Live from Coachella: Camera Obscura, Girls, Beach House

Whoa, found the press tent. For some reason, there aren't any shirtless people here, unlike in the other areas of the festival. Weird.

In other news, getting into Coachella today was a lot easier than it was Friday. And the bands have been pretty great! Read on.

We timed our arrival to the beginning of Camera Obscura's set in the Sahara Tent. It was a pleasant, if mixed bag. The Scots opened with “My Maudlin Life,” the title track and standout from their most recent album. The song is propelled by a four-note piano line that quivers like, well, some girl's nervous heart. On the album, it's a delicate flash of light; in concert, though, it was just another element of the din. The band sounded quiet from where we stood towards the middle-back of the tent; the band's charm, though, came through when singer Tracy Campbell dedicated a song to all the bands prevented from coming to Coachella by volcanic ash from Iceland. The song? “Let's Get Out of This Country.” Clever 'n cute.

In the Gobi 'Tent next door, '60s pop revivalists Girls sounded plenty loud. The Beach Boys-meets-shoegaze jam “Big Bad Motherfucker” actually lived up to its name. So we can't blame the tents for Camera Obscura sounding too small; let's blame the unknown, unseen technicicans, alright?

Back at Sahara, Beach House managed to blow my mind–by packing this place. Really, there are this many casual Muse fans who also like the pillowy inertness of Beach House, a Baltimore duo whose goal appears to be to update the lullaby for a new millenium? But Beach House connected with the crowd and, once again, the reason came down to decibels. The act sounded big, which, despite what might seem natural, is how Beach House is meant to sound. They write sleepy ballads driven by drum machines and shimmery keys, but the coolest thing about their songs is their lushness. At Coachella today, tracks like the woozy “Silver Soul” and the sky-reaching “Gila” managed to provide plenty of layers for the kids to get lost in.

Alright, we're out of the tent. These people are sorta smelly. Then again, so is everyone at Coachella. Probably including us!


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