My First Two Weeks in Smashville: Festivals, First-Time Jobs and FAR too many Cowboy Hats

Moving to a new city is pretty overwhelming. You can research about the best restaurants and bars as much as you want, but nothing prepares you for the amount of inherited ignorance you assume when you make your first wrong turn down a one-way street. The sign is clearly there ( ONE WAY ONLY) but you were too busy looking down at Google maps on your phone trying to figure out how to get to the closest gas station, because you literally don’t even know where that is.

Continue reading “My First Two Weeks in Smashville: Festivals, First-Time Jobs and FAR too many Cowboy Hats”

the ‘Chella Diaries: Day 2 (April 12th, 2014)

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As I sit in my fluffy hotel bed eating my crispy hash browns, sunny side up eggs, bacon, and white toasted slathered in orange marmalade, I question how this weekend could be slipping by so quickly. Yesterday was day 2 of the CHELLA DIARIES. Luckily, Shelby was feeling ten times better and all three of us survived the whole day. We slept in and indulged ourselves with the delicious breakfast buffet that our dream hotel offers. I had an omelet and a Belgian waffle with chocolate chips, syrup, whipped cream, and cinnamon whipped cream. Yes. After experiencing the blistering sun in mid afternoon yesterday, we decided to get a little bit of a late start yesterday at around 3:30ish. Unfortunately, we came a little too late to see Cage the Elephant who I would have really enjoyed watching, but its okay because I got to see all of these people:
City and Colour 4:30-5:20: the main singer of this band has the most beautiful, folky, voice and it could put you to sleep. That mixed with the acoustics was really beautiful.

Kid Cudi 5:45-6:45: I had never seen Kid Cudi before this performance and I was a bit surprised by his look; he was a lanky, tall guy wearing fitted jean shorts and a red crop top, almost like a college kid from the 80’s. He wasn’t like one of those intimidating big rappers that barely smiles, instead he was this loving, friendly guy who wouldn’t stop smiling and looked like he couldn’t harm a fly. He has such an awesome voice and he had a really cool set; I really admired his originality. Cairo and I were packed up super close like sardines in a can; it was ridiculously crowded. During the performance he came out and sang right up next to the crowds and we were 5 feet away from him!!! My favorite songs are, “Up Up & Away” “Erase Me” “Day n’ Night” “Mr. Rager” “Soundtrack 2 My Life” “Pursuit of Happiness”. One of my favorite shows for sure.

Dillon Francis 6:45-745: We scurried over to Dillon Francis and met up with Shelby; Shelby saw Cudi but came to the festival with her dad instead of taking shuttle with Cairo and me. She cried at Cudi because she absolutely loves him. In the Sahara Tent, you could obviously assume that Dillon Francis was insane. We got up close to the front but all the way on the edge of the tent, tightly squished between people but not as bad as Cudi. Dillon Francis was hilarious when he talked to the crowd and put on all his little personas like “DJ Hanzel” and he made the crowd go crazy. It was really fun to dance to his music, but we ended up leaving halfway because eventually the music started to get a bit repetitive, but mostly in order to get a good spot for Lorde.

Lorde 7:55-8:45: LORDE WAS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. It’s crazy to think she is 17 years old, because SO AM I. I was very curious to see how she would perform, considering everyone was hating on her for her “freak performance” at the Grammy’s which I had never even seen until this morning when I looked it up to see what all the judgment was about. Her voice sounded exactly like it did recorded and it was absolutely beautiful. She’s got a really funky kind of punkish-pretty voice and its like nothing I’ve ever heard, plus her accent makes it ten times cooler. She’s got this relaxed attitude and acts so natural on stage, as if she’s performing for some good friends and doesn’t have to worry about what people think;she gets so into her music and I love that in an artist. She jolted her body and moved around simultaneously with the beats of her music and her hands friskily moved in the air like she was the composer of a symphony, directing her music. It was genius and beautiful and incredible and I died. My favorite songs are “A World Alone” “Buzzcutt Season” “Ribs” “Team” “Tennis Court” “Royals” and especially “Love Club” but she said she had to skip a song or else they would cut her set off, and I think “Love Club” is the one she skipped!! So sad but still amazing.

Foster the People 8:20-9:10: We skipped over to Foster the People and chilled in the grass. Cairo and Shelby sat down and relaxed and I danced around on the grass to all of their music. The lead singer’s got such an energetic, dynamic voice and their music is so catchy!!! I loved it when they played “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Don’t Stop” back to back. So awesome.

Skrillex 11:25-12:55: Skrillex was absolutely PACKED with people and was probably the most crowded show of the night. He was awesome and everyone was going absolutely nuts. Claire, Taylor and I were up really close to the front and we in the center of the crowd (Cairo and Shelby went to go sit and get hot chocolate because they were cold and tired). We stayed in for Skrillex for most of the show but I started to get bored with the music. Last year I had the time of my life in the Sahara Tent and I think it was because I had never experienced anything like it before and EDM music was new to me, but this year I already knew what to expect so I didn’t get the same sort of shock. It was still so much fun, but I just get a little tired of raving to EDM music nonstop because personally I think it all starts to sound the same after a while. So we left and I met up with Cairo and Shelby and we were exhausted so headed home to crash for the night.

If you didn’t know, last year there was a giant wind/sandstorm Sunday night of weekend 1 and it happened again, ONLY ALL DAY YESTERDAY. Grains of sand danced in the vicious wind and felt like tiny needles hitting our skin. We walked around with what I call a “Chella Stache” or in basic terms a dirt mustache. It’s the only appropriate time that you can sing the song “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” and actually be wearing them along with everyone around you, because if you don’t sand and dust will cloud your eyes and trust me it’s NO FUN. I absolutely cannot wait to rock out for our last day and scream and cry for Lana Del Ray. LIVE LUV CHELLA!

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^ SAHARA TENT!!!!

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^ Cairo, Shelbs and I

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^^ pretty bad photo quality… BUT its LORDE!!

~xoxo Ali~

the ‘Chella Diaries 2014: Day 1 (April 11th, 2014)

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After a 3 hour car ride and coverage of my entire Coachella playlist, Indio was finally in eyesight. This year, I am attending the heavenly 3 day music festival with two of my best friends, Shelby and Cairo. Shelby and I have been friends since preschool and live in a 1 mile radius of each other and we met Cairo at the sleep away camp we’ve been attending since elementary years. We have managed to stay close with Cairo, who lives all the way out in Paolo Alto for the past four years even though we only see each other a couple times a year, if that! Yesterday was our first day groovin’ in the Indio sun and it was sublime. Coachella is not just a festival, it’s a feeling and every time I step foot on the grassy planes and see the sparkling Ferris wheel twirl in the baby blue sky, all previous worries and life distractions evaporate with the scorching heat. Yesterday, we began the day at around 1:30 and immediately bought our chella clothing, because last year I had to wait in a ridiculous line on Sunday and I knew it’d be smart to get it over with right away. We bought super cute Coachella jackets and were excited to begin the adventure, but Shelby turned snow white and felt an immense rush of fatigue fall upon her. She ended up going to the medical tent to rest and then joined us again for our second band but felt sick again, so ended up going back to the hotel to rest for the rest of the day. Cairo and I were very disappointed in this and felt horrible for Shelby, but luckily we met up with my best friends Serena and Claire (Claire I went to chella with last year for both our first times) and my other friends Caroline, Taylor and Kennedy. This is a list of the bands we watched yesterday:

MS MR: 2:50-3:55 We saw the second half and ending of this band. My favorite songs are “Bones”, “Dark Doo Wop” and “Fantasy” which we got to see and they were great. The girl singer has rockin red hair!

ASAP Ferg: 3:40-4:30 Went here because Cairo, Shelby, Serena, and Claire wanted to and I stayed for a bit. I wasn’t exactly satisfied with the performance considering it consisted of a lot of yelling and shouting and I wanted to hear a bit more melody in my music, so Cairo and I headed over to Grouplove.

Grouplove: 4:00-4:50 I saw Caroline and we went into the crowd and got there just in time for their most popular songs, “Tongue Tied” and “Ways to Go”. The guy singer had awesome shaggy blue hair and was wearing an extremely oversized, holy tee shirt and some pants. He reminded me of Nirvana’s, Kurt Cobain. The girl was wearing a funky, tight full body blue unitard of some sort and she rocked it.

HAIM: 4:55-5:45 I left Grouplove a bit early so I could get a good spot at one of my favorite bands playing at chella, HAIM!!!! Three Jewish girls from the valley just like me! I couldn’t find any of my friends so I literally stood super close to the front all by myself in a crowd of some nice college kids. I was talking to this one guy who said he went to school with them and grew up in the Valley. I asked him where they went to school and shockingly found out they went to MILLIKAN MIDDLE SCHOOL, which is where I WENT! For high school they went to LACHSA, which is where some of my friends go! Pretty crazy. Regardless of the fact that my friends weren’t around I had an amazing time as I sand along to every single song they performed. Their guitar playing skills amazed me; they were jamming out and soloing like real rock stars. They were beautiful and amazing and I absolutely loved it. My favorites are “My Song 5” “Falling” “If I Could Change Your Mind” “Go Slow” “Don’t Save Me” and of course “The Wire”.

Kate Nash: 5:50-6:35 Met back up with Cairo and we were expecting to hear some of the cute melodic tunes of Kate Nash but were surprised to see her in a completely different persona, a girly punk rocker and I didn’t hear any songs I knew, so we headed over to Ellie Goulding. My favorite songs from her are “Pumpkin Soup” and “Merry Happy”

Ellie Goulding: 6:40-7:30 We made it just in time to hear all of Ellie’s main hits, “Lights” “Burn” “I Need Your Love” and “Anything Could Happen”. She has an incredibly unique voice and her range is surprisingly huge; she put on an awesome show and really has some nice pipes.

Chromeo: 7:55-8:45 Might have been my favorite show of the night. I started listening to Chromeo a couple of weeks before the festival and grew to love their funky, soulful techno music which is unique to anything I’ve ever heard. I rocked out to every song with all of my friends and got to sit on this super nice guys shoulder’s during their biggest hit, “Over Your Shoulder” and I danced up there for the entire song. I got a perfect view of the entire crowd and the stage and kept looking over my shoulder and singing to my friends while he sang “Stop Looking Over Your Shoulder” and it was pretty awesome. Definitely one of the highlights of my Chella 14 experience. My favorite songs are “Hot Mess” “Needy Girl” “Over your Shoulder” “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” “Come Alive” “Bonafied Lovin’” and “Night by Night”.

Flume: 9:30-10:20 Flume was incredible. We all went nuts for the performance as we jumped up and down bumping our heads and pumping the air. He is a hot Australian dude and his mixes are super catchy and relaxingly energetic which is kind of a paradox, but that’s why it’s so cool. Can’t wait for more rave and EDM music. My favorites from him are “Sleepless” and especially, “Drop the Game”

Zedd: 10:05-11:20 We got to see the end of Zedd, which was in the infamous SAHARA TENT. We went to the back and got to listen to two of my favorites, “Clarity” and “Stay the Night” but had to leave to get to Outkast on time so didn’t get to see my real favorite one, “Lost at Sea”. But it’s okay you win some you lose some. I felt my heart bump and the adrenalin rush through my blood as I screamed and jumped to the music with Cairo. It was amazing!!

OutKast: 11:05-12:30 OutKast was groovy, funky, and totally old-school. We chilled in the back and sat on the cool grass to give our bruised, numb feet a break! It got a bit chilly so we put on our hoodies and got up and danced to the songs we knew. I went absolutely insane during “Roses” “Ms. Jackson” “Rosa Parks” and of course. “HEY YA” !!!!! Serena and Claire left it early because they were tired and eventually so did Taylor and Kennedy but Cairo and I toughed it out to stay at the end and see those songs. Afterwards we sprinted out to avoid the crowd, the cool wind whipping its fingers through our rat-nest filled dirty hair. We ran towards the shuttle lines, hopped on, and got back to the hotel.

Currently it’s the afternoon on Sunday and we are about to get ready to head over for our second day in the Indio sun!!!!!

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~xoxo Ali~