less ex­clu­sive off­shoot of leg­endary Ber­lin club Berghain.

Best Detroit techno set: The leg­end Carl Craig de­liv­ered a typ­i­cally dy­namic mix of techno and house in­spired by the city’s sem­i­nal sound.

Best rock per­for­mance: AC/DC, “You Shook Me All Night Long.” No ex­pla­na­tion nec­es­sary.

Best re­u­nion: Ride pow­ered sheets of jan­gled dis­tor­tion that not only repli­cated the Bri­tish band’s sem­i­nal ’90s Brit­pop clas­sics but up­dated the sound with even more den­sity.

Best group hug: New York band Swans, who, be­fore per­form­ing their blis­ter­ing Week­end 1 Satur­day rock set, were wit­nessed trad­ing hugs with each other be­fore tak­ing the stage.

Mar­cus Yam Los An­ge­les Times

CANADIAN BAND Cari­bou danced off with this pop mu­sic critic’s pick for best set, for riv­et­ing per­for­mances that merged house, techno, EDM and rock. This was the beat group’s first Coachella out­ing.

Luis Sinco

JENNY LEWIS in­vites for­mer Rilo Ki­ley band mate Blake Sen­nett to share the stage, tak­ing the prize for best public mo­ment of clo­sure.

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