Coachella: Band and Drug Pairings Guide

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Ever since sunshine acid saturated Woodstock back in 1969, music festivals and recreational pharmaceuticals have gone together like wine and cheese. Which is why we'd like to recommend a few pairings for those so chemically inclined, a fine list of musical acts coupled with good stuff sure to provide complementary and contrasting flavors for your mind's palette at this year's festival.

Now of course, all of this is at your own risk, we don't endorse any of it, and the author is speaking strictly from a SWIM's (someone who isn't me) sense of experience here cobbled together from the stories of others. That said, the time to act is now.

Band: Beck Drugs: Cannabis (Indica) + Ritalin With its lush orchestral arrangements and cello drones, Beck's latest album, Morning Phase, complements perfectly the dreamy body buzz brought about by a bong load of sexy purple buds. Since this is a festival and not a plush sofa, a quick sniff of study drugs will do the trick for keeping up the proper headspace for the Odelay-era material.

Band: The Replacements Drugs: Whiskey + Celebrex At age 54, Paul Westerberg is alt-rock's elder statesman (he's five days older than Michael Stype). Chances are if you're a 'Mats fan, you're no spring chicken yourself. At this stage in the game, proper pre-show precautions are critical for enduring three days of hard partying in the desert. Stretch, hydrate at a 1:1 ratio, and take your arthritis meds. No need to blow out the lumbar ground-pounding on the first night.

Band: The Knife Drug: DMT When it comes to the mindfuckery that the Dreijr siblings choreograph into their live set -- a "communal/political/conceptual/imaginational workout experience," aptly put by their press materials -- hallucinogens are a must. An LSD trip is too lengthy an ordeal for a Friday night show, but a quick-hitting DMT session will spin you 'round nicely without getting too strung out, leaving the door open for hard partying the following evenings.

Band: Pet Shop Boys Drugs: Amyl nitrates + Ketamine The Pet Shop Boys' synthy thump has soundtracked gay-club boogie nights across the globe for 30 years. After a few years of rumored Coachella appearances, what better way to celebrate than with a slutty, sweaty, popper-fueled dancefloor fling, followed by a trip down the K-hole in homage to the duo's 2001 musical, Closer to Heaven?

Band: Motörhead Drugs: Biker meth + rail liquor A no-brainer, this band's name is '70s slang for a speed freak. Their brand of teeth-grinding, berserker riff rock was born in the nastiest squats around London, laying the foundation of the thrash-punk aesthetic for decades to come. So keep it real -- the dirtier the crank, the better. Chase it down with a flask of the cheapest gin available, and hold on for dear life.

Band: Foster the People Drugs: Quaaludes In the face of meh reviews of their sophomore album, Foster the People have been billed pretty high at Coachella this year, presumably on the strength of a now three-year-old hit single. When obsolescence is the trip, 'ludes -- a once-loved downer phased out by modern benzos like Xanax and Klonopin -- becomes the drug of choice.

Band: Empire of the Sun Drugs: Psilocybin They say the high desert provides the optimal visual backdrop for a 'shroom trip. Combine that with the splendor that Aussie concept-rockers Empire of the Sun build into their stage show (imagine Gwar's intensity + Flaming Lips' whimsy) and voila -- the perfect setting for getting properly weird.

Band: OutKast Drugs: Cannabis (Sativa) Take an obese 20 sack and crumble it up into a grape blunt wrap, and follow the funk from that skunk! A nice, uppy sativa high is a good bet any time, any place at Coachella, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more apropo time for it than the Friday night headliner. If only they sold Olde English in the beer garden.

Band: Anti-Flag Drug: None If there's one time where laying off the sauce is acceptable, it's at the Anti-Flag set, as they're a straight-edge act whose members are also vegan. Sometimes sobriety is a trip unto itself. Mostly this depends on what happened the night before.

Band: Anything at the Sahara Tent Drug: MDMA Obviously. Judging by the puddles of humanity that gather in and around the EDM tent every night year after year, Molly gets more popular year after year. She'll grind your teeth and cross your eyes until the strobes and bass get you off -- it's a old formula that works every time. She's the one Huey Lewis was singing about.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.