Coachella 2012: Weekend 2 brings intense heat

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And then there was sun. Early in last weekend’s installment of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the conversation was how rain and windy conditions could dampen the festival. Sure, there was a bit of drizzle, but not enough for a soak.

On Friday afternoon, those slowly trickling in to turnstiles during the opening hours of weekend 2 (a.k.a. Coachella redux) were probably wishing for just a little bit of rain. With the sun hovering over the fields beaming down a harsh 102 degrees, the Empire Polo Grounds were noticeably vacant.

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Staffers fanned themselves as they clutched bottles of water and food vendors slouched as they awaited business -– the heat getting the best of them. But just as the cloudy sky didn’t cast a gloom on revelers last weekend, the intense heat (and, goodness, do we mean intense) didn’t stop excited festival goers from flocking to early sets.


As long, black, inflatable tubes reminiscent of trash bags gently waved along the ground -- ironically the art installation is called Warmth –- folks sought solace in the shade of the surrounding tents, beefing up crowds for alt-symph rockers Wolf Gang, the Sheepdogs and Dutch house producer R3hab, who had the Sahara tent off to a rocking start early in his 1-hour 15-minute set.

After missing L.A.-based country-folk duo honeyhoney last weekend, catching them was a priority Friday and the Americana sounds of the awfully good-looking pair provided the first surprise of the weekend.

“Since we played Coachella last weekend, we’ve become incredibly famous throughout the week. So no pictures,’ vocalist Suzanne Santo joked as she wiped sweat from her brow and grabbed a banjo (she also strummed a violin quite seductively at one point).

A porcelain rooster perched at the edge of the stage was a subtle reminder of Stagecoach coming up next weekend, but also a comment on the sexual tension of the band’s melodies, which were right at home at Coachella as bikini-clad girls and sculpted boys flaunted their bodies in the audience. It was a perfectly slow way to kick off the weekend, although temperatures were likely a bit higher in the Mojave tent.

Across the field, Mexican alt-poppers Hello Seahorse! warmed up a lighter crowd, likely waiting for Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar to hit the stage. Farther away the hedonistic bump and grind of the Do Lab was in full swing. Clothing was a bit more optional here as one lanky man got as close to his birthday suit as he could by wearing a tiny speedo and a girl fanned herself as she stripped down to her two-piece. A pair of sexy, tattooed dancers soaked the crowd with pressurized water guns that could easily double as gas pumps while singer/producer Natasha Kmeto spun electro-dipped backbeats.

Sure the heat is intense, and is expected to be here all weekend with temperatures in the triple digits. But this is the desert and judging from the lack of clothes spotted, the crowd is ready to sweat out the heat.


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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy @gerrickkennedy