Motorhead, Queens of the Stone Age, AFI + More Bring Heavy Music to Hipster Coachella Fest
Weekend one at Coachella is in the books. The famed Southern California music oasis drew more than 90,000 fans who endured blistering daytime temps, a surreal Saturday night sandstorm and a wide buffet of sonic treats. Sure, the onetime indie fest now features as much hip-hop and EDM as it does anything else. But it’s not like there wasn’t any metal or hard rock buried in the sand. You just had to know where to look and thankfully, the headbangers in the house were able to catch ultra-solid sets by the likes of Motorhead, Queens of the Stone Age and a host of others.
Main-stage artists including Cage the Elephant, Muse, QOTSA and AFI (touring later this summer with Linkin Park and 30 Seconds to Mars) all drew fairly massive crowds. The much-anticipated performance by the reunited Replacements was noticeably under attended, yet those who were there were firmly locked in on every angsty chorus.
Motorhead, playing in one of the midsized tents, performed a set that boasted a guest appearance from Slash, who had also jammed with the band two nights earlier in Los Angeles. Legendary Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, who has been ailing as of late, may have lacked a bit of his usual growling swagger, but still pulled off a great show.
There were some other edgier treats to be found around the grounds including venerable punk legends Anti-Flag, Pittsburgh-based punks Title Fight, Anthony Green from Circa Survive, City and Colour, and Strokes leader singer Julian Casablancas.
But the biggest metal surprise of the weekend had to be the middle schoolers from Brooklyn, N.Y. — Unlocking the Truth. The young metal trio who have been turning heads on YouTube for the last year or so kicked things off Saturday afternoon with a searing set of complex metal movements that delighted the several hundred fans who decided to get up early for the 1PM appearance. They played with a confidence that belied their ages and when front-kid Malcolm Brickhouse called for a circle pit, he got that and a little bit more.
In the meantime, if you’re heading out to Coachella this weekend for part two, all of these bands will be there again and this being Coachella, you never know what surprises may occur. Stay tuned.
Queens of the Stone Age
Dallas Green (City and Colour, formerly of Alexisonfire)
Unlocking the Truth
Cage the Elephant