For years now, there has been one stage at Coachella that stands out more than any other. It doesn’t have the mainstream attention that the Coachella Stage garners every year and it doesn’t have near the amount of decibel levels as the Sahara Tent’s sound system. What does The Do LaB have that sets it apart from the other stages in Indio every April? The answer is actually quite simple— authenticity.
It’s always been a surprise as to how this one relatively small stage at Coachella consistently outdoes itself year after year without the complete oversight of Goldenvoice. For over a decade, its been a designated spot to meet for thousands of groups of friends. The “team” takes turns spraying the crowd non-stop with water to cool you down in the blistering heat. The Do LaB even gets the freedom to choose its own lineup. In short, it is the one place within the grounds that is still a separate entity within Coachella. This year, I decided to get the inside scoop as to how The Do LaB always comes through and never fails to disappoint.
When I arrived backstage, I was amazed at what I saw. Their art installation, which was dubbed Big Fish, was accompanied by plush couches with ample room, mist spraying overhead, a keg on ice full of their own microbrew appropriately titled Lightning in a Bottle, a chef serving delicious fish tacos, and of course, non-stop dancing on stage. So, the question still remained. How was this all possible? Irene Pak, a team member who was working as the guest list operator had this to say:
“Well, lets just say that I was there when we sent in the proposal to Coachella. I never would have thought it would have blown up this much. Initially, we were brought in to bring in a shade dome, but we snuck in a sound system and our own DJ’s without permission. Luckily, they liked what they saw. The very next year they gave us a sound system and it took off from there.”
In this industry, there’s no shortage of awesome stories when it comes to humble beginnings but this tale about the creation of The Do LaB is especially extraordinary. As I continued about my weekend, it was clear that the talent they were bringing was unparalleled compared to any other year. In the past, The Do LaB has seen the likes of headliners such as Mimosa, Christian Martin, and even Australian beatboxing legend Dub FX. This year however, virtually every artist that performed was capable of headlining in their own right. It’s one thing to see a lineup on paper but its always been something else entirely to see such quality artists perform right in front of your very eyes. From Justin Jay to Til Von Sien, to MANDY, My Favorite Robot, and even Gorgon City, it was truly spectacular to see all of these artists get down just as hard as the water soaked fans who were standing front and center. Everything else aside, if theres one thing I learned about this stage over the weekend its this— The Do LaB will always be the heart of Coachella and it will forever be something special.
Ooah, most well known for being one third of the American bass driven supergroup The Glitch Mob as well as one half of PANTyRAiD, had a live set for the ages. Headlining The Do LaB on Saturday night, he took to his laptop and midi controller and performed just as if his collaborators were up there with him. Controlling the tempo of his music with BPM’s slower than most of the artists who performed earlier, his style was a nice change of pace and the crowd loved every second of the bass throbbing.
Jai Wolf, the 23 year old producer and DJ based out of New York City surprised everyone by beginning with a deep house mix that gradually turned into a collection of his well known original tracks and remixes. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the variation of music throughout his 1.5 hour set as he definitely raised the bar not only for the remaining artists who had yet to perform, but also himself.
To say this Coachella was one for the books would be nothing short of an understatement. Although some people looked down upon the line-up this year, it is these very attitudes that make those who are present at the polo fields go out in order to discover what’s behind the fold and explore fresh new music and artists. Beyond everything, one thing is more than certain— as long as The Do LaB has a home at Coachella, the good times are sure to roll.
Editors Note: This is a first-hand account from Weekend 1 at Coachella