Another sun-splashed scorcher at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio has come to a close; time to assess and digest day two–what worked, what didn't, what was hot and what will happen next.
Arcade Fire's balloon-filled finale. Phish does this every New
Years Eve gig since 1995, and it's a trick that never fails: pour some
1,500 giant light-up balloons onto a capacity festival audience during
the set closer (“Wake Up”) and it's a guaranteed climax.
The rest of their set wasn't bad either. Headlining Saturday night's show meant that Arcade Fire sealed the deal: They are now a bonafide arena band. The joy, intensity and sheer perfection of their set translates well onto a gigantic stage. Unofficially: Month of May, Rebellion (Lies), No Cars Go, Haiti, City With No Children, The Suburbs, Crown of Love, Roccoco, Intervention, Neighborhood #2 (Laika), We Used to Wait, Power Out, Keep the Car Running, Wake Up, The Suburbs (Reprise), Ready To Start, Tunnels, Sprawl II.
The stage production that was Empire of the Sun. A bizarre mix of Gwar and Gaga all decked out in head-feathers and sequined body armor with person-sized swordfish singing backup. Still saying WTF was that? Plus, the gigantic audience spilled out onto the main stage. We now realize that Empire of the Sun is to bros what Lady Gaga is to tweens and queers.
Katy Perry proves she actually is Katy Pervy. Ms. Perry grabbed a handful of photographer ass in the pit during the Animal Collective show. Apparently she was impressed by the said photog's foresight to bring a step-stool into the pit, remarking to her post-grope: “You are the smartest photographer in the world!”
Yelle's French pop-dance set was so cute and bouncy, it made us feel that all was right in the world during Julie Budet's performance. We were quite exhausted from getting wet at the DoLab tent by the time we caught Yelle perform, but we couldn't resist the “Dance, dance, dance!” operative.
Sucks to have missed The Scissor Sisters killing it at the Mojave Tent, reportedly, while Arcade Fire were on the main stage.
OK, wrap it up, please: Coachella showed Cee-Lo it has no qualms pulling the plug on acts that overrun end times, which Erykah Badu learned Saturday evening. The set was nagged by feedback squeals and Badu's intermittent sampler machine noodling, but still might have been the smoothest performance of the day.
It feels odd to complain about Animal Collective, but really, Empire of the Sun should have followed Mumford & Sons onto the main stage instead. It would have saved a lot of people a lot of walking to and from the Outdoor Stage when Empire played. AnCo kept it weird, their signature move, but sandwiching them between two comparatively straight-ahead acts felt more awkward than weird.
Big Audio Dynamite reminded me of why this year, reunion acts stopped being a big deal. (Seriously. Did anyone even watch Suede?) Mick Jones should've opened with the BAD anthem, “BAD,” but taking time to warm up with “Medicine Show” and immigration song “Beyond the Pale” meant losing audiences to Mumford and Sons on the main stage.
Saturday night Hipster Hoedown: Mumford and Sons flat-out brought it, which anyone in attendance will attest, as will anyone that visited Twitter on Saturday. The set blew up Twitter feeds around the globe, and rightfully so. Out of any band seen thus far, Mumford's overall sound translates best in a festival setting–this group is purpose-built to work large groups into a frenzy.
OFWGKTA performs with Lil B, Tyler gets kicked out of the festival for rowdy behavior involving security and water guns, then gets back in (obvs). See all the Odd Future shenanigans unfold in real time on Tyler the Creator's Twitter feed.
Feed me. For those who couldn't make it, the live Coachella video feed on YouTube is getting lots of buzz for its surprisingly good audio: www.youtube.com/coachella.
Sunday's Big Event
We predict that Katy Perry will join Kanye West during tomorrow's headlining set to perform “ET.”