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YouTube's Coachella Live is even better second time around

arabMUZIKAzealia BanksBBCCoachellaCoachella 2012Coachella FestivalCoachella LiveCoachella Music FestivalCoachella Valley Music and Arts FestivalDatsikFaceBookFirefoxFrank OceanGoogle ChromeGoogle+Lykke LiMiike SnowSantigoldSBTRKTSnoop Dogg + Tupacsocial mediaSwedish House MafiaTalk TalkThe WeekndTwitteryoutube+-

Last year I blogged about catching the year’s first big music festival courtesy of YouTube - who broadcast live form the 5 stages over the 3 days. I raved about the really clever interface - how they included hashtags into their live updates - and how slickly the whole thing worked, including the uninterrupted streaming broadcast itself.


This year the layout of the interface was even better - with the current and upcoming bands listed in the centre, and the updates off to the right. It was interesting to see the addition of the ’Login with Google+’ option - although I never saw a Google+ originated post - they were about 70% Twitter Updates, with 30% Facebook - I even logged on myself to post updates during the Azealia Banks and Miike Snow sets.


I did not really start watching properly until the Saturday - and thus caught a mix of highlights and full live gigs by the following artists:

  • AWOLNation
  • Azealia Banks
  • The Big Pink
  • Buzzcocks
  • Childish Gambino
  • Datsik
  • Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg + Eminem, Fiddy, Warren G, Wiz Khalifa et al.
  • Florence & The Machine
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Kasabian
  • Miike Snow
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Radiohead
  • Santigold
  • Swedish House Mafia

I would have loved to have seen, but missed these:

  • Amon Tobin
  • araabMUZIK
  • Borgore
  • Dada Life
  • DJ Shadow
  • Feed Me
  • Flying Lotus
  • Frank Ocean
  • Girl Talk
  • Justice
  • Kaskade
  • M83
  • Noisia
  • SebastiAn
  • The Weeknd

I always compare YouTube’s coverage of this with the BBC’s coverage of its main music festivals. I think the actual live streaming and the social experience is better by YouTube, but overall the BBC still leads - as they provide so much better supporting materials - and actually post up much more of the video highlights - only 76 Videos are listed on YouTube’s Coachella Page - and these are individual tracks, whilst for the BBC there is normally an extended highlights (circa 30 mins.) plus a couple of individual great moments from nearly all the featured performers - a number of the videos on Coachella Live are not even the best moments from those sets.


On my somewhat dodgy Talk Talk connection, I was astounded to get a totally seamless experience over the whole event - did not drop out once - and switching between the 3 live feed options was butter smooth!


As I’ve said before, I’ve quite grown out of sleeping on the grass and waiting in queues for chemical loos. I’m sure I’m not the only armchair festival fan - I would not mind paying a fee if I could access video archives of all the sets. For the above screencapture, I had to go to Firefox as Google Chrome was not rendering the video feed thumbnails properly! How could YouTube be inferior on Google’s own browsing platform - most bizarre!


Of what I saw, I was delighted to catch Azealia Banks’ first proper live show, although none of her material comes quite close enough to her breakout track ’212’ which of course tore the roof off. Radiohead were brilliant as ever, and Santigold was on fine form - for me though, the highlight of what I saw was Miike Snow’s very short but perfect 7 song set, featuring Lykke Li for ’Black Tin Box’ - final song from debut album - ’Animal’ was enormous; would have liked to have heard more from the new album - but what they performed could not have been done better.


There was a huge presence of dance acts too - a strong showing for dubstep in paticular - I caught one of my favourites ’Datsik’, who I love alongside Borgore, Feed Me, Noisia and SBTRKT. I was most gutted to have missed three of my favourites for 2011 - The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and araabMUZIK.


Even though I love my dance music, I totally understand festival fans who prefer some kind of a live band - for me the only dance acts that can cut it properly live are Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada. Those electronic artists who rely wholly on clever light shows, projectors and LED screens are better off in a super-sized Ibiza Club - a lot of the electronic sets are pre-scripted and pre-programmed and apart from a bit of knob-twiddling they totally lack the ’live’ dynamic of spontaneity and improvisation.


I thought overall it was actually a pretty good mix of artists - and the Tupac Hologram was kind of cool, although a little computer-game-animation-ish! I enjoyed most of what I saw, and will happily tune in again next year - there is still plenty of room for improvement of course...

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