Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Coachella 2010: A calming end to the first night, at least for those skipping Jay-Z and John Lydon

April 17, 2010 |  9:07 am


So does the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, now in its 11th year, truly get rowdy at night?

"There's no more of the burning sun," observed Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig. "Maybe you're shifting into a different mood. You feel a passing urge to just really ... yell something. It doesn't have to be words."

Thus was how the singer introduced the band's "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" to the Coachella crowd, hoping to inspire a little call-and-response, and even acknowledging it was A-OK to not know the lyrics. The typically chill Coachella crowd responded to the laid-back artist's request, and Vampire Weekend, a pleasant band more suited to a pedal-boat ride around a pond than a headlining set at a major festival, inspired the dance-friendly crowd to get a little vocal.

Such is largely what passed for rowdiness on the first day of the annual party in the desert. Save for some water pilfering and the downing of a couple of fences surrounding the food pens -- "I've never seen that before," one Coachella veteran observed -- the sold-out event seemed to suffer from overcrowding, but the mood stayed mellow. Popular acts such as Yeasayer and La Roux jammed Coachella's side tents, but as the evening was winding down, there were plenty of options for those looking for a quieter end to Coachella's first night.


Yukimi Nagano of Sweden's Little Dragon (above) teased the Coachella crowd by asking if attendees were "ready for a dance song." What followed was certainly danceable, but the electronic outfit's electro-pop is as fit for a spa as it is a dance club. Playful beats do battle with gleaming electronics, and Nagano, dressed at Coachella as a sort of indie-rock version of Snow White, led an act that was hard to resist. Rhythms sashayed around the singer, and added keyboard textures were at times reminiscent of vintage house music.


If Little Dragon was dance music for the art-house set, then Brazil's Céu (above) was the late-night chill-out. As much of the Coachella crowd made their way to the main stage, where Jay-Z's team was setting up, those who stuck around for Céu got comfortable on the grass, and discovered an artist who incorporated an impressive array of ethnic flourishes -- many of them built from electronics -- into her jazz-based music.

Of course, those who preferred a more rowdy end to the evening had plenty of options as well. The aforementioned Jay-Z was expected to perform until 1 a.m. (this post is being written a little after midnight in a press area where the rapper is audible but a little muffled), as well as a reformed PiL and electronic experimenter Fever Ray. Look for recaps of all the above to appear on Pop & Hiss.

-- Todd Martens

Top photo: Music fans rest in the VIP area on Day One of the three-day Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, on the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio, Calif., April 16, 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times 

Second photo: Musician Yukimi Nagano of the band Little Dragon performs. Credit: Anna Webber / Getty Images

Third photo: Musician Céu commands the stage on Friday. Credit: Anna Webber / Getty Images